Keeping in mind that Phuket is a tropical island and that its most stunning features are the lagoons and gorgeous beaches, the best party places in Phuket are found in Patong. Patong is a tourist village on the West side of the island, and Bangla Road is the undisputed party area of Patong. And while there are many other worthy places in Patong to check out, the Bangla party mile is where things happen.
This strip features bars, shows, nightclubs and go go bars on the main street. There are numerous little side streets, each with their own special attractions but you will always find yourself returning to the main street.
An honourable mention also goes out to Phuket city, as this is a university city and as such there are numerous bars where local expats and university students hang out who try to stay away from the insanity of Bangla Road. After all, a Friday night to them is just a Friday, and not a dream holiday on the other side of the world, like it is for most tourists on Bangla Road.
Renovated repeatedly and an established name in Patong, White Room is often seen as a western club. Owned and managed by the same Scandinavians that own Grabbarna Grus, you will see a lot of Swedish staff, along with a tightly designed interior and some of the more renowned DJ’s performing their set.
White Room is a lot more upmarket than the other clubs on Bangla Road, and if you are looking to spend a little extra cash on a VIP experience, this is the place to do it. Contrary to some of the other clubs, you will get a table that will always offer a clear view of the dance floor. Additional amenities are your own designated hostess and a beast of a doorman keeping regular mortals away from you and your friends. Of course you can invite people up there and make new friends, but that is up to you really.
I mentioned before that White Room is a “western” club. That doesn’t mean they play country music, it means there is a disproportionate amount of western tourists inside, enjoying EDM and a drink. Tai Pan is also on Bangla Road, and in many ways it is the exact opposite of White Room. The interior is dark, there is a stage for special performances and both the atmosphere and staff are very Thai.
Thai nightclubs will have a high number of small tables. These high tables offer just enough space for a cooler, a bottle and several glasses, as this is the preferred way to unwind in Thailand. At night, you and your friends share a bottle of whisky or vodka, and the club keeps refilling your mixers. If you don’t manage to finish your bottle at the end of the night, simply ask staff to take it back and give you a voucher. Your bottle will be waiting for you for the next two months.
Tai Pan is at the very beginning of the party area in Patong, and there will be groups of Westerners finding their way inside, along with many locals. Tai Pan is less pricey than some of the other clubs, but don’t expect a high-end experience. Tai Pan is fun, but a little low-brow at times.
I’ve never looked into who owns Illuzion, but I am suspecting there is some Russian involvement. The dancers and the shows will feature a lot of Caucasian dancers, along with outfits that seem to originate from the Eurovision Song Festival. Make no mistake; these are very athletic people but some of the performances are borderline tacky.
Other than that, Illuzion is great and the club is massive, with several seating areas and an interesting VIP area, allowing you to overlook the dance floor and the stage. I would argue this is one of the best places to be, and if you book early you are going to have a great table and a great night.
The sound system is the best of Patong’s party area, so whenever an international act makes it out to Patong, they usually perform at Illuzion. Illuzion will accommodate up to 4,500 guests, but during those nights, tickets will be sold out well in advance. Catch a show or make some moves yourself, depending on the mood.
Seduction is right opposite Illuzion in the party area of Patong and these two clubs are in direct competition which each other. When you make it out to this part of the party area, you will notice the party promoters of either side are very “motivated” to get you inside their club, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you are looking for special deals and promotions.
Pro tip: Avoid the “free drinking” bracelets at all costs!
You will be promised a bracelet that will allow you to drink as much as you like for “free”, but the reality is that you will get a tiny glass, along with the rule that you can only order from one specific bar. It’s a deal designed to get as many people inside as possible, and really not worth your money.
Seduction has a great mix of foreigners and locals, the VIP area is luxurious and later at night, a second area opens up on top of the nightclub. The restrooms in this area of the complex offer a spectacular one-way view of the dance floor below. So as you sit down, these giant mirrored windows add a nice touch to an already interesting nightclub experience.
This unpronounceable name is a Scandinavian brand of beach clubs and just off Bangla Road, Grabbarna Grus Phuket can be found. The atmosphere is wild, because the club is filled with young Scandinavians who are thrilled to be on holiday, thrilled to be on a tropical island and thrilled to be able to buy alcohol at absolute bottom prices.
Depending on the season, 50 to 90% of the visitors will be Scandinavian and I have always found that they love to mingle. Strike up a conversation about Vikings and within minutes you will be best friends.
The staff is Scandinavian as well and if you need anything or you are looking for something specific on the island; ask them. Most of the Grabbarna Grus staff have been here for several seasons and they know the island inside out. Every waterfall, hidden beach or after hour club – they will know where it is and how to get there.
Grabbarna Grus is smaller than the other clubs in this article, and they have a single area without VIP zones, performances or anything other than just great music and a nightclub atmosphere. If you want to connect with some Scandinavians early in the evening, this is the place to be.
As mentioned previously, Phuket City is a university town, and even though Phuket city is not remotely as wild as Patong, we understand that many people prefer it that way. For those, Cue Bar is a great alternative. This bar has been popular with the locals and expat crowd alike, and the careful choice in music, staff and themed nights make sure Cue Bar continues to be a great venue.
In fact, a lot of the staff from Bangla’s nightlife likes to come here on their night off. I like to visit Cue Bar to play pool with friends and enjoy a few drinks too. Most of the Thai visitors are either students or young adults employed in the creative sector, and it shows. Their love for quirky cars, vintage fashion or obscure tattoo styles really stands out.
There are many local bands playing at Cue Bar as well, and if you want to see what the local lifestyle is like, this is the place to be. Because as fun as Bangla Road is, the entire area is aimed at tourists, and as such everything is turned up to eleven. It is hardly genuine though, and getting away from the organized anarchy that is Bangla Road can be a real eye-opener.
Order a Mojito, enjoy a local band and strike up a conversation with the staff. They know their guests quite well and are always eager to practise their English.
What are the best live music venues in Phuket?
Unless you are looking for jazz, Bangla Road offers all the Live Music you will ever need. From great AC/DC covers in Rock City, to all the latest contemporary hits in Monsoon, it’s all there. Most musicians play every single night and all of them are skilful entertainers. Most of the bands will play requests and you haven’t heard “Happy Birthday to you” until a Filipino rock band plays it to you at breakneck speed, head banging all the way.
For jazz lovers, Siam Supper Club outside of Patong is highly recommended. It isn’t cheap, but their western food is amazing. Every Monday is jazz night and if you want to attend one of these evenings (you should!), it is a good idea to book in advance.