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One Night in Bangkok

Bangkok Overview | One Night in Bangkok, the video

The famous Murray Head track 'One Night in Bangkok' defines a view of Bangkok, Thailand. The often quoted refrain 'One Night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble' and 'I can feel a devil walking next to me' focuses on the contrast between the elegant culture of Bangkok and the image of Thailand and the seedy side of the city.

This now famous song was written in 1984 on a concept album for the musical 'Chess'. The video for the song was created by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and the song words were penned by Tim Rice & Björn Ulvaeus. The video of the song expands on the words of the music by sarcastically pointing to the exciting glamour of the Thai capital (the old muddy river and the reclining Buddha) in close juxtaposition with a roaring nightlife that will make that hard man humble. The irony of this made 'One Night in Bangkok' a catchy hit and it was difficult to find a tourist arriving in Thailand without this song on his lips.

'One Night in Bangkok'

Within the imagery of the 'One Night in Bangkok' song and as Musical Chess master, the singer extols the idea of people being manipulated by their own emotions and pulled or seduced into a seedy word they did not expect. This descent in to decadence and for some, even debauchery, had grip on the reality of those men who ended up in the wild streets of Patpong, Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy. Here the heavy drinking, shows and go-go bars fuelled the sense that One Night in Bangkok does makes a hard man humble. The further irony is that the western men who are pulled into, or who live in this world are as deeply scared as the Red Light district in the city it seems to pull down. These European men are the product of a failure to find a balanced lifestyle in their own country and a failure to respect a country they are visiting.

Thai Government reaction to 'One Night in Bangkok'

The Thai authorities failed to see the artistic interpretation of the song and were not impressed with this image of Thailand. The Thai government banned the song in 1985 as it "causes misunderstanding about Thai society and show disrespect towards Buddhism." Lack of respect in Thailand for key national treasures and their very reverend religion is not accepted and it is no surprise that the song was banned outright. However the song is very catchy and can be heard in bars the length of the country.

Staying One Night in Bangkok

If you have a Bangkok Stopover that is just the one night and you want to see the town, what should you do. Firstly you need a place to stay and there are a couple of theories of what is best to do and these depend on what you want accomplish in your stay. If you want to paint the town red and celebrate in one of the world s greatest night club cities then you might say it is better to be in a hotel near the airport for your onward flight. For this I would choose a hotel like the
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok.

If however you want to be close to the night action you might need a place like the 4 star Aspen Suites Bangkok near the Nana Plaza or the Ascott Sathorn Bangkok near Patpong.

Finally if you want to stay down near the areas of true cultural significance you might wat to look at the 2 star Buddy Lodge Khao San or the 5 star Sheraton Royal Orchid Bangkok right down on the Chao Praya River itself.


Last Updated: 10 Feb 2012