While most areas of Phuket have an abundance of nightlife, which can be found on the relevent destination page on the site. It is Patong which is where it really happens. Patpong has 4 main party areas, each with it's own identity. We try to give a guide to each below.
|Bangla Road (The Most Fun You Could Ever Have!)
Like all night owls, Soi Bangla awakens when the sun sets. That's when Patong's liveliest party zone becomes closed to traffic and ready for action!
Almost all of the bars are outdoors so the music from each one is deafening! Bar Beers occupy most of the street's length, with several a-go-gos and a few pubs, restaurants, discos and shops rounding out the attractions both on Bangla and down its side streets.
Famous for its raunchy nightlife, Bangla goes all out to entertain with girls, beers and music that increases in volume as the moon rises. Jammed most nights year round, it's actually totally unthreatening and lively place to walk around as bars compete for customers. The girls aim to please - dancing around poles, engaging in banter, or coaxing customers to play simple bar games like "Connect" or "Hammer the nail" to break the ice. The objective is to entice customers to buy drinks and hopefully, take them away for the evening.
Gonzo, Soi Easy, Soi Lion and Soi Crocodile
Wander down Soi Gonzo, Soi Easy, Soi Lion and Soi Crocodile (now better known as 'Soi Katoey for it's flamboyant transsexual who dance on bar tops, flashing boobs and a bit more if the mood takes) Take note that while the Katoeys (literally translated as ladyboy) love to pose, they will ask (and sometimes demand) a fee 200 baht. So only take pictures if you're prepared to pay. More about ladyboys here!
Soi Eric - has dozens are bars with the unique difference that they all play the same music, making it easier for your brain to take in the surroundings (and the girls!)
Soi Seadragon branching off the centre of Bangla has several air-conditioned go go bars with names reflecting the theme of the place. Play School A go go features, (yes you've guessed it) school uniforms with super-short skirts, while Suzie Wong goes for the naughty Asian theme.
Vegas, has the brilliantly named Katoys' R ' Us - featuring flamboyant dancing on the bar counter, competing with Big Spender and King Kong. On both sides several new snooker rooms opened lately. At the end of Soi Vegas is Sala Muay Thai - a small Thai boxing stadium with nightly fights, more a tourist attractions than a real fight, but at least you can have a glimpse for tha price of a beer and decide you you want to see the real thing at Bangla Boxing Stadium.
Bangla is a small, condensed area, so just wander around till you find a place that looks promising. Bar-hopping is common since most places, with the exception of Tiger Disco, do not charge an entry fee.
|Rat-U-Thit Road / Bangla Road Junction
Right at the top of Soi Bangla where it meets Rat-U-Thit road, lies one of Patong's main party and entertainment zones. max attractions like Club Rio, Rock Hard, on one side, and Tai Pan, VIP and Baya Beach Club on the other - all next door to each other, are places to party out until the small hours. In the side street at the side of VIP, the aptly named Soi Nam Keng (Soi Ice) provides a perfect place to cool down with local pubs and cafes.
Across the road the Margarita Bar elevated slightly above the street and outdoors, is a perfect place to people-watch and listen to the live band playing every evening. Above it is the Bangla Boxing Stadium hosting real Muay Thai fights and competitions about twice a week. Expect to pay 700 B for normal seats and 1000 for VIP seats, but they are not so different. An average of 10 fights last for about 4 hours, but you can join anytime, or even go in and out as you like once you have your ticket. Usually the first rounds are very young fighters, but it gets more serious at the end of the game, Thai supporters and betters are also fun to watch! Muay Thai is more a Martial Art than Boxing, so everyone can watch.
Rat-U-Thit Road (Soi Song Roi Pee)
A quieter option to the mayhem of Bangla. Rat-U-Thit runs parallel to the beach road and offers a different perspective on Patong. A stroll down Rat-U-Thit Rd, starting at the south end reveals guest houses, a couple of hotels - notably the beautifully refurbished Holiday Inn and a large night market (OTOP) selling handicrafts from Thai villages, but mainly all the classic copies and fake brands.
In recent years, more and more restaurants have gravitated away from the expensive beach road towards Rat-U-Thit road. The result is a truly international selection of quality eating places. A cluster of middle eastern restaurants proffering hubble bubble pipes occupy the area near Christin Massage. While Italian, Indian and Mediterranean restaurants and comfortable lounge bars with easy chairs dominate the area close to the Holiday Inn.
Soi Sunset was once a thriving bar street, but much of it has been torn down to make way for the new TaiLife Health & Leisure Centre. Only a few bars remain, some which are expected to move to an area opposite the Expat Hotel.
After Bangla, probably the most lively area in Patong is the Paradise Complex located in front of Royal Paradise Hotel. Mainly a male gay area, the Paradise Complex is popular with gay visitors and locals. More than 50 venues - bars, a-go-gos, karaokes, saunas, guesthouses, restaurants and discos - are packed into the u-shaped lane. For dancing, the longstanding Boat Bar always attracts a crowd, especially in the later hours.
It also has nightly cabaret shows. My Way, Uncle Charlie's bar and Tangmo are other spots that pack people in with their friendly staff and cabaret performances every evening. No entry fee requested, just order a drink once seated. Prices are normal and no overcharges or bad surprises.... just enjoy the show. More about ladyboys here!
Thaweewong Rd, better known as the Beach road, runs along the entire length of Patong's 3-km beach. Both day and night it's a busy street, but it really gets packed with strollers and shopper as the temperature cools down in the evening. The most hectic section is the stretch that runs between the Holiday Inn at the south end of the beach and Bangla Road, where vendors are packed into little stalls selling a huge variety of goods including T-shirts, beach towels, shoes, jewellery, disco balls, wooden elephants, key chains and more.
A number of hotel bar-restaurants line the road, most featuring fresh seafood and live music, the most popular is The Port at Banthai Beach Resort. The lively Molly Malone's pub is right next door, between The Port and the ubiquitous McDonald's.
Just north of Bangla is another busy segment, particularly around the cluster of beer bars opposite the Impiana Phuket Cabana. It's also packed with street vendors and all kinds of shops including sportswear outlets, pharmacies, mini-marts and shoe stores. In front of the Patong Bay Garden Resort (photo) are a number of small bars and restaurants where you can literally step on to Patong's white sand beach. Perfect for sundowners and early evening dinners.
Recently opened and further down on the way to Novotel Phuket and located in front of Club Andaman, is the Andaman Bazaar hosting 2 new music venues: Rock City and Saxophone, a well known and excellent Jazz and Blues Pub from Bangkok.
|Guide to Bar Essentials
Bars: Opening Hours
In Bangla most bars don't open before nine o'clock in the evening. The official closing time is 1 am for bars/pubs and 2 am. for discos.
In recent years the authorities have cracked down on places operating later, but it's still possible to find places open until 5-6 am. Just ask around at the bars to find the late night venues. Just remember that these places are circumventing the law, so there is a small chance that they will be raided by police, with patrons facing ID checks and urine tests for drugs.
Bar Girls in Patong - First Dates
Girlie bars in Patong (mostly bar beers are girlie bars) have up to 10 "bar hostesses" willing to go with tourists for money. Many girls are looking for a boyfriend, some for a short time, others longer term - mainly as a financial asset. If you get on well, she may well accompany you on trips around Thailand, providing fun company and a local insight among the general services, but you will have to negotiate a rate first. You will also have to pay a "bar fine" each time "for a date" After that, it's up to you! more info click here!
Bar fine - This is the fee to cover a bar's 'loss' when taking a girl out of the place for a 'date' and can vary with each establishment. Usually 200 -500 Baht for the evening. If you're planning to spend a few days or longer with the lady, you'll need to negotiate the fine with the bar. This does not cover her fees which would be discussed directly. Night rates vary between 1,000 - 4,000 Baht and like everything else, are negotiable..
Bar Girls in Patong - A few Tips
It's generally good advice to stay with a girl for only one night. This avoids the situation where after two nights, she considers you her boyfriend. This can produce jealous tantrums if you look, or are tempted by other girls - even if you are paying!
If you decide to take her on trips etc., be prepared to pay for meals, tickets and extras. A gift will be expected, usually anything gold - bracelet, necklace, etc., Gold is both a status symbol and an insurance when the money runs out. The pawn shop is never far away.
You can be sure you'll be asked for your Email address, so she can keep in touch with you, in case her family needs money. She will keep in touch with you, but be aware she may get help from friends or other visitors to write back, so don't write anything you don't want others to read. Sooner or later you may receive an e-mail requesting financial help because her mother is sick, or the family buffalo has died. The same Email will reach several boyfriends - not just you. And that's the start...
The above is general advice based on general experience, not every working girl is the same. You can have lots of fun and a great time, if you remember that working girls work for money! more info click here!
Drink Price Guidelines
Beer (Singha, Chang) - Local beer 35-60 Baht;
International Beer (Heineken) From 35 to 70-90 Baht. Prices 100-140 Baht per bottle in discos and western upscale places.
Cocktails - Around 100-180 Baht. Some stratospheric prices (300baht ++) depending on venue.
Admission - Most places have free entry, except for some of the discos, which have a cover charge 100 or 200 Baht. The fee usually covers one or two drinks - either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
Happy Hours tend to come and go according to the whim of the bar owner and how busy the bar is. Happy hours, usually from 5-7 pm or sometimes extending to 8-9 pm, offer up to 50% discounts on cocktails or beer or sometimes "two for one" deals. Check for signs outside the bar since it changes all the time.
Getting Around at Night
At night Soi Bangla turns into a pedestrianised walking street with Tuk Tuks and motorcycle taxis at both ends to provide a ride home. Prices are negotiable and tend to increase with the number of passengers, the distance and the lateness of the hour. Many Tuk Tuks charge excessive and inflated rates so it's best to check with other visitors and locals first. ALWAYS agree the price before you get in as it's difficult to negotiate after the journey.
Both motorcycle taxis and Tuk Tuks can be flagged down anywhere along any of the streets. Head for Banana disco on the Beach Rd (Thaveewong Rd) where most of the Tuk Tuks and motorcycle taxis stay. Or at the other end of Bangla (near Tai Pan.)
While Patong is pretty safe for women. It's not advisable to travel alone by Tuk-Tuk or motorbike late at night.
Dangers & Annoyances
The streets of Patong are quite safe at night. In fact, safer than in many Western cities. Incidences of violence against tourists are very rare, though there have been cases of purse snatching and pickpocketing. The seemingly friendly Katoey (ladyboys) are infamous for lifting wallets and having sudden bursts of nasty behaviour, so be extra careful around these 'ladies'. Just use your common sense and make sure your belongings are secure. If you take photos of the Katoeys, be prepared to pay or it could get nasty. In discos, it's rare to see any problems as the crowd is very international and not obsessed with drinking themselves to oblivion.
The most common visitor complaint is of harassment by local touts trying to lure people into anything from Indian restaurants to timeshare presentations to tailor shops to Tuk-Tuk tours. Ignoring these characters usually does the trick. Women are generally safe to go out at night, though care should be taken travelling alone in Tuk Tuks and motorcycles.