After a hot day in the sun, Bangkok transforms at dusk to become one of the most entertaining and liveliest cities in Thailand, let alone South-East Asia. The city comes alive with music, lights and entertainment. With a relaxed and care-free vibe of the city, this equates to a night of “anything-goes” attitudes among its patrons.
For even the utmost of party-animal species, Bangkok can be sensory overload. There is just so much to see and do. From the red light districts of Nana Plaza (Nana Entertainment Complex) and Soi Cowboy to shopping at a night market, there’s something for everyone.
With all the choices that you have before you, it would seem overwhelming for the first time traveler to Bangkok. So, we put together a nightlife guide to make it a little easier to decide what appeals to you the most.
1. Sukhumvit Road
Known as the hub for nightlife in Bangkok, is the famous Sukhumvit Rd. Here you will find most of BK’s entertainment from night clubs, beer bars, red light districts, restaurants and of course, massage parlors. This is the most popular area for single male tourists of any age and essential if you are looking to take home a hot Thai girl for the night.
Asoke – In this very busy area you will find one of the Red light districts – Soi Cowboy. It’s an open ended street full of go-go bars, (30 or so) with some beer bars and a few restaurants on the corner of the street. Unlike Nana Plaza where there’s an official entrance, you can walk right through Soi Cowboy from both ends of the street.
Further up Soi 23 you will find more girly beer bars and massage shops. If you’ve never been to Bangkok before, you’ll soon see how aggressive the massage shop girls can be. Just smile and say no thank you no matter how irritating they can get – that’s if you don’t want a massage.
Nana – Located at the beginning of Sukhumvit Rd., if you want to seek out most of the action you’ll want to visit Soi 4, Soi 11, and Soi 7/1.
Nana Plaza is located on Soi 4, right across from the Nana Hotel. In Nana Plaza you’ll find around 30 go-go bars and some beer bars. Keep in mind that some of these bars also feature ladyboys, so if that’s not your speed be sure to know before you enter. The usual sign is ladyboys hanging out by the entrance. A good example of a go-go bar that’s strictly female’s only is Spanky’s but there’s a bunch in the complex.
If you’d rather just go to beer bars to chat up some thai bar girls and avoid the go-go’s, you can do that at Soi 7/1. On Soi 8 is a bunch of more beer-bars and of course massage shops as well.
How to Get To Sukhumvit
If you’re no where near Nana or Asoke, you should make your way onto the BTS Skytrain as it’s your best bet. Both areas have their own station but best to get off at Nana Station. This area is plagued with traffic so you’ll want to avoid taking a taxi. Keep in mind the train closes at midnight.
Notable Famous Bars to Mention
If you remember the movie “Hangover 2” you can visit the roof top bar in one of the scenes. It’s called the Skybar Rooftop at Lebua. To get to it, just take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station. From there it’s just a 5 minute walk.
- Octave Rooftop Bar at the Marriot Hotel Sukhumvit
- Park Society – Sofitel So on Sathorn
- Above Eleven
- Red Sky – Centara Grand at Central World
- Attitude – Avani Hotel
- CRU Rooftop Champagne Bar
Keep in mind alcohol prices for these bars will be much higher than the beer bars & go-go’s in the red light districts. Food is also quite pricey but if this is not a concern and you want a classy night out, any of the above options will be great for you.
2. Silom Road
Another bustling nightlife area of Bangkok is Silom Road. Included in this area is another nightlife district – Patpong. Although not as popular as Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy, it still has plenty to offer.
Patpong includes Patpong 1 & 2. Patpong 1 is the bigger of the two with a night market located in the centre of the street. The night market opens up at 6:00 PM and runs to 12:00 AM every day. This area is full of go-go bars, beer bars and again, more massage shops.
One thing to be aware of is that Silom Rd Soi 2 and Soi 4 are known for a very big gay scene so if you’re straight don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Just to not leave the gay guys out, you’ll want to visit this area if you fancy a massage from a gay male at a massage shop. They also have gay go-go bars and beer bars just as well.
Soi Thaniya is very popular among Japanese tourists and especially for Karaoke bars. It is located near Sala Daeng BTS station.
How to Get to Silom Road
As always, to get to Silom Road, your best bet is the BTS Skytrain and get off at Sala Daeng. Keep in mind the BTS closes at midnight, so you’ll probably have to take a taxi or Tuk Tuk back to your hotel.
3. Khaosan Road
A backpackers haven, Khaosan Rd attracts mostly a younger crowd of men & women looking to party the night away. Lacking here is the red light districts of Soi Cowboy and Nana as this area is packed with “normal” bars and shops. When I say normal I mean that they don’t have bargirls in this area. You won’t find freelancers here either as it’s mostly a younger crowd of students looking to party and really no place for sex workers.
Every night is a party pretty much and gets especially crazy on the weekend. You’ll find live bands most of which play western music. Also found are many great restaurants to chill in. There’s a few massage shops but aren’t typical – they are mostly outdoor and most are just foot and shoulder massage.
It can get pretty noisy so be prepared. Just a good tip – secure your wallet and valuables. There have been some reports of pickpocketing in this area – probably from tourists that have run out of money and looking for some fast cash.
How to Get to Khaosan Road
You could take a Taxi, bus or Tuk Tuk but my favorite way is to take the Chao Phraya Tourist Express Boat. It’s about 50 baht per person (thieir site is outdated) and just the scenery you will see on the boat is worth it. You can get on the boat at Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
If you have ever seen in pictures a very large Ferris wheel along the Chao Phraya River – you’ve spotted the location of Asiatique. Asiatique is a massive riverfront entertainment complex that has many restaurants, bars and shops. It’s a heavy tourist area and you’ll find a lot of Chinese tourists there.
Thais are also known to frequent this area. It’s ideal to take a date, so if you meet a Thai girl or any girl for that matter and want to have an enjoyable evening without the craziness of the Red light areas or clubs, this is the place to go.
Many people enjoy live music and shopping, along with taking a picture at the big Asiatique sign which is very popular with the tourists.
How to Get to Asiatique
The best (and funnest – if that’s a word) is to get on the BTS and go to Saphan Taksin station. Once you get off the train you’ll walk to the pier and look for the signs to the shuttle boat to Asiatique. The boat is free and runs about every 1o minutes back and forth.
5. RCA – Royal City Avenue
If you want to get away from tourist areas and mix it with the locals, then you’ll want to hit RCA. This area mostly caters to local Thais with a bunch of high-end nightclubs and bars. Some of the more popular bars in this area are Route 66 and Slim. They are packed almost every night and on weekends you might have to wait outside because they are just jammed.
You won’t find a thai hooker in this area and i’d be surprised if you do. However you never know. If you do meet a girl here, chances are she likes you for you and not your money, unlike in the touristy areas where it’s all about the money. I think you get the picture here what kind of place this is. Here you’ll get a taste of authentic Thai nightlife if that’s what you are looking for.
RCA has four main blocks with Block A being the closest to Rama 9 Rd. On Petchaburi Road you’ll link up with Block D. Both of these will have the MRT – which is the underground Subway system that you can link up with At Asoke BTS station.
From the MRT you will need to take a taxi or motorbike as it’s too far to walk. If young Thai girls from the teens to early 20’s that are dressed impeccably interest you, then you’ll not want to miss a night out here.
6. Rod Fai Night Market
After you have experienced RCA, you might want to try out the Rod Fai night market. It’s similar, but you won’t find expensive drinks or nightclubs here. It’s very chill with great little bars that sell mostly beer.
What I love about this place is that most bars have rooftops so taking a date up there or just taking in the lights from the rooftop would make for a great evening.
You’ll find some pretty hot Thai girls in this area. Similar to RCA, the girls are more authentic and if they like you it’s not because of your money. You’d be one lucky farang to hook up with a stunning hottie in this place – just don’t expect to take her home the first night.
The place gets its name from the market just next to the street full of bars. So, when you’ve had enough drinking you can check out the market. I would advise you go to the market first though, as we all know our tolerance to spending money on useless items when drunk sure changes!
How to Get There
Hop on the MRT and take it to the Thai Cultural Center. Take exit number 3 as you walk out of the station and hang a left. When you see the Esplanade Shopping Mall you’re close – it’s just right behind the mall.