Bangkok Nightlife Do’s and Don’ts

Traveling Bangkok successfully takes a little preparation and a little luck. Here’s a list of Bangkok Nightlife Do’s and Don’ts to help get you up to speed on what Bangkok Nightlife is all about.

The reputation of Bangkok’s nightlife lives on in traveler lore as one of the rowdiest and wildest – and it certainly lives up to its reputation. From up-market spots to the down and dirty, Bangkok has a little of everything.

If you plan on a visit you might want to keep the following in mind:

Do: check out Khao San Road, especially if you prefer to carry your luggage on your back and want to experience a hint of what Bangkok once was.

With laid-back pubs and open-air restaurants, this is the place for the budget minded. With increasing numbers of relatively swank clubs thrown in, you’ll be sure to find something to your taste between the live bands, DJs, and sound systems that blast tunes into the streets well after 11 pm.

Don’t: expect everything to be cheap after a night out on Khao San Road. Some of the more popular clubs are located in international hotel chains and prices are quoted accordingly.

If you have some baht to spare, you will not be disappointed by the up-market offerings of the Grand Hyatt’s Spasso, pre-dinner drinks at Conrad’s Diplomat Bar, or city views at the Sofitel Silom Hotel’s V9.

Do: check out some of the offerings of the impossibly long Sukhumvit Road. With a mixed crowd and a few see-and-be-seen places, it’s an address not to be missed.

Hot clubs worth checking out include design savvy The Bed on Sukhumvit 11, the popular bar/disco/karaoke joint Taurus on Sukhumvit Soi 26, and Q Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11 (by the same owners as the one in Ho Chi Minh City).

For a laid-back pub crawl try Black Swan on Sukhumvit Road, Bulls Head on Sukhumvit 33/1, The Londoner on Sukhumvit Soi 33, and the Dubliner on Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24.

Don’t: be surprised if that lovely lady you just bought a drink for turns out to be a lovely lady-boy. There are several cabaret clubs in town that have nightly transvestite shows for those of all sexual orientations.

Twinkling sequined gowns and the highest high heels abound as you get ready for truly entertaining performances. For light-hearted fun check out Calypso Cabaret at the Asia Hotel or Mambo Cabaret on Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24.

Do: take a stroll through Patpong. Known for its scantily clad women doing things you didn’t imagine possible (candles, ping-pong balls, darts, oh my!), be forewarned you will have to buy a drink to enter most of the establishments.

Although some of the dancers look a little bored, and you will have to watch your pockets, many tourists feel a visit to Bangkok isn’t complete without a trip to this notorious area. That said – these same tourists often find they tire of the show quite quickly.

A stroll through the local night market gives you a chance to recover from neon-induced vertigo. Although the night market in the area may be slightly more expensive than some of the other markets in Bangkok, it’s a nice way to round out a trip to Patpong.

Don’t: indulge in the after-hours offerings of the go-go girls or overly friendly masseuses without protection! – soaring STD rates – enough said.

Do: take a stroll through the Suan Lum Night Bazaar. The market is fairly small and offers the expected mix of items including Thai crafts, textiles, shoes, sunglasses, home décor, and jewelry, to name a few.

The area includes a food court with international and national cuisine as well as a beer garden with nightly live music.

Don’t: be intimidated by Bangkok’s Nighttime Reputation if you arrive with family in tow. Although better known for its alcohol-soaked evenings and sex trade, there is more than enough to do with the little ones.

One popular family attraction is the Siam Niramit Cultural Performance. Including a complete Thai dinner buffet, the performance is a journey through the culture and religion of Siam dazzlingly told by over one hundred performers.

And if you decide to check out the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, stop by the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre for traditional Thai puppet shows.

Bangkok Scams and How to Avoid Them

With millions of tourists coming to Bangkok each year, it’s inevitable there are a few con artists trying to pull scams on them.

Here are some tips on avoiding getting scammed in Bangkok.

It’s not a problem unique to Thailand by any means – anywhere you get lots of tourists, you also get a few unscrupulous people trying to con them out of their money.

There is quite a variety of scams in Bangkok, but they are all easily avoided with a little bit of thought.

One classic Bangkok scam involves being sold gems at supposedly a fraction of their real value… only to find out they are fake or very poor quality stones when arriving home.

Another, much more common scam is being sweet-talked into buying a tailor-made suit at a supposed bargain price – and then, after paying upfront, getting something that doesn’t fit properly and is made of polyester rather than the promised cashmere.

Bangkok Scams and How to Avoid Them

Another common Bangkok scam is being approached by a well-spoken, well-dressed gentleman outside the Grand Palace and being told it is closed for a prayer ceremony.

The well-spoken gentleman will then suggest a tour of nearby temples and, oh look, here’s a tuk-tuk that will take you.

Inevitably the tour turns into a succession of gem and suit shops trying to sell you something that will waste your entire afternoon if you’re not careful.

All these and several more Bangkok scams are documented and some are as old as tourism itself in Thailand.

It’s definitely worth scanning through the different con-tricks to try and recognize when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

Bangkok Nightlife Do’s and Don’ts

I’d say there are five more golden rules to follow:

1) Never accept a free ride or very cheap tour in a tuk-tuk. These guys are almost always after your money and you are somewhat trapped once you’re in the backseat.

2) Don’t buy gems or suits or anything else of large value off the street. If you want a suit, head to Sukhumvit and go to one of the established tailor shops rather than being pressured with a load of smooth sales patter.

Know what you want before you go and ensure you have plenty of time for several fittings. If you want to buy gems, go through an established retailer unless you are professionally able to tell whether an offered stone really is a good value or not.

3) Possibly the most important – don’t be blinded by greed. If it seems too good to be true, then it very probably is.

4) Remain polite at all times when talking to strangers, even if you think they are con artists. You may well be wrong. The language barrier can sometimes cause confusion.

If in doubt, politely decline whatever’s being offered. A few words of Thai can really help.

If you say “Mai aow, kap”, it’s the polite Thai way of saying “I don’t want it, thanks”. (Women would say “Mai aow, ka”). I’ve found that people leave you alone very quickly if it seems like you speak Thai.

5) Watch out for shoddy fake goods, like the fake iPods that have been seen in Bangkok markets.

After reading that lot, you probably think Bangkok is a den of thieves.

It’s not – it’s the same hustle that goes on everywhere. It’s just that at home in familiar surroundings you can spot a hustler much more easily than when you’re traveling and your brain is already trying to cope with being in a new place.

Just keep your bullshit detector switched on and keep smiling, and you’ll be able to sail past Bangkok’s scam merchants.

If you’re not sure where to stay while visiting Bangkok, check out Agoda at the link here for all your accommodation needs.

Agoda offers hundreds of choices in the heart of Bangkok suitable for just about any traveler’s budget.

Leave a Comment