The Thais love films as they offer fun for the whole family. Home to the best and biggest cinemas in this region, Bangkok is becoming a hub for modern 'cineplexes'. Most cinemas in Bangkok are located in shopping malls, and are dominated by the Major Cineplex company, which owns the Major Cineplex, EGV, Paragon Cineplex at Siam Paragon and Thailand's only IMAX theatre. The second biggest operator is SF Cinema City, with branches at popular shopping malls like MBK Centre and the Emporium. Smaller chains include Apex in Siam Square, Thana Cineplex, Major Hollywood and UMG.
Ticket prices range from less than a hundred baht up to several hundred baht (depending on the time of day, the day of the week, the seat, the location of the theatre and the movie being screened). Generally, the price for a new-release film costs 120 baht.
Bangkok's VIP cinemas, which show the latest Hollywood films in English, take a trip to the cinema to a whole new level and one that is not to be missed even for people who can usually take or leave a trip the cinema. Prices range from 600 to 1,500 baht. Many theaters offer a VIP section where there is more legroom and the chairs are bigger and comfier. Others take it one step further offering intimate settings of 30 seats where the choices range from aircraft-style recliners to oversized love seats to actual beds with pillows and blankets and even beanbags. It has been known for people to promptly fall asleep when their head hits the pillow until they wake when the film credits roll.
The most important thing to be aware of when you attend the cinema in Thailand is that you will be required to rise for the Royal Anthem in honour of His Majesty King and the Royal family before the movie starts. It is extremely rude to fellow Thai film watchers for foreign residents not to show respect to their King by refusing to stand. It is not properly known whether this is an offense punishable by a fine or imprisonment, but it is certainly not worth taking the risk.
In Bangkok, Hollywood releases tend have the original soundtrack with Thai sub-titles. Major cinemas playing Thai and other Asian films usually provide English subtitles. However, it is sensible to check with the cinema before paying and settling back to watch a film you don't understand!
There is no shortage of things to do in Bangkok and that includes a plethora of late-night activities.
Sukhumvit Soi 11 is a long road accessible from Nana BTS that is home to a number of bars, restaurants and clubs. Recommended bars are Stash, the Alchemist, and the German Beer House. One of the most infamous bars along this road is Cheap Charlies which is always full of expats so it's a great way of meeting other people who live in Bangkok. The décor of Cheap Charlies is something to marvel at and you will struggle to find a cheaper bar in Bangkok.
Once the sun fades, disco VW bars line the streets of Soi 11 - these are VW vans that are brightly decorated, which have music blasting from them and offer beer, wine and buckets of cocktails for the clientele to enjoy on plastic garden tables and chairs that are set up on the street.
Recommended nightclubs along this soi include:
Enjoying a drink on one of the ever increasing amount of roof top bars is the perfect way to watch one of Bangkok's fabulous sunsets and skyline all lit up.
Recommend roof top bars:
Address: 58 Th Phra Arthit; Tel. 66 (0) 2629 0318
This is just one of numerous small, arty, and trendy bars that have opened in converted shops in this area. Frequented by both expats and hip young Thais, this place has a terrific ambience and always plays good music.
Address: 3/8 Th Phayathai; Tel. 66 (0) 2246 5472; www.saxophonepub.com)
This is Bangkok's oldest jazz bar and is known for being Bangkok's best and most reliable live music venue. Far from glamorous, it is usually full capacity of both Thais and expats. It offers an informal and unpretentious atmosphere -but above all good quality jazz and blues.
It would be difficult to write a section on Bangkok's Nightlife without including at least a passing reference to Bangkok's infamous sex industry. It is possible to watch a sex show, ping pong show or just have a drink and listen to the live music and people watch.
The three most famous areas in Bangkok are Soi Cowboy (Sukhumvit 23), Nana Plaza (Sukhumvit 4) and Patpong (Silom). For those who are simply curious, Soi Cowboy is probably the best area. Country Roads bar at the beginning of the soi is a good place to have a drink and watch the world go by without being hassled for any "extra services".