Monday marks the second half of an epic six-day holiday and this week will see Thailand bars closed two days.
The holiday week – HM the King’s birthday (July 28), Asanha Bucha Day and Khao Phansa (Aug. 1 and 2) linked by a government bonus holiday July 31 – is the best opportunity until New Year’s for an extended break. Thais fled Bangkok in droves, as well as large numbers of expats.
The expectations were that the weekend would be very quiet in Bangkok’s red-light areas. It didn’t quite turn out like that.
On Friday, Soi Cowboy had thick crowds strolling the Neon Alley and pubs like The Game were packed, showing there were still many people around.
The same was true Saturday and Sunday night. On Saturday, Shark Club on Cowboy was 100% full – not seats – at 10:45 p.m. Suzie Wong at the same time was about 80% full.
But the surges were short. Within 30 minutes, Suzie Wong was almost empty. Across the way at Dollhouse, manager Dennis summed up the weekend by saying “we’re not killing it, but it’s better than expected”.
Sunday night in Nana Plaza, Billboard and Butterflies were packed to the rafters, the result of a birthday party that wasn’t even advertised. Free pizza for everyone and lots of invites for friends brought out big crowds.
That helped lift Nana Plaza overall, with all bars doing good trade.
Thailand Bars Closed Tuesday, Wednesday
On Monday it will be Thailand bars closed midnight, so it’s anyone’s guess what those few hours before the cops shut things down will be like.
After that, all those tourists in town are about to get a letdown, with Buddhist Lent beginning, alcohol sales prohibited and Thailand bars closed Tuesday and Wednesday, although Soi 4 beer bars again will push the limits and reopen around 10 p.m. Wednesday, hiding beer in paper cups.
Khao Phansa marks the start of Buddhist Lent or the traditional “rains retreat” of monks in Thailand who, in the old days, would retreat into their temples during rainy season to avoid trampling rice crops while seeking alms.
Auk Phansa will mark the end of Buddhist Lent in October and will be the next dry day in Thailand.
Bars will be open for Mother’s Day on Aug. 14 and the observed holiday on Aug. 14.