Patong Nightlife for the First Time
Phuket Nightlife - What to Expect
Patong’s nightlife is almost entirely different from what people take as ‘normal’ in the west. The epicentre of all the frolicking is on Bangla Road (known locally as Soi Bangla) with its off-streets such as Soi Eric, Soi Gonzo, Soi Easy and more.
This is where you will encounter A Go-Go bars, Bar Beers (yes, Bar Beers, not Beer Bars – things get convoluted in Patong), and many exotic and way-over-the-top ladyboys.
It all may seem so wild and new to you but you’ll soon discover that even in this glamourous and outlandish new world there are rules to be observed and frontiers not to be crossed.
Dedicated drinkers may claim that downing eight beers in one sitting is mere child’s play. At Thai beer bars, you can combine that sort of child’s play with Jenga or Connect Four and fill the hours with laughter.
The beer bars account for a majority of the hangouts along Bangla Road, Patong’s nightlife hub, and its numerous side streets (Soi Eric, Soi Crocodile, Soi Easy, and plenty more). The hostesses lure patrons with flattery – “Hello, handsome!” was selected by most girls after the phrase tested well in a market research survey – or mock brute force.
Because no drinking scene would be complete without construction tools, beer bars like to keep hammers, nails, and large chunks of wood on hand. The game: competitors see who can be the first to drive a nail into the tree trunk. Not only is it a good lesson in the inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and coordination, but it’s also the ideal place to make bad puns (getting hammered, getting nailed, insert your own here).
There are plenty of pool tables in Patong for those that like more traditional games. But don’t be fooled by the casual indifference of your female opponent. She’s been playing every night for weeks, months, or maybe longer; sinking shots and clobbering customers is second nature. Wager with care. Most beer bars hang a bell within easy reach of patrons. Grasp the rope, give it a good ring, and bask in your newfound popularity: you just bought a round of drinks. The details of who benefits from your generosity varies from bar to bar – in some you buy only for the girls, in some you buy for all the staff, customers, and opportunists with sensitive ears – so it’s best to ask beforehand. Read More...
Patong's ladyboys surprise nightly with shock-and-awesome displays of over-the-top femininity. The bottlenecked foot traffic on Bangla Road at the entrance to Soi Crocodile can only mean one thing: the katoeys (as they're known in Thai) are peacocking.
Dressed like beauty pageant contestants from another dimension, they strut on a small stage or meander through the crowd selling photo ops to tourists. (Point your camera with care. The conversion from man to woman wasn't free, and they expect a tip.) Sure, they overact – excessive hand gestures, catwalk-ready struts, attempts to sound girly – but that's all part of the fun. Read More...
At Simon Cabaret and a few bars in Paradise Complex (Patong’s gay area), these transgender wonders put on shows that are engaging, funny, and always entertaining. It’s a near-guarantee that some performers will have you shaking your head and saying, “There’s no way she was born a man!” Really, they’re that good.
Simon Cabaret’s productions are bigger, flashier, and more expensive, while the shows in Paradise Complex can be enjoyed for the cost of a drink. Both are very hetero-friendly, with husband-and-wife teams accounting for most of the audience. Read More...
While not as prevalent as many people expect, Patong does have its fair share of go-go bars (try Soi Sea Dragon). Scantily clad girls (or guys, if that’s your thing) stand on stage, six or eight at a time, bending their knees to the music and wondering what television shows they’re missing. (Actual experience may vary – some places are quite lively.) When the girls aren’t dancing, they’ll let you buy them drinks in exchange for conversation, sometimes more. With names like Crazy Girls A-Go-Go, Bottoms Up Club, Coyote Bar, and Playschool A-Go-Go – well, you can imagine.
Fun loving people, whether guys or gals, singles or couples, gay, straight, or ambiguous, flock here to play in the moonlight. It’s an all night party with something for every taste. Read More...
When I said Phuket has places where “you’ll almost forget you’re not at home,” almost was the operative word; this is still very much Thailand. Whether dancing a jig at Scruffy Murphy’s, getting funky at Seduction Discotheque, or headbanging to ripped-jeans classics at Rock City, ‘Thainess’ is never far away.
So what’s exotic about Western-style establishments in Patong? Hearing local bands play songs from your country better than the original artist ever did. Plopping a whisky bottle in the middle of your table and draining it with a few friends. Having a glass that’s always full, despite your repeated efforts to empty it. Getting a bill that’s often wrong, but works out in your favour as often as not. Being served by beer promotion girls dressed in Heineken, Chang, or Tiger uniforms (the last puts the others to shame).
Imagine your favourite corner bar. Relax the rules, increase the smiles, and throw in a few Thai lovelies. Perfection. Read More...