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Pattaya Walk: No Extension for Alcohol Sales as Road Accidents Surge, Says Somsak Thepsutin

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People stroll along the vibrant Walking Street in Pattaya, a bustling hub attracting both foreigners and local tourists, especially known for its electrifying nightlife.

A government panel stands firm on its decision against extending alcohol sales hours, citing an uptick in casualties and road accidents. Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin pointed out that the ministry’s alcoholic beverage control committee considered statistics on road accidents and the accompanying legal ramifications, given the widespread impact of the issue.

While the committee does not support longer sales hours, this is not the final word on the matter. Five draft laws related to alcoholic beverages are still pending parliamentary review, said the minister. Mr. Somsak shared these insights following a meeting of the panel at the ministry on Tuesday.

Presently, the sale of alcoholic beverages in stores is permitted between 11am and 2pm, and 5pm until midnight, totaling 10 hours per day. Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs operate under locally approved timeframes for alcohol sales.

Disease Control Department chief Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn informed the panel about a pilot project that extended alcohol sales by two hours in five key tourist hotspots: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phuket, and Koh Samui.

Implemented on December 15 of last year, the extension aimed to permit approximately 1,800 entertainment venues to stay open until 4am, with alcohol sales prolonged to 2am. This move was intended to boost revenue for nightlife businesses and enhance tourism, explained Dr. Thongchai.

However, surveys revealed a notable increase in road accidents and fatalities, particularly from 2am to 6am. A decision on whether to extend these hours to other regions has yet to be made, he added.

Dr. Kumnuan Ungchusak, a panel member, mentioned a startling 31% rise in road accident fatalities in January within the pilot areas compared to the same month last year. This data was sourced from the Thai Road Safety Centre, operated by Road Accident Victims Protection Co Ltd, a clearinghouse for mandatory motor insurance.

Interestingly, the restriction on retail alcohol sales between 2pm and 5pm is not embedded in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. Instead, it comes from a decree established by the Thanom Kittikachorn coup regime in 1972, which has never been revoked.


  1. Sarah L June 19, 2024

    I’m glad they’re not extending the alcohol sale hours. The last thing we need is more drunk drivers on the road.

    • John June 19, 2024

      But limiting sales doesn’t stop people from drinking at home. What’s the difference?

      • Lisa K. June 19, 2024

        The difference is fewer opportunities to buy more alcohol late into the night. This could prevent some accidents.

      • Sarah L June 19, 2024

        Exactly, Lisa. People already drink too much as it is. We need to prioritize public safety.

  2. Greg B June 19, 2024

    This decision is just going to hurt the local nightlife industry. Tourism is paramount for Pattaya.

    • Jason June 19, 2024

      Tourism is important, but not more than people’s lives. We should find a balance.

      • Jenna M. June 19, 2024

        Agreed, Jason. Safety should always come before profit.

    • Greg B June 19, 2024

      There are ways to ensure safety without hampering business. More public transport at night, for example.

  3. Anna June 19, 2024

    I think people will always find a way to drink, regardless of the official hours. This measure just shifts the problem.

    • MikeP June 19, 2024

      But controlled environments can help mitigate issues rather than letting people do it however they want.

    • Anna June 19, 2024

      Maybe, but isn’t it naive to think controlling hours will solve the real problem of drunk driving?

  4. Traveler92 June 19, 2024

    I’ve been to Pattaya many times. The atmosphere is dead if bars close early.

    • LocalVoice June 19, 2024

      You don’t live here. We have to deal with the consequences of increased accidents.

    • Traveler92 June 19, 2024

      Tourism keeps your local economy afloat. Lower incomes could lead to other social problems.

  5. David H June 19, 2024

    Road safety statistics are damning. Longer alcohol sales hours correlate with more accidents.

  6. Emily R. June 19, 2024

    The government should invest in better public campaigns about responsible drinking instead of restricting sales.

    • Sam T June 19, 2024

      Public campaigns are good, but immediate action like restricted hours can have a faster impact.

  7. James June 19, 2024

    It’s a complex issue, but the data is pretty clear that extending hours isn’t helping anyone.

  8. PartyDude June 19, 2024

    This sucks for tourists. Pattaya was fun because it stayed open late.

    • Cathy L June 19, 2024

      Fun is good but not at the expense of public safety. Adjust your schedule.

  9. Liam June 19, 2024

    Considering the surge in accidents, it’s irresponsible to even consider extending hours.

    • Madison P. June 19, 2024

      Agreed. Safety first. Entertainment can adapt.

    • Liam June 19, 2024

      Absolutely. Public safety cannot be compromised for the sake of nightlife.

  10. Natalie June 19, 2024

    I get that extending hours can be problematic, but banning personal freedom isn’t the answer.

    • Tyler! June 19, 2024

      It’s about public welfare, not banning freedom. Responsible drinking is still allowed.

  11. Rach June 19, 2024

    It’s just a paternalistic measure. People should be trusted to manage their own drinking habits.

    • Paul D June 19, 2024

      Not when their habits affect public safety. There’s a reason for regulations.

  12. Alex W June 19, 2024

    Why don’t they just increase policing and breathalyzer checks after 2am instead?

    • Kat June 19, 2024

      Good idea, but costly and logistically challenging. It’s easier to limit hours.

  13. Michelle V June 19, 2024

    What about drunk tourists? They won’t know about restrictive hours and just roam the streets.

    • Ken June 19, 2024

      That’s where local businesses come in to educate customers. Signs and announcements could help.

  14. Tom June 19, 2024

    If the stats show a rise in accidents, then extending hours is out of the question. Simple.

  15. Vicky June 19, 2024

    Personal responsibility should come into play more. You can’t nanny everyone.

    • Mark J June 19, 2024

      True, but you can create an environment that encourages safer behavior.

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