CyberDarts Logo
The Original Darts News & Info Web Site
...est. 1994!
Darts Basics & Dartboard Setup
Association Directory

Darts in the Orient!

Hanoi, Vietnam & Bankok, Thailand

by Jim Ambrose

After three years in a People's Paradise, being protected from the social evils of the Internet, it's a pleasure to be in the US with access to the what I have been missing. Surfing my interests is how I came to CyberDarts.

Darts is a great social game: I was formally introduced to it in Egypt in 1974 and we subsequently started a league there. We replicated it in Dhaka, Colombo, Lusaka and Abu Dhabi. Those leagues were set up in our homes or the occasional club since we all had large accommodations and the pubs (if there were any) were not designed for darts. The formats were all similar: each team HAD to include a lady, minimum of four players participating in a match, with 301 singles, 501 doubles and 1001 team constituting a match. For variety, we would substitute Mickey Mouse for 01 in the team games and informally end each match with a money game (Burma Road). Quality varied from needing to remind some players that the pointy end goes toward the board to those who regularly threw tons.

By the time we got to Hanoi, I was pretty tired of organizing anything other than dart evenings at home, but backed Phil Jornlin up when he arrived in 1995 wanting to start a league. I recall that we started with about eight teams the first year. We used the Sunset Pub in it's old location and a number of other pubs. That has expanded to over a dozen teams at the moment, with three or four teams being rather competitive in the competition for the "Boddington's Cup," the prize donated by Andrew for the team winning the annual tournament. The list of players tossing tons last season was extensive and included some 180s for the first time.

For visitors to Hanoi, the place to check out the dart scene at the moment is The Pub (run by Bob) on Ly Tong Kiet. Alternatively, visit the American Club on Hai Ba Trung (open evenings and weekends) and ask if Phil is expected in: he will know what's on. Several pubs have figured out that some western expats prefer a dart pub atmosphere to the ubiquitous Karaoke bar scene in Hanoi favored by Asians and wealthy Vietnamese. (HINT: most Karaoke bars provide hostesses to sit and drink/sing with the client. If it is behind closed doors and out of sight of the masses, the police turn a blind eye. Besides, they are getting their cut of the action and party members like a night out also, having worked so hard on people's causes during the day. Actually, it is probably a more effective form of spreading the wealth than formal socialist programs.)

Hanoi is changing rapidly and the lifespan of many bars is short. Tourists generally like traveling there, but living there is more tolerable if you can get out every six months at least and that means BKK for most people. DET 5 in the underpass known as Buckskin Village has been written about elsewhere on this page and is a friendly spot to have a game, but there are many others.

Bangkok at night consists of several main areas. At the NEP (Nana Entertainment Plaza, on Soi 4 off Sukhumvit), the main place for a dart game is Woodstock, located on the second floor, tucked into the right hand corner. A few downstairs bars have recently added boards, but this changes rapidly.

Further out Sukhumvit is Soi Cowboy. Wander down it and you will easily figure out which places are likely to have a board and which will not. Around the corner on Soi 23 are several small places like the Offshore.

In the Washington Square area, several of these quieter, resident farang oriented bars have boards. Start at the Bourbon Street (run by Doug) and enjoy the Cajun food.

In the Patpong area, most of the boards are on Patpong 2, where not-so-young ladies will provide some surprisingly good competition. Try the Other Office, the only place in town where my name appears on the 180 list (truth be told, she still beat me that game!).

Often these pubs sponsor a "Lucky Draw" that attracts a mixture of Thais and expats, with the bar girls scoring (on the board: these girls are generally past scoring any other way.) and filling in as partners in the doubles. The drill is to put up an entry fee, draw for partners and play double elimination, 501, best of three. The top three teams win the pot. Competition is often at a high level.

BKK boasts several leagues throughout the year. Anyone in town for more than a few weeks can easily find out about them through the Bangkok Post (available on the WWW, by the way) or from any pub that sponsors a team. Competition in the top league is excellent and I have watched 180s thrown regularly

Wandering the night spots is safe for a rookie, but be careful about the "upstairs bars" where the shows are adverised by touts. Some are rip-off joints that will cost considerable baht. A few are OK, but upstairs bars in particular change names and owners regularly. Check with a local friend about which ones are safe or read Trink's column in the Sat. BKK Post for advice. If you are interested in ladies using darts shot from an unusual part of their anatomy to pop balloons held by grinning farangs, go on up.

Jim Ambrose

About the Author, Jim Ambrose:
After teaching in Michigan for nine years, I went to Norway in 1973 to be Principal of the Stavanger American School. That led to a similar job at Cairo American College in '74 to catch the big development wave. In "78 I got my own school in Bangladesh. Same story in Colombo (82), Lusaka (84) and Abu Dhabi for eight years just to prove I could hold a job for awhile! In Hanoi, I was head of the United Nations International School and my wife worked for the US Embassy.

Now I am in southern Michigan with Search Associates, a teacher and administrator recruiting organization, matching American teachers up with overseas schools and doing some consulting work. In Oct., I'll be back in Bangkok for a week, presenting workshops for school board members and maybe breaking away to one of the places described in what I wrote.



Sponsored by:
Rick's Darts & Games
America's Oldest Darts Pro Shop
under same ownership, since 1974
Everything for Darts, plus a very large selection of other
Fine Quality Games.
All contents of this site are Copyrighted. No reproduction or re-writes permitted without the express written permission of the Publisher. Copyright © 1994-2016