The positive news for Night Fever fans is the recent reinstatement of the later bar closing times, which has given Thailand’s nightlife a much needed boost. But, what needs to be restored is the Land Of Sanuk’s reputation, which has been affected by the introduction of draconian laws and complicated regulations. To some degree the damage has been done, but hopefully given time more Westerners will return to Thailand. This needs to happen by the start of high season, which commences around November. As a friend said to me, “The words Military Junta don’t go down well in the West.” For various reasons Thailand is suffering a drought of farangs, which leaves some places deserted. Those of us that either live in Thailand or visit frequently, know what the current situation is but others far away still question how safe it is. Foreign confidence must be restored but this will not happen of course until a civilian government is appointed.
There appears to be a simple answer to the visa situation, and that is to (preferably) apply in your country of origin. Whatever visa you are applying for it is advisable to forget the “visa upon arrival” because this is the problematic area. The Thai government are showing us that they much prefer us to get our visas from our own country, or at least a country outside Thailand. Following my experiences down at the interrogation immigration department, you can be kept waiting for hours, questioned intensely, checked and re-checked, and finally (if you are lucky) receive your visa. There are much less painful ways of applying for a visa. Here are some guidelines…
WARNING! Never ever overstay your visa – this is just asking for trouble and could earn you the dreaded black mark, a hefty fine and/or deportation. People still recklessly do this and it is totally unnecessary.
THAI TIP – If you are applying for a visa in your own country, you will find a Thai Consulate much more efficient than a Thai Embassy. Even one year visas can be completed within an hour. In fact, the Thai Consulate in Birmingham (West Midlands, England), complete your one year visa application in a matter of minutes, not hours.
VISA SERVICES – Business hours, costs and requirements can and do change. It is advisable to telephone for details before making the journey. In one phone call to the British Telecom operator, I was able to find out the new address, opening hours, revised visa fees, and administration requirements.
THAI CONSULATE BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND – For fellow Englishmen I can highly recommend the Thai consulate in Birmingham. It is located at One Victoria Square Building at the top end of New Street to the left of the City Library. New Street is close to the railway station, which is also near the Bull Ring Shopping Centre. The new opening times are Monday-Friday 8:00 AM until 11:30 AM – this Thai Consulate is no longer open in the afternoons. For a one year visa you need the appropriate documents, two passport photos, and the fee. I was charged £105 (UK Pounds), which works out at around 7,000 Baht. The fees have just increased this week. One other Thai Consulate in England comes highly recommended is located in Hull.
Conrad Con Club
An English gentleman was telling me a story about a visit to the Conrad Hotel. The Conrad is a luxurious hotel located on Wireless Road. Inside it houses Club 87 which is a stylishly furbished nightclub. Although my friend realizes that he is not John Travolta, he was shocked at what a freelancer said to him. Perhaps appearing to be an easy target, the middle-aged Englishman was approached by a Thai woman. She claimed to be divorced from an Englishman and offered her services for the evening. All seemed well until the Conrad con artist wanted £200 UK Pounds, which works out at around 14,000 Baht. Dream on! Being a gentleman, my friend politely declined and wished the extremely optimistic freelancer good luck. With prices like 14,000 Baht she will need more than good luck! This week Stick Mark II reported part of this story, as his friend was offered 8,000 Baht for all night. To add insult to injury, both girls were only very average in comparison to the dolly birds they were looking at in the Pleasure Palaces of Nana Plaza. Remarkably, the extortionate asking price of 14,000 Baht is more than a freelancer would charge in Singapore. Delusions of grandeur or what?
The word on the street down in Soi Cowboy is that the Irish Bar next to Midnite Bar has been sold. This was only a rumour but it did emerge from a good source, so we will soon see what is happening with the Irish bar. One institution that has definitely closed its doors for the last time is Pam’s, which has been engulfed by Baccara Bar. Whatever Baccara intend to do with the extra space should be revealed soon. Baccara continue to draw a good crowd but that includes the Japanese clientele who blow up a storm by chain smoking. The public smoking ban has now been introduced to all of Great Britain (as well as other countries), and it is a shame it cannot be applied to the bars in Bangkok. The Cheerleaders outside Baccara Bar are fun and friendly as they accost potential customers. They do a good job and I think they look more attractive than the go-go dancers downstairs. Thankfully Baccara boast some lovely teeny boppers upstairs and you are guaranteed an eye-opening view through the glass ceiling. Rather than keep cranking your neck and inhailing horrid smoke, go upstairs and enjoy the teeny boppers at close proximity. Baccara is still worth a visit, check it out!
Titanium Has Been Sold
Titanium, the “Hi-So” upscale bar situated near Larry’s Dive inside Sukhumvit, Soi 22 has been sold. Following long negotiations with at least two seperate buyers, eventually a sale price was agreed upon. Titanium features an all female band and a special vodka ice room. It is currently closed for renovations. The former owner of Titanium has opened V20 Bar, which is a special cocktail and vodka ice bar on Walking Street in Pattaya. Titanium used to be a popular upmarket nightspot that was frequented by Thais too. It will be interesting to see if the new owners can maintain Titanium’s popularity. I think it is essential to retain the talented female band and Titaniums special ambience.
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