Poll ban on alcohol in Thailand confuses tourists

Published on : Monday, January 27, 2014

download-316The plans of thousands of tourists of Phuket and throughout Thailand have been thrown into confusion by an election ban on alcohol sales over this weekend and next weekend.

Thailand is all about sun, sea and booze and this ban will take out the most important part of triumvirate. The enforced closure comes with Australian tourists and expats gearing up to celebrate Australia Day tomorrow as only Aussies celebrate – with plenty of food and drink.

The official polling closures from 6pm tonight until midnight tomorrow night and again the following weekend are not just confused by what’s happening in Bangkok but also by lack of clarity to enforcement on Phuket.

However, bars in the west coast holiday destination of Kamala have been warned by senior police that they must close but bars in the neighboring nightclub hub of Patong have not been told anything about the closure.

The frustration with not knowing is likely to be widespread. Australian tourists Tamara Kovaleff, 20, and Ben Kilsby, 23, were planning on spending the night at the Aussie Bar in Patong but now their plans are in doubt.

”We’d like to celebrate but we didn’t know anything about the order to close because of the election,” Mr Kilsby said.

Steve Wood, who runs the Aussie Bar in Patong’s popular Soi Bangla, telephoned Peter Crisp at the Aussie Bar in Kamala this morning to say he knew nothing about the enforced closure.

But Mr Crisp was able to tell him that Kamala police had dropped by in person last night to formally let him know that all bars in Kamala must shut from 6pm tonight until midnight tonight for advance voting in the national election scheduled for February 2.

The same apples next weekend when most of the population vote, or as is most likely on Phuket and across the southern half of Thailand, don’t vote.

The election is emotion-charged and may still be cancelled or postponed, depending on developments in Bangkok.


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