Phuket nightlife is world famous for it's mix of bright lights, live music, disco's, red-light districts, dance clubs, girly bars, gay pubs, sports bars, cocktail lounges, massage parlors and of course outrageous lady boy cabaret shows. While prostitution is illegal within Thailand it is tolerated by authorities especially within the tourist hotspots and some bars and nightclubs are a front for such activities.
However, it is after the sun goes down along the popular Bangla Road at Patong Beach along with Karon Beach and Kamala Beach when the party atmosphere gets into full swing. While most of the bars on Phuket open around 9.30 AM in the morning they are all fairly sedate during the daytime.
This is a district where just about anything goes between nightfall and around 2 AM when all these business are supposed to close, but since 2001 there has been an effort from the Phuket authorities to make all tourist area's more family friendly by cracking down on drunkenness, drug users, and by monitoring the more exotic venues.
Despite this, as of June 2014, Thailand's top ranking soldier on the island (Major General Peerapol Wiriyakul) said he had no plans on cracking down on Phuket nightlife industry operators (Phuket Gazette, June 9 2014) which means that there is something here to cater to just about everyone.
However, there is more to Phuket nightlife than just the bars and dancing girls, so if you are visiting with family and children there are a number of family friendly activities. These include cultural shows (such as the world class Phuket Fantasea Show), classy restaurants, the unique Dino Park Mini Golf (see image below), fabulous shopping and cinema's at Central Festival Phuket, each of which provide an alternative to the bright neon lights and loud music of Patong Beach.
But if you are looking for a party atmosphere in Phuket then Patong Beach is the place to start your evening. Most of the bars, disco's and live music are in full swing by around 9 PM each night at areas such as Soi Sea Dragon, Soi Bangla, Soi Crocodile, Soi Gonzo and Soi Eric where you will find an assortment of bars including Rock Hard Bar, Aussies Bar, Red Hot Bar, No Angels Bar and the Kangaroo Bar crammed into an area the size of a couple of city blocks.
Other well known venues include Suzy Wong A Go Go, and Devils Playground, Tiger Disco and Seduction Disco. However, there is such an assortment of establishments which cater to most tastes that you really need to walk around and find a place that you are comfortable with.
For those people who love the glitz and glamor of a transgender or ladyboy show (see image below), the Simon Cabaret with its fabulous costumes, beautiful entertainers and first class choreography is the show to see. Each night audiences are thrilled by the sheer scale and professionalism of this world class show which take the audience all around the world with clever sets, make-up and costumes with cultural themes from Thailand, and Egypt to China.
Bangla Road, Patong Beach is on the west coast of Phuket, or approximately 35 kilometres south of Phuket International Airport. The best way to travel to Phuket is by plane or bus. Flights from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phuket's International Airport occur daily with a number of local airlines servicing the island including Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Airways.
Being an international airport direct flights are available to Phuket from a number of countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan to name a few. There are an abundance of taxi's and mini-vans located outside the Phuket airport to transport you to your hotel.
Buses to Phuket depart Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal daily with the journey taking approximately 13 hours.