Exploring Bangla Road
Feb 3 , 2012
Bangla Road comes alive after dark, when it transforms into Phuket’s wildest party zone. Bars and clubs open their doors to throngs of locals and visitors, and music blares from the street’s discos and go-go clubs. Come see what Bangla Road has to offer, and what trouble you can get into.
Bangla Road is Phuket's top place to go amongst adults seeking a night of fun. But 'fun' doesn't fully describe the debauchery to be found on Bangla. Side streets branch off from the main road, and each offers women, music, and alcohol-fueled party atmospheres to awaiting visitors, and you'll be amazed by the environment's assault on the senses. At the same time, guests feel at ease and unthreatened in this crazy environment, because the clubs and entertainers are all competing for your attention (and your money). If you're looking for an over-the-top time, Bangla Road is the best place to go, bar none. Here are the best streets to check out, with the top bars and clubs.
Soi Tiger is Bangla Road's most popular party zone, with two dozen bars under one room. Soi Tiger is notable for being one of the few such areas that is totally covered, making it a great, protected option during the rainy season. At Soi Tiger, a simple squall or two won't spoil the fun. The entertainment girls at Soi Tiger are highly regarded for their looks and for not being particularly pushy, so curious partiers won't get roped into more than they bargained for. Sharky Bar is the first bar you'll come upon in Soi Tiger, and it is the area's most popular, along with Crazy Horse and Hot Rock. Each bar's crowd seems to spill into one large mass, making the party even livelier.
If you're a little apprehensive about diving into the full Bangla Road party experience, start out by having a few drinks at Shipwreck Bar. Shipwreck is one of Bangla's most relaxed bars, and it is frequented by locals who are good for a conversation or two. Of course, it can still get pretty lively during the late hours, but it is a good choice if you'd like to get your feet wet before diving in.
Soi Gonzo is one of Bangla Road's open-air streets that never seems to get too crowded. Many visitors tend to skip Soi Gonzo, but you'll find a hidden gem at its end: White Room. Entrance to White Room is free, and its cheap drinks make it popular amongst young Australians. Order a 'bucket' (energy drink and whiskey) and join in the phone, just don't expect to feel the effects of your Bangla Road visit in the morning.
No discussion of Bangla Road's nightlife is complete with mentioning Soi Crocodile. It is famous amongst inquisitive travelers for its ladyboys, or transvestite dancers. Lots of tourists hang around the outside of the dance area, gawking and taking pictures. If you decide to snap a shot or two, expect to pay a tip of a few dollars. It's a cool, if not unusual sight for many visitors, and it is certainly an integral part of the Bangla Road experience.
If the ladyboy dancers of Soi Crocodile intrigue you, you'll definitely want to see a show at the Simon Cabaret in Phuket.