The announcement that alcohol can now be served in restaurants meeting SHA Plus standards in the designated ‘Blue Zone’ of Prachuap Khiri Khan has been greeted with elation by some but dismay and disbelief by others.
This is because many establishments that are recognised as Hua Hin businesses are located outside the ‘zone’ and remain dry.
The Blue Zone, initially proposed with lobbying by the Hua Hin Recharge project, only covers a coastal area often just 5 kilometres inland. This is an area of 86.3 square kilometres within the Hua Hin municipality and Nong Kae district. It commences just south of the Khao Tao lake and north to the provincial border near the Hua Hin Airport.
However these are political boundaries, rather than the boundaries of Hua Hin social life.
Apart from a multitude of restaurants outside the area are golf clubs with restaurants such as Banyan and Black Mountain which aren’t included. As Banyan CEO Tjeert Kwant says “good for Hua Hin and the Nong Kae district, worse for the other districts. We can serve alcohol at Banyan Residence but not at Banyan Golf. No logic in this decision.”
Another significant Hua Hin attraction missing out is the Monsoon Valley Vineyard, although their downtown wine bar is included. As one unlucky customer says “not good for me as well; we have a group party at Guido’s (the Monsoon Valley Food & Beverage Manager) tomorrow. Eight people wine watching, but not wine tasting; what a crazy bunch of rules.”
There are similar disappointments for restaurants outside the Bue Zone of Phetchaburi, an adjoining area covering the Cha-Am municipality. Palm Hills Golf course is OK, but restaurants at both Springfield Royal Country Club and Lakeview haven’t made the cut.
For now, customers within the designated zones will welcome the availability of their favourite tipple, including visitors from Bangkok. But cross the border (if they know where that is) and dismay will very quickly follow. That is assuming these restaurants follow the rule!