Dan about Thailand has for some time now been highlighting the main differences between Hua Hin and Pattaya, two ends of the cultural and geographical spectrum.
This guest blog has been written by The Thai Wanderer.
“Now while Dan is comparing matters like air quality, schooling options and benefits to general family life, I thought I’d focus my attention on a subject that doesn’t figure high on his agenda…..nightlife.
When one says nightlife one often thinks of wild parties, nightclubs and over-the-top Magaluf summer season scenarios but anyone that has visited Hua Hin knows full-well that none of the above apply to this rather sedate ‘Royal Borough’. Before we get into the meat of the subject I should add a disclaimer insofar as I don’t testify to being an expert on the Hua Hin area but rather this article might be seen as a visitor’s candid overview.
What’s apparent in Hua Hin is that any nocturnal activity tends to fall into three categories. That of markets and shopping, eating out and the consumption of alcohol in bars.
With the main central night market catering for tourists and Cicada/Tamarind trendy markets aimed more at Bangkok weekenders, the night activity has all shopping bases covered. Throw in the massive Bluport shopping centre and Market Village and it’s apparent that Hua Hin has reached saturation point and one can only wonder if such a small town can sustain these places – at least until the time high season kicks in. An interesting side note I discovered was that landlords of property in the area struggle to get solid rental bookings for more than four months of the year so it would seem Hua Hin has a more low-season / high season swing which puts a potential 12 month renter at a distinct advantage in gaining a contract discount. But that’s a subject for another day as we drill down more into the nightlife of the town.
One thing that is apparent in Hua Hin is the amazing amount of restaurants that abound in every soi. As the sun sets the glow of the warm bulbs make every establishment look endearing and enticing. I’d guess that Dan about Thailand may well be 20kg heavier this time next year should he take the plunge in making this town his home. (Hopefully there are enough fitness centers and treadmills to help out there…)
And so we move onto the main gist of the argument. Beer bars, coyote clubs and discos – attractions that the neighbours across the gulf in Pattaya have in droves. In fact if the space station happened to be traveling overhead, I believe the guys in the module may get a great photo of the night glow. With Hua Hin being a sleepy fishing port you could be lead into thinking that nightlife would be non-existent…..but you’d be wrong.
The good news is that whilst Pattaya nightlife is sprawled over a huge area, Hua Hin focuses mainly on the Bintabaht area streets of which there are four as well as the more ‘cheap charlie’ area of Soi 80 which attracts many locals on a tight budget.
To tour the Bintabaht streets you only really need to follow a square walk and within 10 minutes you’ve pretty much seen everything. Most bars have a maximum of two customers and about four ladies working in them. Music is subdued and the old-timers seem more interested in seeing what’s on the sports channels rather than indulging in hard core women-mongering.
While most bars fall into this sleepy category there are a few stars shining brighter than others. Namely the popular Panama Bar which attracts a more youthful clientele and is more a DJ nightclub than bar beer. Officially these bars stay open until 2am but you’d be hard pressed to see customers after one in the morning. Interestingly the area, whether for cultural or political reasons, hasn’t got any “Go-Go” type joints but things seem to be changing, albeit slowly, with two coyote type places opening recently.
Though not being anywhere near the hardened, chrome-pole establishments of Sin City Pattaya, they are a few notches heading in that direction. The main club across from Panama’s seemed empty though the alluring upstairs venue named Vicky’s has yet to be reviewed by this author. Certainly through the blacked out windows from the side street one could just about make out a gyrating maiden which means it’s on the to-do list on my next visit. Let’s hope being upstairs doesn’t mean it’s rip-off central typical of a Patpong ping pong show establishment.
Once the lights go down on Bintabaht the patrons that still have power in their pacemakers can head to the Hilton Disco, sadly now a shadow of its former glory.The beer prices of 160 baht will put a major dent in any European’s weekly pension cheque and one has to ask how long this venue can or should survive.
Now the action moves into a more hidden aspect of a beer bar complex next door – one which the average visitor might not immediately notice or stumble upon. Indeed it took this wanderer a few visits to suss out why everyone was disappearing into the Tardis-like box until the early hours ..or at least ’til the nightly visit from the khaki wearing law-makers. One venue of note here is the popular Polo Club which seems to be super-crammed every night with freelancers and expats alike.
Which gets me to the point of the actual blog title…..you may need to scroll back to remind yourself as it was a long time ago!
Namely, are boozing foreigners more generous in Hua Hin ?
A brief chat with some of the maidens on offer in the bars gave me the general consensus of things being gravely quiet this time of year but, strangely, every girl without exception was dripping in gold and demanding 2000 – 3000 baht to have the pleasure of sleeping in a comfortable air-con hotel overnight.
With the bling on display around their necks I’d say they are sticking to their guns and getting it…..if you know what I mean.
If Pattaya girls want a buffalo on a rope…It seems Hua Hin girls want a buffalo with a gold chain to lead it to market…
So are the boozy foreigners in Hua Hin more generous or simply have they been forced into a corner where the only escape is to dig deep into their pockets? Well this soldier of the night can’t answer that question as he was on investigative duty only and not plunging into the thick of the action.
The wife would kill me if I did!”