NYE Bangkok: I’m Too Old for EDM Clubs

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I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in many cities: Taipei, London, Tokyo, and now Bangkok.

I’m probably forgetting a few others, but my memory doesn’t go back that far, except to two eventful NYEs I spent in Villa Park, CA. When I was ten or so, I watched “A Goofy Movie” while my brother played video games in his room until there was a neighborhood blackout. We spent the countdown in the dark, waiting for our parents to come home from their presumably well-lit New Year’s Eve party.

A few years later in high school, our parents out again (our parents had social lives far more robust than our own), my brother and I invited my cousin Daniel and my friend Amy over to hang out. We watched the countdown, at the end of which my cousin Daniel, to generate some suburban excitement, said, “Happy New Year guys. Wanna see me chug two beers at once?”

“Sure,” we said.

We watched in awe as the contents of two Heineken bottles disappeared down my cousin’s throat in less than ten seconds. I thought my cousin Daniel very talented.

I still think my cousin Daniel talented. But on New Year’s Eve in Bangkok, and at nightclubs around the world (but especially in Asia), my ears throbbing from deafening EDM, I watched Thai youth much smaller than my cousin (who is over 6 feet tall) pouring a startling number of Chivas bottles directly into their mouths as though they’d been wandering in a desert for all of 2015, thirsting for a drink.

Despite my fears that I’d start 2016 with broken eardrums, the evening was, as Susie promised, excellent people-watching.

Other highlights from New Year’s Eve in Bangkok are captured below, though unfortunately not including a short, sweet visit with Susie’s aunt and uncle before reporting for our New Year’s Festivities.

Before we headed for the packed nightclubs I asked Susie’s uncle, a vibrant looking sixty-four, what their plans were.

“We’re staying in,” he said, “watch the fireworks on TV.”

My jet-lag struck full force then, because staying in sounded great. But I suppressed my yawn and shook it off. We didn’t come all the way to Bangkok to stay in on New Year’s Eve.

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Starting the day late at MBK Center (a thousandth which is pictured here and more above), a mall filled with souvenirs, counterfeit goods and a pretty good food court. Tom waits with discount swim trunks as Susie considers “100% Cotton” Nike tank tops in a sea of polyester.
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Foot massages near Susie’s apartment. These ones included…
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…free head and neck massages. Here, Tom feels weird.
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Kind of dressed up and ready to go out for New Year’s.
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Trying to get Tom to take a good photo of me. This was not it.
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Like most cosmopolitan Asian megatropolises, Bangkok is filled with giant, sparkling malls. But the game-changing EmQuartier on Sukhumvit Road, with its lush indoor gardens, waterfall and sheer size, puts the others I’ve been to (even my beloved Breeze Center in Taipei) to shame.
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But we went elsewhere for dinner, because we came here to eat legit Thai food, not mall food.
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Susie’s favorite: Hoi-tod. Seafood pancake with oysters or mussels.
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Then to Pop@Bad, a popup rooftop bar atop the Bad Motel for drinks. The bathrooms were very clearly marked.
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I also took a creepy photo of Susie reapplying her makeup.
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Then off to the main event: a Thai nightclub called Do Not Disturb, where Christmas decorations were still up (along with the rest of Thailand). “It’s good for people watching,” Susie promised.
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An hour before midnight, the EDM stopped and a Thai cover band came on to play some of Thai’s greatest pop hits. “This is different,” we thought, but the band was less loud than the EDM and thus welcome. It was the loudest club we had ever been to and we feared that we’d start 2016 with broken ear drums.
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A giant group of fashionable, Chivas-chugging Thais and Tom.
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The words below: “A Good Time is Not To Be Disturbed.” Indeed not.
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On the way there I encountered my New Year’s spirit animal.
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