If you haven't been to Patong then I guess it's worth a visit as long as you are not offended by the seedier side of what happens at night. There are plenty of attractions away from the bar scene though.
Phuket’s nightlife is interesting and can also pull surprises on you. Much of the action happens at the Bangla Road, Patong Beach.
This is a location that has something for everybody at night. Its main focus is on drinking and fraternizing with the local girls who are freelancers or work at the bars serving customers drinks (or going with them to offer some female company elsewhere).
Here are my favorite 10 attractions around Patong at night time – in no particular order:
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- Siam Niramit Show – Outside Patong near Kathu
- Phuket Fantasea – Outside Patong near Kalim
- Paradise Beach Club – Over the Hill but not Far Far Away
- A Walk Down Bangla Road
- 9th Floor Restaurant – Northern Inner Outskirts of Patong
- Clubbing It at TaiPan, Seduction or Illuzion Nightclub
- Healthland Massage – In Town
- Simon Cabaret – Southen Outskirts of Patong
- Ban Rim Pa, Joe's Downstairs & Di Mario Restaurants – Northern Edge of Town
- Thai Boxing at Bangla Stadium
Whilst Bangla Road and its immediate area are on the seedy side of family fun, it is still worth a visit even if only to see what exists there. If you haven't tried somewhere then it's hard to have a valid opinion – right?
Most of the following things are a great experience to do at least once. I list them as favorites because they are worth the experience.
A bit like going up the Eiffel Tower – it's something to try but not many people want to do it every night!
So here is my list of 10 things you can do in and around Patong when the sun goes down.
Siam Niramit Show – Outside Patong near Kathu
Siam Niramit stands out in Phuket's nightlife. It is an extravaganza that will give you an opportunity to appreciate Thai culture, beliefs, and art.
The scene is set up in rich Thai designs, and this is complemented by different forms of lighting and costumes of the performing groups.
The sets are very well choreographed and split into three scenes, but there is no intermission as such. You'll find a lot of attention to detail in the sets and the performances approach Western standards. The show itself is in a theater-like setting.
You'll like the fact that the show is not too long, so most kids can tolerate watching as there is a lot of movement to keep their attention.
It's also interesting as it explains some elements of our historical culture and ideas which have their roots many centuries ago. You'll also get to hear traditional Thai song and dance which I like to watch and takes practice to master believe me!
If you are into Thai martial arts, you'll find some of that here too. So I think it's fair to say there is something for everyone to make it a night you'll remember for a while.
This show is operated by the same owners as its namesake in Bangkok. A small fortune, well a large fortune actually, was invested to make it a world-class attraction. More than can be said of many places that claim the same and leave you coming away disappointed.
It is worth arriving in good time for the show as the setting is very pleasant. You can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant located there where the view is pleasant over the adjacent lake.
The food can't really be described as gourmet but is as good or better than similar venues. Bear in mind it is primarily a show.
There are a few other attractions outside which are not expensive and pass the time waiting for the show to begin.
Unlike most of the other nightspots, this is a perfect place for a family evening out.
You won't have too much trouble booking the show in Patong or online where there are ever-changing discounts to be had.
As usual, the prices for the ticket alone, a ticket with transfers and ticket with included buffet are quite close in price so don't expect to save much by missing the buffet or minibus transfers. And one major benefit of the transfers is not having to worry about the Phuket taxis which have a less than stellar reputation!
What you do gain with self-directed travel is the chance to time your arrival to suit yourself rather than be tied to an itinerary.
I am happy to recommend this for pretty much anyone.
Phuket Fantasea – Outside Patong near Kalim
Before the arrival of Siam Niramit, Phuket Fantasea was the only show in the town of any size. And what a spectacular show it is.
It's a little different to Siam Niramit although there is some overlap in content theme.
Phuket Fantasea is over the hill from Patong living in Kalim which is a minor resort in itself. Like Siam Niramit, the set up is to get you into transfer mini buses to take you to and from the event. And there is a lot of merchandise to be met when you arrive.
On a previous trip, I went via the scheduled transportation which had me at the premises much too far ahead of time. I had the feeling that this was intentional and the only thing to do was to browse the shops, play the low key entertainment and eat food when I was not really very hungry.
That is a spoiler to the main show which truly is spectacular.
If you choose to spend your evening at the Fantasea theme park you'll be entertained by acrobats accompanied by intelligent and beautiful elephants. As well as this there is a whole army of other entertainers acting out cultural examples of daily life, dance and other entertainment.
The lighting show and stage are very well put together if anything better than Siam Niramit, though I guess that is a matter of taste.
Phuket Fantasea is a very popular entertainment spot for the whole family, and kids, in particular, will find the performing elephants exciting to watch. Just because I mentioned kids, don't have that put you off going if you are kid-free. It is not a kids-only show.
Like the Siam Niramit, the Fantasea, which is located at the Kamala Beach, is easily accessible from major hotels on the island.
If you want to travel under your own steam then I strongly suggest to tie in the trip with something else and hire a car rather than use the local taxi transportation. It is one of my pet hates on the island and has some very bad press in the past.
Paradise Beach Club – Over the Hill but not Far Far Away
Another venue that has changed out of all recognition over the last decade is the development of Paradise Beach.
Once a sleepy beach approached by a dirt track, from the end of Patong Beach sea hugging road and through the vegetation over the hill to Paradise Beach. And what a paradise it was.
Quiet and little known by tourists with a little swing and restaurant on the beach quietly lapped by the sea.
Well, it is not that anymore. That's not to say it is not a paradise of another sort. As the saying goes – one man's meat is another man's poison.
Now you will find a buzzing beach resort, packed with people dancing and partying the night away. A sort of full moon party sister to what goes on in Koh Phangan but maybe a little more laid back.
Actually, laid back is a bad description – perhaps less crazy is a better description.
The music and entertainment at Paradise Beach Resort is something to write home about or at least discuss with your friends who haven't been. If they are there with you then talking is probably going to be a little noisy to be heard over the vibes pounding out at the beach.
At least the resort is somewhat remote so it is not disturbing the people nearby.
Getting there can be an issue and it's likely you'll have to use a taxi. If you approach this with the knowledge that anything goes, calmly agree on a price and simply walk away if one cannot be agreed then all should be fine.
My advice here is that most problems occur when people have had too much to drink so it is super important to keep calm. Unfortunately, alcohol does not have much better a reputation than the transport system in Phuket and is even more likely to get you angry quickly. Keep calm or Jai Yen Yen as we say in Thailand and all should be well.
A Walk Down Bangla Road
Another rapidly changing area is Bangla Road itself.
The main road and entertainment area is a walking-only zone mix of cruddy bars, upmarket bars, entertainment complex bars, and night clubs.
Intermingled are a selection of venues with girls, some of them moving around poles and presumably extremely hot. I don't mean hot like you guys are thinking, I mean hot as in sweaty, given the lack of clothing!!
I am not actually against this sort of thing by the way. I've been known to have a drink or two and am particularly partial to wine. I have also been in several erotic venues, shall we say, though not those that are extreme. And as a customer, I hasten to add.
So you may call me biased but wobbling female flesh is just not my thing and only slightly higher up the scale to even more wobbling male stuff.
Nevertheless, these things are probably one of the things that you should see coming to Patong. There is a lot to choose from but I really can't recommend any as it is a very long time since I last frequented one.
I am reliably told that Suzie Wong's is one of the better places to sit and watch or whatever. It's decorated with Chinese red lanterns, Chinese dressed staff complete with a rickshaw.
Not far away is Suzy Wong’s sister go-go bar, the Devil’s Playground. Apparently another popular spot with beautiful girls performing for revelers so I'm told. Though it pays to remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
For a better experience, you can make an early booking or even ask for private shows. The latter comes at a higher cost, of the course.
Apart from all the gyrating and drinking joints, there is more to entertain you as you wander from one end to the other. You might ponder the waters of the Tsunami that obliterated the sea end of the street, half-filled the bars halfway up the street and even made it several inches thick to the TaiPan end of the soi.
On the other hand, you may marvel at the regalia of the ladyboys who will let you take a picture of them with you for a few hundred baht. I would have taken a picture but the model release would likely have used up my budget for the month given the personal picture rates!
9th Floor Restaurant – Northern Inner Outskirts of Patong
So if you have had your fill of cultural shows, or they are just not your thing, or feel like the energy has been sucked out of you partying the night away at Paradise Beach, how about a good meal.
There is a fairly old condo building, The Sky-Inn Condotel, down soi 47 off 200 Pee Road or second road if you like, on the way out towards the hill road to Kathu. The condotel itself, was a bit of a white elephant the last time I visited which was a long time ago.
However, some way towards the top of this condo cum hotel tower block sits the 9th Floor Restaurant. Amazingly enough, you won't go far wrong finding it if you hit the 9th-floor button in the lift.
It is an oasis! A paradise for foodies!
The restaurant has floor to ceiling glass walls that offer great views over Patong – I wish I was there one time when the firework shows were on as the view would be amazing!
Anyway. Patong, as you will find out, is awash with restaurants. Some are terrible, some Ok and some pass reasonable muster. Then there are some great ones with prices to match their greatness. Then there is the 9th Floor Restaurant.
If you want a quieter night and some great food at fair prices then this should be your destination. They also have a pretty good selection of wine by the way.
Service was slick whenever I have the luck to visit and it is clean.
If you want quality with service at prices that won't leave you feeling sick at the end of the evening then please give it a try.
Clubbing It at TaiPan, Seduction or Illuzion Nightclub
Let me say right away that clubbing is not really a big part of my life, and never really has been.
Of course, I've been out till the early hours and had more than enough to drink on occasion, but these events are few and far between now. So I am not really able to say which of the clubs is the best. I have however done a little research for you.
TaiPan, located at the end of Bangla Road, has been there a long time. Run by a guy named Bob who is very well known in Phuket.
TaiPan has morphed from an older expat's rock ‘n roll joint to what it is today in order to cater for the changing clientele. It still has less of, what I imagine to be, an Ibiza feels than Seduction or Illuzion which I understand to be more focussed on hip hop. I have to confess I am not much of a fan of hip hop but perhaps I need to give it more time to grow on me – in about 80 years time!
Anyway, all of these joints have local girls to pretty up the scene. Either paid for as dancers, seduced by free drinks to provide honey for the bees, or simply freelancers or richer girls out for the night.
As is the case more or less all over Asia, I think, girls will expect you to be paying for their company so pay attention if you are on your own. Remember there is no rule that a girl has to stay with you whether or not you buy her a drink.
Also remember many of the clubs may have differential pricing, either from the management or otherwise. It is always a great idea to pay for drinks as you go to avoid shock bills. I've seen quite a lot of reports of overcharging in the news recently though not specifically in Patong.
Healthland Massage – In Town
If you've been following along – you have, haven't you? – then you're probably in need of a rest. Healthland Massage is just the ticket.
Healthland Massage is located near the Andaman Suites Hotel on-off 200 Pee Road (or Second Road from the beach if you prefer) and in a small Soi that joins Hat Patong Road.
I hope you are not expecting some high class looking fancy-schmancy place that charges the earth – time for that later in this article. Oh no. This is a small shop that simply specializes in excellent massages of all sorts. Sports massage, oil massage, foot massage, Thai massage, anti-cellulite massage and so on.
The thing is the massage is excellent and the price is right.
You'll lie down for an hour or more and be treated to 5 Star Treatment. The rooms are well-appointed and all that is needed for the job is on hand. The masseurs are well trained and good at their job so you'll be happy you whiled away a few hours to relax you after your excursions or excursions as the case may be.
Well worth trying and great value for service.
Easily within walking distance of Bangla Road area otherwise, you might need to take a bike there.
Simon Cabaret – Southen Outskirts of Patong
Who wants to see a load of transvestites doing a stage show, I hear you ask?
It's a comment I hear often when talking about ladyboys. Well, hang on and don't be so prejudicial.
It is definitely a topic of discussion for visitors to Thailand who seem to have a fascination as to why so many girls seem to want to be boys (but can't really and so are just toms), and boys who seem to want to be girls (and sort of almost can). That's on top of, (excuse the expression), boys who want to be boys with boys and girls who want to be girls with girls.
It is a funny ol' world it's often said – to me!
Well, the thing is there is something about boys who are almost girls to the point that with some you really have a hard time telling. Voices trained and bodies adapted to approach the female form. Even I have trouble sometimes but then I am not fearful. I wonder if that is the fascination with guys though – maybe they could have been fooled into the unthinkable – or is it really the unthinkable. Oooooh too much thinking.
Simon Cabaret has been around for years. It's located on the road out of town towards Karon – not far out but a bit much for most to walk.
The setting is a large theatre house and stage though the opulence of Siam Niramit or Phuket Fantasea is not comparable. This is a smaller scale and, appropriately, more intimate affair.
Here, beautiful girls in splendid costumes will entertain you with dances and other performances. The setting is enhanced with dim lights and some saxophone music.
The girls/boys are well trained and spend a long time rehearsing the choreography so the show looks pretty good.
I know some of the singing is mimed but I don't think it all is. Actually, I am not really sure 100% which means either it isn't and I can tell the ones which aren't, or it is and is so good I am not sure.
It's definitely worth a look and again tickets are readily available at a discount if you hunt around.
Ban Rim Pa, Joe's Downstairs & Di Mario Restaurants – Northern Edge of Town
If you had several million dollars and wanted to buy the top spots in town – you couldn't because these two restaurants have them!
Right at the northern edge of the Beach Road just before it goes up the hill towards Kalim (where Phuket Fantasea is), and near the Novotel, you'll find these two gems.
I wondered whether they really belong here because there are better restaurants, there are cheaper restaurants and there are certainly better cheaper restaurants around town. That said there are a lot of much much worse restaurants but they probably don't match the prices at these.
So having made plain these two venues are pretty pricey, what are they doing here? Well as the real estate crowd say location, location, location.
Both restaurants sit right on the edge of the ocean and if you can get a seaside table you are in for a treat. It really is romantic, even for me which is saying something as God ran out of romance when he crafted me perfect 🙂
Ban Rim Pa is a Royal Thai food restaurant predominately and the food is good. Decked out in traditional Thai style you'll soak up the atmosphere of Thainess though the service is great.
Perfectly placed for magnificent golden red sunsets out across Patong Bay. It really is spectacular and that is a good slug of what you pay for sicne it is really unique.
If you've had enough of Thai food for a bit and want something a little more unusual then head downstairs to Joe's which is ….. downstairs. The views are the same but from a slightly different perspective which you photographers will get. The decor there is more contemporary too.
And if you just want a really expensive pizza or pasta then head on over to Da Maurizio's. The food is great there as are the drinks and it IS a really nice restaurant but I have difficulty finding value in pasta and pizza at gourmet food prices. I do need to kick myself into remembering the location though.
Anyway, if you want to sip cocktails or Pina Coladas do it here and forget the cape because you've already escaped.
As for making love at midnight ……..
Thai Boxing at Bangla Stadium
So if the prices at Ban Rim Pa didn't floor you then you can go watch someone else get floored – cool segueway huh?
Thailand is renowned for its martial arts and many people visit Thailand to learn Thai Boxing. There are many great training schools if that is your passion.
Personally, I think life throws enough punches but if there is a Thai Boxing match underway it is difficult not to watch two people (okay two guys but sometimes kids too), kicking and punching themselves about.
The music is a little mesmerizing too, sort of like snake charming you feel like you want to rise off your feet – which in the end you do; to cheer if your guy wins.
There is a boxing stadium right in the middle of Patong where you can grab a seat and watch a match. Last time I went it was all rather casual – no advance booking required but they do appreciate a donation to the participants if you are watching the match. Given they are boxers that's a no brainer!
Unlike the taxi drivers though, the boxers are not likely to smack you about with their friends if you don't pay them!
And some of those boxers are fit!!
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I am a Thai mum and love cooking for my children. Over the years, I have taken my family recipes as well as ones borrowed from friends and adapted them to make them even tastier. I publish my authentic Thai Food Recipes here for all to enjoy around the world. When I get a chance to travel I publish information to help others visiting Thailand.