Happy April Fools Day!
CityNews – This year’s elections posed an interesting challenge to tourists and avid party-goers: the short ban on alcohol sales.
The first of many coming bans on alcohol sales was the weekend prior to the election, when early voters got their chance to go to the polls. The ban began at 6 pm on Saturday 16th of March and went until 6 pm on Sunday 17th This forced those with clubbing and bar-hopping ambitions to either move their plans to either a usually restful Friday night, or a risky, pre-work, Sunday night.
The ban couldn’t have come at a better time, ensuring that voters were able to responsibly get to the polls without fear of hangovers or, worse, still being drunk from the night before. The poll was also an added boon to the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations which was on the Sunday, sending Guinness sales skyrocketing post-election ban.
The next ban took place on election weekend, further giving bars, clubs, and even restaurants and convenience stores, a break from the usual rowdy Saturday night rush. The minimised drinking left the streets cleaner than usual, the roads free of shouting, and households with fewer headaches. The only individuals that really missed out were cab drivers who rely on late night trips home to round off the week’s earnings, but even they got a few more hours sleep than usual.
The resounding success of these past few weekends has inspired authorities to implement a similar ban throughout the month of April, to help ensure a more responsible celebration of Songkran, the holiday for the Thai New Year.
“Songkran is an auspicious occasion that is often disrespected by drunken individuals. Removing alcohol from the scene altogether will help us make sure that everyone can participate in a meaningful, safe way,” announced the Vice Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, Sura Maisep.
While the majority of Thailand appears to be on board behind the mini-prohibition bandwagon, there are some Chiang Mai residents who are obstinately refusing to support this government edict.
“I can put down my beer for the night, heck, even two,” said Bill Blast, a regular expat at the popular watering hole Boyz Hole. “But a whole month? Plus all the religious holidays throughout the year? What next? A total ban?”
Participants of the annual International Cricket Sixes are also not sold on the idea and are threatening to move the three decades old tournament to Mandalay, Myanmar.
“We have been buying beers and watering the local economy for decades and now we are expected to, what, drink water? Is it even worth having the tournament at all?” said a cricketer who asked not to be named.
These past two weekends also marked the beginning of the Spring Break rush, with waves of students flying in from all over North America to party their time away. For these students, Thailand is a refuge from the strains of exams and the scrutiny of their parents. Many of them, including 21-year-old Chad Daniels, were truly caught off guard by the ban.
“I don’t know what to tell you, man, it was totally depressing.” Chad sighed, sipping on a chilled tonic water he’d picked up from a nearby 7-11. “I came here to get wasted; I didn’t think I’d have to wait two days to get started.”
Many other “Chads” are expected to flood the country over the next few weeks, including when the ban will be in full effect. Booking tickets abroad is expensive, so cancelation is mostly out of the question for the incoming crowd. With the news breaking so close to the upcoming month, it appears that they might have a much more wholesome trip abroad than was anticipated – maybe even a spiritual one.
“You try convincing tourists that massages can replace raves,” Beer, a local travel agent complained. “I’ve been on the phone for hours talking up the temples and museums, the food and the refreshing heat. Let’s face it, this is a drought.”
Regardless, the ban will take effect at 6 pm on March 31st, and last until 6 pm on April 30th. The ban will apply mainly to bars and restaurants for the whole month. For convenience stores such as 7-eleven, alcohol should be available the first and last weeks of April. Citylife recommends picking up what you can while it’s still available and enjoying your cool beers with a good movie this month – who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy the break from so many nights out!