Thai government considers extending nightlife hours

PHOTO: via Night Life Party guide

The Thai government is currently contemplating the extension of operating hours for bars, clubs and other entertainment hubs until 4am, in more provinces as a means to stimulate the economy, as reported by Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The minister shared this information following a late-night inspection of Khao San Road nightspots on Saturday. This marked the second night clubs and bars along the popular tourist strip were allowed to stay open until 4am.

Beginning on Friday, a similar extension of hours was implemented in entertainment venues in Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phuket, Koh Samui in Surat Thani, as well as parts of Bangkok, including Khao San Road. This license also extended to venues attached to registered hotels across the nation.

The extended hours apply to entertainment venues in Silom, Patpong, RCA and Ratchadaphisek as well as those located on the premises of hotels in Bangkok. Minister Anutin noted that this extension of hours is being tested for a limited time, with the possibility of a permanent extension if the trial proves successful.

The interior minister added that a longer operational duration would result in more money in circulation and increased job opportunities, but also emphasized the importance of maintaining strict regulations.

The minister shared that an evaluation of the behaviour of pub owners and customers during the trial period, as well as adherence to drink-driving rules, would be considered before expanding the scheme. He highlighted the safety regulations put in place by venue operators, such as the prohibition of alcohol sales to intoxicated patrons, the strict no-weapons and narcotics policy, and the 20 year old age limit for patrons.

Meanwhile, Phuket’s governor, Sophon Suwannarat, reported that on the first day of the trial, a combined unit comprising local administrative officials, police, and other authorities inspected the night entertainment strip along Soi Bang La in Patong district. He noted that most operators and patrons of entertainment places were seen observing the regulations.

Thai Government

Sophon also revealed that 95% of the visitors were foreigners. He stated that the policy will be evaluated in seven days.

On a separate note, Polathep Vichitkunakorn, deputy director of the Centre for Alcohol Studies, criticised the government’s decision to extend operating hours, despite the numerous studies indicating an increase in incidents of sexual harassment, physical assault, fights and property damage during hours of free alcohol purchase and consumption.

The government has even decided to extend the operating hours of entertainment places from the late night of December 31 to 6am on January 1, Polathep said. He further suggested that the government must show that traffic accidents have not risen since the operating hours were extended, before considering making the 4am closing time permanent.

Polathep insisted that negative public feedback should prompt the authorities to revise the policy and manage the risk more effectively, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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