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 its 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
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.
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
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 youre 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 arms reach. Most Thai discos have no common
dance floor, preferring to pack everyone around standing
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
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 isnt entirely sleazy
and is recognised by some as one of the countrys attractions!
Many of the bars in specifically designated areas operate
for this very purpose, though the atmosphere is by no means
intimidating and youre 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.
Patong, there isnt 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 youll 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 youll 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 youll 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 isnt
bad to look at, either. Sprinkled in between these bars
are a number of restaurants large and small, including Chewys
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. Michaels 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 youll 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. Dont 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, its called OMalleys.
OMalleys (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. Manys the
reveller whos found themselves praying to the porcelain
Buddha after trying too hard to get their moneys worth.
A good place to watch some sport is Lemongrass (Luang Pho
Wat Chalong Rd). The TV isnt 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.