Pattaya nightlife operators hopeful, but skeptical

Some of Pattaya Walking Street’s bars and night clubs are open and tourists have to trek through the unfinished street to get to their favorite watering hole.

Pattaya nightlife businesses applauded the July 1 end of limits on operating hours, but remain skeptical how much the industry can recover this year.

Wasan Sanguantoykum, an executive with the Mouth Se bar and restaurant on Third Road, said bar and club owners are hopeful the lifting of Thailand’s remaining coronavirus restrictions will lead more tourists and more business, but many hurdles remain.

Many businesses closed permanently during the pandemic, making Pattaya’s party scene less attractive to overseas visitors. And those that survived are saddled with heavy debt, leaving their future prospects uncertain. Only about 10-20% of nightlife venues are fully open again, Wasan estimated.

Many hotels and restaurants along Third Road, which catered to Chinese tourists, still cannot reopen and the number of visitors from Europe remains low, he said.

Tourists enter Walking Street hoping to see the world-famous nightlife paradise, but to their horror are met with sand and rubble not unlike a pioneer town in the wild west.