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Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia, the first independent entity in the Gulf region, was the first among the GCC member-states to establish full diplomatic relations with Thailand, an event which took place in 1957, bilateral relations between the two kingdoms have become tense and strained. This can be seen in Riyadh's decisions to ban the recruitment of Thai workers, to stop its citizens from travelling to Thailand, to end all its national carrier's flights heading to Bangkok, and to force its businessmen to replace their Thai employees with others, something that caused a sharp drop in the number of Thais in the Kingdom from 200,000 in 1989 to only 10,000 at the present. Such unfriendly decisions, which followed years of warm and amicable relations, particularly in the 1970s, when Saudi Arabia opened its doors wide to hundreds of thousands of Thai workers and hundreds of Thai engineering and consulting companies, reflect - according to one source - Riyadh's uneasiness about the way Bangkok had handled the assassination case of five of its diplomats in 1989 and 1990 and the mysterious disappearance of one of its businessmen in 1989. In other words, Riyadh accused Thai police of cooperation with or at least providing protection to the assassins - believed to be members of the Iranian intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah.Other sources believe the setback in Riyadh-Bangkok ties is a result of what is widely known in Thai press as "the Blue Diamond" case.
The Saudis are said to be very angry, not only because of Thailand's failure to adequately investigate and explain the murder of five Saudi citizens in Bangkok - or because of its failure to take action against high-ranking generals, believed to have connections with Kriangkrai Techamong, a Thai national accused of stealing a huge amount of jewellery from the palace of his employer, a prominent Saudi Prince, in the 1980s - but also because Thai police had tried to cheat them by returning to Saudi Arabia jewellery that turned out to be fake, including the so-called Blue Diamond.The Saudis who downgraded their diplomatic presence in Bangkok to the charge d'affaires level as a sign of protest, seemed to be determined to go ahead with the case until the perpetrators were put behind bars or at least until their names and their lives were ruined. They also seemed to be in a hurry as, according to Thai law, these cases will expire in less than two years. Nothing proves this better than Bangkok-based Saudi diplomats' requests to have meetings to discuss the case with Thai officials every time a new government is formed in Bangkok.While this is the scene as far as Riyadh-Bangkok ties were concerned, ties between Bangkok and other GCC member-states have not only continued growing, but have also been characterised by warmth, intimacy and mutual confidence. The best example, in this context, is the relationship between Manama and Bangkok, whose officials exchange visits regularly at the highest level. The two countries' bilateral cooperation has, in fact, expanded to fields other the traditional ones, such as human resources, high education, health, oil and gas. Recently, the two sides signed a framework agreement aimed at creating favourable conditions for greater economic cooperation, eliminating barriers to trade to zero per cent by 2010. The Thais correctly view Bahrain as the best place in the region to be the gateway for their products to other Gulf states.Kuwait was the second Gulf state, after Saudi Arabia, to establish formal diplomatic relations with Thailand. This took place on June 14, 1963. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed a very good relationship in such aspects as trade, finance, industry, education, tourism and transportation. Kuwait was the first Gulf country to sign an open skies agreement with Thailand, something that allowed national carriers of the two sides to operate flights with no restrictions on plane models, number of seats, number of flights, or airports of landing. Such cooperation and cordial ties were reinforced by the official visit to Bangkok in June 2003 by the Emir of Kuwait Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, during which the two sides signed an important agreement on joint investment and joint venture. The two most important fields of cooperation between Thailand and the UAE, which established formal diplomatic relations on December 12, 1975 are commerce and tourism. Emirati citizens are said to view Thailand as a favourite destination for tourism, recreation and medical treatment. As a result, the number of Emirati tourists heading to Thailand are increasing at an average of 60,000 every year, according to one source. One of the early fields of cooperation between the two parties has been labour. In 2006, there were some 3,500 Thai workers in Dubai alone. This figure jumped to 6,500 in 2007. On November 1, 2007, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at protecting the rights of Thai workers living and working in UAE. Qatar and Thailand established formal diplomatic relations on August 7, 1980. And since then the Thais eagerly worked to expand and cement their export-import ties with the Qataris, something that can be supported by Bangkok's recent decision to establish a commercial office and permanent exhibition in Doha. In 2001, Thailand imported from Qatar oil, chemicals and fertilisers worth $253 million, while it exported to Qatar commodities and services worth only $19.6 million.It is important to mention here that the years 2002 and 2008 can be considered as special years in Doha-Bangkok relations, In 2002, the Qataris showed unprecedented interest in investing in Thailand's sectors of finance, minerals and oil. And in 2008, Qatar opened a new market for its liquefied natural gas industry by sealing a long-term supply deal with Thailand.Finally come Muscat-Bangkok ties which are characterised by mutual cooperation to explore and produce oil and gas in third countries that could be in Asia or the Middle East. This is regarded as one of the fruits of an agreement signed in December 2007 between the Omani Ministry of Oil and Gas and PTT, the first Thai oil company to get involved in the Middle East.
Muscat-Bangkok bilateral ties have been additionally reinforced by a decision by Oman Air, Oman's national carrier, in January 2006 to run a non-stop flight to Bangkok, in a bid to use Thailand as its Southeast Asian regional hub.

Girls, shows, bar games....and competing stereos all combine to raise the blood pressure...in one huge party zone from Soi 13 to Soi 16 in South Pattaya.
Closed to traffic during the evening the area becomes the famous Walking Street, where go-go's, discos, massage parlours and dozens of bar-beers compete with each other for your immediate attention.
Central Pattaya - from Soi 7/8 to the Beach road is slightly less hectic but still packed with masses of bar beers, restaurants and bars. While in in North Pattaya (Sois 2 - 6 along Pattaya 2nd Road) it's full-on total mayhem with over 50+ bars and go-gos vying to satisfy everyone's favourite fantasy with names like Classroom A Go-Go (ponytails, white socks, short gymslips) Lipstick A Go-Go (tequila shots, Jacuzzi room) and Tahitian Queen (thigh boots, good 'ol rock & roll).
Music and Alternatives
If all this is just too much, you can take time out and sample some traditional entertainment at pubs like Kilkenny's Irish Pub, Hopf Brew House -a three storey pub with atrium, live music and euro-beer. Try Shenanigans for live music every night and a weekend carvery and Hard Rock Cafe - part of the rather groovy Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya Live bands and foam party on Saturdays.Hard Rock Cafe - at the front of the Hard Rock Hotel - Beach RdHopf Brew House - Beach RdKilkenny's Irish Pub - Walking StreetShenanigans -Pattaya 2nd RoadChoc Dee - Mellow and out of town in Jomtien Beach.Bamboo Bar - old favs, bamboo tables, cold beers and bands belting out...Top of Walking Street.Green Bottle Pub - Low prices - loud music Moon River Pub - A local ex-pat hangout with live bands every evening.PIC Kitchen Jazz/Jazz Pit - Floor cushions and live music every evening.
Disco mania...
Hot, sweaty and crammed - and packed on the weekends Here's a selection: Hollywood Disco - Locals and tourists - South Pattaya RoadMarine Disco - Old established disco from way back, heats up about 1am - Walking Street Palladium Disco - Large flashy, techno club which double charges foreigners - Pattaya 2nd Road (next to Big C)Tonys - Expensive drinks, eclectic clientele, expensive drinks - Walking StreetX Zyte - Thai clubbing - Beach Roa
Over-the- top costumes, mega sets and bosoms that defy gravity. Flamboyant and harmless entertainment.Tiffanys.Fabulously attired kateoys (ladyboys) strut their stuff with fluttering eyelashes, swiveling hips, the works. (464 Moo 9, Second Road.) Price 500 Baht AlangkarnVegas type show. A multi-dimension presentation with laser show, surrounds sound system, over 150 performers plus elephants and special effects explores Thailands history. Shows every evening at 8.45p.m. Optional dinners available. Alcazar, Beautiful transexuals mime old and new favs in glitzy outfits. Brings tourists in by the busload. (Second Road North Pattaya) Price 500 Baht. Malibu - Not quite as extravagant but about the price of a beer. (Corner of Soi 13.)
Gay Pattaya
A resort for all tastes, Pattaya ensures its muscle boys, bikers and boy toys are kept happy. Gay only bars and go-go joints are centred around the aptly named Boyz Town and the small sois close to the strip by Sunee Plaza (although there are many local gay bars and and transvestite shows that welcome both straights and gays) Jomtien Beach among the fairy lights is a fairly good gay chat-up area.Star-Treff Travestie (Jomtien Complex) - 10pm shows Boyz Town - (Soi Pattayaland 1 & 3 and Soi 13/4) has masses of Gay go-gos and bars. Noisy. Sunee Plaza - quieter and more private (Just off the strip)
Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) - The king of martial arts - its difficult not to be drawn in by the skill and dexterity of these guys. Traditional music adds to the ambiance, while odd rituals and the roar of the crowd make it something worth seeing at least once.Traditional MassagePerfect for tired muscles, aching backs, etc., but not necessarily relaxing! Make sure the place has a sign saying "raksaa tong nuad" or "Traditional Physical Massage" for the real deal. Generally, traditional places will provide loose clothing and recommend a 2 hour massage. Try MBMI Massage Superb massage done by blind masseurs. Jomtien Complex, Theppraya Rd, Jomtien)Non-traditional Massage - Recognised by the numbers quaintly pinned on the girls' outfits. A choice of body massage including a soapy mistress to ease your cares away.... Foot Massage - Can be exquisite or utter torture depending on a number of variables like the practitioner and your state of health (if it hurts it needs fixing). It's worth finding out. You can find foot massage all over town.
Morning After Revivers
For those who just can't get used to noodles for breakfast - there is an alternative! Pattaya offers lots of good places to help you get into recovery mode - from great British fry-ups to top grade bagels.Try Baywatch Cafe with excellent breakfasts, reliable coffee and beach views. (325/6 Beach Road)Au Bon Pain - quality bagels, croissants and sandwiches at reasonable prices found in most tourist areas in Thailand. (Royal Garden Plaza, Ground Floor.)Gregs's kitchen - Huge English fry-ups and quick service. (22 Pattaya 2nd Road.)Pig and Whistle - Your tradtional British pub complete with sofas and comfy areas. (Soi 7, Pattaya Beach Road)
ShenanigansExcellent Irish breakfast - the full monty. Plush seating plus a free Cappuccino refill.(Pattaya 2nd Road)

Koh Phuket
It's loud, it's raunchy and it's utterly unforgettable. Legendary Patong Beach is the island's number one nightlife zone. On offer is a bewildering mix of restaurant-lounges, beer bars, Go-Go bars, pubs, discos, live music clubs, transvestite cabarets and a lot more.
A-Go-Go Bars
These are mainly indoor bars with dancing ladies performing around chrome poles. Various levels of nudity depending on the bar and prevailing tolerance level of the local authorities. Most Go Go's are concentrated along Soi Seadragon, and others are found on the side lanes off Bangla Rd.Names and owners seem to change frequently but one of the "old timers" is Rock Hard on Bangla Rd - a very popular place with a sidewalk cafe, good music and enthusiastic, dancers. It claims that "couples are welcome", though it probably wouldn't be at the top of most women's list of places to see when planning a night out with her partner.
Beer Bars or (Bar Beers!)
Patong's famous bar beers are concentrated (and we mean concentrated) along Bangla Rd spilling over into the small streets off it. Beer bars (or bar beers) are basic outdoor bars with barstools and a sound system. Many look exactly the same but for some reason you'll see one bar packed out while the near-replica beside it is barren. The bars are usually staffed by a bevy of girls clad in their sexiest gear trying to attract customers with pole dancing and simple bar games (like hammering a nail into a block of wood) Although the most bars cater to men, women and couples are equally welcome with no hassle. There are also a number of bars like Kangaroo Bar, and U2 on Bangla Rd, and Wet Spot on Soi Gonzo, that simply play good music and regularly attract a young international crowd who often dance in the street and on tables.
Lounge Bars
Patong also offers some surprisingly trendy lounge bars where you can relax in a classy atmosphere and listen to cafe del mar type music. Offering plush sofas, great cocktails and groovy tunes is Home Bar (with an upstairs room designed like a large lounge with plush modern sofas and pile carpets. Low tables and even lower lights keep the atmosphere cosy. Just off Soi Bangla. La Salsa (at the Phuket Impiana Cabana) on the beach road is a good spot to watch the world go by while sipping a mean Mojito. Baan Rim Pa (on the coast road at the north end of Patong) offers an elegant pre-dinner bar, while next door Joes Bar (white beach house decor) makes a perfect spot for a sundowner. Another great sundowner spot is the terrace of the Novotel Phuket, which has views over the entire Patong Bay area, while the Hourglass (also at the Novotel) has a live band most evenings. Newcomers to the scene are the Corsicana and La Diva (photo), both on Rat-U-Thit Rd.
Beach Bars
Surprisingly for a beach resort, Patong has very few beachfront bars, and none of them are very busy after the peak sunset cocktail period. Just south of Loma Park (Patong north end) are several bar-restaurants serving Thai/Western food, beer and cocktails. You might have to walk on the beach starting in front of Bangla Road and follow the seafront to find the first ones.
Wacky & UnusualSome bars don't fit neatly into any category, but there are some truly unique places to tip a glass around Patong. One such spot is Nicky's Handlebar, a biker bar that's friendly, relaxed and welcoming to non-bikers too. Great fun watching the Harley riders ride up into the bar. Has a pool table, a tattoo parlour, a bike repair shop and a small area selling T-shirts and leather goods.
Rasta Pub, at the end of Soi Seadragon, is a small stand run by some happy deadlocked characters - quite an unexpected surprise as it's reached only by walking through a sea of a-go-go and beer bars. Minivan bars. Catch them if you can, these little mobile bars have fitted out of the side of a VW van by some enterprising local folks. Locations vary, but usually seen near the Bangla-Rat-U-Thit road intersection or along the northern part of the beach road, near Loma Park. A cute and cheerful place to stop by for a beer or two.
Sports PubsThere are a scattering of pubs showing live satellite TV broadcasts of international sports including Formula 1, football and rugby. Many also have pool tables, darts, special buffet nights and competitions. Popular pubs include Champs (Soi Kepsap), Heroes (Sawatdirak Rd), Amigos, Football Crazy and Lek Murphys.Karaoke BarsNot often frequented by tourists, Karaoke bars are plentiful all over the island and in Patong. They're usually found away from the main areas and are not always easy to recognize as the signs are usually in Thai only - look for the telltale string of coloured lights and tinted windows. Some also have hostesses sitting out front to beckon passersby. The bars are usually simple affairs - a few tables, dim lighting and a Karaoke machine. The hostesses usually take their turns singing local Thai favourites and invite customers to try it as well

"One night in Bangkok, Makes a hard man humble.."
Never a truer word spoken. Bangkok will not disappoint.

Ana Entertainment Plaza - On Sukhumvit Soi 4 this is the expat resident variety of Patpong. It is quite a sight to behold and definitely not somewhere to take your wife, although people do ! The girls are a lot friendlier here than in Patpong and they (as in the bars) are all safe, without the famous "come in for show" rip off that you get in Patpong. We have been informed that Carnival on the third floor is a very interesting place to be at 10:30 onwards, with shower shows and the like. A good night out can be had here. One word of warning when entering and leaving NEP, watch out for pick pockets on the street just outside, some claim its "katoeys" or lady boys, personally I reckon it could be anyone so just take a little extra precaution. (perhaps that is double advice !!)
Soi Cowboy - 5 years ago this was indeed the spot for locals or expats living in Bangkok to go to if in need of 'alternative' entertainment. Since then it seems to be slowly retreating off the scene. It still though is very much worth a trip down to this small street of bars between Sukhumvit Soi 21 and 23.
Clinton Plaza Sukhumvit - Well this can be found just next to the infamous Thermae coffee shop/bar. You can almost miss it, so if you stand on the same side of Sukhumvit as Thermae facing it (Thermae) then the Plaza can be found just to your left. It is still very much in its infancy, with some nice bars to go for a drink without being harrassed for short times or drinks ( yeah - sometimes that can get too much !!! hard to believe I know) A few new bars have recently been added (November 2000) and include Go Go bars, with more on the way. They look reasonable, in quality if you know what I mean.
Thermae - On Sukhumvit road between Soi 13 and 15. If all else has failed and even if it hasn't, most people will not believe Thermae. The beers are reasonably priced with a Heineken costing 85 Baht. Thermae is a large bar that only gets busy when everything else, namely the other bars, are closed. That is to say from 2 onwards. So when does this bar close ? Let's just say that if sufficient customers are still standing then around 6 or 7 am ! It is jam packed full of women. Need I say more ?! Well not to go on but...... the food here is good, especially after a long hard night, although most people do not come for the food.
Mambo Cabaret - Right next door to the Dubliner pub, so between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24, is a transvestite Cabaret show. Two shows a day one at 8:30 pm and one at 10:00 pm. More to come on this later.
Narcissus - A very nice disco that gets very busy. It is next door (towards the back) to the hostess bar Pegasus which can be found just off Sukhumvit Soi 23. Worth going to around midnight onwards.
Sukhumvit Soi 33 - This is the chic variety of Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy. Numerous bars with beautiful ladies in cocktail dresses, to entertain you. Similar to Thaniya Plaza for the Japanese but for foreigners.
Silom Soi 4 - is the gay street in Bangkok. Most of the bars and clubs down this small strip are gay clubs. Interestingly enough a lot of "Farang" straight women frequent this area. There is a new gay area which is almost opposite the Wall Street Tower on Suriawongse Road - we have not tried it yet, but newspaper reports say that it is popular among such clientele.
Calypso Cabaret - A transvestite Cabaret in Bangkok, one of the largest in Bangkok. Now housed at the Asia Hotel.
Thaniya Plaza - is the Japanese Patpong strip. The women are very beautiful and all the clubs are set up in the traditional Japanese way. While the prices may be cheaper than in Japan, they are high by Thai standards, however if you are Japanese and are looking for a club scene such as the one back home this will probably be a good place.
Spasso - This restaurant come bar/disco is located at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (Erawan). Definitely one of the 'in' places to be, with a lot of so called 'high society' Thais coming. The restaurant is mainly from 19:00 onwards and the live band begins rocking at around 22:00 when they clear tables off the dance floor to allow for the serious fun to begin. Excellent band and the atmosphere is lively. Food and drinks are on the steep side, with a Heineken costing around 269 Baht after tax and service charge etc. A 1999 Premier Award of Excellence winner.
Hard Rock Cafe - As with all HRC's they are open for dinner and have a live band that starts at 22:00/30. The restaurant is on two floors with the second looking down on the bar area and stage below. Although slightly cramped around the bar area especially when the band begins, over the weekends it is a great place to meet people and have a great time. A Heineken will cost around 120 Baht, a jug is probably your best bet depending on how quickly you can down the amber nectar. You should also check out there promotions, recently a bottle of Jack Daniels was on offer for 1,500 now (April 2000) the promo is a bottle of Black label at 1,700 Thai Baht. The first mixers are free of charge and if you don't finish the bottle they will keep it for six months. Upon your return present the card they give you and all you will have to pay for is the mixers and ice. Cool no ?!
Bulls Head - Very popular among expats and locals alike. A great pub with a very 'Olde Worlde' feel to it. They have two floors with the upper floor serving mainly food, and the lower drinks. The closest skytrain station is Prom Phong and the pub can be found on Sukhumvit 33/1 which is almost opposite the Emporium. Not such a good place to watch sporting events, as they only have the one telvision upstairs, but otherwise a great place.
The Londoner - on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 33, this enormous pub serves food as well as imported and some of its own locally brewed beer. A pint of their own 'bitter' costs 129 Baht (but be forewarned you get waht you pay for when it comes to taste). They have lots of televisions, but if you are interested in watching a sporting event then the sound can be a bit disorientating, with so many televisions scattered around the room, as they do not have a solo sound system.
Cm2 - After the HRC above gets too busy most people head over to CM2 which is at the Novotel Siam Square. It is a disco, which also offers karaoke, food, and good music. It is very popular and reasonably priced with a Heineken costing around 180 Thai Baht.
Rivas - Great bar and disco located at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, ground floor. Again this bar/disco is one to be seen and prices are slightly more reasonable than at Spasso. The band by itself is worth it - GO!
Paulaner Brauhaus - This microbrewery is located on Sukhumvit Soi 26. They serve their own beer and serve up some wonderful if not rather heavy food to go with it. They presently have the longest happy hour in Bangkok possibly anywhere - it is all night ! Enjoy.
Planet Hollywood - Has closed down.
Lucifer - Is on Patpong 1 and is one of the most popular discos in the area. It gets very busy and is open till late. The drinks are well priced and it is definitely worth a visit. The music played is mainly dance and trance (if that is what you call it).
Shannigans - Formely 'Delaneys' on Soi Convent just off Silom road and only two minutes from Patpong. This is one of the first Irish bars to have opened in Bangkok. It serves all the typical Irish fare including some very good food. It is a good place to go to watch sporting events or to have an after work drink. The clientele is a mixture of locals and expats living in Bangkok. Watch out for the price of the Guiness and the other imported draught beers, they are not cheap. The pub also plays most live sporting events.
O'Reillys - on the corner of Silom Road and Thaniya Plaza is following in Delayneys footsteps and hoping to continue the popularity of Irish bars around the world. It is a nice pub that offers live music in the evenings.
Taurus - Is a very in place and is found on Sukhumvit Soi 24 just next to the Four Wings Hotel. It is made up of different sections, and offers, a bar, disco area, karaoke and restaurant. It is frequented by Thai's and expats a like with a lot of the Thai film stars and young high society strutting their stuff.
Q Bar - opened its' doors on Sukhumvit Soi 11, December 17, 1999 and is owned by the same person that opened the famous (and now closed) Q bar in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam. It is the hottest spot in town and very fashionable. Drinks are reasonably priced. You may have a little difficulty finding it, so from Sukhumvit main road go all the way down Soi 11 and turn left at the last available road on the left, the Q bar is just at the end there on the corner. The bars itself gets busy around 10/11 and closes late. Great place.
Barbican - is a modern style pub/restaurant that is very popular with the expat community in Bangkok. It can be found along Thaniya Plaza (the Japanese Patpong area). They serve some very good food.
Royal Haufbrauhaus - is a microbrewery that is very large and a popular haunt. They serve good German beer, and food, and they have a live band. It can be found on Silom Soi 1.
Dubliner - A new Irish Pub between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24, and pretty much opposite Soi 33. The pub is in three levels with the third offering 1 pool table and 1 table football, the second level is in a kind of mezzanine that looks out onto some of the ground floor. It is quite an unusual pub, with a little more of a coffee shop feel to it, than most regular pubs. The beers are reasonably priced at 90 Baht for a bottle of Heineken, 90 Baht glass of house wine and 130 Baht for a pint of Heineken. Unless you are desperate for a Kilkenny which they do have on tap, AVOID it, unless you enjoy spending 285 Baht (roughly US$ 7.5) for a pint of beer !
The Corner - or at least this is what we have named this small area. Located literally on the corner of Asoke Road and Sukhumvit close to Soi Cowboy, is an assortment of roughly 10 small beer bars. One of the bars has two pool tables. The bars are all quite small and the area is still being built up, but may be worth passing by.





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