Please note that shisha is no longer available in Phuket
One of Arabic culture’s greatest gifts to the world, smoking shisha has now spread to every continent and is a fun addition to a night out – especially a night which involves drinking and partying. There is some debate over whether it is more or less healthy than smoking a cigarette, but the smell and the taste are certainly significantly more agreeable, particularly with the wealth of flavours available.
At the time of writing, the legality of shisha in Thailand is a little hazy. While there is a ban in place, there are also a large number of establishments selling it around Phuket. This is especially true in the Arabic quarter of Patong, which runs along Rat-U-Thit Road south of Bangla Road. Either way, the customer is not the one breaking the law, so it is perfectly fine to order a hookah. It does mean that our list of the shisha bars in Phuket may not be fully comprehensive, but it is representative of the different types of places you will find here.
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Combining a rooftop pool bar, sports bar and shisha lounge, L’Aquarium Chicha Lounge is found on the top of the French-owned Hotel Mussee, at the southern end of Patong Beach. It has many of customary attractions of a traditional shisha bar - including numerous large cabana-like beds – and adds a few fun twists, such as using empty liquor bottles and hollowed-out fruit as hookah pipes. Live sports are shown on a big screen at one end of the pool, making it a great social chill-out spot.
- Location: 6th Floor, Hotel Mussee, Patong Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)89 289 6160
An easy-going open-air bar located on one of the side-roads off Kata Road (which doubles as the access road for the Malisa Villa Suites), the staff at Zugar Bar & Kitchen are very friendly and laid-back. They are perfectly happy for customers to change the music selection between puffs on a good range of very cheap shishas. Fruity flavours include apple, strawberry, lemon and cherry, with prices starting at 350 baht for a small fill. Having a largely Russian clientele, a lot of the prices written around the dark and cosy bar are in Cyrillic, but the staff speak English well and the small beds and low seats are welcoming for all nationalities.
- Location: Off Kata Road, Kata Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)81 956 0157
The most popular of the seemingly limitless offerings in Patong’s Arabic quarter, Cairo Restaurant is first-and-foremost an eatery, serving a good range of Thai and Arabic dishes in a lively Egyptian atmosphere. The restaurant has both an indoor air-conditioned area and the outdoor area overlooking the road. With shisha prices as high as 800 baht for the fresh fruit variety, it is on the costly side, but the addition of great food at reasonable prices justifies it.
- Location: Rat-U-Thit Road, Patong Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)76 390654
There are various seating options at the rooftop pool party venue of Jungceylon Shopping Mall in Patong Beach. All along one side of the pool is a line of cabanas, with beanbags placed in front – an ideal setting for smoking a shisha. Sure enough, dotted amongst the low tables and soft furnishings are traditional-looking hookah pipes. Being primarily a discotheque, this venue is livelier than the average shisha bar and it is closed during the off-season, which is why it doesn’t score higher in our list. However, it is a good place for a mellow sort of party and the availability of shisha adds to that effect.
- Location: Floor 4, Jungceylon Shopping Centre, Patong Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)81 536 2926 (for bookings)
Al Basha Restaurant is found alongside Malin Plaza, at the southern end of Patong Beach. As with Cairo Restaurant, the availability of good Arabic cuisine is an added bonus, albeit one which removes the comfortable lounge seating seen in specialised bars. Al Basha is deserving of mention, however, for the surprising range of flavours available. There are the standard options – apple, grape, mint, etc. – for 250 baht; you can mix it up a bit – apple and mint, strawberry and mint, etc. – for 300 baht; and the fresh fruit options – apple, orange or pineapple – are fairly priced at 500 baht. However, few other shisha places in Phuket serve alcoholic shisha, including red, white and rose wine, vodka, whiskey and tequila-flavoured for 900 baht.
- Location: Malin Plaza, Prachanukhro Road, Patong Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)83 551 1865