Pub date June 14, 2006

Clubs in Bangkok are always packed with a mixture of Thais and farang, which means honky or honkies, depending on the number of honkies being talked about. Dressed in perfect designer knockoffs, the local people in Thailand almost never look tacky. The tourists, however, almost always do. Pastel polo shirts, sunglasses at night, and hair that only David Hasselhoff can be blamed for is the standard look for Bangkok’s “cool dudes.” Do not go out on the town wearing a Blue Öyster Cult T-shirt — people will actually be afraid of you.
Probably the hippest club in Bangkok right now is Bed (, a massive, hangarlike space divided into two rooms. One room is an enormous dance floor with either thumping techno or prancing house played at a deafening volume. The other half of Bed is where it gets its name. Along the walls of this huge room are big fluffy mattresses with big fluffy pillows on top. Everything is spotless white, so please bathe before climbing up on one.
Santika is the other big mainstream spot. Malls are very popular in Bangkok, and Santika is like a huge mall for clubgoers. The ceilings are about 1,000 feet high, and everything’s very well lit. One room has a stage with live bands playing anything from reggae to metal and a throng of local Thais in front, guzzling whiskey and soda and generally going nuts. Another room has a punishing array of strobe lights and specializes in hip-hop, which in Thailand often means Black Eyed Peas, House of Pain, and Gwen Stefani. Fun.
The best underground “all-Thai” club I’ve been to didn’t have a sign, or a name. My friend led me through a darkened hair salon that was closed for the night (the front door was unlocked), into the next room, up some dimly lit stairs, and then into a darkened room. I half expected to find a game of Russian roulette in progress, but instead the room was packed wall-to-wall with people. Seemingly run by teenagers, the place had, like, two whole lights flashing and was playing authentic hip-hop — every single person was dancing. As the night went on, more and more of the kids came up and wanted to shake my hand and welcome me (the conspicuous farang) to Thailand. It was a really entertaining place but, like many of the best things in Bangkok, totally illegal and transitory. It probably closed down the next night and opened up somewhere else. It’s crazy here. (Mike McGuirk)