The Ban Chang strip is no longer worth the effort to get there.
Rumours Pub & Grill is still closed.
Between Beaver Bar and Bottoms Up Bar a small Candy Bar 2 has
opened, which happened to be empty.
You & Me Bar has become Sunshine Bar.
Mama's Pub has closed.
Star Bar has become Ram Inn.
All bars in the side soi ( Dear Friends Bar, Lovely Bar and Happy Beer Bar 2 ) have closed.
Except for Star Bar having become Ram Inn, the website www.banchangbars.com does not reflect
Most bars seem to have ceased offering ST rooms, perhaps under police pressure.
The bars on the Ban Chang strip do not awake earlier than 4 to 5 p.m. and that means that the girls are
sitting outside, performing their most important activity: eating .
The quality and quantity of the girls seem to be constantly dwindling.
Nevertheless, I was quoted 1,500 baht ST by an old fatty.
If you happen to see something decent on a terrace, the odds are:
She is the cashier.
She is the mamasan.
She is the female owner.
She is the owner's wife.
She has men (menstruation).
It is a ladyboy.
She is a virgin.
Believe it or not, at Farang Bar a very shy 19-year-old spinner from Bangkok named Ice said she wanted to earn some money to support her mama and to finance her studies at university. She was adamant that she had never
had sex in her life, not with a Thai boy, not with a farang and that she did not want to lose her virginity. Her colleagues said she had turned down an offer of 10,000 baht for her cherry. Personally I would never pay over the odds for a completely
inexperienced girl, but that is me. What I wonder is why someone like Ice (What is in a name ?) would want to work in a red-light district.
For those who have never been to Ban Chang:
After dark a baby
elephant and its mahout are roaming the strip . The pachyderm has no front lights, but it does have a rear light, tied to its tail.
Banchang Grand Hotel seems to be rather successful. When I arrived around 4 p.m., I was told I got the last room that was still available. At night it sometimes happens the car park is full, which is not a big issue as there is enough parking room on the
road. Apparently they do not only cater for Asians as I also saw some farangs with golf bags there. The old man at the reception desk of Banchang Grand Hotel is always very polite and very helpful, unlike the reception girls at the Camel Pub.
I finally found Bamboo Club in Ban Chang.
It is not located on the Ban Chang strip , but at least five kilometres from there on a road parallel to the beach. When coming from Pattaya along
Sukhumvit Road, instead of turning left into Soi Tessaban 25 at the traffic light just before kilometre marker 194, turn right into Soi Tessaban 42 at the next traffic light. Follow Soi Tessaban 42 always straight on (and under the railway bridge) for
several kilometres until some 100 metres before the beach. At the last crossing turn left into Phayun Road and follow this road always straight on, past the Phayun Beach sign at Thanon Phayun Soi 12 and towards Nam Rin Beach.
the left-hand side you will finally see the signs of Tommy's Bistro & Bar and Bamboo Club , two
single shophouses with terraces in front, both apparently German owned. Note that on the Bamboo website the word staff is systematically replaced by stuff , probably no pun intended.
When I arrived, one ladyboy
cashier and three fatties were eating outside. The fattest one of the bunch followed me inside. The interior is nicely laid out with a long bar and barstools on the right-hand side and a small stage on the left-hand side with two chrome poles on
it and the wall behind it covered with bamboo, hence the name of the bar. Unsurprisingly I was the only customer and I wonder how they can survive at that location. Bottled Heineken 80 baht.
Unlike the Dark Side and most of
Pattaya, the Ban Chang strip does have rather decent pavements.
The Ban Chang strip is not precisely a gourmet destination, for wining and dining that is. At the Camel Pub my vegetable soup at 120 baht
consisted of a bowl of warmed up milk (perhaps diluted whipping cream) with typical British very big green garden peas and small hard pieces of corncob, cauliflower and other vegetables in it. My salmon at 345 baht was more than overdone
and tasted like straw. My still water was a very decent 20 baht only.
This reminded me that, at my latest visit to Europe, I paid not less than 1.70 Euro for a small plastic bottle of Spa Reine (in Belgium an ordinary mineral
water) at a newspaper stand (no tables, no chairs, no service) in Antwerp Central Station, often listed as one of the most beautiful railway stations in
the world .
The double-shophouse Rumours Pub & Grill on the Ban Chang strip is still closed.
Beaver Bar always closes very early.
Good Time Bar is more often closed
WARNING: at The L(a)ying Cow I saw a cashier, a waitress and a ladyboy and I was told that nobody was barfineable there and that they had no rooms.
At Candy Bar I found a 20-year old girl,
Fon, who had started only two weeks ago. Although she spoke little English and had a full-grown beaver, she also had some tattoos and knew how to smoke . I doubt if she was really farm-fresh . Barfine plus room was 300 baht, ST 1,000 baht
and LT 2,000 baht. Candy Bar appears to be owned by an old Filipino and his Thai wife. I had the impression that LT was discouraged although it was around closing time.
A couple of years ago I have had a very satisfying LT also
with a 20-year old girl from Candy Bar. If my memory serves me well it was 700 baht ST and 1,000 baht LT at the time. My pension is not raised at the same pace.
Last time I visited the Ban Chang strip it was very quiet, even quieter than usual.
(Thank goodness I never experienced organised
bar crawls in Ban Chang.)
There were only a handful of punters around and in most bars I was the only customer. Many bars had only one or two girls available and only the most successful bars up to ten.
At one bar ( Dear Friends
Bar ) only an extreme fatty was sitting outside, but some bars ( Happy Beer Bar 2 and Mam Beer Bar ) did have some short, slightly chubby girls in the 18-25 age bracket, who could easily work upstairs at Baccara A-GoGo on (Pattaya)
Most bars in Ban Chang start to close early (10 p.m.-10.30 p.m.), but a couple of bars get very crowded after midnight ( You & Me Bar and Dutch owned The Noot Bar ; note that noot , Dutch for (tree) nut
, (music) note or short comment , is pronounced more or less like English note ).
Bottled beers are still 80 baht; as a lady drink the same beers are 80 + 50 = 130 baht. Soft lady drinks are still 40 + 50 = 90 baht.
Barfines are still 300 baht ST ( in house ), but have become 500 baht LT.
All girls, old and young, ugly and cute, slim and fat, seem to expect the same fee now: 1,000 baht ST and 2,000 baht LT.
Although the Ban Chang girls can stay
for free at their bar at night if they wish to do so, they do not get salaries from their bars. Moreover, the barfines go completely into the greedy bar owners' pockets, no share for the girls! Apart from the fees and tips the girls receive from mongers,
they only get a cut of 50 baht from the lady drinks.
Anyway, bar owners still earn enough on drinks and on lady drinks.
Do not expect (Pattaya) New Plaza prices in Ban Chang.
After a long while I revisited the Norwegian owned
restaurant Offshore Bar.
Although it is spacious and nicely laid out with a nautical theme (antique portholes in the doors, brass diving helmets, etc.) I appeared to be their only customer.
I guess that not many people will be happy to
spend 95 baht on a tasteless mushroom soup and 575 baht on a poor quality, thin, burnt steak with a stale sauce béarnaise .
On the stretch Pattaya-Sattahip I have seen white bahtbuses and on the stretch Sattahip-Rayong orange ones. Near Sattahip I have also seen a yellow and a light green one. On the stretch Pattaya-Rayong I have seen
several white minibuses with a lot of Thai text on them zigzagging from left to right and from right to left, which seemed to be some kind of regular service.
Some bars on the Ban Chang strip were completely lacking girls (Happy Beer Bar 2)
or looked deserted (Rainbow Bar), whereas other bars had about ten girls, including the odd ladyboy.
All Ban Chang girlie bars seem to apply the same price structure: bottled Heineken 80 baht, lady drink 90 baht, barfine ST or LT 300 baht (if ST
usually room included). Ladies' fees up to 1,000 baht ST, up to 1,500 baht LT.
I compiled an up-to-date survey of all bars, pubs and hotels on the Ban Chang strip , arranged by location:
Soi Tessaban 25 west side (from south
The Camel Pub : pub with bar, dining room, food shop and guesthouse, rooms at 550 baht, breakfast included
The Faces Bar
The Noot Bar
Varee Bar Beer
Rumours Pub (closed)
The Where House
Bottoms Up Bar
You & Me Bar
Sexy Senoritas (closed)
Blue Sky Bar
One Bar : bar and guesthouse, rooms
at 600 and 750 baht
Farang Bar (opening 5th September 2014)
Offshore Bar: restaurant with also Scandinavian food
An alternative bar area in a small town 45k from Pattaya
30th August 2014
Thanks to Dick Farang
Ban Chang is the first village in the province of Rayong when following Sukhumvit Road via Sattahip in the direction of Trat (near the Cambodian border), about 45 kilometres from Pattaya.
As opposed to the Dark Side, the bars
at Bang Chang are concentrated in a small area known as the "strip". The strip is located on Soi Tessaban 25 at the left side of Sukhumvit Road at the first traffic lights in the province of Rayong. The strip begins at about 250 metres into Soi
Tessaban 25 at The Camel Pub on the left-hand side, is about 200 metres long and ends at the Offshore Pub, also on the left-hand side.
There are also a number of bars on the right-hand side now and in some side sois.
Life goes at a leisurely pace at Ban Chang (unless there is an organised bar crawl, I guess). Nevertheless you should take care when crossing the road.
Although I hate the drive, I have always had very satisfying LTs at Ban Chang, last time in February 2014. There are crappy rooms with crappy furniture accessible by also crappy stairs at The Camel Pub at 550 baht, but I
prefer by far the standard rooms at 400 baht at the Banchang Grand Hotel, only 150 metres past the strip, also on the left-hand side.
The Banchang Grand Hotel (What is in a name ?) has very clean and spacious rooms with new
furniture, very friendly staff (albeit with poor English) and a car park; I have no idea how big the "big rooms" at 800 baht are.
The typical pub grub at The Camel Pub is acceptable however. The Camel Club has a food
shop and a dining room with tables and chairs, but you can also eat seated on stools.
Most (if not all) bars at Ban Chang have an outside area (terrace) where most girls are sitting (and eating) and an (air-conditioned) inside
Bottled beers are in general less than 100 baht, barfines 300 baht LT and ST; ST rooms are included in the barfine at most places.
Most girls are in the 20-35 years age bracket (which is, on average,
younger than at the Dark Side) and are happy with up to 1,000 baht ST and up to 1,500 baht LT, but some (usually MacDonald's style) newcomers try to charge more, citing prices at Walking Street.
The best experiences I have had at
the bars on the "old" left-hand side of the strip (when coming from Sukhumvit Road, i.e. the west side).