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Phuket Nightlife

Phuket has a busy nightlife, second only to Pattaya among Thailand's beach resorts. Patong Beach is by far the busiest, and seediest, of the lot, but in addition to go-go bars there are also plenty of other bars, discos and clubs.

Phuket has a thriving night life and it’s one of the main attractions of the island. There are plenty of places to party after a day at the beach, including lively Thai style nightclubs with live bands, Western discos thumping with dance music, small beachside bars, sedate pubs and go-go clubs full of friendly ‘company’. In general the nightlife in Phuket is concentrated around the tourist beaches of Patong, Kata/Karon and Rawai, as well as Phuket City.

The heart of Phuket night life is Patong beach, with Bangla Road and Soi Sunset being the main strips. There are dozens of arcades of tiny bars packed right next to one another, as well as several large western style nightclubs. The discos usually charge 100 baht for admission but this includes a coupon for a single drink. Soi Seadragon is home to the majority of the go-go bars, while Soi Eric, Soi Tiger and Soi Crocodile are among the most popular strips. Safari Bar on the outskirts of Patong is the main after-hours venue. A rock-climbing wall, food and indoor and outdoor dancing areas are some of the attractions there.

The Kata/Karon area is a smaller, quieter, version of Patong and caters more to Scandinavian visitors. There are a few bar lanes located there, but no large discos. Rawai, on the southern tip of the island, is a sleepy beach town during the day, but has plenty going on after dark. Rawai beach is lined with dozens of small and medium sized bars and many of them tend to bend the rules regarding closing times.

Phuket night life also offers a number of more family oriented activities. Both Ocean Plaza and Central Festivals feature English language cinemas showing major western films. There are two mini-golf courses on the island, three bowling alleys, a go-karting track and a shooting range. The Green Man British Pub hosts a Thursday night pub quiz and there are live jazz jams every Wednesday night at Music Matters, opposite Ocean Plaza.

The night life in Phuket Town is predominantly made up of Thai style nightclubs scattered all over the maze of one way streets that make up old town Phuket. These joints are lively affairs, packed with a crowd of Thais and foreign residents. They usually feature live bands playing a mix of western covers and traditional and contemporary Thai music. If you’re partying Thai style, pick up a bottle of whiskey at a bottle shop and bring it with you. Corkage fees are almost never charged, although it is expected that you will buy ice and mixers from the bar. Grab a table and start clinking glasses with everyone within arm’s reach. Most Thai discos have no common dance floor, preferring to pack everyone around ‘standing tables’.

Karaoke is highly popular in Thailand and there is a wide range of establishments where you can live out your pop-star fantasies. These range from hole-in-the-wall places with Thai music and friendly hostesses to large restaurants that rent out private booths by the hour. Some hotels offer VIP Karaoke in a private hotel room complete with an attendant to fill your drinks. Many of these karaoke places provide a selection of beautiful hostesses who charge by the hour to sit with you, though not all of them will willingly leave with you.

For those hoping to find some company for the evening there is no shortage of places with friendly girls or gay boys. This aspect of Thailand is very much acceptable and is carried out in a relaxed and open way that isn’t entirely sleazy and is recognised by some as one of the country’s attractions! Many of the bars in specifically designated areas operate for this very purpose, though the atmosphere is by no means intimidating and you’re welcome to sit and enjoy a drink and watch the TV or people in these bars without being hassled. On a slow night some of the girls will happily sit and chat you (and ask for drinks) even if you have no intention of taking them home. They are only trying to make a living and can be genuine and fun company.

The staff members at most of the bars in Patong are more than happy to accompany customers for the evening, although you will have to pay a 300-500 baht ‘bar fine’ if you wish to take them elsewhere. In the smaller areas, such as Rawai, you will find ladies who are willing to overlook the bar fee, especially if they think a more long-term arrangement is a possibility. Other places, especially if they have discreet entrances and dancers, will be a little pushier.



Phuket city

Unlike Patong, there isn’t one ‘strip’ of pubs and party spots in Phuket City, rather, the bars and nightclubs are scattered all over the city, although there are some areas with a few places close together. One of those areas is known as Samkong, a little section of Yaowarat Rd between Old Town Phuket and Tesco-Lotus. Coming from the Old Phuket roundabout the first place you’ll see is Rockin’ Angel, a must for music lovers and artists. The owner is a talented guitarist and singer with a vast repertoire and impromptu jam sessions are the norm. The beer selection is excellent as well. Across the street you’ll find Suea Saming, known to locals as ‘The Bar with the Big Blue Doors’. This is a swanky place with a fine selection of imported spirits and energetic music courtesy of the DJ. Timber Hut, a mainstay on the Thai pub scene that attracts its fair share of westerners, is just up the road. Timber Hut features one of the best bar bands in Phuket and the place is jumpin’ almost every night. An upstairs seating area is available if you get claustrophobic. Adjacent to the Phuket Merlin Hotel is Blue Marina, which, with its basement location and exposed ceiling, is reminiscent of a hip underground music club, an impression which is borne out by the crowd of hip Thai university students. Continue down Yaowarat and you’ll spy E-Sarn Terrace, easily recognized by the giant projection TV. No live music here but a lovely outdoor setting, good food and a cool bar area with billiards and a large selection of downloaded music serving as a jukebox. Just a little ways farther lies Idea Bar, which has the coldest beer in town. The help isn’t bad to look at, either. Sprinkled in between these bars are a number of restaurants large and small, including Chewy’s Steakhouse, which offers some excellent food at reasonable prices and has a lovely pool table surrounded by comfy couches. Many a punter has woken up on those couches after a late night pool session.

The other area with a good concentration of bars and pubs is Radsada Road, near the large roundabout in the middle of old Phuket. This area has really improved recently, with a number of high end restaurants and shops moving in. For a hip cocktail in a posh, Los Angeles-type setting try XVI which also has low key live music from rotating artists. Michael’s Bar, on Takuapa Road off of Radsada, is popular with expats and is a great place for a cold beer and a good laugh. Next door is Kana Sutra, a very good Indian restaurant that hosts regular singles’ nights and parties. Continue down Takuapa Road and you’ll find half a dozen places featuring live bands and an all Thai crowd. One such place is known as Cowboy Bar, not to be confused with Soi Cowboy in Bangkok. Don’t expect to find any bar girls here (or cowboys for that matter) do expect to find a decent live band and lots of faux western kitsch on the walls. One street over from Radsada Road is the Q Spot, a new club with excellent atmosphere that hosts some of the top names in Thai hip hop.

Aside from these areas there are plenty of hot spots scattered around town like Easter eggs. The Peak (Mae Luan Rd), Ozone (Thalang Rd) and Kor Tor Mor (Nimit Rd) are all very popular with Thai youths. They all have live bands and Ozone features a multi-level dance floor and scantily clad singers. Other well known nightclubs are Fantasia and Zanzibar (both on Phang-Nga Road), T2 and Pink Lady Caf? (both on Tilok Utis 1, near Ocean Plaza) and the outdoor Godzilla Pub (Thepkasattri Rd).

Inevitably, there is an Irish bar and, inevitably, it’s called O’Malley’s. O’Malley’s (Suthat Rd) runs a nightly special that can be a little dangerous: all you can drink (local beer and spirits), all night for 700 baht. Many’s the reveller who’s found themselves praying to the porcelain Buddha after trying too hard to get their money’s worth. A good place to watch some sport is Lemongrass (Luang Pho Wat Chalong Rd). The TV isn’t great but they stay open late and there might be someone around to make watching the game a little more interesting. For the best Mojito in town check out Music Matters (Tilok Utis 1, near Ocean Plaza) which also has a live jazz jam every Wednesday.

Phuket Nightlife

Phuekt City Nightlife

Patong Beach Nightlife


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