Phuket is famous for its nightlife that attracts many tourists from all over the world. It is found mostly in and around the busiest beaches of Phuket – Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai. The choices are vast for a night out after an active day at the beach – Western-style discos with dance floors, Thai-style nightclubs with live music, tranquil pubs, small bars dotting the beaches and go-go clubs that offer good ‘company’.
Nightlife in PatongBangla Road in Patong Beach is the hub of Phuket’s nightlife. This area has closely packed mini bars as well as sprawling western-style nightclubs. The entrance fee at the discos here is around 400 baht, which includes two drinks. Go-go bars are mostly located in Soi Seadragon. The popular strip clubs are Soi Tiger, Soi Eric and Soi Crocodile. Safari Bar on the city outskirts is a popular nightspot. The highlights here are food stands, dance floors and a rock-climbing facility.
Nightlife in Kara-Karon areaThis area is much smaller compared to Patong and the atmosphere here is calmer. It is frequented by Scandinavian tourists. A few bars located here, cater to the night customers, but there are no discos. The nearby Rawai looks sleepy during the day, but becomes active at night. There are around ten medium-sized bars here that flout closing time rules every now and then. There are activities for families as well. Latest English movies can be seen at the theaters in Jung Ceylon and Central Festival Walk. Other attractions are facilities for go-karting, shooting, bowling and mini golf. Music Matter, a small jazz spot, hosts Live Jazz Jams every Wednesday night. A quiz show is conducted by The Green Man British Pub on Thursday nights.
Nightlife in Phuket TownThai-style nightclubs are the major attraction of Phuket Town. Locals and expats are regulars at these places. The live bands play a mix of Thai and western music. Though you are expected to pay corkage fees for bringing in liquor bottles from outside, it is normally overlooked. There are no separate dance floors in most of these places. Karaoke is a popular feature in many of Thailand’s bars. The facilities at different places depend on the standard of the bar. The high-end restaurants even have private booths or hotel rooms with a hostess taking care of your needs. Hostess expenses are extra and they charge per hour. There is no guarantee that the hostess will come with you later. Thailand has an open approach towards Girlie Bars, where you can find girls and gay boys to spend the evening with. Some bars in specific localities specialize in this field. Many tourists come to Thailand to enjoy this feature. Even if you are not interested in the affairs there, there is no harm in visiting the place to see how it operates. The atmosphere is friendly and approachable. The girls in these bars will come with you outside, if you are willing to pay a ‘fine’ of around 400 baht. Some are even willing to overlook this, if there is a possibility for a long-term arrangement. Most villas allow you to bring girls to your room from outside. Some villas even charge extra for this. However, some luxury villas in Phuket do not allow this. So to save any awkward situation, check their rules before trying.
Discos in Phuket IslandPhuket City and Patong are the major hubs of discos in the island. However, other beach areas also have joints with bars and sometimes dance floors. The atmosphere at these places are normally relaxed and the music played here are good, but cannot be called disco music. These kinds of places are found at crowded areas frequented by tourists.
Discos in Phuket CityQ-Spot: This is a new Thai-style nightclub, with a dance floor and posh décor. Located off Ratsada Road, Phuket Town, it is open from 7.00pm to 1.00am. Address: 34 Phang-Nga Rd, A Muang, Phuket 83000 Telephone: +66 76 256 588 Email: [email protected] Timber Hut: It is a popular nightclub with live band and good food. Address: 118/1 Yaowarat Rd., A. Muang, Phuket 83000, Telephone: +66 76 211 839 Blue Marina: Live music and great atmosphere are the highlights of this nightclub. It is usually jam-packed with tourists by 10.00-11.00. It is attached to Blue Marlin Hotel in Phuket Town and occupies the basement. Address: 158/1 Yaowaraj Rd., T. Taladayai, A. Muang, Phuket 83000, Telephone: 076 212866-70
Discos in PatongPatong discos are livelier, blaring out music till 2.00am. They usually charge 400 baht as admission fee, in which two drinks are also included. FBI: This is a highly popular bar with friendly staff. The place is located at one end of the Bangla Road and entry is free here. Banana: Excellent music, friendly crowd and great drinks are the attractions of Banana. Like elsewhere, they charge 400 baht for admission, which includes two drinks. Address: 124 Thaweewong Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 340 306 Tiger: Located at the heart of Bangla Road, it comes alive after midnight. Address: 49 Bangla Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 345 112, Email: [email protected] Seduction: Spacious dance floor and weekly beach parties on Wednesdays are the highlights. Admission is free before 12.00. Drinks are expensive at 200 baht. Address: 39/1 Bangla Rd., Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 340 215, Email: [email protected] Baya Beach: Located at the end of Bangla Road, adjacent to FBI, it comes to life after 2.00am. It is well known as a good pick-up spot in Phuket. Safari: This is an open-air nightclub with facilities for games like rock-climbing. Located on the road to Karon, it opens at midnight and stays open till morning hours. Address: 28 Sirirat Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150 Clublime: This fairly new joint is more patronized by locals and is said to be a clean place. Located on the road to Patong Beach, close to Rock City, it opens at 9.00pm and closes late at night. Address: Thaweewong Rd., Telephone: 076 341613, 085 7871195, Email: [email protected]
Phuket Town is the largest town and economic center of Phuket province. In Thai language, it is known as Muang Phuket. It has an estimated population of 63,000. It is not a great tourist destination, with all the exotic beaches lying close by. However, accommodation and food is cheaper here than the nearby beaches. In addition, Phuket has a Chinatown offering a great Thai-style shopping experience. Phuket had an important place in history and many a battle was waged to possess it. This town was an important halt in the India – East Asia sea route. Tradesmen used this route for centuries to transport goods. Burmese, Portuguese and the Dutch have tried at various times during the history to take over this small town. After this came the tin mining boom, which brought with it thousands of Chinese immigrants. They settled here and infused their culture, cuisine and architecture into the local scene. Phuket Town has excellent examples of Sino-colonial architecture, Chinese temples and houses dating back a century. If you are interested in the history of Phuket, this town has more to offer than the beach areas.
How to reachLocal buses and songthaews run between Phuket Town and other beaches from 7.00am to 6.00pm. In Phuket Town, the buses start from Thanon Ranong at Ranong market. Services to Patong Beach run every 30 minutes and takes 45 minutes to cover the distance. The fare is 20 baht. To other beaches, the fare is in the range of 15 to 30 baht. Taxis charge anywhere from 200 to 400 baht – less if you bargain hard. Phuket International Airport is towards the north of Phuket Town, lying at a distance of 30kms. By taxi, it takes 30 minutes and 500 baht and by shared minibus, it takes 45 minutes and 100 baht to cover the distance.
Getting aroundThe ideal means of transport around the town is tuk-tuks, which are available in plenty. Decide on the fare before boarding, as they tend to overcharge. Motorbike taxis are also available for hire. There are no public bus services in the town. Phuket Town is too big to travel on foot.
Places to seePhuket Town has many interesting buildings dating back a century, which will interest students of architecture. Even ordinary tourists can enjoy visiting the well-preserved buildings. Some of the most important tourist attractions are:
- Put Jaw and Jui Tui Temples: These are located near the Ranong bus terminus, on the corner of Soi Phuthon and Thanon Ranong. Put Jaw temple, built almost two centuries ago, is the oldest Chinese Taoist temple in Phuket. It is dedicated to Kwun Im, the Goddess of Mercy. The neighboring Jui Tui temple is a later addition and is bigger. Here, devotees find answer to their questions by throwing two red-colored mango-shaped blocks up in the air in front of the altar. If the blocks fall on different sides the answer is taken as ‘yes’ and if they fall on the same sides, the answer to your puzzling question is ‘no’. There is no entry fee, but donations are welcome.
- Sino-Portuguese mansions: These mansions, located in Thanon Krabi, were built by the tin tycoons during the tin mining boom in late 19th century. They look impressive even today.
- Wat Mongkol Nimit: This Thai-style temple, located in Thanon Dibuk, has a beautiful towering roof and colorful glass tiling.
- Phuket Cultural Museum: This museum, located at Rajabhat University, displays information about Phuket’s history through pictures and tableaus. Entry to the museum is free.