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Going out in Thailand

Thailand Nightlife

Thailand is well known for it’s colourful nightlife and presents visitors a wealth of options when going out, whether to dance the night away, drink Thai whiskey in one of the many bars, watch the latest movie or see a Muay Thai boxing match. Tourist hot spots such as Bangkok and Phuket have a justified reputation for lively and raunchy entertainment, but many smaller towns have their own attractions and equally vibrant atmospheres.

Bars, Clubs and Go-Go Dancers

Many world-class bars and nightclubs can be found especially in Bangkok, with a healthy stream of international DJ’s and entertainers. Upmarket and exclusive bars have sprung up and attract an eclectic mix of tourists, local Thais and wannabe celebs. Outside the capital, there are still plenty of classy bars and clubs to be found.

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Thailand wouldn’t be complete without the infamous go-go clubs and so-called girlie bars, a magnet for curious tourists eager to see what the fuss is about. They are often frequented by the regular patrons who might be expats or even local Thais. Away from the tourist areas, such bars are usually more discreet karaoke-style establishments or massage parlours that cater more to Thai customers. Even though such places might be unappealing to some, they are generally safe and entertaining venues and an unavoidable part of Thailand`s culture. Even the legendary ping pong shows are still going strong in some go-go bars, but the touts outside can be annoyingly insistent and the drinks prices extortionate.

Pattaya in particular is noted for it’s untamed and raucous bars where anything might happen (and frequently does). It’s a flamboyant city full of diverse but not necessarily desirable characters. The red light districts of Nana, Patpong and Soi Cowboy are perhaps Bangkok’s most prominent nightlife areas, but despite this still remain relatively family friendly especially during the day.

Most towns with tourists in any quantity will have girlie bars of some sort and although it’s not excessively blatant, it’s impossible to avoid completely on a visit to Thailand. Indeed, it can be an enjoyable part of the experience for interested visitors and is a reason why many people are attracted here in the first place.
Almost everywhere, bars close anytime between midnight and 2 a.m. but it’s usually possible to find somewhere that stays open much later and serves alcohol, such as a disco or karaoke bar.

Karaoke Bars

On a night out in Thailand, you might accidentally wind up at one of the many small karaoke bars, which seems to be a favourite late night activity in which you can belt out dubious renditions of Thai pop songs and Western classics. Some karaoke bars have small private rooms equipped with TV’s and microphones, and an incomprehensible machine to select the songs. It’s also possible to order food and drinks, typically a large bottle of whisky with mixers and an ice bucket. In the tourist spots it’s quite common to head to the karaoke when the bars close, as they stay open until very early in the morning.

Party ‘Til You Drop

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Photo: OlegD / Shutterstock.com

Thailand has an established and fairly wild party scene. Nowhere is this displayed more prominently than at the famous Full Moon Party on the island of Koh Phangan, where each month thousands of revellers swarm onto the beach against the backdrop of thumping music pumped out by the dozens of bars. Buckets of Thai rum, beer and cocktails are consumed and the next day everybody suffers their collective hangover together. There are now moon-themed parties every week on the island including the Black Moon Party and Half Moon Party.

Most Thais love a good party and there are celebrations held all over Thailand associated with special events or ceremonies such as Songkran, the Thai new year festival which occurs every April. Songkran is perhaps the most widely known event but festivities are quite common in Thailand and include whole families and friends, and can continue unabated for several days.

Cultural Experiences

Going out in Thailand doesn’t just involve drinking all night and partying hard, and there are plenty of more cultural activities to entertain visitors. As well as the undeniably delicious food and decent restaurants, there are excellent movie theatres, raunchy cabaret shows and superb music concerts featuring local and foreign talent.

Cinemas in Bangkok tend to show the latest international movies with English soundtracks or subtitles, which is common in many towns that have a sizeable tourist population. Other movie theatres play Thai movies and international releases with dubbed audio. Cinemas in Thailand are usually modern and clean, especially the new multiplexes found in cities and shopping malls everywhere. Tickets are relatively cheap too, often with reduced prices on certain days of the week and special deals for students.

Live music and concerts take place regularly in Thailand, ranging from rock and reggae bands at a local bar to international musicians playing in large arenas or specialist music clubs. Traditional Thai music and dance is also quite popular with visitors to Thailand, and can be found in some hotels and at special events or exhibitions.

There’s always something interesting going on and it’s not hard to find local events wherever you visit in Thailand. High profile concerts such as the Hua Hin Jazz Festival take place each year, attracting large visitor numbers and generating lots of excitement in and around the town. There are dozens of activities when going out in Thailand, which can definitely be a fun, interesting and unique experience.

Going Out In Hua Hin

Although the nightlife is fairly tame, Hua Hin offers a small slice of everything for those seeking restaurants, music, bars, cultural and sporting entertainment. Many residents that stay here longer term enjoy the occasional trip to Bangkok for more diverse recreational activities, but there is just about enough variety in Hua Hin to keep most people entertained, most of the time. In the low tourist season the downtown bars can be fairly quiet compared with some other towns. However, there are many worthwhile things to do during an evening such as the visit the night market, cinema and bowling alley, watch a Thai boxing match, listen to live music, or simply take a stroll along the beach.

Please read our related articles on Hua Hin.

Safety First

Thailand is relatively safe and crime free when going out, even at night. As anywhere it pays to be fairly cautious especially in areas with tourists which might be considered an easy target. However visitors are unlikely to get into any serious issues. When any problems do arise remember the Thai sentiment “jai yen yen”, meaning stay calm and try to avoid confrontation. In this way you’re less likely to worsen a volatile situation and cause someone to lose face, which is very undesirable in Thai culture.




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