The myth of Bangkok’s nightlife is very different from its reality. For decades, travelers have expected a very narrow, one tract offering from night time fun in Thailand’s capital. What they received is exactly the opposite, which means an after dark experience that is anything but one dimensional.
Looking for live music? Then decisive action is needed to choose among the too numerous to count live bands playing in Bangkok on any night of the week.
Maybe your high-brow tastes are certain for a more cultured type of entertainment, say opera? Well, Bangkok is a destination for you because world class opera is here for you. You’ll be surprised at the quality and the quantity of opera that comes to and it produced in Bangkok.
A bit theater is more to your liking? Than theater you shall have, and not just some amateurish high-school play but expensive productions that rival any other major city.
Or just maybe you didn’t finish your shopping and are looking to shop all night long. Again, Bangkok is your place for that as well because if you want to spend money, they have a place you can spend it!
Then there is always dancing all night long at one of Bangkok’s trendy discos.
How bout a piano bar or maybe a lounge act? How bout a ritzy hotel lobby with crystal champagne glass and crystal chandeliers?
And of course, there is no shortage of cinemas in Bangkok to catch one of Thailand’s or Hollywood’s latest productions.
Sports bars and watering holes are also a popular destination for travelers, especially those who want to unwind and throw a few back. Bangkok has not shortage of pubs, bars, dives and trendy sports clubs for the more discerning guests.
Let’s not forget the all night festival atmosphere that certain popular streets offer after dark, where cars are not allowed and walking, eating, drinking and people watching are mandatory.
So you want to vent a little travel frustration? Visit one of several Muay Thai boxing exhibitions and watch the natives pummel each other while downing a frosty pint of your favorite brew.
Then again, maybe you fancy a romantic dinner for two, while being serenaded on a river boat? That is no problem in this city of endless choices of night time entertainment.
It would be almost criminal to think of Bangkok as only a go-go club or beer bar destination. But if that is your fancy, it can be found rather easily in Soi Nana, Soi Cowboy or in Patpong.
Live music in Bangkok comes in many varieties. The city hosts concerts with performers from around the world, featuring acts from every musical style. Rock bands like Lincoln Park and Korn have made their way to Bangkok’s areas and stadiums for live shows. Pop divas like Mariah Carey place Bangkok high on the list of destinations for Asian tours.
Less popular acts, although no less enjoyable, make stops in Bangkok. Jazz greats often fill smaller venues to an appreciative crowd. Solo and acoustical performers often turn up in Bangkok and put on rousing shows for expats and natives alike.
Aside from the traveling international musical acts, Bangkok features a lot of home grown talent, as well as, expat bands playing music from their home countries. Each night, blues, rock, pop, jazz, acoustic, country, Thai and electronic music entertains crowds from all over the city and all over the world. Small venues, from divvy bars and restaurants, to swank hotels and clubs, host bands of every musical style. If live music is on the palette, then live music can be found in abundance in Bangkok.
While opera is not on the list each and every night in Bangkok, enough productions are staged each year to make it feel like that. Opera is not new to Thailand or to Bangkok but of late, productions are getting more attention and more attendance. As international tastes expand among Thais, and as the expat community grows and tourism remains strong, opera will make to the performing arts centers in Bangkok.
Along with opera, theater is surging in prominence in Thailand. Plays are making their way to the stage in greater number then ever before. Thailand is producing amazing home grown talent for live acting. Productions range across the spectrum from classics to new styled plays and experimentation. It’s a lively scene that has captured the imagination of Thais.
So you haven’t finished shopping during all those pulsing hot daylight hours? For shame! But have not fear, Bangkok’s late night bazaars are here for you and your wallet. Two such destinations come to mind: Sukhumvit and Patpong. Here and there, you can find all that you missed at the shopping centers during the day. It’s night time fun for the whole family. Just remember to bring enough dough for the whole family!
If you’re a dancer looking for disco heaven, please look no further than Bangkok. Discos and dancing, the pulsing beats and flashing lights, have taken a special place among Thais. Their popularity may swing from one joint to the next but there is always the next joint. You can call them trendy, but that is just their attraction. The sexy, the beautiful and all who want to see and be seen come to Bangkok’s discos. But come early for your special seat and don’t expect to find a dance floor. In Thailand, the whole disco is the dance floor. So you if you’re at the bar, in the aisle, at the door, or in the toilet, expect to shake and bake it where you stand. One warning: Bangkok’s discos are loud. Don’t expect to have an in-depth conversation. These are places to move your body. To shake, rattle and roll.
But, if you do happen to want a more intimate place, where the sound of your voice can rise above the atmosphere, well that kind of place can be found in the many Bangkok hotel lobbies and smaller bars featuring cozy, and even cheesy lounge acts. There are many a piano bar in Bangkok where the drifting melodies won’t drown you in sound. Some of these destinations can be quite swanky and top end. Do watch your wallet, not for possible theft, but for possible exorbitant pricing. But, you’re on vacation. So just fork it out!
Did you ever want to watch and big screen movie at the cinema but in the style and comfort of home? You know, a big lazy boy chair with plenty of counter space for snacks and beverages? Well, Bangkok has that kind of cinema for you. This city has big, comfy chairs that recline, allowing your feet to rise and your head to fall. Just watch it you don’t fall asleep! You’ll miss the movie. All popular world features make to the big screens in Bangkok. So don’t cancel that trip because your favorite movie is coming out.
A game of pool, a game of darts or even a game of foosball can be found in big, old Bangkok. Bars, pubs and more bars abound in this flourishing city. Irish pubs, sports bars, watering holes, trendy jet set clubs and dive bars are all here. Just bring enough money for cab fare. We wouldn’t want you driving after you drink all the locals under the table.
Night time street life, where a pair of walking shoes beats a car down the street, because the car isn’t welcome, is, in fact, in Bangkok. Whether on Khao San Road or Sukhumvit, after hours, and after, after hours fun is available right on the street. Snacks, make-shift roadside bars, food stalls and wacky entertainment lives and breaths in Bangkok in the wee hours of the morning. Bangkok is a city that never sleeps, even when everything else is closed.
Muay Thai Kick Boxing is a rather odd night time entertainment choice but one that can be very enjoyable indeed, if you don’t might the brutish nature of this sport. Muay Thai fighters
are among the most skill fighters in the world and have often beat their kung fu counterparts in Hong Kong in semi regular match ups. Fights around Bangkok are scheduled most nights in several locations. This is truly a Thai sport that can’t be or shouldn’t be missed. These sportsman train years for the privilege of touting their talents for a shot at some glory.
If you met that special someone and want to seal your love with romance, how bout a dinner for two floating down Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River? This can be a memorial experience for the newly met or the longtime married. Choices of cuisine are up to you and almost any type of meal can be prepared and served beneath the stars and on top of the water, floating at a leisurely pace along a spectacular skyline. This is an idea that should not be suppressed. Go with it!
A discussion about Bangkok’s nightlife cannot be finished until something is mentioned about its infamous naughty nightlife. Websites specialize in this very thing and so there is not need to spend to much time or write too much detail about it. But it is there for the taking. The hours of entertainment are the same for other clubs, closing at around 2am. The three most popular areas for go-go clubs and beer bars mentioned above are not the only ones but are the most popular naughty entertainment areas. Remember these places are for adults only and adult fun is available. Be aware but do have some fun!
For the curious, for the adventurous or for the truly naughty, Bangkok has something for you.