Decided to write an entry on this topic as I had so much trouble trying to get any useful information online. Hello there, if you find yourself reading this entry, I’m pretty sure you are either planning to watch a concert in Bangkok, already bought tickets for the show or just want to read about my firsthand experience in a moshpit at SHINee World Concert 4 Bangkok.
** Do note that this entry is only written with me having only ONE experience and it may not be a fair representative of all future events. Please take all advice in this entry with caution.
If you are a “loyal” reader, you should know that I attended SHINee’s concert in Tokyo Dome earlier this year, approximately 6 months ago. If you know me, my k-pop “worship” has kind of deflated to 5-10% of what I was few years back.. But.. by a whisk of luck and fate, the dates were matched coincidentally and my boss wasn’t against me taking leave (at the expense of no more leave till the end of the year) and off we go to the Land of Smiles.
If you know that a concert is going to happen, the first thing you need to do is to find out where to buy the concert tickets from! For this case study, the tickets were bought from All Ticket Thailand: https://www.allticketthailand.com; a Thai website with minimal but sufficient English to navigate.
Step One: Check Public Sales Date & Time
If the concert that you are attending is likely to be sold out, you will have to “snatch” to buy your tickets online. For this case, it was fastest fingers first (similar to Korea where tickets can get sold out in minutes or even seconds). You need to be on full standby at that timing.
Step Two: Create an Account
The next thing you do is to create an account by clicking “Register” at the top right corner. Important information like your Passport Number is required. Do note that your passport will be required upon collection of tickets. An account is necessary when purchasing the ticket as they will require you to log in prior to clicking on ”Buy Now”. You do not have anytime to waste when “snatching” for tickets, create an account early and login few minutes prior to the launch time. If you login too early, you might be “Time Out” and you will have to log in again.
Step Three: Be on Full Standby Mode
At least a minute before the release timing, be on Full Standby mode. This means that:
(1) Your internet connection is working well, best if you have a few computers or laptop or handphone on standby in case the page just doesn’t load for whatever reason.
(2) A working credit card is in front of you. Do standby your handphone as well in case there’s One Time Pin (OTP) verification.
(3) You already know which section/zone of the seats you want. For this concert, you are able to select the exact zone or seat (Kind of similar to yes24 in Korea). This may result in a lot of disappointment as seats that you choose may not be available in the next step as other people might have their page loaded faster than yours. If you plan to choose mosh pit, you will not know your queue number at time of purchase. The queue number will be sent to your email only after payment has been made.
Step Four: Actual Purchase
The moment the ticket sales were launched, I was all set on buying a pair of tickets for the mosh pit because after analyzing the ticket prices and availability, we concluded that we did not want a lousy seat in the Arena if it was gonna cost 5,000B. The most premium seats at 6,000B was very limited and we were uncertain on our luck. Balcony seats, though more affordable, was not gonna give us a worthwhile view.. so.. we settled to buy the 4,500B moshpit ticket since we only had that one chance to make a decision right.
So.. I successfully managed to purchase my moshpit ticket without any hiccups (There were 1,300 tickets available for each zone). Initially, I thought that there wasn’t any queue number since I did not see it in the payment page. However, in the email that you will receive after the purchase, you will see the queue number. We received two tickets at 43X, despite me being or believing that I was already very fast but I guess 400+ other people were quicker than me..
The “problem” with this ticketing system, similar to Korea was that it allows their locals to make OFFLINE PAYMENT. This means that they are allowed to “buy” multiple tickets and hold on to them for 1 hour (for Thailand’s case) and 24 hours (in Korea’s case) and decide if they want to fulfill the offline payment. If the offline payment is not fulfilled, their tickets will automatically be canceled and released back.
Why is this a problem?
It creates a lot of unnecessary pseudo scenarios where “sold-out” in seconds/minutes situations are seen. It could possibly block up a lot of good arena seats by insincere buyers who will ”black market” their tickets during the window period for offline payment. Furthermore, you might end up buying a lousier category/zone in fear of not getting anything at all and then come back one hour later and realise that there are a lot of empty seats in the category/zone you originally wanted because of all these insincere buyers.
On the other hand, it is obviously not an issue for the local buyers as they have the advantage of their home country (something which our local sistic/sports hub ticketing will never do) and have more options. The only ones on the losing end are.. the international buyers.
So.. one hour after the start of the ticket sales, I refreshed the page and I saw first row middle arena pair seats available. There were many other good seats available too. It was definitely a huge temptation to resist as I would have bought that first row arena seats ticket and sell off my moshpit ticket. Thankfully, I remembered my friend’s advice on how kpop is no longer as popular in Thailand and it is unlikely that the tickets would be sold out.. My moment of sanity saved me from being 4,500B poorer. There were several people who gave in to temptation and ended up buying extra tickets to secure those perfect arena seats and later on found it very difficult to sell their moshpit tickets as a result. On twitter, there were many moshpit tickets (some were even with good queue number) selling at huge discounts. Although it’s hard, sometimes you need to let your wallet (not your heart) dictate your decisions. I was so close to blowing more money away.
Anyway, as “predicted” by my friend, the tickets for SWC4 were not sold out. There were almost 600 leftover tickets for each side of the mosh and there was one very tempting center pair arena seats still available (I checked one night before the concert). I guess Kpop really ain’t so popular anymore.. which explains why more acts are dropping Singapore out of their world tours..
GETTING TO/OUT OF THE VENUE
Most shows in Bangkok should be at IMPACT Arena, Pak Kret which seems far away from all the usual action in downtown Bangkok. The only place that this arena is near is the “budget” Airport in Bangkok – Don Mueang International Airport – which is only a short drive away.
If watching the concert is the only thing you plan to do for your bangkok trip, it is highly recommended to book a room at Novotel Bangkok IMPACT, the only 4 Star Hotel within walking distance of the concert venue. Rates are approximately $120-200 a night and most likely fully booked very early on concert days. It is highly possible that the stars rest at that hotel since it is the most convenient accommodation but we don’t know for sure.
For the other people who stay in downtown Bangkok, you will be upset to find out that it is a huge headache to get there. First you can read the info on their website: http://www.impact.co.th/index.php/visitor/direction/en
Initially, we wanted to try the mini van or shuttle bus with the IMPACT logo which would bring us from Mo Chit BTS (Chatuchak Market) to the arena for 30B (now increase to 32B). We ended up taking a taxi (price of 150B – we failed to flag a metered taxi) from Mo Chit BTS as there were four of us. I’m sorry to say that I do not have any experience on taking public transport to IMPACT arena. Neither have I found anyone blogging about their experience on a mini van to IMPACT arena. I guess most non-locals just end up taking the taxi which was only SGD 6 ($1.50 each) for the 40+ mins ride. According to google maps, the journey should only take 23 minutes but the traffic jam in Bangkok is famous for a reason and the 150B we paid could possibly be cheaper than a meter taxi as there were a lot of waiting during the jam.
Contribution from Reader (Kay): ImpactLink Van located between Chatuchak MRT exit 3 & Mochit BTS exit 4. Search for an entrance to the parking lot between those exit, the van (with ImpactLink sticker in front) will be parked on your right (there’s also a banner). If you see a van parked there & no queue, just get inside & wait, fee will collected before you go.
Okay the hardest part of the entire concert experience was to.. get a taxi to return back to downtown Bangkok. Alright, the initial plan was to sit and wait until the crowd disperse before finding a (hopefully not too expensive) taxi and that there would be lesser traffic. However, the concert ended early (before 9) and we decided to not waste the night and rush down to Artbox, our favourite night market in Bangkok.
Thus, we had no choice but to flag for a taxi. It is very annoying as not all empty taxis will stop for you. I suppose some of them are on call and some don’t think I look easy to cheat. Anyway, after about 15 minutes of flagging and price haggling (which fails and the driver just drives away), we settled for a 600B driver which brought us to ArtBox (Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre) which was 27km and 35 mins away according to Google Maps. The driver said the price would be inclusive of Tolls (which I saw him paying 60B). As there was a crazy jam, our journey took about 45 minutes. 600B is expensive but we were desperate and to make ourselves feel better, we only paid SGD 6 each for a 45 minutes car ride.. *thank you thailand for cheap taxis*
THE CONCERT EXPERIENCE
Trying my best to write this entry within 7 days as I don’t want to forget or leave out any minor details from my memory.
We reached the venue slightly before 2PM even though the concert only started at 6PM. According to the concert info provided by the organizer, people in the moshpit had to be in queue before 3PM or risk losing their queue slot. This was.. so untrue. I’ll share about it later.
Upon reaching the venue, first thing we went was to the merchandise sales booth. Merchandise sales started at 10am but all the light sticks were sold out by the time we reached.. I ended up buying a replica from some auntie outside the concert venue and surprisingly the light stick only cost 100B (Original one cost 350B)? It comes with a similar box with the SM sticker at the back. Only difference is that it doesn’t have the string to hang around your neck. The replica light stick work just as fine as the original one.
Next, we went to collect the tickets at the ticketing booth. I showed the print screen of my transaction email together with my passport to the staff at the counter and they gave me the tickets in return. Yes, this is what the tickets look like in Thailand. Credit card size and it fits perfectly into your wallet. The seat details are printed at the back of the card which I have forgotten to take a photo off. It does not have any name or personal details on the card so there is no identification check (unlike Korea and Japan which has your name of the buyer on the ticket, and Japan may check identification at times).
Next step, look for the SM Passport counter and got my friend’s passport stamped (I did not buy the passport T_T). You are not allowed to stamp the chop yourself. The staff will do it for you. SM is pretty strict on this as they do not want non-passport holders to chop this stamp anywhere else. They were also distributing the 2012 SM music nation stickers to the people who have the SM Passport.
Alright so after that, we spotted a JJong lookalike aka Jjong’s twin who happens to be a SHINee fan too! It’s a HE by the way (in case you are wondering). They look so alike that my friends were able to scam half of their friends that they actually took a selfie with the real Jonghyun from SHINee =p Here’s his instagram profile and you can judge yourself: https://instagram.com/pepero_house I guess it helps that he dresses up in his style and pays attention to the minor details and well.. he has ended up being a mini celebrity himself! There was a queue of people lining up to take photo with him and he is more than happy to take your phone and capture a selfie moment. Furthermore, you will receive one of his DIY pepero stick as a present from him. In case you are wondering.. nope I did not take any photo with him..
He was standing near the SHINee Thailand fanbase booth. It was nice to see them preparing a lifesize standee just for photo taking!
Next thing you should be doing will be to walk around and look for things to collect. If you’re an active user of twitter, you would have receive updates that various fansites/individuals are distributing goodies ranging from photos to cards to fans to stickers and almost anything in the world. Fans are as close as families and most of them are really nice to one another and these goodies are.. FREE! I’ve attended a couple of concerts and collected a series of items which ranges from postcards to photographs and the most popular item would be a very useful hand-fan which helps to keep you cool.
Now here’s the queuing process. (Take my experience with a pinch of salt as I am really unsure if this is a representative of all other concerts.)
When we reached the venue at about 2pm, we could see that obvious lines are marked out on duct tape on the floor. According to the organizer, it indicated that you can start queuing from 1 to 3PM and if you were leaving the queue, you had to come back by 3PM otherwise you might end up being right at the end.
Obviously being “afraid” of forfeiting my queue number, I sat down in line slightly before 3PM. Since there were gonna be 50 people each line and my number was somewhere in between, I asked around the queue number of the people in my line and sat down in between the smaller and larger numbers. Even though it was already 3PM, the line was perhaps only 60% filled. The next thing that happened next – my greatest fear – was having to be in the sun while waiting :X It was the afternoon sun and the sun was coming down, shining right at the people queuing for the Left side of the stage. I believe the Right side did not have the afternoon sun. My row was the third or fourth row from the outside and in a matter of minutes after I sat down, the entire sun ray was in full view. I took out my umbrella which wasn’t of much help to defend the heat and sat back-faced the sun. Despite having an electronic fan with me, it was still a sweaty and hot wait. The only consolation I had was.. at least I was waiting while sitting down and wearing shorts (had planned to wear jeans earlier on.)
*Don’t forget to visit the washroom too as there will be no toilets inside the venue.*
Couldn’t take the heat and bought myself a refreshing lemonade from Auntie Anne in view of the amount of sweat that came out of my body.. (Thankfully I did not have to visit the washroom during the concert.) Also, you do not have to worry about food as there were plentiful fast food options from McDonalds (which opened after 4PM), KFC, Donuts etc.
Finally at approximately 4PM, the staff were finally ready to let the moshpit people in. This was when everyone stood up and the remaining 40% of people were not waiting in the queue line suddenly came. People will start going down the line asking for your queue number and decide if they were to stand in front or behind you.
Anyway, there was also a fan project folder given to everyone in a moshpit. We were also given a finger light for the song Colourful. Everyone was given different colours (White, Blue, Red, Green) if I don’t recall wrongly.
The checking of queue number was only done by a staff prior to the security scan. It took about 30 minutes from the moment we stand up till we entered (we were number 4XX). I believe that the staff was not extremely strict in ensuring that everyone lined up accordingly to the number. I guess as long as your queue number belongs to the group of 50 people for that line it should be fine? I did not see anyone getting re-arranged by the staff and I guess it all boils down to integrity of the fans..
Let me emphasis.. BAG CHECKS ARE EXTREMELY STRICT AND THERE WAS A METAL DETECTOR FRAME (though I’m not sure how effective it is). Different concerts have different rules and regulations and for this case, you are NOT allowed to bring
- CAMERAS OF ALL SORTS (Including Polaroids)
- MOBILE PHONES LARGER THAN 7 INCHES AND TABLETS
- LED BANNERS/LIGHT STICKS LONGER THAN 30CM
- CHEERING DEVICE/PAPER BAGS LARGER THAN A4
- ANY FOOD & BEVERAGE (including bottled plain water – nope they don’t sell anything inside.. I was super thirsty towards the end. Would recommend to hide and bring some mints in.)
- SELFIE STICK, FOLD-ABLE STOOLS/CHAIRS
For me, I was lucky and managed to bring in my GoPro Camera and canon digital camera (which was not for the purpose of recording as I was just using it to take photos before reaching the concert venue at Chatuchak). I should have left my items at the baggage counter but I decided to take the risk as the baggage thing is too much of a hassle and I was lazy to queue T_T
Thankfully, I managed to scrap pass the tight bag check because the backpack and (smaller than A4) paper bag that I was carrying was full of my shopping loots from Chatuchak. It was almost impossible to see my camera/gopro as my bag was full to the brim. If I was unlucky, the staff could have requested me to empty my entire bag (similar to what is done at the airport). However, I guess I was lucky and she smiled and let me through after I told her the half-truth that all that crap in my bag was “Chatuchak Shopping”.
There were some unlucky fans in front of me, which is why I emphasis on the strictness.. One fan sacrificed her entire bag of tourist food (at least 3 boxes) as she did not want to go to the bag deposit area (and risk her queue number). Another fan (Japanese) couldn’t enter because her SUPER PRETTY HAND FAN (You know those japanese type which has a lot of BLING) was bigger than A4. She tried pleading but to no avail. Unable to abandon her precious Hand Fan (which have probably accompanied her to many concerts) she left the queue and went to the bag deposit.
Anyway, my next advise is.. TRY NOT TO BRING ANY BAG FOR THE CONCERT IF YOU ARE ENTERING THE MOSHPIT. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO RUN AROUND WITH A HEAVY BACKPACK & PAPER BAG. The best bag to bring would be a small sling bag. Forget about the cameras and gopro devices, there is high risk of getting caught and the penalty is being sent out. Even if you don’t get caught, the quality is gonna suck anyway with the tight security. Your phone camera should suffice for taking the few photos for memories.
Within my moshpit, I kind of witness at least 5 people getting escorted out of the venue because they have been caught. The guards are usually more strict on videos as compared to photos. One girl was sent out pretty early in the concert. It was a bit upsetting and made me a lot more cautious against taking my camera out.
However, as time went by, more and more people started raising their mobile phones up (which made it harder for the guards to catch) and soon it became a heng/suay thing and people were still getting caught.
I only brought out my GoPro during their moving platform performance as it has this blinking red light. During their moving platform performance (Colourful/Runaway), I went close to the sides and help my palm (blocking the screen) up high together with my lightstick. The video turned out to be a disaster as I was shaking too much.. I don’t think I will do it again.
If you wish to continue reading on my fan account/experience, you can click to continue reading. Otherwise, GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR CONCERT TICKET PURCHASE OR FOR THE ACTUAL DAY and do share with me your experiences as I LOVE TO HEAR FROM ALL MY READERS! It is nice to know that people find my tips useful which is the reason why I keep writing (It’s 4am right now).