First of all, let me say that contrary to a lot of chitter chatter between some travellers (but usually from people who haven’t actually been to Thailand), I really don’t think partying is all there is to Thailand or even the main aspect of it. In fact, each time I’ve visited I’ve become swept up and fascinated by the rich culture and the stunning natural beauty of the country.
But, there’s no denying that Thailand boasts a lot of fantastic spots to enjoy a tequila sunrise (or five) and to dance the night away, and that is exactly what I did during my visit this year. Quite a few times! And compared to some countries I’ve visited on my Southeast Asia trip where I barely drank at all, Thailand is definitely the country I’ve partied the most in. And with its paradise beach islands, affordable booze, bustling cities and friendly locals it’s not hard to see why. So, here are my top spots to let your hair down in Thailand, enjoy!
Southeast Asia’s thriving hub simply heaves with nightlife. Whether it’s a couple of laidback beers you’re after, crazy all-nighters or perhaps something a bit more risqué (ping pong show anyone?), Thailand’s crazy capital seems to have it all.
It seems to be a backpacker’s rite of passage to head to the infamous Khao San Road for a night out, and it’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kinda place. Me personally? I love it! We actually started off our big Southeast Asia trip on Khao San Road for New Year’s Eve this year, and it was honestly one of the best to date! Whilst some despise the chaotic nature of the street, I adore the on-street dancing, the free-flowing Chang beer and the friendly traveller community atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to check it out!
What better way to end a day trekking in Chiang Mai’s jungles or a day spent bathing elephants than relaxing with a couple of Mai Tai cocktails, or if you’re feeling energetic, a night on the tiles? Chiang Mai’s nightlife seems to centre around a bar/club called Zoe in yellow, where there’s a vast selection of bars to choose from, buzzing with travellers and locals. I really enjoyed the reggae bar, where local singers would get the crowds jerking with covers of popular reggae songs. For the late night partiers out there, Spicy club is open ‘til about 4am and from what I remember of it, I had a pretty damn good night!
Host to perhaps one of the world’s most famous parties, the monthly full moon party, Koh Phangan can in no way be left off this list. A spectacle of thousands of neon-clad ravers, thumping tunes and lines of countless bars selling super-strong buckets of cocktails, experiencing a full moon party is definitely one for the bucket list. That’s not to say Koh Phangan is only good for a full moon party though; throughout the month there are handfuls of parties put on and the bars along Haad Rin beach always seem to be thriving. In fact, I’ve enjoyed nights spent at these bars a lot more than full moon party itself, as it’s easier to keep hold of your friends, feels a lot more safe (full moon party is a magnet for crime) and are generally a lot less hectic.
Thanks to my pal Tianna Going for letting me use some of her group pics!
Koh Phi Phi
I was hesitant as to whether I should add Koh Phi Phi to this list because although Koh Phi Phi is undoubtedly a party spot, this time visiting I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when I visited three years ago when I was 20. I had stayed for a whole week and absolutely loved it, going out every night and thriving in the party atmosphere. I’m not sure whether it’s me that’s changed or whether it’s Koh Phi Phi, but this time around I didn’t feel the same. Sure, I definitely still love a good party but Koh Phi Phi to me now seems to resemble a ‘brits abroad’ sort of holiday destination. It seemed to be brimming with drunkards pissing in the sea and making lewd comments at us girls as we walked past, with ear-piercingly bad music seemingly filling every bar. Saying that, I did once love Koh Phi Phi and did enjoy a couple of the bars (such as Banana rooftop bar) so I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to leave it off this list – I urge you to check it out for yourself!
I really enjoyed Ko Tao’s nightlife and our evenings usually consisted of watching intense fire shows on the beach, sharing cocktail buckets, dancing to laid-back tunes and chatting to other travellers. We actually spent Songkran there, Thailand’s famous water festival, and boy did we have a good time! There were all-night pool parties, world-famous DJS playing on the beach and lots and lots of fun and laughter. It seems to be the kind of spot where the nightlife can be as chilled or as exciting as you’d like it to be – which is perfect for me.
Most people probably wouldn’t think of the small hippy town of Pai as a party spot, but for me, it was one of the places in Thailand where I enjoyed the nightlife the most. There were cute little bars where travellers would circle and chat around a smoky bonfire with beer, or you could even spend your evening drinking around a campfire at one of the hostels. It seemed to be a nightly occasion at our hostel – Pai Circus School and everyone we met seemed really nice and friendly. If you wanted more of an upbeat kinda night, the best option would be to head to ‘Don’t cry reggae bar’ where the venue would be jammed with travellers and again, outside would have a cosy campfire for those wanting a more chilled affair. Having the option to flit between different types of atmosphere for me was great!