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Thailand nightlife: 11 best places to party

From beach bars to full moon parties, here is the very best of the Thailand nightlife scene

Sky Gallery
By Eloise Basuki |
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After tackling our list of things to do pre-dark, you'll want to uncover the Thailand nightlife scene by following our guide. While Thailand has earned itself a reputation for drunken full moon parties and red light districts, the night scene across the country has matured in recent years with the rise of sophisticated small bars, craft beer havens and trendy beachside hangouts. Whether you’re destined for the country’s many sugar-sanded islands or beaches, the hills of Chiang Mai or big-city Bangkok or you usually prefer to stay in your hotel room, we've got you covered here. 

Best Thailand nightlife

1
Coco Tam's
Photograph: Nicolas Voisin

Coco Tam’s

Where is it? Koh Samui

What is it? An open-air beach bar where cocktails flow and fire dancers light up the shore.

Why go? With chilled island vibes and a picturesque seaside setting, Coco Tam’s is the coolest patch of sand to spend an evening on Koh Samui, the tiny palm-fringed isle in the Gulf of Thailand. Plant yourself on a cabana, beanbag or hammock, or stay close to the action on their swinging bar seats. The cocktail list is endless and bar snacks range from Bangkok’s famed Peppina pizza to contemporary seafood dishes. Don’t miss the dazzling fire dancers who set the shore ablaze with twirling lights every night from 9.30pm.

2
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
Photograph: Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Where is it? Phuket

What is it? A boutique rum distillery offers a hands-on experience with Phuket’s local spirit.

Why go? Made from pure Thai sugar cane, Chalong Bay distillery is located in Phuket’s serene south. Visitors can not only experience daily tours that go through the rum-making process, but also participate in a cocktail workshop. If you’d rather simply relax, take a seat at the boutique bar for cocktails like Thai Fling (lime, chilli, mint and basil) and Siam Twist (lime, ginger and kaffir lime leaves) as well as tapas-style bites.

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3
Cafe del Mar
Photograph: i.c.p

Café del Mar

Where is it? Phuket

What is it? Overlooking quieter Kamala Beach, this sophisticated beach club is a chilled out night spot.

Why go? Away from rowdy Patong, newly opened Café del Mar on Kamala Beach makes an elevated spot to while away the evening. Sip your sundowners in your own private cabana or cool off in the swim-up bar, all to a smooth soundtrack of the beachside beats that Ibiza-born Café del Mar is known for, as well as an A-list DJ line-up. Prices are higher here, so Phuket’s backpacker crowd is replaced with high-society locals and more mature travellers.

4
Old Town

Old Town

Where is it? Bangkok

What is it? An emerging neighbourhood by the river that is growing a community of fun small bars.

Why go? Tucked between Bangkok’s Chinatown and the Chao Praya River, Talad Noi, or Old Town, is a picturesque neighbourhood of heritage shophouses and peaceful laneways. The growth in small bars here has reinvigorated the area: start with craft gin at Teens of Thailand; sip pretty cocktails on the garden-covered rooftop of Oneday Wallflowers; try retro Chinese-style cocktails and snacks at Ba Hao; grab a few modern-Thai eats at 80/20; and finish the night at Tropic City, a rum-fuelled cocktail bar that hosts disco nights and DJ sessions.

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5
Warmup Cafe

Warmup Café

Where is it? Chiang Mai

What is it? A multi-space pub/club that locals have loved for years.

Why go? This night-time institution has been a music hangout for Chiang Mai's student population for almost 20 years. Don't expect anything too trendy or high quality here, but the big crowds and multiple dancefloors make Warmup a consistently fun night out. Electronic dance tracks dominate the dancefloor inside, and the outside stages host a local line-up of indie, rock and pop bands. On Sundays you can catch a small flea market from 4-11pm.

6
Sky Gallery, eitw

Sky Gallery

Where is it? Pattaya

What is it? A beachside bar that offers a classy antidote to the red lights of Pattaya’s walking street.

Why go? Touted as the unofficial sex capital of the world, Pattaya is known to attract a seedier selection of travellers. If the walking street is, understandably, not your scene, head to beachside Sky Gallery for panoramic sunset drinks on the sand. Alternatively, order seafood dinner and classy drinks at The Glass House in North Pattaya. The Hilton Hotel’s rooftop Horizon Bar is known to locals as a premium refuge from the streets below, with sweeping views from the 34th floor.

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7
Violett

Violett

Where is it? Bangkok

What is it? A new nightclub in the heart of the capital’s entertainment district Thonglor.

Why go? The streets of Thonglor boast some of Bangkok’s most sophisticated party zones, but newcomer Violett offers a discreet, underground dancing hub. A UV glow lights the sleek, cement space, with ‘F#ck The Mainstream’ – a tongue-in-cheek neon-lit message on the wall – setting the tone. Drinks here are not your average dancefloor tipples, with smart, photogenic cocktails and tasty shooters both on offer. The music rotates by night, but dedicates itself to underground hip hop, techno, trance and funk.

8
Cicada
Photograph: Shutterstok

Cicada Night Market

Where is it? Hua Hin

What is it? A vibrant weekend artists’ market with plenty of food, beer and live music.

Why go? This outdoor night market hosts hundreds of stalls that thankfully stray from the typical Thai souvenirs travellers grow weary of. Local artists, designers and crafters gather here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to sell their unique wears, while local dancers, performers and bands perform in the market’s amphitheatre. A cashless street food market makes a tasty spot for a seafood dinner, and the beer garden has a full bar and live music every night.

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9
Hotel Yayee

Hotel Yayee

Where is it? Chiang Mai

What is it? A rooftop bar atop a boutique hotel with enviable mountain views.

Why go? Located in Chiang Mai’s cool quarter Nimmanhaemin, this boutique hotel boasts contemporary and charming rooms, but the 360-degree view of Doi Suthep mountain from its leafy, candle-lit rooftop bar is reason to visit in its own right. The vibe here is a little more low-key, but its signature cocktails are as tasty as they are pretty – try Ananda’s Flyboy, named after the hotel’s actor owner Ananda Everingham, or the fruity Kim’s Berries Julep. Paired with a satisfying East-meets-West menu, it’s a picturesque place to perch for the night.

10
Wishbeer

Wishbeer

Where is it? Bangkok

What is it? A warehouse offering Bangkok’s biggest selection of craft beer.

Why go? Despite being illegal to brew in Thailand, craft beer abound in the capital, and bars dedicated to artisanal brews from across the region (and even some made sneakily in the country) make relaxed places to spend a night. Wishbeer Home Bar is a warehouse with global, local and regional beers on tap, as well as a shop for its 500-strong take-home bottles. Try Phuket’s famed Full Moon Chalawan Pale Ale or Hong Kong darlings Young Master for their Chinese-influenced unique brews.

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11
Full Moon Party

Full Moon Party

Where is it? Koh Phangan

What is it? Once a month the sandy cove of Haad Rin Beach transforms into an open-air nightclub.

Why go? If you didn't join a Full Moon Party on a trip to Thailand, did you truly party at all? An eternal figure on backpacker bucket lists, the neon-lit Full Moon Parties of Koh Phangan are world famous. Crowds of up to 30,000 descend on Haad Rin Beach to consume potent buckets of mystery liquor and dance to a mix of dubstep, hip hop, drum and bass and trance. The party gets in full swing by 10pm and goes until the early morning. Bring friends, money and no inhibitions.

Explore more of the best of Thailand

Things to do

The 21 best things to do in Thailand

The promise of daily massages, Michelin-starred street food, top-notch nightlife, island-hopping on a whim and top-notch hospitality is all within reach. Explore the rich culture and natural beauty of Thailand with our guide to the very best things to do.

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