Nightlife is important for every expat, whatever your taste or preference may be. It is good to build up a social network and one of the ways to do this is to meet people on a night out. There are many places to go in Bangkok, although not all are aimed at expats. If you want to immerse yourself in Thai culture, the bars on the outskirts of places such as Bang Na, Bangkapi and Nonthaburi are good places to do so. There are many local bars and trendy clubs which are frequented by majority Thai. There are also the many tourist haunts throughout the city in places such as Khao San Road.
Most expats, however, tend to want something more familiar. There are countless expat bars, pubs and clubs offering everything from sports on large screens to international DJ’s. Most of the expat oriented nightlife is located around the lower end of Sukhumvit (Soi 1-33). Particularly the area around Phrom Phong BTS station, whicg has many bars that cater to foreigners. Without doubt, Bangkok is the party capital of Thailand and once you have found a few favourite haunts, you will be sure to build up a large group of friends.
There is also a good selection of cultural options at night in Bangkok. There are often concerts, there are many theatres (large and small) and there are also cinemas and arts cinemas.
To find a detailed list of what’s on and when, buy the Bangkok Post every Friday and read the Guru Magazine. This magazine contains up-to-date information about events, concerts, promotions and films. There’s also many Facebook groups with the newest info on what is happening in the Bangkok Club Scene.
Main Nightlife Areas
Kao San Road:
Home to Bangkok’s original backpacker scene, Kao San road has since turned into a major nightlife scene with many clubs and bars on the street itself as well as the surrounding area. Kao San is in close proximity to Thammasat University, which means the area has become very popular with college students. There is also a thriving art scene. The best way to experience Kao San road is to explore and ask around for where the newest happening is. Some popular spots are Club Lava and Gullivers.
This area is home to many of Bangkok’s most fashionable and trendy nightclubs. The clientele is mostly young Thais (25+), though it’s not uncommon to spot expats on a night out. The clubs are traditional Thai ‘Whiskey’ bars and often offer food as well as drinks. Thai’s usually go out in larger groups of friends and coworkers and spend time within the group. There is not as much mingling going on as you may be used to back home. Groups are either seated or standing around tables and it’s common to buy bottles of Whiskey to be shared. There is often a good houseband playing covers of Thai pop and rock. It’s all very good fun if you can handle music that is too loud and the crowds.
This street near MRT Rama 9 station is the most popular place for a night out for young Thais and college students. The music is mostly hip-hop, Thai pop and some electronica. This is a young crowd and if you are over 30, you may feel old! Still a great place for a night out with friends. The setup is the same as the Ekamai clubs, but more like Western clubs. Some of the more popular clubs include Route 66 and Slim Club.
Hotel bars are popular venues for both Thais and foreigners, especially upper class ‘hi-so’ Thais. They are often fashionably designed and offer cocktails and drinks to guests. These places fall in and out of favor very fast, though, so you will have to keep the ear to the ground and listen to the jungle drums (and beats) to keep up. Some of the popular ones include ’87’ and ‘Diplomat Bar’ both at the Conrad Hotel near Ploenchit. BarSu in Sheraton Hotel Sukhmumvit has a good mix of Thais and foreigners as well. The official Bangkok website (http://www.bangkok.com/) has a thorough list of hotel bars and lounges that is frequently updated.
Sukhumvit Soi 11
This side road to Sukhumvit is the main hub for Western style nightclubs and entertainment. The soi is home to two Bangkok nightlife institutions: Bed Supperclub and QBar. Both attract a crowd of expats, tourists and local Thais, but Bed is the more popular place with both Thais and foreigners. Bed and QBar often bring in foreign DJ’s on weekends.
Home to many of the Irish and British pubs, such as Dubliners and The Londoner, in Bangkok as well as several bars and lounges. There are too many bars to mention, but most are located on Soi 22-24 and Soi 33. The bars are very popular with expats as the surrounding area has a large expat population. It’s also the home of restaurant and bar Coyote near soi 33, which has popular promotions on weekends.
Below is a list of the most popular night time venues for expats.
Some of Bangkok’s trendiest bars which are popular with both expats and Thais:
- Q-Bar -, Sukhumvit Soi 11, http://www.qbarbangkok.com
- Club 87 – and the Diplomat Club at the Conrad Hotel, Wireless Road, http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/thailand/conrad-bangkok-BKKCICI/amenities/restaurants-club-87-plus.html
- Bed Supperclub – Sukhumvit Soi 11, http://www.bedsupperclub.com
- Coyote – Sukhumvit Soi 33, +66 2 235 3268 (English speaking)
British pubs which are popular among the expat community:
- The Black Swan – Sukhumvit Soi 19, http://www.blackswanbkk.com
- Bulls Head – Sukhumvit Soi 33, http://www.bkkpages.com/nightlife/pubs-and-bars/the-bulls-head
- The Londoner – Sukhumvit Soi 33, http://www.the-londoner.com
- Witches Tavern – Sukhumvit, Soi Thong Lo (between sois 6 and 8) http://www.witch-tavern.com
GoGo Bars and Adult Nightlife:
Bangkok’s (in)famous redlight districts are based around three areas: Nana Plaza near BTS Nana, Soi Cowboy near BTS Asok and Patpong near BTS Sala Daeng.
All three areas offer bars with friendly girls and hostesses. Depending on your inclinations, this may be for you or not. It’s definitely interesting to check out the areas for people watching and chatting with the girls to hear their stories. The game of love for money certainly makes for an interesting spectacle. Women can go as well without having to feel uncomfortable.