The Batman nightclub entertainment establishment sits decaying away in the Thai coastal city of Pattaya, often associated with its notorious sex-tourism trade, though there is much more to the city than that seedy side. Derelict for over 20 years, the crumbling club sits on Soi Batman, the street that still carries its name, as it is still a very distinguishing building.
The Batman was built in the mid-1990’s in central Pattaya, where it became one of the city’s hottest night-spots. The club’s Batman spotlights could be seen beaming across the city each night, as if Pattaya were Gotham City and customers were being called instead of help from a caped-crusader.
It was also a ‘snooker club’ on the members-only upper floors, where the ladies that worked there walked around scantily clad (or un-clad) and entertained club members in short-time rental rooms. This enormous, dilapidated venue, though only in operation for a brief spell, remains standing as a mysterious and foreboding reminder to Pattaya locals of past adventures in local nightlife.
We heard about the the unusual venue via online forums and blogs on strange and unique places around Thailand. Expecting it to be restricted or the entrances to be covered (often the case), when we arrived, we were surprisingly, able to walk right in the front door without restriction.
The once-eventful six-floor structure (including the rooftop), now seems to host mainly street artists who come to spray murals on the many walled canvases, as well as a few vagrant folks who use it as a shelter for humid, rainy Pattaya nights. There was a street art event held at the Batman in March of 2016, which provided the colourful array of murals covering most of the internal and external walls.
The ground floor area, which was the main Batman dance floor, is completely submerged under a few meters of water. What is now a murky pond was once a large dance area with a bar and a stage for live performances. It was reported in local news last year that a man’s body of was found floating in that very pool, a bit of information that I didn’t come across until after our visit. The history of the Batman’s operation, along with the reasons for it’s closure are not easy to find in online research.
Luckily, when we came back on the second day to get some more exterior shots, we met a former employee of the club who now works at a nearby motorbike shop and parks his truck in the vacant club’s parking lot. His name is Hae and he spoke with us for a few minutes, providing some detailed information on the club’s history. According to Mr. Hae, who was a security guard and general ‘everyman’ at the club, the location was open for less than two years before shutting it’s doors forever. He also confirmed that the upper floors were a sort of ‘VIP’ area with snooker tables and escort services. He explained that the large hole in the middle of two of the floors was originally surrounded by a protective railing and used to look down on one of the dance floors.
According to Hae, there was an electrical fire caused by overloaded circuits from lights and other equipment. He revealed that several patrons died in the fire and that he only escaped out a top floor window, but I was unable to verify these fatalities in my research as the availability of online news from that time period is sparse. The fire damage, combined with an inability to maintain profits led to the clubs closure 18 or so months after its opening.
The site is now owned by a local bank that repossessed it from the original owner. The final item that Mr. Hae mentioned was that he sometimes swims in the flooded dance floor area on the ground level, which is something I can’t imagine doing, especially after finding out about a supposed floating corpse.
Hae is a kind man and spoke in a genuine and thoughtful tone, though there was a sadness in his voice as he recalled the history of the his former workplace. The Batman club is one of many distinctive abandoned sites around Thailand, and one of my favorite places to have ever taken pictures.