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Phuket Opinion: Patong’s naked soul laid bare

PHUKET: The overwhelming call by respondents in a recent online poll by The Phuket News to allow late trading by bars and nightlife venues along Bangla Rd in Patong this week has made plain what visitors to Phuket want – and expect – when they visit our fair shores.

patong, opinion, tourism,

The Phuket News

Sunday 5 March 2017, 09:00AM

Patong, and especially the bars and clubs along Bangla Rd, has been an adult playground for decades – and the world has long known it. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot
Patong, and especially the bars and clubs along Bangla Rd, has been an adult playground for decades – and the world has long known it. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Patong, and especially Bangla Rd, is an adult playground and the world has long known it. It beggars belief that any tourists would venture into that realm and be offended by gyrating dancers and “good time girls”.

These would have to be tourists who don’t know what Google or Bing does… and would likely be surprised by what their own government would write in, say, a travel advisory for Somalia. The odds are remote.

Over the past two weeks the debate has raged over the merits of “Sin City” Pattaya since the UK’s Mirror labelled it “the sex capital of the world”. One great headline quip simply responded: “Tell us what we don’t know”.

Throughout that furore, it seems the authorities in Bangkok have been struggling to admit that the national ethos supports a “no harm, no foul” policy. Good luck to them in that.

It seems this “no harm, no foul” approach is understood by any visitor to Phuket and also simply presumed by our island’s leading authorities – and kudos to them, including Governor Chockchai, for steaming ahead with the request for late trading without dallying over what is plainly an economically driven attraction.

QSI International School Phuket

Yet, Patong is much more than the Bangla bars and shows. Many people come to Patong do not venture down the street; once is enough for such tourists and that is their choice.

Likewise, Bangla is an attraction, and not just for sex tourists. We are entering that time of year when families from the Middle East take a stroll down the bustling street just to see “how the other half play”. There are shows that do not appeal to all, and these families just walk on by. No harm, no foul.

However, this is not to say all the dark arguments against prostitution should be overlooked for the sake of scoring baht. Human trafficking, drug debt traps and loan sharks can make this a dark world. Yet that fight belongs against those evils. Not against “Prime-Time Patong”.

The poll results are clear – 75% respondents say they support late trading for Bangla bars and nightclubs – so if you don’t like it, just don’t go.



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Kurt | 06 March 2017 - 20:20:40

@ Blizzo79, Just make sure your next visit to have your id card/passport with you when you go to hang out, to make sure you are allowed to drink and smoke.
And don't feed bread to fishes, that is 2 nights lock up in a police station + 1000 thb fine at age of 53 and older.. ( Have a 100,000 thb bail stand by)

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Kurt | 06 March 2017 - 12:29:18

To make the present illegal opening hours of Bangla Road entertainment legal without 'hurting' bars/clubs outside Bangla Road, same as like in Paradise Complex ( about at 200 meter distance) where the same illegal situation exists, the Government has to give these areas a special status.
In both areas it is as well about prostitution. No need to deny that.
So declare these areas official...

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Kurt | 06 March 2017 - 11:52:11

Yes, indeed. Bangla is a tourist attraction for many tourists who just walk that Patong 'Road of Fame' once.
Actually I am surprised that just walking/sight seeing Bangla Road is still for free!
Why they not sell tickets, starting 6 PM, for sightseeing only? Like for national Parks.
( No double pricing, please)
Refund of ticket price when you sit for drink and watch the 'scene'...

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Kurt | 06 March 2017 - 10:39:40

@ Johs:  There could be a reason why the police not step into these illegal affairs.
Perhaps solution is to go to Ombudsman in Provincial Hall, there you can complain about the illegal drink selling nightmare and about the police who not take action.
And don't forget to go to NACC + a letter to the Governor.
The Governor is very keen to hear about things like corruption and negligence of of...

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Blizzo79 | 06 March 2017 - 09:45:01

So what is the current bar trading situation?? Ill be in Phuket on May so would like to know what im in for.

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Nasa12 | 05 March 2017 - 14:03:31

Now the Municipality and the police get their money back and they are very happy in Patong and Karon And Kata. Phuket Governor fills their P...t and VERY happy to. But What about the law in Thailand is there anyone who can anything about it Opening hours of the "bars" and beaches and run a businessWhen the Army come and take every thing away and this time I was happy fore Phuket and the ...

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Johs | 05 March 2017 - 13:20:24

Bangla is noisy all night, fine if you don't like that, then just stay away. The real problem for tourism in Patong is outlets selling drinks illegally all night in residential areas, which is a nightmare for many guesthouses and hotels and for local residents as well. Oddly the police do not stop this violation of Thai law, despite numerous inquiries from citizens throughout the town.

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