Wild, Crazy Nightlife. Bangla Road really comes to life once the sun sets. The road is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes a 400 metre festival of neon lights, loud music and cheap beer. Jammed most nights of the year, it is quite a friendly and lively place to walk around as bars and clubs compete with each other for customers. If you’re looking for a fun night out in Phuket, Bangla Road should be your first (and, often, only) stop. Almost all of the bars are outdoors, so the music from each one blends into a deafening mess of sound. Beer bars occupy most of the street’s length, with several go-go bars and a few pubs, restaurants, discos and shops rounding out the attractions, both on Soi Bangla and down its side streets. Street performances are also common most nights, which can make dodging around the tailor shop salesmen, leaflet distributors, street vendors and ping pong show touts more difficult, but it is all part of the fun.
What is a ‘Soi’? a soi is the Thai word for a lane or small street and is a word widely used all around Thailand, even when speaking English The main road itself can be roughly divided into three sections, each with its own particular atmosphere: The end of Soi Bangla which is furthest from the beach and closest to Rat-U-Thit Road and Jungceylon Shopping Centre is home to most of the biggest and best nightclubs in Phuket, including the Seduction Complex, Tiger Disco and Illuzion.
At the entrance to the street, you’ll find great live music at Red Hot and dozens of tightly-packed beer bars in the old and new Tiger bar complexes, which are right across the road from each other nearby. Soi Vegas and Soi Tiger spit off the northern side of this part of Bangla Road while Patong Promenade is accessible to the south, down Soi Food Court. Head further west, towards the large LED screen at roughly the half-way point down Bangla Road, and you will find the mid-range part of the street. There are many more touts here and they are often more direct, sometimes blocking your path to accost you and try to convince you to enter their establishment or buy their wares. You will find most of the go-go bars along Bangla Road here (and many more in Soi Seadragon, which splits off the northern side of the road, opposite Soi Patong Resort), including L’Amour and Upstairs A Go-Go.
You will also find probably the best live music bars in the street, including the extremely popular Monsoon. This part of Bangla Road has the most shopping options, particularly in Bangla Mall on the northern side of the road and Soi Patong Resort on the southern side. The beach end of Bangla Road – starting from Soi Freedom – is the most easy-going part. The southern side of the road is lined almost exclusively with beer bars, including Moon Bar, Sunset Bar, Kangaroo Bar and Shipwreck Bar. Most have their own unique atmosphere and style, but they are mostly very friendly. Across the road are some of Bangla Road’s most notable establishments, including the huge Aussie Bar at the head of Soi Gonzo and VIP Room Patong at the top of Soi Easy. You will also find ladyboy cabaret dancers posing for photos around here, directing people towards the nearby Moulin Rose cabaret show. The beach end of the street is taken entirely by shops, selling suits, souvenirs and fast food. It is also common to find street performances here.
Soi Tiger is located opposite Seduction Night Club and the outrageous edifice that is the new Tiger Disco and is home to perhaps two dozen beer bars. This is the old Tiger Disco site – from before it moved to its new signature venue – and it still carries the name and signage (though it is sometimes called “Soi Tiger 1” while the iconic disco building is “Soi Tiger 2”). One of the few bar complexes that is completely roofed, Tiger gets pretty steamy and crowded, but is the best refuge from a sudden downpour. The lines that divide one bar from another are pretty vague here and it sometimes feels like one huge party. Located right on Bangla Road, Crazy Horse is always popular, as is Sin City Bar. The brightly-lit Star 69 Bar is like a go-go bar, but without the huge drink prices. If you want to meet ladyboys, head down to the end of the soi to the main entrance of Cocktails & Dreams Bar.