Pattaya Grapevine: Will he won’t he?


Will he won’t he?
The travel industry is agog awaiting for the decision of the prime minister whether to dismantle the entry requirements and revert to an immigration system similar to the pre-pandemic system. The cautious military establishment warns about new Covid outbreaks, the economy demands the return of tourists a-plenty. In these battles, the economy usually wins.

Booming Pattaya
The waterless Songkran festival in Pattaya saw a sharp revival in cash register ringing. Massage parlors reported business not seen since 2019, whilst fish and chip restaurants ran out of cod and haddock. Although some of the business revival can be attributed to the influx from Bangkok – many cars on beach road had number plate registrations for the capital city – there do seem to be many more farang tourists around. Good news for most.

New entertainment center
Whilst Walking Street is semi-open, though hardly brimming with excitement, the Soi Buakhao and LK Metro districts have become the new heart of Pattaya’s nightly entertainment hub. Almost all the clubs and bars there have succeeded in transforming themselves into “restaurants” with health and safety certificates. People are asking if the 11 pm closing time is being rigorously enforced. Best to go see yourself.

Don’t forget the gays
Songkran also saw the Jomtien Complex virtually full most nights of the recent holiday period. Several of the drag cabarets had moved indoors and police seemed to be happy with that arrangement. But 11 pm closing is strictly enforced here after some confusion occurred last month. The rival area in central Pattaya, Boyztown, is trying hard to revive even if the jury is still out. Sunee Plaza has all-but closed down in an eerily silent semi-blackout.

From the rumor mill
A Grapevine’s police source says an immigration working party is looking at replacing the TM30 and TM 6 forms (both address-reporting requirements) by an app which visitors will download to report their main abode in the Land of Smiles. It will be assumed that address remains correct whilst in the country, unless/until you change it. The main benefit to consumers will be to cancel the long queues at immigration check-in throughout the kingdom.

Update on self-insurance
All has gone quiet on the suggestion earlier this year that elderly expats might be able to show extra funds instead of being required to have comprehensive medical insurance for their O/A annual extension of stay. Nothing is imminent. We are told that if and when a definite decision is taken about retirees, there will be a relevant announcement. As usual, it isn’t possible to hurry the Orient. Not a good idea to push either.

Knuckle fighting returns
Capacity crowds are expected at next month’s Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship scheduled at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort next month. The concept of no gloves or head gear gives the idea that knuckle fighting is similar to a brawl after closing time in the pubs, but this is far from the actual reality. There’s more information at the BKFC Facebook page. The event organizer is Nick Chapman.

PCEC back in business
Pattaya City Expat Club is again meeting weekly on a Wednesday morning with guest speakers already lined up. The venue is Holiday Inn at the north end of beach road. The open forum when more or less anything useful can be discussed is a very popular spot. The PCEC website is also full of useful bits-and-pieces and updates on matters such as immigration and the availability of booster shots.

Travel agent needed
Not everyone is confident of doing their own thing on the internet when booking a flight. Although most Pattaya travel agents have closed for the duration, and maybe longer, one stands out as open throughout the pandemic and ready to assist. Vicky Travel, facing the Royal Palace Hotel and behind Second Road, is a one stop shop for travel needs. Phone Marlowe on 038 426 240 in office hours or send an email to [email protected]

Wine prices down
Wine remains expensive in Thailand as anyone with a liking for the grape will readily confirm. But thanks to tax changes, some tasty imported wines (from Chile, Australia and South Africa for example) are available in the 400-600 baht range. All the main supermarkets have choices in this price range, but you have to shop around for the best bargains. Happy hunting.