Late nights, new heights? Bangkok’s nightlife industry weighs in on 4am closing time

Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Photo (for illustration): Coconuts TV
Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Photo (for illustration): Coconuts TV

Staying up way, way late until the early morning at a bar can be a reality now after the interior ministry announced it had approved the extension of closing hours to 4am, but those involved say they are going to tread the new rules carefully.

Interior Sec-Gen Traisulee Traisornkul said Wednesday evening that they would allow entertainment venues to open past 2am until 4am, a decision that was made after the cabinet approved a proposal aimed at stimulating the economy and boosting tourism.

A handful of people from the nightlife industry responded positively to the news.

Jirus Matapatvasukul, the music director behind underground venue Never Normal, thinks the extension would benefit those who love to start their night very late.

“I think it’s a great idea, especially for nightclubs,” Jirus told Coconuts. “Normally, people who start going to the club usually come around 10pm, or sometimes even past midnight. With this change, entertainment venues will also make more money.”

Business executive and lifestyle agency owner Didi Wiboonma, who’s worked in the F&B and nightlife industries for more than 10 years, also sees the extension as good for business.

“Given that Bangkok is a renowned destination for travelers seeking diverse experiences, permitting businesses to operate for longer hours will position Bangkok, and by extension Thailand, as a leading choice for entertainment and nightlife enthusiasts,” Didi told Coconuts.

However, that isn’t to say that this extension will apply nationwide. Traisulee had stated that all areas with tourism potential will be allowed to request the extension under specific conditions set by the interior ministry. Such conditions have yet to be known publicly, and further guidelines will be decided upon the next cabinet meeting next week.

Never Normal, a popular underground destination that is located deep in a quiet residential area in Ladprao, will also have to contend with how to handle late hours, should they be approved for extension.

It is something Jirus said they are actively working towards.

“We are already taking steps to ask people to not talk to each other loudly outside, with security guards on watch. We even renovated upstairs to be a soundproof room,” Jirus said. 

“Normally, we have to close at 2am, and when we close, we have to rush people out. When we rush them out, it gets very chaotic outside. I believe that around 3am, people will start leaving gradually, and it won’t be so chaotic with the guards who are actively on watch.”

Didi said that it is crucial that the government be aware of the risks accompanying these benefits.

“One primary concern is ensuring that the new regulations are applied fairly and equally across various business categories,” she said. “Currently, many businesses in Thailand might be operating under incorrect types of registrations, which could lead to loopholes and unfair competitive advantages.”

She also notes that safety measures need to be considered with these new hours.

“With businesses closing later at night, issues surrounding transportation and security in Bangkok’s nightlife scene could become more apparent.”

It is a concern that mirrors what health adviser Vicharn Meenchainun told reporters on Monday. Before the go-ahead on the extension, proper measures must be in place to prevent problems such as road accidents and drug abuse, according to Vicharn.


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