Pattaya runs on booze, and it’s out of fuel

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Many of Pattaya’s most popular businesses remain closed, with for sale and lease signs outside.

Pattaya may be “open” for foreign tourists, but with bars closed and alcohol off the menu at restaurants, no one is feeling cheerful.

Pattaya’s streets are just as quiet and deserted as they were a month or two ago. Walking Street is still dark. Beer bars are stripped bare, with for sale and lease signs outside.



For all public officials’ talk of Pattaya’s increasing “family friendliness,” the city runs on alcohol and currently it’s out of fuel.

Patiwat Rachakanlop, a beer bar operator, said he thought he had a business in a golden location. But now the gold has turned to black. He’s been closed since April and for 12 of the past 17 months.


Hotels still have only about 10 percent occupancy on weekdays and 30 percent on weekends with holidays pushing that to maybe 60 percent. Things won’t improve, Patiwat said, until all Pattaya businesses are allowed to reopen and entice foreigners to return.

Bars and entertainment venues have been closed since April and for 12 of the past 17 months.