Saturday, September 13, 2008

Full Moon Party

Thailand had a reputation for being fantastic fun for the younger set in search of the ultimate party experience, and to them the tiny island of Koh Phangan is a mecca. This island’s Full Moon parties are legendary. Imagine an event so famous, it attracts backpackers and British royalty to the same shore for one purpose only – drink and dance til you can’t anymore!

The monthly Full Moon Party recipe is easy to comprehend: take a pretty beach on an exotic island, pour in plastic buckets of Thai whiskey, mix in around ten thousand partygoers from all over the world, and you have yourself the world's hottest and largest beach rave. And it all happens, month after month.

Throughout the day of the party you will see club owners setting up their 'venues' for the big night. Every shop and street vendor would be selling glow-in-the-dark bracelets and body paint. The bar-lined beach is decorated with black lights, bright paints, and large sound systems. Some of the clubs are more to the point – just plastic chairs for the drinker, and open sand for those who want to dance.

As daylight fades, the beginnings of the party make its way to Had Rin Noi. Club owners, who have already started serving booze to the pre-party crowd, are now pulling out all the stops. There are mixes, jello shooters, and the buckets. Ah yes, the buckets – cheap and lethal, the sang som has been the blood pumping through the Full Moon Party veins. At each beach-side venue are little blue or red buckets sitting side by side on long bars. The buckets hold a bottle of local whiskey, an energy drink and your choice of soda. Once you have made your choice of concoction, the bar staff throws in the ice and straws before serving it to you. Once you’ve consumed copious amount of this party elixir, then it is time to hit the sand dance floor.

There are international DJs spinning tracks. There are several entertainers twirling fire batons or spinning flaming balls on chains. Best of all there are all the people giving the party its unique vibe, and the party and dancing goes on all night and into the morning. Even when the sun has risen over Koh Phangan, the experience of the night before stays with you – the sound, the sights, and the sang som.

Those who think that once a month is enough have devised other ways to keep on partying. The Half Moon Party is held twice a month, at the intervals between full moon and new moon. It happens in the decked out Ban Tai jungle with resident DJs playing progressive and quality trance.

The Black Moon Party is held in the same area as the Half Moon Party, but rather than being in the jungle, it is held on Ban Tai beach at the Mac Bay Resort. The black lights and fluorescent paint gives a different glow, perhaps because the Black Moon Party is held on the darkest night of the month.

The same sort of entertainment as the Full Moon Party is put on but on a smaller scale - fire dancers, DJs, light shows. About 3, 000 people attend the parties, and unlike on Had Rin Noi, both the Half Moon and Black Moon organisers charge for admission. The Admission for Black Moon Party is about THB 300 per person, and the entry coupon is good for one free drink.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bangkok's Super Clubs

Spend just one night in Bangkok and you will be floored by the city’s club culture that can rival any of the world’s best party cities! Clubs here have it all – beautiful people, sophisticated decor, international DJs, and signature cocktails for a fraction of what you would pay in Tokyo, New York or London. Put on your posh designer outfit, grab your platinum credit card, and get ready for a culture trip through Bangkok’s best clubs.

SOI 11
Beautiful people flock to Sukhumvit's sois for the hottest beats, eye-candy architecture and design, and the international crowd. To match the world-class venue, clubs often fly in top DJ talents to rock the jet-set crowd.

One of the first in the Soi 11 scene, Bed Supperclub has literally made its mark. The spaceship-like exterior and an all-white hangar-like design is an icon in the area. This trendy, futuristic club-cum-restaurant is often visited by beautiful models and celebrities which usually makes an excellent party environment. The stark white interior with costumed wait staff play host to beautiful people lounging on beds. Wednesdays is the night to see and be seen in this club. A group of models turned PR mavens hosts Models Night making Bed the sexiest spot in Bangkok on Wednesdays.

A club legend in Indo-China with bars in Bangkok, Singapore, HCMC and now Samui, Q Bar is a New York-style bar and club that attracts a cosmopolitan crowd. It has been said that Mick Jagger, Matt Dillon, Collin Farrell, the Black Eyed Peas, and the G-Unit have partied here. Dark and sleek, the decor feature black upholstered walls set off with vivid lighting and accented with retro swivel chairs and leather sofas. The music is eclectic, and regularly features international DJ talents.

This is a booze connoisseur's paradise -the bar also features one of the largest selections of liquors in any freestanding bar and pours a full New York-standard 45ml drink, twice the Bangkok standard. A must try are some hard to find drinks like Absinthe, Jello Shots, and their latest the edible Chocolate shot glass. Fancy a fine Cuban to accompany that fine Russian vodka martini? This is one of the few bars in Thailand to feature a full line of cigars from Cuba and Don Pablo.

This newest-club-on-the-block has given Soi 11 a revitalizing 'twist'. A new icon in the ever-popular soi, Twisted Republic has its own army of devoted clubbers. The strategists behind this club have hit on a battle-winning formula: awesome party location, booming sound system, mirage-inducing laser and light shows, mixologist bartenders - Twisted Republic has launched an assault on Bangkok’s nightlife. It attracts a united nations crowd of fashion-conscious party people.The music policy is a refreshing blast, cutting its way through Bangkok’s been-there-done-that scene. Twisted Republic has combined talented residents with special events featuring the finest cutting-edge music from the best international DJs and artists. The club’s Audio Intelligence Showcase sound system with iconic Ferrari-Red custom speakers gives clubbers another level of experience by letting them feel the music as they dance the night away.

As the night heats up, clubbers can cool down by heading to the 2nd level where an icy experience awaits them. Twisted Ice is an ice room with a bar, tables and chairs all made from 100% solid ice. At -14 Celsius “The Vodka Bar” is by definition the coolest bar in Bangkok. Special Siberian hats & coats are provided while you sip away the many ice chilled Fruit Infused and Premium Vodkas on hand.

When you are again ready for a hot night of partying, come back down for a twisted experience. Want to walk on water? Become a fire starter? How about creating your very own laser light show? The party geniuses behind the club can keep you entertained like no other place can.

A first in Asia, Twisted Republic is defining interactive clubbing. With the use of projectors and interactive software, they are able to project the effect of fire, water, stars, tile flips all onto four VIP interactive tables and 12-meter long interactive bar. These programmable surfaces can display anything your imagination desires.

When you run your hand across the surface top, it will be like running your hand through the real thing - you can move fire, water and any interactive program being projected onto the I-Tables and I-Bar. This unique motion-sensitive, multi-touch interactive technology transforms otherwise static surfaces throughout the venue into intelligent displays and turns passive customers into active participants by fusing light, touch and playful interactivity.

Twisted Republic’s vision has become reality, successfully fusing aesthetics and technology to create a whole new level of clubbing experience. Between the interactive laser show, a glass stairs that change colour as you walk towards the water filled glass walls, the new ice bar, a jet-setting crowd, and music that rocks your world, every bit of this club is designed to leave you wanting to come back for more.

SOI 23
Further down Sukhumvit, the small boutique club Glow lights up the Soi 23 scene along side Narcissus. Only a third of the size of the Soi 11 clubs, Glow still manages to attract a crowd that enjoys an intimate clubbing experience. Best known for their strong cocktails at slightly lower rates than on Soi 11, this club creates a signature look with acrylic tables lit from below. Strong drinks and proper lighting makes every nocturnal chameleon here glow! Another popular and often packed club on Soi 23 is Narcissus. Set in an impressive Romanesque villa with ober-the-top elaborate decoration, Narcissus is popular among well-to-do Thais and foreign clubbers moved by the rhythm of global dance music spinned by resident and international DJs.

Heading further east on Sukhumvit, party-goers find their way to Thonglor (Soi 55). This hip neighbourhood had seen a severe outbreak of voguish clubs and bars like Santika and Escudo. Santika is Buddhism’s response to Buddha bars – when you walk in, you might think you are going to church with the high ceiling and the massive cross hanging on the wall. It is however a mainstream spot, divided into two clubs: The Big Room and a small club behind named Coloc. The Big room has a stage for a band that plays mostly live rock hits, while the smaller Coloc has a resident DJ that spins mad hip-hop. Half-pub, half-club, Escudo is two floors of chic interiors and pumping sounds that attract a young crowd. The recently renovated venue gets very, very busy on weekends with the hip-hop crowd occupying the first floor, while the house-music fans head upstairs.

On the west end of Sukhumvit, Club Culture is creating its own buzz. This exotic dance music sanctuary on quiet Sri Ayutthaya Road is the creation of RCA’s Club Astra. The club consists of one large room that is perfect for dancing, the sound system is great and on one side of the room there is probably the most comfortable lounge area in Bangkok of any club. Atmosphere is friendly and drinks are reasonably priced. Club Culture strongly supports the local Bangkok DJ scene and although it hosts international acts, events still show off local talent.

More entertainment complex than club, Concept CM2 is a stylish modern basement beneath the Novotel Siam Square Hotel pulls in an eclectic mix of tourists and girls every night of the week. The sprawling main room is focussed around a stage, with a dance-floor and many raised tables and stools fringing it. Those preferring to bump and grind can do so in the suitably moody Boom Room. Adjoining the main room, the latest hip-hop and R&B tracks are spun here. There's also a rather sexy looking new adjoining venue Bar@Siam, offering sleek, comfy furnishings alongside sports TVs, pool tables, air hockey, international food and pinball machines. There's an extensive drinks menu offered throughout, with cocktails, wines, spirits, beers, even champagne available.

So whatever kind of music or scene you want to try, Bangkok has a clubbing experience that will keep you coming back for more.