One Night in Bangkok. (Sorry, I Couldn’t Resist.)
“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster,” sang Murray Head and Anders Glenmark in the ‘80s, and made it to number 3 in the charts.
Bangkok has a lot to offer in terms of night-time entertainment but you have to be at the right spot, at the right time. Some magazines and websites offer good guidance to top events, and places where things are happening. BK magazine for example lists some suggestions for how to make the most of nightlife in the Big Mango (AKA Bangkok) and can be read online.
If you want to keep it convenient and lively, Khao San Road can be the venue to catch some live music and get into the party mood. If you fancy jazz, Bangkok has an awesome selection of places where you can enjoy this type of music. Maybe your best bet would be to visit Saxophone Pub and Restaurant (3/8 Th Phayathai, Victory Monument BTS Sky Train station), which has a good repertoire of live bands performing every night. And in case you were not completely put off by the local Thai music playing endlessly on every long haul bus, you can try Raintree (116/63-64 Th Rang Nam, Vicory Monument BTS Sky Train station) for some Thai country music (with connections to the communist movement of the ’60s and ’70s).
For dancing, try the iconic Bed Supperclub (26 Soi 11, Th Sukhumvit, Nana BTS Sky Train station), which plays cutting-edge house and electro and also houses a decent restaurant. Be prepared to part with some dosh to enter the club, as admission ranges from 600 to 900 Baht (including 2 ‘free’ drinks). Other famous dancing venues in Bankok include the Royal City Avenue (otherwise known as RCA, off Th Phra Ram IX, MRT Phra Ram 9) and the more exclusive Q Bar Bangkok (34 Soi 11,Th Sukhumvit, Nana BTS Sky Train station). In general, Sukhomvit Soi 11 (Nana BTS Sky Train station) is one of the hottest spots for partying in Bangkok.
If on the other hand you are intrigued about the more infamous and somewhat naughty entertainment the city has to offer, please read on for a few suggestions on cabarets, ladyboy shows and Go-Go bars.
Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique (2194 Charoenkrung 72-74 Road, Sapphan Taksin BTS Sky Train station; 2 shows daily at 20.15 and 21.45) will leave you gender-confused. All the performers were born men but underwent surgery and hormone treatment (which is fully accepted in Thai’s Buddhist society), and present Thailand’s third gender in a show of sparkle, glamour and exaggeration. Think Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. Very entertaining! You can also meet the ladyboys in many of the bars around Nana Plaza, Patpong and Soi Cowboy Sukhomvit. Obsession (Nana Plaza), King’s Castle III (Patpong) and Cockatoo (Soi Cowboy Sukhomvit) count among the best and most famous of these bars.
Patpong is still one of the world’s most notorious red-light districts. However, it also features a night market and is these days more of a tourist attraction and a sightseeing point than an erotic extravaganza. Patpong is also a place where you should be careful about being ripped off in the midst of all the exotic entertainment and expectation. Be suspicious of people offering you a “free ping pong show” or similar, and prepare to part with some cash if you decide to follow them to a bar with no sign. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Soi Cowboy (named after an African-American, known for wearing a Wild West hat, who opened the first bar here in 1970s), is a street which is a more recent version of Patpong: easy-going and open-minded with plenty of Go-Go bars to choose from.
Unlike harmless and tourist-orientated Soi Cowboy and Patpong, Nana Plaza in Sukhumvit Soi 4 (Nana BTS Sky Train station) tends to cater for more of an exclusively adult scene. It has been nicknamed “the sex mall”, so be prepared. Perhaps not the kind of place to take your wife.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that the night doesn’t have to finish looking like a scene from Hangover 2, all participants toothless, stained and recalling nothing. Listen to your body and senses and keep an open mind. Of course, Bangkok’s nightlife is also a unique opportunity to take some spectacular and unusual photos to show back home. Bangkok delivers once again!