PHUKET NIGHTLIFE GUIDE
 
Phuket nightlife becomes one of the main attractions in the island. You head down to Phuket and stay over night for a few days or weeks or more, this scene is a must not to be missed, and it is nearly everywhere in Phuket, especially most tourist areas. From the wild action on Soi Bangla in Patong Beach where some of the most beautiful women you’ll ever see are men to the jammed outside bars in Karon Beach where the Thai girls stand outside their respective bars welcoming visitors to sit down for a cold drink to the beach shack shanty bars in Kata Beach where one can enjoy a quiet drink and a pleasant conversation with the local staff to the dark discos of Phuket town, there is plenty of nightlife action in Phuket. But remember this, if you party in local Thai bars and clubs, best go with English speaking Thais as not all locals are bilingual. 
 

Patong Beach Nightlife

Baseball fans have Cooperstown, art lovers have the Louvre and party animals have Patong. This is the epicentre of Phuket's nightlife, ground zero for the legendary party scene and the place where all your dreams can come true (provided your dreams involve lots of booze).

That's not to say that there's nothing to do in Patong besides drink. You don't have to be soused to enjoy the scene, although it does help. There's all kinds of shopping, lots of good live music and plenty of entertainment such as cabarets and Thai boxing. Patong can be as wild or tame as you want it to be, but one thing's for sure: there's never a dull moment.

It's loud, it's raunchy and it's utterly unforgettable. Legendary Patong Beach is the island's number one nightlife zone. On offer is a bewildering mix of restaurant-lounges, beer bars, Go-Go bars, pubs, discos, live music clubs, transvestite cabarets and a lot more.

Where to Go

Although bars aren't the only entertainment, they are definitely the most prevalent. Patong's watering holes tend to fall into distinct categories: beer bars, discos, cocktail lounges, go-go bars, pubs and music pubs. Within these categories there are endless variations but not many places veer away from the basic themes. For example, all go-go bars will have a stage with girls in varying stages of undress dancing for the entertainment of the customers.

Some places may have girls in catholic school girl outfits and some places may have elaborately choreographed shows but the basic elements of girls, stage and dancing will be present. Sometimes the lines get a little blurry (actually most things tend to get blurry after a while), such as when beer bars have dancing poles, but you'll usually have a good idea of what to expect.

Beer Bars are the little joints packed side by side on the small arcades known as 'Bar Sois'. There are maybe a dozen of these in Patong, mostly located off of Bangla Road. Come in for a laugh and to find some company. Patong has a number of discos where you can dance the night away.

Rat-U-Thit Road has changed a lot in the past few years. There are tons of choices for everyone whether you're into beer bars, sport bars, up-market nightclubs, discotheques, theatre & shows, cinemas, bowling and karaoke – all here on Rat-U-Thit Road.

The music is thumpin', the dance floor is packed and the atmosphere is fun. If you'd rather leave the dancing to the ladies then check out a go-go bar. While not the raunchy shows of yore, go-go bars still offer some fantastic figures on display.

Patong also has its classy side with a number of snazzy cocktail lounges where you can relax in a plush seat, sip a martini and enjoy the vibe. Live music is also popular and places like Saxophone and Rock City cater to people who like great tunes with their beer. There are also a few simple pubs where you can just enjoy a drink without all of the other usual accoutrements of Patong nightlife.

Hours

During the daytime Patong is geared towards shopping, watersports and family pursuits and the party doesn't really get going until about 21:00. Early birds will find that some bars offer happy hour specials. Exactly which hour is happy is the subject of some debate and it varies wildly from bar to bar.

Clever punters can bar hop from 17:00 until 21:00, taking advantage of all the specials. By law the fun gets shut down at 02:00 but that law is often stretched in practice and is outright ignored in places like Safari, the after-hours joint on the hill just south of town.

 

Karon Beach Nightlife


Less hectic than Patong, Karon is a family friendly and couples place where sundowners, seafood dinners and classical Thai dinner/dances are the main attractions. Low key and casual, beer bars are limited to a small area and there are no discos but if you need more action, Patong is just north - 10 minutes drive over the hill.

Where to Go

If you want to strike a balance between rowdy and relaxed, Karon is a good bet. It attracts enough foreigners to support the beer bars but it's not the party Mecca that Patong is. The variety of atmosphere is a big bonus since in Karon you can be in a relaxed pub and not even notice the more raunchy beer bars only ten metres away. Going from sedate to scandalous and back again without moving more than half a block is the nightlife equivalent of a good sauna: get heated up and sweaty, go cool down and then come back for more.

Price Check

Expect to pay less than you would in Patong but more than you would in Phuket City. The following prices represent beer bars and smaller places' prices. More upscale establishments will have a commensurate raise in prices.

Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Tiger, Cheers) : 70-100 baht
Import Beer (Heineken, San Miguel) : 80-110 baht.
Spirits : 90-120 baht including mixer.

Karon offers many of the same attractions as Patong, mostly of the friendly female variety. The standard rules of bar girls usually apply (pay a 200 to 300 baht fine to take her out of the bar, whatever else is negotiated between you two) but the price tends to be a little lower outside of the spotlight. Be cautious and use good judgment (it helps to be sober) and there's no reason why you can't have a great time.

Night Hours

The standard closing time of 01:00 is adhered to, well, randomly. Most - if not all - lights go out and doors shut an hour or two after midnight, but small pockets of late night activity can be found if the particular bar management is daring, well-connected, or ‘forgets' to close.

Night Awareness

If you've got the family with you then stop by Dino Park at the north end of Kata, where the roads rises and connects with Karon Beach. You'll find mini-golf, burgers and a photo-op with a baby elephant. Sunset at Koh Chang Elephant Camp is always beautiful and the resident monkeys will delight the kids. Kata also has good shopping options, with tailors, souvenir shops and DVD vendors all on hand.

G-Rated

If you've got the family with you then stop by Dino Park at the north end of Kata, where it blurs into Karon. You'll find mini-golf, burgers and a photo-op with a baby elephant. Sunset at Koh Chang Elephant Camp is always beautiful and the resident monkeys will delight the kids. Kata also has good shopping options, with tailors, souvenir shops and DVD vendors all on hand.

 

Kata Beach Nightlife

Kata Beach, further south, has a village type ambiance with good restaurants and a small bar beer area. Overlooking the beach The Boathouse Wine and Grill offers a superb wine cellar and great food. Enjoy classical Thai performances and dinner at Marina Cottage. A good compromise between Karon and Patong Beach.

Where to Go

Informal and laid-back, Kata is the kind of place to relax with a cocktail or beer in an open-air bar or restaurant, do some shopping, watch the big game on a pub screen, or enjoy a laid-back, balmy evening.

Less hectic than Patong, more compact than Karon, Kata is an ideal compromise between the two. Most evening venues are geared towards families and couples with outdoor cafes and good value local restaurants. Kata's small roads have contained fast and furious development and helped retain the village-like atmosphere.

Since most of the beach lies within the province of Club Med, nightlife is concentrated at the ends of the beach rather than than the centre. A must for everyone staying in Kata is watching the sunset from the Reggae Bar overlooking Kata Noi, the view is spectacular - well worth the 5 min tuk-tuk journey.

Over the last year, Kata's small bar-beer areas at both ends of the beach have expanded, so you don't have to go far for more action. But for the real party scene head for Patong, just a 10-minute drive north.

Price Check

Beer : Local beer 60-90 Baht;
Imported beer : 70-100 Baht.
Cocktails : Usually around 150-200 Baht.
Admission : There are no known venues that charge entry fees in the area.
Bar fine : This is the fee to cover a bar's 'loss' when taking a lady out of the place for a 'date'.

Usually 200 Baht for the evening. If planning to spending a few days or longer with the lady, you'll probably need to negotiate a fine with the bar. This does not cover the costs of spending time with the lady, which would be discussed directly with her. (Applies generally to bar beers)


Night Hours

The official closing time for pubs/bars is 1 am. Most bars shut down by around 2 am in Kata-Karon, and in the low season (June-October) as early as midnight or 1 am.

Many places have happy hours with up to 50% discounts on cocktails or beer, or two for one, usually during the sunset period of 5-7 pm.

 

Nai Harn Beach Nightlife

In keeping with everything else in Nai Harn quiet is the order of the day however there are a few notable places to drink and be merry. There's no main nightlife area or strip, the points of interest are spread out all over. It's even possible to find somewhere to go late, very late with bars becoming busy at some unexpected times.

Price Check

Prices in the Nai Harn Area tend to be lower than Patong but higher than Phuket City, since the primary clientele are foreigners.

Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo,, Cheers): 60-90 baht
Import Beer (Heineken, Tiger): 70-90 baht.
Spirits : 80-120 baht including mixer.
 

Kamala Beach Nightlife

Although Kamala has recently grown rapidly, you can still enjoy the seaside village atmosphere that first attracted visitors all those years ago. The beachside bars are a good spot for a sundowner and to catch a glimpse of local fisherman coming in for the night.

When the sun goes down, most visitors enjoy strolling through the village to one of the small local restaurants – basic but tasty. During the high season months, local vendors set up stalls along the beach, so you can pick up some beachwear bargains and souvenirs at leisure.

Phuket FantaSea forms the main evening attraction at Kamala Beach, where Thai legends mix with pyrotechnics, acrobatics and elephants for an amazing spectacle and theatrical experience. Kamala's other options - small bars and local restaurants are low-key and relaxed. Not surprising as Patong's bright lights are just 10 minutes away.

Price Check

Expect to pay less than you would in Patong but more than you would in Phuket City. The following prices represent beer bars and smaller places' prices. More upscale establishments will have a commensurate raise in prices.

Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Tiger, Cheers) : 70-100 baht
Import Beer (Heineken, San Miguel) : 80-110 baht.
Spirits: 90-120 baht including mixer.

 

Rawai Beach Nightlife

Nightlife in Rawai, Chalong and Nai Harn at the island's southern end has a more laid-back feel. Visitors are drawn to the inexpensive local food served at the seafront restaurants, although a few bars have popped up in recent years as well. Live music and international cuisine are just a few of the offerings.

What to Expect In Rawai at Night

Rawai is a relatively tight-knit community where a lot of people frequent their 'local' rather than bar hopping. This doesn't mean there isn't much choice of nightlife however, and the logistics of getting around in Rawai are much easier than most places.

Rawai officially begins at Chalong circle and halfway between Rawai and the circle, on a soi leading down to the sea, is Friendship Beach. A long-established location for live music, Friendship underwent a radical transformation some years back when it was transformed from a rundown hippy gathering place to a pleasant bungalow complex with a more-than-competent restaurant, a swimming pool and a snug and friendly open-sided bar with a view out across Chalong Bay. It is well-signed outside on the main road.

Drinks Price

Prices in the Rawai Area tend to be lower than Patong Beach but higher than Phuket Town, since the primary clientele are foreigners.
Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Cheers): 60-90 baht
Imported Beer (Heineken, Tiger): 70-90 baht.
Spirits : 80-120 baht including mixer.

G-Rated Activities

Rawai Mini-Golf on Soi Saiyuan is a small, homemade putting course that offers a bit of family fun. On Fridays in high season they even have a good value barbeque buffet.
 

Chalong Nightlife

Once the haunt of yachties dropping anchor for a season or two, Chalong used to have just a couple of bars where sailors met for a bevy or three. The old bars are still there, but Chalong has undergone a facelift in recent times.

The smart pier, long enough to warrant a shuttle bus service, has also encouraged a cluster of new restaurants and cafes to open along the entrance road.

Price Check

Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Cheers) : 40-60 Baht.
Imported beer : 60-90 Baht. Can be higher in some local International restaurants.
Fish and Chips : From 115 Baht
Thai food : From 35 Baht

Night Hours

The official closing time for pubs/bars is 1 am. Many bars shut down as early as 10:00am in the low season (June-October)


Phuket Town Nightlife

Phuket Town provides a more local scene with music pubs like Timber Rock and Jammin' offering good live rock 'n' roll and Thai food. An interesting alternative are the Thai-style "coffee shops" - nightclubs where ladies in fancy dresses take turns singing Thai songs while customers eat, drink and, occasionally, entice singers to join them at their tables.

What to Expect in Phuket Town at Night

The big draws in Phuket City are the Thai-style night clubs - cavernous rooms packed wall to wall with people drinking, dancing, shouting and laughing. The main entertainment of these joints is usually a live band playing a variety of music ranging from western favourites (usually about three years out of date) to Thai folk music that's been amped up. There is rarely an actual dance floor as locals prefer to cluster around standing tables. Although the crowds are mainly Thais, there are plenty of foreigners scattered about, mostly expats who live and work in Phuket.

There are plenty of regular pubs around, as well. Many of these are run by and for foreigners and are popular meeting spots. Most of these bars are frequented by long established Phuket residents who gather after work to have a laugh and let off some steam. A few beers liberally spread around will get you the best inside information on the island. One such bar that is good for happy hour is Dorn's on Vichit Songkran (the road leading out of town to Central).

Good to Know

Patong seems purpose-built for pub crawling, but the bars in Phuket City are a different story. A few are within walking distance of each other but you'll need some sort of transport for serious bar hopping. Driving a motorbike is dangerous enough while sober; don't even think about it after you've had a few. Your best bet is to engage a taxi for the night. Most tuk-tuks will be willing to ferry you around the hot spots and then back to your hotel for a flat rate (usually around 1,000 baht). Although this may seem a little steep, it's not bad if you split it between a group and it's a lot cheaper than a hospital stay.

While there aren't nearly as many ladies of dubious reputation in Phuket City as there are in other areas of the island, they can still be found, especially in bars with a mixed Thai and western crowd. It's difficult at first to tell a working girl from a normal Thai girl who just wants to get to know you. The rule of thumb here is if she's provocatively dressed and assertive she's looking for money. The advantage is that she's also a freelancer so you won't have to pay a 'bar fine'.
Thais have a strong tradition of bringing their own bottle and paying for the mixers, with many leaving their marked bottle at the bar. Indeed, Kor Tor Mor has a garbage can specifically for whiskey bottles' cardboard containers! Mixers generally cost about 200 baht.

No one smokes inside anymore. Some places will have a designated outside smoking area while others are more haphazard. Open-sided bars and restaurant are generally more tolerant of the evil weed but in air-conditioned establishments smoking is a big no-no.

Unless you're 15 years old you won't get asked for ID as a foreigner (and maybe not even then). Similarly, cover charges are unheard-of at Thai nightclubs. Bars in Phuket City, like the rest of the island are allowed to stay open until 02:00 but some of the smaller places are likely to bend the rules.

Night Hours

The official closing time for pubs/bars is 2 am. Many bars shut down as early as 24:00pm

Drink Price

Prices vary slightly from place to place but are always a little more expensive in nightclubs (places with a live band) as opposed to bars (places with a pool table).

Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Tiger, Cheers): 60-90 baht, more in nightclubs
Imported Beer : 80-120 baht. more than the local beer.
Spirits : 100+ baht including mixer.

 

Surin Beach Nightlife

Surin nightlife changes with the seasons. From November to May party life buzzes along the beach and further inland. For the rest of the year, however, the area's nocturnal activities are pretty much confined to the row of restaurants and bars that lead to the Chedi from Surin's main four-way intersection.

Drinks Price

Prices in the Surini Area tend to be lower than Patong Beach but higher than Phuket Town, since the primary clientele are foreigners.
Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Cheers): 60-90 baht
Imported Beer (Heineken, Tiger): 70-90 baht.
Spirits : 80-120 baht including mixer.

Night Hours

The official closing time for pubs/bars is 1 am. Many bars shut down as early as 10:00am in the low season (June-October)

 

Bang Tao Beach Nightlife

A number of upmarket and luxury hotels are located in Bang Tao, creating a more distinct and low-key nightlife based around fine dining and cocktails. Laguna Phuket is fully self contained with restaurants, bars, entertainment and leisure activities. An inviting mix of pubs, classy restaurants and lounges is found just outside the Laguna complex.

Drinks Price

Prices in the Surini Area tend to be lower than Patong Beach but higher than Phuket Town, since the primary clientele are foreigners.
Local Beer (Singh, Chang, Leo, Cheers): 60-90 baht
Imported Beer (Heineken, Tiger): 70-90 baht.
Spirits : 80-120 baht including mixer.

Night Hours

The official closing time for pubs/bars is 1 am. Many bars shut down as early as 10:00am in the low season (June-October)

Did you know?

Most bars and restaurants located inside the Tinlay Place at the entrance of the Laguna resorts complex offer free shutter service for Laguna guests.

 

Book Phuket Nightlife Tours

Read about, and book the following 'Phuket Nightlife Tours" at best rates:

Simon Cabaret price from 500 THB per person.
Phuket Fantasea price form 1,500 THB per person.
Thai Boxing price from 1,000 THB per person.
Sunset Cruise June Bahtra price from 2000 THB per person.
Playhouse Theatre Restaurant price from 500 THB per person.

 
 
BY AREA

PHUKET TOWN

PATONG

KARON

KATA

NAI HARN

KAMALA

RAWAI

CHALONG

SURIN

BANG TAO

 
   
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