There are plenty of things to do in the evenings in Phuket, ranging from quiet restaurants to pulsating discos. Patong is the heart of Phuket nightlife. The other resorts offer a quieter more laid back scene or you could go to Phuket Town for some Thai style nightlife.
The girly bars and go-gos are a significant part of Phuket's nightlife and we have given them their own section in our naughty nightlife page. Everybody is welcome at these bars, even if they are only sightseeing. Many people go to these bars just to watch. However, we know others find these bars distasteful so in this section we will concentrate on other nightlife options.
By law, bars should close by 01:00 and discos by 02:00. There was a time when this law was not enforced and the discos often opened until 06:00 or later. Since 2001, the Thai government has introduced what they call a 'social order' campaign aimed at stamping out drunkenness and drug abuse by young Thais. As part of this campaign, they are now enforcing the opening laws throughout Thailand including tourist areas.
That is the official line but unofficially the bars and discos in Patong, Kata and Karon usually open much later. We cannot give an exact closing time as it varies week by week depending on the prevailing politics of the time. The government in Bangkok will insist closing time is 01:00 and occasionally enforce a clampdown. Local politicians will agree it is 01:00 but the needs of local business and tourists means they look the other way. In Patong, bars usually close between 01:00 and 04:00 and discos close between 02:00 and 05:00.
In the other tourist resorts and Phuket Town, the 1am closing time is generally enforced although there are a few exceptions.
Beers & Wines
Thailand has high import duties on alcohol so most beers are brewed locally. The major brands are Heineken, Singha, San Miguel, Chang, Tiger and Leo. Imported beers are available but are more expensive. Guinness is brewed next door in Malaysia but still sells for up to 300 baht a glass.
Thais like their beer strong and alcohol content is around 5%. Quality control on some local brews is poor and alcohol content can vary widely between batches of the same brand. Heineken, Singha and San Miguel are considered the superior brands - Patong bar prices range from 60 to 120 baht for a 330ml bottle. Chang, Tiger and Leo are cheaper brands - Patong bar prices range from 50 to 80 baht for a 330ml bottle.
Good quality imported wines are widely available. Prices are a little high due to import duties and transport costs but still comparable to restaurant prices in the west. Thailand has been producing its own wines for more than a decade and quality is improving. They still have some way to go and their wines are often too sweet for western palettes. Just the same, they are worth trying for the experience.
Another cheap local drink is Sato. This is a Thai wine made from rice and fruit with alcohol content around 6%. It is sweet and tangy. Most tourist bars do not stock it but you can find it in shops costing between 20 to 40 baht for a 640ml bottle.
Patong Beach Road
There are many nice bars and restaurants along Patong's beach road. A lot of the nicest spots are south of the junction with Bangla Road where the hotels have some nice restaurants and bars. A lot of the restaurants have live bands playing soft music to enhance the relaxed atmosphere. The food and drink prices reflect the seafront location.
Close to the junction with Bangla Road is the popular Banana Disco. Upstairs is a popular disco and downstairs is a pleasant lounge bar with soft live music.
Along the beach road immediately north of Bangla Road are some nice seafood restaurants. There is also a selection of more down-market bars and restaurants.
A little further north is Lime Club which is fast becoming the trendy place for those who like their dance music up to date. It is the best dance club in Patong.
North of Hat Patong Road there is very little nightlife although this stretch of road is starting to be developed so eventually the nightlife will stretch along the full length of Patong Beach.
If you venture down the sois (side streets) from the beach road, you will find lots of independent restaurants covering just about every major cuisine in the world.
Bangla Road, Patong
If you walk up Bangla Road from the beach road then on the right hand side is a line of open-faced beer bars. Most of them have girls working but because they are on the street they do not have the feel of the full on girly bars. They are great bars for watching the comings and goings on Bangla Road.
On the other side of the road is Scruffy Murphy's Irish Bar. It is a nice Irish style pub with live music in the evenings.
The sois (side streets) along the left hand side of Bangla Road are mostly beer bar complexes. Everyone is welcome but they are very much involved in the sex tourism industry.
There a few normal bars on the road front along the left hand side of Bangla Road such as the popular Aussie Bar between Soi Easy and Soi Gonzo.
There is a new disco called Hollywood above Soi Easy which has quickly become very popular.
A narrow soi known as Piadina contains some fresh seafood stalls. There is nothing fancy about these restaurants but you can get some authentic Thai food at better prices than the plusher tourist restaurants.
Soi Patong Resort and Soi Viking contain a selection of restaurants and bars.
Along the top half of Bangla Road are a number of restaurants, bars and a couple of pool halls.
Before the top of Bangla road on the left is Seduction Disco.
At the top of Soi Bangla on the right hand corner is the popular Hot One (formerly Margarita Bar). A nice bar with live music in the evenings and large TV screens in the background to watch sport.
Across Rat-U-Thit Road is the ever-popular Tai Pan disco. They have a good live band playing rock classics. When the band is not on stage, they have a DJ.
Also on Rat-U-Thit at the top of Bangla Road is Rock City. This is a live music venue specialising in hard rock covers such as Metallica.
Along Soi Sansabai and Soi Sunset are a number of late opening bars. At the end of Soi Sansabai is Chang Club, which is a large pool hall that has become a popular late drinking venue.
Patong, Beyond Bangla
There are bars and restaurants everywhere in Patong. If you go away from the Beach Road and Bangla Road then you can find some quieter places and prices are lower. There are bars and restaurants all along Rat-U-Thit Road and also Nanai Road.
Another very popular nightspot is Safari where you can party late into the night. It is on the Road from Patong to Karon at the top of the hill.
A new and very popular nightlife trend all around Phuket is the beach clubs. These involve setting up trendy bars and restaurants right next to the beach with stylish seating areas and music. The beach clubs all occcasionally throw full on beach parties with international DJs. So you have beaches, sunsets, cocktails, tapas, dance music, just about everything you could want for a stylish night out.
Some of the most popular beach clubs include Catch Beach Club at Surin Beach, Bliss Beach Club at Bang Tao, Xana Beach Club at Bang Tao Beach and Re Ka Ta Beach Club at Kata Beach. In fact there are beach clubs popping up all around Phuket.
The nightlife scene at the other major resorts is more laid back. Karon, Kata and Kamala all have a good selection of restaurants and bars. In Karon, the nightlife is at the north end and south end of the beach. In Kata, it is around Kata Yai Beach. In Kamala, it is in the area between the beach road and the main road.
The Surin Beach and Bang Tao Beach area has a few trendy little bars and clubs which cater to the upmarket clientele in this area.
Phuket Town does not have an entertainment zone. Instead, the best bars and discos are dotted around town. You need to know where they are to find them. New bars and discos come and go so often it is hard to keep track of the best venues.
The one reliable venue that always seems to be popular is Timber Hut. It is on Yaowarat Road just above the junction with Dibuk Road. They have a good live band that starts its first session around 9pm. The customers are mostly Thai but there is usually a good representation of foreign customers. Drink prices are high, on a par with Patong. When groups of Thais go out it is common for them to bring their own bottle of whisky and only buy mixers and ice from the bar.
The Thavorn Hotel on Ratsada Road has a very nice bar with live Thai country music. It is a good place for a relaxing drink and is also decorated with some nice Phuket historical artifacts
For a more western style bar, O'Malley's Irish Pub is a good spot for a quiet drink where you can play pool or watch sport. It is on Montree Road.
The closest thing to a nightlife zone is along the canal at the end of Soi Taling Chan. Here there is a cluster of restaurants and bars including some live music venues.
The most popular disco is at the Merlin Hotel. It has a DJ and live band. Because it is part of the hotel it can stay open beyond the normal 1am closing time.
There are a number of hostess bars around such as Pink Lady and Fantasia. These are Asian style girly bars but everybody is welcome. If you go as a couple or mixed group, you will be left alone to enjoy the show. They usually have a show or the girls sing karaoke songs on stage.
The many karaoke bars are difficult to categorise. They can be identified by the strings of coloured lights hung outside. Some are basically girly bars catering to Thai men. If the windows are tinted and there are young women sitting outside then they are probably the girly bar variety. However, many karaoke bars are normal nightlife venues catering to Thai couples, families and other groups. Thais come to eat, drink and take turns singing. These type of karaoke bars are usually open sided or have clear windows. The microphone is passed around from table to table. If you want to experience this then you could try the block of karaoke bars at the end of Saphan Hin - you don't have to sing.
There are eating-places all over Phuket Town. Most of the westernised restaurants are around Robinsons and Ocean Plaza on Tilok Uthit 1 Road.
Thai Beer - A rundown of the major beer brands available in Thailand.