Silom, the bustling Thai capital’s business district which is where most local and international gay men and women hang around at the night only clubs and bars now has a deserted look.
This is due to the daily midnight to four in the morning curfew which officially forces clubs to close early.
Silom is famed for its nightlife which can stretch well after the official closing time of 2 am or 3 am for clubs during normal times before the May 22 military coup which was followed by a curfew that at first lasted for most of the late evening and night but now only for four hours.
Strolling around the Silom night markets around 10 pm remains strangely quiet, with only a few tourists, reports eturbonews.com.
“Business is definitely quiet although the conditions improved since the curfew was pushed back to midnight,” a owner of a gay massage shop said.
Gay entertainment life continues open but the two main streets welcoming gay crowds Silom Soi 2 and Soi 4 which are packed on weekends looked on Saturday as busy as during a week day. At least 30 percent of the tables put outside on public pavements to normally accommodate the crowds remain empty.
At DJ Station, Bangkok’s iconic gay disco, the club owner explained that it had to cancel it’s crowd pulling daily transvestite show. Prior to the curfew, the show used to start at around 11:30 pm.
“People still come after 10:30 pm to our club, but we are officially due to close at midnight. Foreigners will not face problems. Generally the soldiers enforcing the curfew rule will not look at Westerners. However, Thais are more at risk if they stay after midnight,” said the owner.
The recent much hyped and popular club event of “Trasher Bangkok” was to organize a Beyonce-style party, attracting a crowd of upper-class and expat gay and straight people. But crowds for that now remain in question.
This is even though Trasher Bangkok found a loophole of closing at 4 am, the official time when the curfew ends, which means that people will simply have to stay inside from midnight until 4 am.
“We are trying to be cool with the situation in Thailand and live as normal as possible under curfew,” said one of the organizers.
Thailand’s tourist destinations of Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya have had curfew lifted completely June 4 by the military that sized power dismissing a democratically elected government on basis of putting an end to political divisions and unrest gripping Thailand and the Thai capital for the many months.
The Thai military lifted the curfew in the tourist spots allowing night entertainment venues to stay open beyond midnight because the country relies heavily on tourism for income.
However, in the rest of the country, the curfew remains in place from midnight to 4 am.