EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOI BANGLA
Phuket’s Bangla Road really comes to life after sunset, when the road is closed to traffic and becomes a 400-meter festival of neon lights, loud music, and cheap beer. Jammed most nights of the year, it’s quite a friendly and lively place to walk around, with dozens of bars and clubs competing with each other for customers.
Beer bars occupy most of the street’s length, with several go-go bars and a few pubs, restaurants, discos, and shops rounding out the attractions.
GET YOUR BEARINGS
Soi Bangla can be roughly divided into 3 sections, each with its own particular atmosphere. The end of Soi Bangla, furthest from the beach and closest to Rat-U-Thit Road and Jungceylon Shopping Centre, is home to most of the biggest and best nightclubs in Phuket. Further west, you’ll find the midsection where you will find most of the go-go bars along Bangla Road. The beach end of Bangla Road – starting from Soi Freedom – is the most easygoing part. The southern side of the road is lined almost exclusively with beer bars.
Soi Sea Dragon is a lively nightlife street along Bangla Road in Patong. This covered lane is about 100 meters in length, housing around 46 bars (mostly beer bars and go-go bars), a souvenir shop, a guesthouse, a tattoo parlor, and a hair salon. The central part of the soi (alley) is dedicated to beer bars, which are built in an unusual 2-story design. The smaller bars on the upper floor are often unrelated to the ones downstairs and, while a few are popular for their views across Bangla Road, most are pretty quiet compared to their noisy downstairs neighbors.
Most bars on Soi Sea Dragon offer popular games such as Connect 4, Jenga, and Jackpot, as well as some rather unique activities you might not find elsewhere in Phuket. The ‘hammer a nail into the log’ game is something of a Soi Sea Dragon specialty, which requires you to test your strength and accuracy. As with most bar games, the staff has the advantage of extensive experience. Each bar also has the ubiquitous brass bell – ring it and you’ll be paying for a round of drinks for everyone in the bar. A small bottle of local beer costs at least 100 baht.
Soi Sea Dragon is the place in Phuket for go-go bars. The most popular of these is Suzy Wong, located at the furthest end. Other notable names include Harem and Devil’s Playground. Note that drinks prices in go-go bars are higher than in the street’s beer bars.
Soi Sea Dragon is on the northern side of Bangla Road, opposite Soi Patong Resort. You’ll find a second small entrance right at the back, which leads to a narrow L-shaped road linking Bangla Road with Thaweewong Road (Beach Road).
Soi Freedom is a very narrow and beer bar-lined soi, which has – like several of Bangla Road’s side streets – undergone a name change over the years. It may still be known by its old moniker: Soi Eric. Each of the bars along Soi Freedom follows similar designs, with plasma TV showing a football match, neon sign with the bar’s name, Connect 4 games on the bar, and friendly staff to play against. Notable bars include the well-established The Smiley Bar and the eponymous Freedom Bar.
You can find Soi Gonzo through Aussie Bar, which is among the star attractions of the soi. This long-running and extremely popular bar complex is at its entrance, while White Room Nightclub is at the end. In between, you will find a modest selection of small beer bars.
At one point in Bangla’s history, Soi Hollywood was formerly known as Soi Easy but was renamed following the reopening of the Hollywood Phuket nightclub. Soi Hollywood contains a couple of very cheap beer bars with many pool tables. Right down at the far end, there are public restrooms.
Soi Lion was once a small but popular group of bars located at the top of Bangla road. It was most likely named after Lion Livemusic nightclub. The lane once disappeared from the Patong nightlife scene, replaced by the defunct Bangla Mall. Soi Lion then returned after many years at the very beginning of Bangla Road, next to the Hollywood Phuket club and under the Moulin Rouge Phuket Russian nightclub. Smaller in scale, it is still home to cheap drinks and good live music.
SOI PATONG RESORT
Soi Patong Resort is the link between the long-established Patong Resort and Bangla Road. It is about 100 meters long and offers the type of venues geared towards travelers. The soi contains numerous restaurants, bars, massage parlors, tailors, an internet café, drinks shops, and souvenir outlets. Notable places include the Boogaloo Bar and the Da Mario Italian restaurant. You can find the start of Soi Patong Resort opposite Soi Seadragon, next to Parrot’s Bar & Restaurant.
Soi Viking, located opposite Illuzion Nightclub, is sometimes called ‘Soi Absolute’, after the Absolute Bangla Suites right at the end. The alleyway was originally named after the long-gone Viking Restaurant and Bar. It’s mostly a dark and quiet street, but with some notable attractions.
Located by the entrance of Soi Viking, New York – Live Music Bar is very popular. Clubs further down also draw crowds during high season. The street even has a back entrance to Tiger Bar, boasting the same extravagant frontage as the famous Bangla Road nightclub complex’s main entrance. You’ll also find some tailor shops, guesthouses, and a shisha bar here.
Widely referred to as Soi Toilet (‘Soi Hong Nam’ in Thai), this narrow covered alley is a treasure trove of local food vendors. Most of the vendors sell fresh seafood, which you can enjoy on tables and chairs set up along one side of the alley. Soi Lao is popular with Thais and virtually unknown among tourists and expats. It takes its nickname from the public toilets at the far end, with a lit-up sign by the entrance pointing the way to them. You can find Soi Lao next to Soi Patong Resort, through a narrow alley near a sign for toilets.
WHERE TO PARTY
WHITE ROOM NIGHTCLUB
White Room Nightclub is an old and well-known name on Patong Beach’s famous Bangla Road. The first-class lighting rigs and sound systems make it a fantastic place to party while the décor and design give it a degree of sophistication. The large dance floor in the middle of the long room is filled with trendy young dancers getting down to the latest R&B, hip hop, dance, and house music. Closer to the entrance, you’ll find the main bar and seating area. Beers and house pour from the exotic, blue-lit bar start at about 120 baht.
There’s a cocktail bar at the opposite end of the room, in the slightly elevated VIP section, which hosts about 12 tables. The bar is positioned below the Deluxe floor, which offers fantastic views across the whole club in comfort and seats about 50 people.
True to its name, the interior of White Room Nightclub is mostly white, which gets washed with color from the state-of-the-art light system. The dress code sets the mood of the place and demands a smart, classy look. If you show up in a singlet, you’ll be turned away. The drinks choice is similarly classy, with the star drinks packages including Belvedere vodka and Cristal Champagne.
The emphasis on sophistication does slightly tone down the wildness of the parties and the dance floor will perhaps not be as packed as other venues along Bangla Road, but the great music still gets people moving. For the most urban and refined experience on the street, White Room Nightclub is the place to go.
Entry is free for everyone.
ILLUZION CLUB & DISCOTHEQUE
Illuzion Club & Discotheque is one of the most impressive night spots in Patong. Illuzion is set on the second story of a large building towards the Jungceylon end of the street. Equipped with the latest sound and lighting equipment, Illuzion is a surprising venue offering house music and special guest DJ live performances.
Illuzion features 3 main areas – dancefloor, VIP lounge, and a large balcony – the club is built around a central T-shaped stage back-dropped with a 100-sq-m LED wall screen projecting colorful videos and images, adding to the futuristic design of the venue. The club can host up to 4,500 guests, and its concept is about a certain interaction between the artists on stage and their audience. People continue to dance during the shows, making the atmosphere of the venue very lively.
Illuzion is an essential stop for a night of clubbing in Patong.
Tiger Nightclub on Bangla Road is an imposing complex covering some 5,000 square meters of space across 3 floors. The building has a stone-like cement décor, with large concrete tigers overlooking the street from the 2nd floor. The ground floor is packed with beer bars, while the upper levels have a nightclub where parties go on into the wee hours.
The first floor of Tiger Disco is a 1,800-sq-m space filled with something like 60 beer bar counters. The place is well lit and has an impressive sound setup. Techno/dance music blasts at a high level through speakers installed in the ceiling, so holding a conversation can be a bit of a struggle at times. The bar staff here are certainly not shy as they try to convince you – in a gentle way and with a smile – to sit on one of the stools around the bar they work at. Their job is to keep you drinking there as long as possible, and they are very good at it.
Tiger Pool Club, bar, and restaurant is located at the back of the complex’s first floor. There, you can dine and play pool in a classier and quieter atmosphere.
You reach the second story by a staircase located on the left-hand side of the building’s exterior. Security guards check bags before allowing people to get up there. The large room in which you enter at the top of the stairs has 2 bars, a few pool tables, and even an ATM machine in case you run out of cash. It’s pretty quiet as the music coming from downstairs is muted by the thickness of the cement floors. At the back of the room stands the entrance to the discotheque itself.
The main Tiger Disco is a large, dark room flanked by bars on each side. Dozens of high round tables with bar stools occupy the central part. Here again, big tiger statues make up the décor. Facing the stage, you’ll see a staircase leading up to a third story on which stands the DJ booth. Behind the DJ booth is a row of pool tables and you can observe the second-floor goings-on from here.
Tiger Disco is a well-thought-out entertainment complex for those who want to party in a safe environment. You can spend an entire evening there: dinner and pool game at Tiger Pool Club, a few drinks at one of the first floor’s bars, then dancing the night away on the second floor.
You simply can’t miss Tiger Disco.
Hollywood is a nightlife institution of Bangla Road. The nightclub was, for many years, the bright star at the beach end of the party street, but at some point briefly changed names to VIP Rooms Patong Beach. After returning as Hollywood, and back as the home of great parties with excellent EDM and house beats in the long and stylish venue, it continues to attract the partying crowd of Bangla Road.
Aussie Bar is a 2-story bar/pub with lots of large-screen TVs showing sport (the owner is an avid Australian-rules fan) and 3 pool tables. Open since 2000, Aussie Bar has 4 bars with seating for 250 punters. You can enjoy good Australian and Thai food as well as lots of beer choices, including ice-cold stubbies. Being a family orientated establishment, you won’t find bar girls in Aussie Bar, making it excellent for families out for the evening.
Kangaroo Bar’s major draw is its tremendous music collection played by the appropriately-named DJ Song. Lining the walls are thousands of Polaroid shots of happy-looking customers. Compact, open-sided, and spilling out onto Soi Bangla itself, it’s a surprisingly relaxed place, considering its location, and staff members are always ready with a joke and a smile. Prices are pretty typical for this area. Kangaroo Bar stays open from late morning to early the next morning.
Red Hot features wide-screen TVs showing sports, a pool table, loud and proud live music, a good range of reasonably-priced food that is served until late, and enviable spots with views of crowds surging by on Bangla Road. Red Hot is an excellent option if you’re looking for some night action with the feeling of being right in the heart of things.
TaiPan Disco is a late-night destination where people like to congregate and groove to resident and guest DJs through the small hours. TaiPan Disco is loud, busy and often the best place around to get down to the music. They also have good value happy hour deals.
Calling themselves FBI (Finest Bar In) Thailand, TaiPan Disco attracts a mixed crowd, including young and old party animals, travelers, expats, and a few locals. The setup inside lends itself more towards comfort than hardcore partying, with much of the floor space taken by tables and bar stools.
With no entry fee, TaiPan Phuket habitually gets busy quickly and stays that way until late. The floor is patrolled by many waitresses in blue polo shirts and coyote dancers in skimpy black outfits. There are also several security guards keeping watch, making it a fun and safe place to party.
Suzy Wong’s is the most iconic and most established Go-Go bar in Phuket. It’s located at the end of Soi Seadragon. You can’t miss the Chinese decoration, red lanterns, and bright red lights spelling the name outside the door.
Harem is a large Go-Go bar recently redesigned with luxurious decoration, red velvet sofas, two stages, and an excellent lighting balance. A real DJ plays a great selection of upbeat hits to create an unforgettable party atmosphere. The girls are particularly pretty, always fun and friendly, and prices are fair.
SUZY WONG’S 3
Suzy Wong’s 3 is the latest Go-Go bar in Phuket and probably the most impressive. Inspired by the original Suzy Wong’s, it takes the Chinese theme to a brand new level. The decor is fantastic and rich in detail. The music is excellent, and the girls are cute and friendly. The facade with the Terra cotta Chinese warriors standing guard at the entrance is worth a photo, you can’t miss it. The beer starts at 90 baht, but you can order all kinds of fancy drinks. Waitresses always bring your bill with your bottle, so there are no bad surprises.
A famous and long-established Go-Go Bar at the entrance of Soi Seadragon with a fun theme looking like inside a fancy devil’s cave. Fortunately, it is not dark, and you can enjoy the dancers on stage. The decor, light, and music are great and the staff friendly.
Rock Hard, one of the very first Go-Go bars in Phuket is still standing at the top of Bangla road not far from Jungceylon shopping mall. This place is more rock music focussed, with a good atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s larger than other similar bars and has been recently renovated. Rock Hard is on the second floor, above Oscar Sports Bar.
Climax Restaurant is an unpretentious yet stylish venue at the 5th floor of Absolute Bangla Suites. The property is at the end of Soi Rico, off Bangla Road in Patong Beach. It’s the only rooftop poolside restaurant in Patong – its central location, right above the heart of Phuket’s nightlife, makes it a great place to start from if you plan to party in Patong with friends.
Climax Restaurant is set on a 500-square-meter terrace and is divided into 3 parts: bar and pool on one side, alfresco dining on the other, and an indoor dining room for people who prefer an air-conditioned environment. Visit Climax Restaurant before sunset as you get to enjoy amazing views over Patong’s skyline and bay. Reservations are recommended.
Mengrai Seafood is a simple and cheap food court on Bangla Road, which comes as a surprise as it’s right in the middle of a pricey area. The dining venue houses more than a dozen food vendors in basic setups along both sides of this very narrow soi (street). If you’re traveling on a budget, this place will do you just fine. They have toilets and a shower service too, and it’s very close to the beach.
THE PIZZA COMPANY
The Pizza Company is the Bangla Road branch of a prominent Thai restaurant chain. The pizza joint serves a range of innovative pizzas, making it an excellent go-to spot if you’re feeling adventurous for a bite while exploring Bangla Road.
Selections range from Korean spiced chicken pizzas to tom yum shrimp pizzas, along with more regular selections for when you simply want to stick to your favourite toppings.