Chiang Dao National Park – The Gem of Northern Thailand

Friday, January 22, 2016 Uncategorised by admin

Chiang Dao, a small town in the northern part of Chiang Mai. They call it the ‘City of Stars’. As the limestone peaks reach a height of 2,186 metres, people used to believe the highest point is at the same level of the stars. Chiang Dao is the third highest peak in Chiang Mai after Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok.

Visitors can indulge the lush green rainforest, exotic limestone caverns and numerous waterfalls across the jungle. The wildlife offers a perfect destination for people who enjoy bird watching and trekking.

Aside from the stunning nature, you can also enjoy the unique Thai culture in Chiang Dao, for example, interact with locals in the hill-tribe village, explore the traditional market or learn how to cook authentic Thai food while you are staying in the village.

The town is quite small, but people find it is very peaceful and relaxing. It is a perfect place if you want to have a short gateway from the busy metropolitan cities.

places to visit in Chiang Dao
by Andrea Schaffer

Trekking in Chiang Dao National Park

Chiang Dao National Park was declared as a wildlife sanctuary and is the biggest attraction in Chiang Dao district. The national park is 1,100 km square and located close to Myanmar border. Here deep in the Thai jungle, you can find a variety of tropical flora and fauna.

For trekkers, Chiang Mai is a very popular destination as it has many national parks with an untouched nature. Compared to other national parks around Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao is the people’s favourites. It offers a one-stop natural adventure from trekking, bird watching, caving, dipping in the hot springs and camping. A good fitness condition is a must to go trekking in Chiang Dao.

Overnight trekking is a very popular activity. This multiday activity can be for one, two or three days depending on your destinations and preferences. However, if you want to reach the top of the mountain, your best option is an overnight trip.

Chiang Dao national park

You can stay overnight at a hill-tribe village or a valley located halfway on your journey. Also, having the chance to enjoy the star horizons at night followed by watching a sunrise in the morning will perfectly complement your trekking experience. Throughout your journey exploring the Northern jungle, your guide will give you extensive information about the culture and wildlife of the area.

Explore the Chiang Dao Caves

Chiang Dao Caves are a must-visit site in Chiang Dao. It consists of over 100 caves, which are up to 12 kilometres far inside the mountain range. However, there are only five caves that are publicly open.

To get here, you can drive up north from Chiang Mai for an hour or book a guided tour from the city centre. The entrance fee is 40 Baht per person.

The five caves of Chiang Dao

The caves are filled with historical monuments, statues and Buddha images. Inside the cave, you will find many natural formations of limestone and crystal, as well as stalactites and stalagmites. The deeper you go, the more challenging it gets. Sometimes walking is not enough. At some point, you need to get down on your knees and crawl through small holes or climb in order to access large caverns. Nonetheless, you don’t need any caving experience as all the pathways are made specifically for visitors.

The five caves are namely:

  1. Tham Seua Dao
  2. Tham Phra Nawn
  3. Tham Maa
  4. Tham Naam
  5. Tham Kaew

Both Tham Seua Dao and Tham Phra Nawn have electric lights. Thus, it is easier to explore these caves on your own. The rest of the caves don’t have any lighting. Therefore, you need to rent a gas lantern to be able to see inside.The gas lantern costs 100 Baht per lantern.

To explore these caves, it might be a good idea to hire a guide who will provide direction and information about the history of the place. There is no fixed price to hire a cave guide. Usually, it is a tip depending on how much you liked the tour. It is considered rude to give less than 100 Baht as the tip. Inside the cave there are many deep unmarked holes, hence going alone is not a good idea.

Chiang Dao park

Due to the weather condition, e.g. in the rainy season, some areas of the caves get flooded with water. Therefore Thai authorities close the caves if the level of water is extremely high.

The Chiang Dao caves are not just natural landmarks. In North Thailand, caves are places of worship. Therefore, you need to wear an appropriate outfit. Hence, ladies who are wearing short clothes will be asked to pay a 20 baht donation to rent a sarong before entering the caves.

Visit the Karen Long Neck hill-tribe village

Chiang Dao has a lot more to offer than just stunning nature. If you walk further up from the caves, you will arrive at the Padung Village. This is where the Long Neck Karen ethnic hill-tribe lives.

places to visit in Chiang Dao

Long Neck Karen is a tribal group who are originally from Myanmar, a country besides Thailand. The tribe women can be easily recognised for their elongated necks. They wear brass rings around their necks, wrists and ankles. Long Neck Karen people believe that these rings protect them from tigers. Today, this tradition has become a unique identity of the Long Neck Karen Tribe and a symbol of beauty. The longer their neck, the more beautiful the women are.

park in Chiang Dao

The men in Long Neck Karen village mostly work as farmers whereas the women inherit handcrafting skills from their ancestors on wood carving and weaving.

Doi Luang Mountain Peak in Chiang Dao

Doi Chiang Doi is the third highest mountain peak in Thailand. Located in Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve area in Chiang Dao district, the mountain lies at 2,195 metres from sea level. Walking away from the heat of the tropical weather, you will find it’s cool and windy once you reach the summit. Many rare highland flowers and birds and butterflies fly around making the view from the peak an unforgettable experience.

A small note for those who would like to visit the peak. The trip must be arranged at least two weeks in advance. Since it requires an approval letter from Director of Wildlife Reserve Division and the Royal Forest Department.

You can acquire it by getting it touch with them directly:

Wildlife Conservation Office Phone number is 0899 5514 17 and the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plat Conservation phone number is 02 561 4832.

To reach the peak, you need to walk from the starting point of the trail. In case you need guides, porters or transfers to this point, there are plenty of operators ready to help you at the Chiang Dao cave. A porter costs around 300 Baht per person.

national park of Chiang Dao

Since there are no facilities on Chiang Dao Mountain, you must bring your own equipment with you including sleeping bags, tent, food and water. The trails are quite challenging. However, there are some easier routs on the mountain that locals know of. In this case, hiring a guide might be a brilliant idea to get a safe and enjoyable experience trekking to Doi Luang Chiang Dao.

Temples hopping

Temple hoping is another popular activity you can do in Chiang Doa as a tour or a day trip. There are two temples you must visit when you come to Chiang Dao.

Wat Tham Pha Plong

Tham Pha Plong ss a temple with over 500 steps to the top. The temple is based in a small cave surrounded by the jungle halfway to the mountain top. Once you arrive, a steep naga stairways welcome you followed by the hundred steps to the top.

After climbing, you will reach the cave. Here you will find many photos of Luang Poo and images of Buddha. Luang Poo is a respectful Buddhist who had significant influence in Buddhism in Thailand. The temple was built to honour Luang Poo a few months before his death. It represents Luang Poo contribution the Buddhism and expression how grateful his followers are.

best places to see in Chiang Dao
by Andrea Schaffer

The location makes it a perfect place to do meditation. You can even arrange an overnight stay at this temple and experience the life a monk. The monks speak good English, and you will get to know their unique life.

Wat Mae Kaet Noi

Mae Kaet Noi is a bizarre temple nearby the caves. Like in most Thai temples, it’s a magical worship place with beautiful architecture. However, this temple has a very unusual surroundings and view.

Here, you will see many sculptures that represent the story of bad Buddhist who fail to follow the rule and break the rules in the afterlife. These sculptures main goal is to scare young Buddhist and show them that the bad behaviours can lead to the terrible consequences. There are many creepy statues in the park e.g. picturing naked women or men being punished by demons. In general, it represents bad habits, as well as inappropriate activities common in the modern day Thai society like stealing, free sex, intoxication, lying and murder.

Wat Mae Kaet Noi

It took five years to build the park. Young Buddhists often lose their sleep over the terrible scenes the status display. The good news is that apart from the creepy park, you will see the incredible view of Doi Chiang Dao.

Flow through Mae Taeng River

Mae Taeng River flows through several districts in Northern Thailand, which are Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng Districts. The river streams through valleys and canyons, which go to the Chao Praya, then end up in the Gulf of Thailand.

Depending on which part of the river you are at, you can either get an adrenaline rush with white water rafting through the strong stream or explore the jungle on a bamboo raft or kayak.

sightseeing in Chiang Dao

The water flows depend on the season. On July to September, when the rainy season comes, the stream is very strong. While from October to March the water intensity is pretty low.

Tuesday Morning Market

Chiang Dao is indeed famous for its nature, but you can also find some authentic Thai activities here.

If you happen to stay at Chiang Dao at the right time, don’t miss this Tuesday Morning Market. It is located just off the main route of 107 within a half a kilometre drive. You can find relatively cheap merchandises here ranging from Thai clothing and accessories, snacks and cold beverages and, of course, the handmade goods from the local hill tribes. Locals usually go here to buy food, household, healthcare supplies and kitchen equipment.

Pha Daeng National Park

Pha Daeng National Park is another national park in Chiang Dao district. The location is quite remote and compared to other parks. Pha Daeng is less commercial than other parks in the area. The entrance fee for this national park is 100 baht, and you can enjoy the national park, waterfall and hot springs.

Sri Sangwan Waterfall

The waterfall is the main attraction of this national park. The perk of this site is that only a few people usually visit this park. The peaceful setting and turquoise pools create a picturesque scene. The water falls from 50 metres above. Also, you can enjoy dipping into the water to cool off.

visiting Chiang Dao
by SamD’Cruz

Pong Arng Hot Springs

This hot spring is a great place for a “hot bath”. The hot springs are peaceful even during the bank holidays and weekends. There are two crystal clear hot pools and the temperature in the pools is similar to the temperature in a steam bath. Which most people find very relaxing.

Best time to visit Chiang Dao

Thailand has an amazing tropical weather all year long, however, if you are looking for a nature trek you might want to make sure you come at the right time.

Compared to Bangkok, the weather in Chiang Dao is relatively cool and more agreeable. Here, there are three seasons: cool, hot and rainy. Hot season sounds terrific, but you might want to go in the cool weather instead.

Cool season happens between December to February when the weather is cool during the day and even a bit chilly in the evening. This is the perfect time to explore the nature and enjoy the perfect heat.

Unless you love tropical heat, try to avoid visiting around April to June. At daytime, the temperature can reach 40 degrees Celsius.

Another season you should avoid is the rainy season, which usually comes from May to November. Exploring the jungle in a very hot or rainy day might be dangerous.

Complete Guide to Chiang Mai Old City

Friday, January 22, 2016 Uncategorised by admin

Chiang Mai is the second biggest city in Thailand. Chiang Mai means ‘new city’ and it was named after its discovery. The city was found in an older city of Wiang Nopburi. Chiang Mai is a perfect gateway to relax and escape from the hassle and bustle of Bangkok and big cities. It was used to be the centre of the Lanna Kingdom in the past. Nowadays, it is a popular city for backpackers and travellers.

Chiang Mai is an exotic place and it is very cultural and you will feel that straight upon arrival.

places to see in Chiang Mai Old City

If you happen to look at Chiang Mai’s map, you will see that the city centre lies on the square area called Chiang Mai Old City, since the area is small you can explore it by foot or bicycle.

Chiang Mai Old City points of interest

Chiang Mai Old City is one of the top places of interests for tourists. It is approximately 1.5km square. Centuries ago, the old city was surrounded by walls and moats to protect it from its nearby enemies. Thus, it was an exotic and peaceful centre for Buddhism, merchants, soldier and elephants.

There are many parts of the original city that are left untouched and you can feel the breeze of the exotic past, as you walk through the original city brick walls. Chiang Mai old town is the heart of the city where many activities take place.

Sightseeing at the Chiang Mai old city

Visiting an old city is always fun and it brings you to another dimension. Since, you can enjoy the history, culture and admire the beauty of it the old Thailand.

Thapae Gate

There are four gates to enter the Chiang Mai old city, one gate per each side of the walls. The main gate is Thapae Gate which is on the eastern shore facing the Ping River. If you want to do a Chiang Mai old city walking tour, this will be your starting point. The gate was refurbished in the 1980s to its original shape, nonetheless, once you enter the gate you will feel transformed in time. You can enjoy great food, ancient temples and meet many Buddhist monks.

Chiang Mai Old City sightseeing

On a daily basis, you have the chance to see and join (if you wish) locals doing aerobics and morning workouts.

Sunday Walking Street

If you walk straight from this gate, you will find yourself on the famous Sunday Walking Street. Every evening, from 4 pm until midnight you can find many interesting things here. There are various food stalls, merchants who sell souvenirs, clothes, jewellery and sculpture. Hence, it’s the place where Northern Thai people showcase their handicraft and art.

Chiang Mai Old City markets

Remember: bargain, bargain and bargain.

There will also be a bunch of street entertainers performing for visitors the whole night long. During the Sunday Market, Ratchadamnoen Road is closed for traffic. Thus visitors can enjoy the market without needing to worry about the passing traffic. Visiting a market in Thailand is a must so don’t miss this one.

On your way back home, don’t forget to take a peek of the beautiful Wat Chedi Luang and its pretty night lights.

Lanna Folklife Museum

Not far from the main gate, on your left-hand side, you will find the Lanna Folklife Museum. The white colonial style museum filled with Lanna village life recreation in a series of life-size dioramas explaining the symbols, traditions and Lanna people habits. This museum is a good starting point if you want to do the Chiang Mai City Tour on your own. The museum costs 40 THB for children and 90 THB for adults. It’s not expensive, nonetheless, if you are interested in visiting the other museums in the area, you might want to check the combo ticket prices to save money.

Three Kings Monument

Just right in the centre of the Chiang Mai Old City, there is a monument of three founding kinds of Chiang Mai. Namely: King Mengria, who found Chiang Mai, King Ramkamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngam Muang of Payao. Therefore, the monuments name is the Three Kings Monument – very self-explanatory. According to the history, these are the three kings who constructed and built the Northern Thai city in the 13th century. The sculpture is an iconic image representing the city of Chiang Mai, thus around the city, you can easily spot this monument reproduced in different forms and places.

Chiang Mai City Art and Cultural Centre

Just around the corner from the monument, you can see the Chiang Mai City Art and Cultural Centre. The museum is an excellent start if you want to learn more about Chiang Mai and its history. The Royal Association of Siamese Architects gave this museum an award in 1999 for its architectural design. It exhibits the cities development and growth and explains how Chiang Mai turned into the modern city. Here you will o find historical and cultural artefacts from the early Lanna Villages.

Usually, the exhibitions include photos, maps, old artefacts and interactive audiovisual displays that make this museum very interesting to visit. The ticket price is 180 THB. This price includes accesses to Arts and Cultural Centre, Historical Centre (just beside the art and cultural museum) and Lanna Folklife Museum.

Walking straight from the main gate leads you to the West gate, called Suan Dok Gate.

Website: http://www.cmocity.com/

Sompet Market

If you walk north along the moat, you will soon find Sompet Market just on the corner of the street. Here you can find many food stalls. Many of them sell fruits and vegetables fresh from the Thai farms. If you are seeking an authentic Thai market, this is a must-visit place for you. Not far from the fresh food, you will find a broad range of Thai snacks, hot dishes and healthy smoothies. Follow the moat and you will soon arrive at the north gate: Chiang Puerk Gate.

Saturday Market or Wualai Walking Street Market

At the south gate (Chiang Mai Gate) you will find Wualai Walking Street Market (Saturday Market). Located at Wulai Rd, you will spot several traditional silver workshops while visiting the market. Don’t be surprised; Wulai Rd is the old silver-making district of Chiang Mai. Similar to the Sunday Market, here you can find merchandise like handcrafted ornaments and statues. And of course, food stalls. The size is smaller than the Sunday Market, but the fun is no different. It starts around 4.30 pm and finishes at 10 pm.

Chiang Mai Old City stores

Chiang Mai Temples (Wat in Thai)

Buddhists actively use the temples, as they remain important centres of worship. There are over 200 temples in Chiang Mai. Particularly in Chiang Mai Old City, you can find three main temples that are considered the most important religious centres of Northern Thailand. The distance between these temples is very short, and you will be able to visit all of them in a day.

Wat Chedi Luang

This temple is unique. It was build to store the ashes of King Saen Muang Ma’s father. The temple has an incredible architectural feature, which is a magnificent Naga staircase on the entrance of the chapel. Once, it was a home to the most important religious object of the country, the Emerald Buddha, which has now been relocated to Grand Palace in Bangkok. Wat Chedi Luang was once destroyed due to a natural disaster then refurbished in the 1990s by the UNESCO. However, visitors can still see the original brick Wat. There is an ancient Dipterocarp tree around the Wat. Legend says that the tree and its spirit protect Chiang Mai from evil and disaster.

Wat Chiang Man

This wat is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai and it has the oldest Buddha statue in Chiang Mai inside the temple. It purely reflects Lanna architectural styles. Additionally, the annual rain festival is held here every year on April 1st, where locals pray to God during a religious ceremony. The famous two Buddhas in this temple are Phra Sae Tang Khamani, the White Emerald Buddha, and the marble Phra Sila Buddha. However, only certain people can access the Buddha chamber.

cool places in Chiang Mai Old City

Wat Phra Singh

The rough translation is ‘Temple of the Lion Buddha’. This Wat is known as the study centre for young monks. The name was inspired by the unique lion style statue, therefore you will find many smaller lion statues surrounding the temple. as well as the main grand statue. In this temple, there is an old small library that has a unique stone base to protect valuable items from flooding. The temple hosts many traditional Thai festivals throughout the year.

Things to do in Chiang Mai Old City

Chiang Mai Old City is very popular for its amazing museums and markets, but it also offers many types of authentic Thai activities you can do when you visit here.

Ride the Tuk Tuk

Tuk-tuk is a small three-wheeled traditional vehicle in Chiang Mai. Exploring the old town by tuk-tuk gives you more fun experience in enjoying the real Thailand. It costs around 150 – 250 THB per day depending on what you want to explore. It’s also a complete life saver if your feet are a little tired.

daily life in Chiang Mai Old City

Get a massage

After a long walk and a day trip, why don’t you indulge yourself in a massage session in the old town of Chiang Mai? As you walk down the Chiang Mai old city, you come across many massage parlours that offer a variety of massage packages. Usually 1-hour massage costs around 150 – 250 THB depending on the place and the package you choose.

Learn to cook traditional Thai dishes

If you are a real food junky, treat yourself and learn how to cook authentic Thai dishes. There is a few cooking school inside the Chiang Mai Old City to choose from.

Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre

Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre was the first cooking school ever opened in Chiang Mai. You can find it just a bit outside Chiang Mai old city. In this school, you can select the dishes you want to learn out of the choice of 78 dished in the menu. Moreover, with every cooking class from this school, you will also get a Thai food market tour. The workshop will teach you how to select the right ingredients for your cooking. Once you get home, you can showcase your new ability to your friends and family. Without the doubt, your Thai cooking skills will be quite impressive.

Taste from Heaven Vegetarian Cookery  School

This restaurant and cookery school only specialises in Thai vegetarian dishes. The restaurant opened in 2014, and the cooking school started operating in 2016. Phayungchit Khidhen (Nan) is the owner, founder and the teacher in Taste from Heaven. Nan worked in many high-end restaurants in both Thailand and Australia and created menus for both restaurants and cooking schools. Nan will teach you many vegan and vegetarian recipes based on your personal taste.

best areas of Chiang Mai Old City

Have a chat with Buddhist Monks and help him learn English

Many temples across the country offer a unique experience for tourists to have a conversation with Buddhist Monks.

The programme specialises in improving monks’ English skills, while visitors get to learn more about culture, belief and lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Usually, the session lasts for 2-3 hours.

Inside the old town, you can meet and join a Monk Chat at Wat Chedi Luang. Typically, there are 6-7 tables with around 50 young monks who are waiting to talk. The chat hours are between 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Chiang Mai Sightseeing Tours

All in all, you can either organise a DIY tour or book a group/ private tour guide, by doing so you will add more flexibility to your trip. Additionally, you can follow the list above and explore the old town by yourself.

Chiang Mai city tour is something you should look up if you would like to explore the city with the guide. Sightseeing tours provide you with great insight on the cities daily life, hence some people find them more convenient. Especially, if you would like to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of the city.

The tours range from a couple of hours, half-day to full day tours. Many tours include Chiang Mai City Tour, which covers the whole Chiang Mai city beyond the old town.

Private Chiang Mai city tour

Provider: Sightseeing Chiang Mai

Website: http://whtseeingchiangmai.com/

This provider offers a private half-day Chiang Mai city tour and the primary activity is sightseeing both inside and outside the old town. Therefore you will visit all of the most important wats including Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Chiang Mun and Wat Ched Yod. The trip includes hotel transfers, English-speaking guide and admission fees. What can be nicer than having someone explaining and organising your trip?

Chiang Mai city walk

Provider: Bonvoyage Thailand

Website: http://www.bonvoyagethailand.com

Enjoy a walking tour of the old city. You will experience using the local transportation and enjoy every inch of the city by walking. This tour guides you to the biggest and oldest local street, historical temples and community areas where you can try some authentic Chiang Mai street food.

Cycle through the old town

Provider: Grasshopper Adventures

Website: http://www.grasshopperdventures.com/

Enjoy the old city of Chiang Mai by cycling. Grasshopper Adventures bring a new, different experience for visitors to explore the city through the small lanes inside the walls of Chiang Mai. Cycling in a low speed, you will learn bit by bit the history and culture of Chiang Mai.

Explore the fantastic street food

Provider: Chiang Mai Food Tours

Website: http://www.chiangmaifoodtours.com/

Calling all food lovers! Chiang Mai Old City has many markets and therefore food is something that is always there. Chiang Mai Food Tours offer you a food tour guide and make sure you get the most authentic and delicious food in Chiang Mai. Besides that, you can taste the rich culture of Chiang Mai through the traditional Thai food.

Compared to other cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a truly unique experience. Its rich culture and kindness of Northern Thai people make your trip here unforgettable. One of the oldest towns in Thailand which used to be just 1,5 square kilometres in size, today, Chiang Mai is not merely the small square block you might see on the map. All in all, there are many things to see in the exotic city of Chiang Mai and you can start from the old city and continue beyond the city walls.

Bangla Road – Epicentre of Phuket Nightlife

Friday, January 22, 2016 Uncategorised by admin

Bangla Road, Patong, in Phuket is notoriously named for its very energetic and lively nightlife. Bangla Road is a must visit if you head to Phuket. The nightlife is at the top of its game. It is literally packed with a ridiculous amount of bars, go-go bars, girly bars, ex-pat bars, where drinks, women and music are the standard. Bangla Road is quite simply the sex capital of Phuket. If you are a single guy, then the night will no doubt be very entertaining whatever you choose to do.

As soon as the sun starts to set, Bangla Road closes off the traffic. The neon lights and bars start to become lively. The women and ladyboys start to head out and fill the road up. The music from all the bars starts to intertwine with each other. It becomes noisy, fun and energetic.

There are many side roads (called Soi’s in Thai) that lead off from Bangla Road. Here you will find even more bars, and mini clubs packed with girls and lady boys. Some of the best Soi’s to visit are Soi Easy, Soi Gonzo, Son Eric, Soi Crocodile and Soi Seadragon. Soi Seadragon is probably to the most popular road off Bangla Road, with a reputation for the best go-go bars (go-go bars are girly bars).

Bangla Road in itself is an experience to be had. It’s like heading into some kind of fantasy zone. In most other countries, they wouldn’t dare have a place like this. But it’s not a bad thing. It’s just very eye opening. The vibe is lively, and violence is not tolerated. Of course, you will get the odd person who has drunk too much, or who is too loud. But in general, it’s a safe area for what it is.

bangla road nightlife

Police are reasonable who patrol the road at night. You will see them in the grey or brown uniforms. Some are very friendly and helpful. They are just there to make sure things don’t get out of hand. Probably because you don’t get big bouncer type guys at the doors, so need some kind of authority.

Hosts and promoters do fill the street, always trying to grab your attention to come into their club. It is great but can get frustrating at times. This is all part the nature of Bangla Road. You can haggle with them, especially if you are in a larger group. The promotions they offer can sometimes include a free drink, a free shot, a free dance. It’s good to check out a mixture of places, everywhere has women, so that is not a short.

If you want to experience the best of Bangla Road in one night, it’s better to have a local guide with you. There are also bar crawls organised by nightlife professionals who will take you to the best spots and reveal the secrets of Phuket nightlife.

Patong, Bangla Road Drinks and Bar Girls

The drinks in Bangla Road are very reasonably priced in most cases. For a beer you would be looking about 60 – 80 baht. That is just over a $2. Cocktails and whisky can be around 150-180 baht ($5ish). If you do head out to meet women, then be prepared to buy them drinks. Especially if you are talking with a bar girl.

Bar girls here know the game, they are paid to make money for the premises they work in. Making money means bringing in punters to buy drinks. The cost of a drink for a bar girl is usually a bit more than average. When you look at the receipt, you will notice in some establishments – bar girl 30% on top of drink price. If you plan to take a bar girl home, then you will have to pay the bar a fee.

bagla road bars

This varies from bar to bar, but usually between 300 – 1000 baht. Of course, this depends on how busy the bar is, high and low season, and so forth. The bar fine doesn’t include what you would pay the girl to spend the night with you. That can be discussed between you and the lady.

All this may all come across seedy to some, but it’s just normal when you are in Patong. Even more normal when you are drunk and roaming the streets of Bangla Road, Patong.

You can not compare Phuket Bangla Road to somewhere like London, or New York. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen so openly.

Bangla Road Ladyboys

The ladyboys who work on Bangla Road, some are absolutely stunning. When you have had a few drinks, it is very hard to tell them apart from the real girls around. Some look much prettier than normal girls.

bagla road parties

Thailand has some of the best cosmetics in the world, and obviously, this shows just by looking at some of the ladyboys. Beware, it’s not a good idea to cross a ladyboy, they can get very angry. Just keep your wits about you at all times.

Bangla Road is not only bar girls and ladyboys in the bars, but you will get independent girls just trailing the streets. This can be looked at like prostitution if you look at it that way. But when you are in a world like Bangla Road, you are far away from anything you have experienced before on a night out. People do not judge here; it’s an open place to be free. In some ways, that’s what makes the vibe of Bangla Road so appealing.

Yes, you will see older guys with younger girls, this again can be a bit off-putting if you are not used to the setting. In reality, many younger women who work the bars prefer the older guys. The reason being that they would already have a decent backup regarding money. The older guys can be more stable, and can somewhat support the girl. Many Thai bar girls or independent girls look for this in a man.

Bangla Road Street Activities

Bangla Road has some great games based and set upon the street. Challenge yourself with hanging on the bar for more than 2 minutes, and you win a whole bottle of whisky. Can you do this for 3 minutes? Then you get two bottles of whisky. Games are great and fun to play with friends challenging each other, when sober or intoxicated. They are fairly cheap too, costing around 50-100 baht ($2 -$4). A small tip, the bar rotates if you try to reposition yourself 🙂

bagla road party life

The street shows are also a great site, with some fantastic performers performing all sorts from fire-spitting, to magic tricks. Street performers usually show up when the road is starting to get busy. Around the 7/8pm mark, and stay throughout the night. If you start this early and plan to stay the duration, then you have one hell of a long night ahead of you.

Walking through Bangla Road you will undoubtedly come across Ping-Pong shows, and touts are trying to lure you in. Ping-Pong show is very popular for the tourist. It’s something you wouldn’t see elsewhere in the world. To put it simply, it is a show consisting of a woman using items in a dramatic way with her private parts. Yes, it does sound weird and it is, but it’s an experience you won’t forget. Usually, you don’t have to pay to watch the performance, but the catch is, you buy drinks during the show. And the drinks in the Ping-pong shows can be quite expensive.

Bangla Road Virtual Reality

A new thing in Bangla Road that you will see if you head there now is the Virtual Reality machine. This is hilarious to watch, and it is a must see. If you walk past someone having a go, just spend a few moments to watch their experience. It’s even more laughable when they are quite drunk.

Bangla Road Live Music

Aside from the bars, there are some very good live music bars on the road. Playing music throughout the night. Rock, heavy metal, djing, and lots more. A lot of the bands are local Thai. But saying that you do get some big named Asian bands that head there to headline sometimes.

If you are a musician, you can also join in and play on stage. This has happened many times on visits to Bangla Road. If you know how to play the drums, for instance, you can let the band know you want a go. This just adds to the fun and the vibe of the place. You will get a free drink or so at the end of your performance.

bagla road concerts

The most well known live music venue in Bangla Road would be New York Live Music Bar. New York Live Music Bar is renowned for the quality of the bands playing here. This is also one of the only places that are actually free of bar girls. Molley Malones is another great live music bar located near McDonald’s on Bangla Road. You will find mainly acoustic laid back music in here to chill to. If Heavy Metal is your kind of music, then head over to Rock City. Great live Metal bands Fridays and Saturdays.

Bangla Road Nightclubs

Bangla Road is also home to some of the best nightclubs in Phuket, Illuzion and Seduction. It doesn’t matter what time you head out to Bangla Road, be it 3-4 am in the morning, it will still be packed. These nightclubs are awesome, with some very loud music and great lighting systems.
Illuzion, for example, becomes extremely busy at certain times of the night, and it can be hard to get a drink.

The bar area crams up, and to avoid this, it is best to get the attention of one of the walking shot girls. These girls provide shots on the spot, tequila, Jager bombs, sambuca, etc. You will spot them carrying around these bottles, and wearing clubby outfits. These shots range from 150-200 baht ($4-$6), but it is very convenient for a top up.

You will find plenty of girls in here, many of whom come on a night out with friends, or bar girls who have finished working. The prices for drinks vary, beer being the cheapest about 100 baht ($4). Shots, whisky, and cocktails can become quite expensive in comparison.

The nightclubs are a hotspot for ladyboys too. This could be for many reasons. Perhaps to catch drunk guys who literally can not tell as they have their beer goggles on. Ladyboys can be very smart and deceiving, but in general, they are genuinely nice people.

There are other nightclubs around, slightly smaller Tiger Disco, and Lepas Place. But to be fair, if you just want to dance the night away, you don’t have to go to a nightclub. There are plenty of bars and underground bars you can find on Bangla Road.

Another good place to visit is the Ice Bar, which is located at the beginning of the southern end of Bangla Road. It is small inside, and very cold. Jackets are provided. But being in the tropical climate of Phuket, it is sometimes nice to head into a very cold place, even if it’s just for one drink. You come out feeling very refreshed.

Bangla Road Experience

The crowds on Bangla Road are good, and not rowdy. You can easily head out there on your own and mingle in with the people and the girls… Or even perhaps a ladyboy if that is your thing. No one cares, it’s a good feeling to do what you want, but always be respectful. If you respect others, they will respect you.

There are so many places to visit on this road, and you will not visit half of them in a night, let alone a weekend or even a week!

Although Bangla Road has this aroma and sex vibe about it, it is in fact a brilliant night out! It’s not for someone who doesn’t have an open mind and is too conservative or judgmental. Bangla Road Phuket is, without a doubt, the most absurd place you can visit during the night. To enjoy this place, you need to shut off some thoughts and just go with the flow. Everyone is human, and everyone is up for a good time, that is why they are here!

Complete guide to Phuket Nightlife

Friday, January 22, 2016 Uncategorised by admin

Phuket Thailand has an incredible nightlife. There is always something to keep you amused. No matter if it’s the bright neon lit street bars, the clubbing scene of Bangla Road in Patong, Karon and Kata, or quieter wining and dining in Kamala.

If you are more of a show type head over to Kathu and enjoy one of the Cabarets shows that are on every night. Or perhaps head down to Rawai for a spot of night fishing with the locals on a long tail boat. Or simply jump in the sea at Kata beach and look at the stars above. Make sure you swim in between the swim signs, as the rips can be extremely dangerous!

Phuket’s Nightlife centre is in Patong, Bangla Road, but spreads out throughout the districts. Phuket is the hotspot for most tourists, so each individual place has its own nightlife too, with its own experience to be had. Many party goers like to head to Phuket due to the ease of access to the other party islands. For example, Koh Phangan which is famous for its Full Moon parties is only a boat ride away.

The choice of things to do is extensive, and you will always find entertainment to suit your taste. Phuket is the destination choice for most tourists heading to Thailand for a good reason. The island is located on the South of Thailand surrounded but the beautiful Andaman Sea.  Featuring amazing white sandy beaches on all sides of the island.

A popular and distinctive outing which would, in fact, take you off the island completely would be to check out the large club on a Catamaran, named Hype. Located on the west side of Phuket. Mainly a day venture with a return just after dawn. With this trip, you get to see the stunning sunset, while in the crystal clear waters, sipping champagne if you choose, to some rather chilled out music played by live DJ’s on Deck.

The seven main scenes of Phuket Nightlife, are Patong (with Bangla Road), Phuket Town, Kata Beach, Kamala Beach, Kathu Beach, Rawai Beach and Chalong Bay. The distance between them is nothing more than 500-700 baht (£10-14) in a taxi, even cheaper but longer if using a Tuk-Tuk.

Types of Phuket nightlife spots

Phuket Nightlife has an overwhelming variety of bars and night clubs. Go-go bars, girlie bars, Beer bars, Ooh-Wee bars, ladyboy bars, expat bars, traditional Irish and Australian bars/pubs (farang bars). And of course, some huge neon underground night clubs such as Illuzion just to name one in Patong, at the end of Bangla Road.

Go-Go Bars

These establishments are what some would call a mini nightclub/bar, where you will find featured girlie dancers. The girls usually dance around the bar, and on the podiums or platforms of the bar to set the mood for the customers. These bars are found in the red light district, but they are not restricted to this type of area.

Girlie Bars and Ooh-Wee bars

Girlie Bars and Ooh-Wee bars are similar to go-go bars. But they are quieter bars situated on the outskirts of these towns, that don’t have the go-go bar dancers present. Thus the bar has quite a calmer ambience about it. However, the girls will still be shouting from the bar, if they spot you. They will invite you to come in and join them for a drink, this is where the term Ooh-Wee comes from if you listen carefully.

Expat Bar

Expat bars are establishments where you will meet local farangs (foreigners with a Thai pronunciation), who have moved to Thailand. This is a local place, can be a bar, whisky joint, or simply a pub. All these types of venues are spread across the majority of Phuket so where ever you are; you will never be too far away. Phuket is not that big, hence you can always use a tuk-tuk to head out for the night. Nonetheless, make sure you know where you are going.

Ping Pong Shows

Have you always been curious about the Ping Pong shows? – Bangla Road in Patong can answer to your curiosity, and you will see what this is all about! Ping Pong shows are not for the feint hearted, the displays here are graphic, and some consider it not to be morally correct to have such shows.

Life music bars

If you are looking for something a bit out of the way and slightly more laid back, check out Freedom bar or Sanchai bar at Rawai beach, for live music entertainment and plenty of girlies and lady boys. Head down to the peacefulness of Kamala Beach of an evening for a chilled, relaxed meal in one of the many cuisines.

If it’s a quiet bar you are looking for, just to have a beer and play some connect 4 or Jenga (you will find many bars have this). You are better off going to the ex-pat joint. The games will help break the ice and meet some new people.

If you prefer the livelier scene you should head down to Patong, Bangla Road. Here you will have bar upon bar, clubs upon clubs, girls upon girls. Even the street itself is like a club during the night with the amount of people there and the loud music coming from all the different venues.

phuket nightlife

Phuket Town Nightlife

If you are looking for a night out but not on the same level as Patong for instance, then heading over to Phuket Town is a great option.

Much more laid back, with a somewhat relaxed atmosphere. There is a fantastic ambience in Phuket town, where you can really grasp the culture in some places. Phuket town is situated away from the main tourist’s hotspots. Thus, you won’t get huge amounts of loud people hustling the streets at night compared to that of Patong Bangla Road. However, you can still enjoy a very fun filled night at one of the local larger music style pubs, and night clubs. You will find that in Phuket town, the majority are local Thai people and ex-pats.

Aphrodite

A place to visit while you are in Phuket Town for an evening, would definitely have to be Aphrodite. It’s a ladyboy cabaret show, enticing, and great fun, with two restaurants, a Japanese and a Chinese one, and a brewery for a taste of beer!

phuket party

Kor Tor Mor

Fancy something a bit more lively? – Kor Tor Mor is an upstreet nightclub and one of the few nightclubs in Phuket that actually have a formal dress code. The night club has a variety of music, from Live Thai bands, to local DJ’s, and it’s a fantastic place to meet locals here.

Rocking Angels Blues Cafe

Rocking Angels Blues Cafe is an awesome live music venue situated in Phuket town, and if you are a musician yourself, you are more than welcome to join in with the live performances.

Other live venues like T2 Live Music and Music Matter are great places to head to in Phuket town for live performances. If you are after something a slightly different to all this mentioned, then head over to the rather hidden away Ka Jok See Restaurant located on Takua Pa Road. Very different from what you are probably used to, the portions of Thai food are vast, and the owner here is quite the entertainer, let’s leave that there.

Bang Tao Nightlife

Bang Tao Beach area is a very popular destination for tourists. It is most popular for its high-end beach style night clubs.
Being situated on the west coast of Phuket, and viewed upon as having some rather ‘classy’ upmarket venues. When you come here for a night out, you will notice quite the difference when compared to a night out on the streets of Bangla, or Kata, or Karon.

Dream Beach Club

Dream Beach Club, located right next to the white sands and the sea in the northern part of Bangtao beach, hosting a selection of DJ’s throughout the night playing different genres of music to suit all tastes. Two large swimming pools, and four bars, with an ample amount of seating and floor space to dance the night away.

parties in phuket

Catch beach club

The nearby Surin beach is just 5-minutes drive to the South from Bangtao. It used to be the epicentre of beach clubs and trendy chill zones, up until most of the venues were demolished in April 2016. It turned out the clubs were illegally built here and there was no way to legalise them other than demolish and get all the permissions from scratch. As a result, a whole bunch of beach clubs like Catch, Bimi, Zazada and some others just disappeared.

Clubbers headed towards nearest beaches and clubs, like Xana, Bliss and Dream Beach.

Apparently, the Catch beach club turned out to be the most renowned of them all. And in December 2016 it’s taking over Bliss beach club further down Surin beach.

So if you’re in Bangtao area, it’s totally worth the ride. If the name of Catch beach club doesn’t ring a bell, you should definitely check it out. But if it does…you know what to do.

The new location is again right next to the sea, with a two storey open building, a swimming pool, and a large decked area under some palm trees. This is one of the busiest venues in Phuket, with great music and a perfect atmosphere to enjoy mingling, or just to relax and chill out taking the view in. A Day Pass gives you an exclusive package of a VIP SunChair, Umbrella, a branded towel and a huge pillow. Grab a drink and enjoy your day!

Xana Beach Club

Xana Beach Club, another hugely popular beach club located on BangTao beach, with a very stylish look, a fantastic selection of European cuisine. Sometimes, you will get international DJs playing here to set the mood.

fun activities in phuket

Siam Supper Club

Looking for something slightly different perhaps? Head over to Siam Supper Club, a luxurious fine dining restaurant that hosts live soothing jazz music, and a lavish range of Thai and European dishes.

Bang Tao, has everything one could want for a posh night out and set in paradise. The place has a very clean and upmarket feel to it, but of course, there are still a few girly bars spread around. That is just a tradition now in Thailand.

Patong Nightlife

Looking for a hedonistic party scene in Thailand? Look no further and get yourselves down to Patong Phuket for a night of craziness.

Depending on where you want to go, Patong has numerous different types of nightlife to explore, of course, one being the famous road called Bangla Road/Bangla Street Phuket.

But if you are looking for something more on the quiet side, then this is also possible, perhaps a romantic dinner near the sea. You will need to go a little further to find this, specifically to the outskirts of Patong, away from the busy crowds.

Patong is worldwide known for its crazy nightlife, where the streets literally come alive at night with music from all angles, insane street performers, enticing girls, and ladyboys.

Patong Boxing Stadium located in the heart of Patong beach offers daily live fights. It’s a very popular activity among those who are planning to venture out on the streets at night. Live fights take place in the evenings on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Places to go in Patong Phuket

Patong is the MAIN place to head out to for an incredibly unforgettable experience (bearing in mind you can still remember after a heavy night of drinking). Patong Beach front, street markets, small beach front bars, music bars, crazy nightclubs and the Patong night market all offer a unique one in a lifetime experience. A list of very popular places are below, and you will find them all in Patong Phuket, mainly in and around the famous Bangla Road.

Simon Cabaret

This is probably the most popular cabaret on the island. A show at Simon Cabaret can be a good warm-up before a long night out in Patong. Dreamed of taking a picture with a ladyboy? Here you can do it right after the show when the whole cast eagerly poses for the pictures with the guests.

Paradise Beach Club & Paradise Complex

Paradise Beach Club & Paradise Complex, you will need to check dates, but Paradise Beach does offer Full Moon parties on the beach at certain times of the year. Attracting swarms of people to one of the nicest beaches in Phuket for a festive night of dancing under the stars and next to the sea.

Rock City Live

Rock City Live music venue is a great place if you are into your heavy rock music and heavy metal, based right in Patong Beach.

Molly Malones Irish Bar

Located next to Patong beach, this pub is a great place if you are looking for a pint of Guinness. On top of that, a fantastic place for decent pub grub, a huge selection of beers and ales. You will also find some excellent live music to chill out too.

Soi Sea Dragon

Is the hottest street outside of Bangla Road, approximately 100m long, with near on 50 bars. Some of the more popular bars on this road is Exotica (a go-go bar), Club Lover (Karaoke and girlie bar) and Devil’s Playground which to many is the best but the naughtiest go-go bar on the strip! Moulin Rouge Bar you may come across on your walk through Soi Sea Dragon is a strip tease bar where you will find it inundated with girlies. Sometimes a good starting point due to being located right at the start of the road.

Patong Beach Club

This place offers an excellent selection of wines, cocktails and tapas.

Roots Rock Reggae Bar & Shop

Again based on Patong Beach, is a very chilled out place (chilled out for Patong), playing reggae. Sometimes even live reggae music if you are lucky, and they also have a monthly barbeque for all you jerk chicken fanatics.

Love nightlife Phuket

Give you exactly what it says: a love filled nightlife experience. With a rooftop pool, it is another favourite spot to chill out purely because of its location above the busy streets of Patong.

Numerous places are not commercialised, and you will not find out about until you head down to Patong yourself to see.

Bangla Boxing Stadium

If watching live Muay Thai fights are your thing, then head down to the famous Bangla boxing stadium. The stadium is situated opposite Banzan street market, next to Jungceylon shopping mall.

Live matches are held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. If you want to learn more about this amazing sport read our Complete Guide to Muay Thai in Phuket.

Bangla Road

If you are simply looking for an unforgettable night out in Phuket, the main place to head to in Phuket is Patong, Bangla Road. Jam packed with bars, clubs, insanely loud music, a ridiculous amount of girls, ladyboys, ping-pong shows, and so much more… Bangla road starts to liven up from late afternoon, and in most cases, does not stop until the early hours of the morning, next day.

Live music, thumping loud tuk-tuk with subwoofers inside, neon lights everywhere, some crazy outfits, but all in all, a genuinely friendly atmosphere. Bangla Road is certainly an experience you will not want to miss, even if the exciting night scene is not your cup of tea, it is highly recommended to visit this place just to see what it is all about.

The price of beer is reasonably cheap here, and you will find many a club/bar hostesses/promoter trying to get you into their bars, with incentives such as buy one drink get one free, etc. Aside from these promoters, you will also have the girls who work at the bars and clubs that literally pull you in from the streets by grabbing your arm, and some can be very enticing. If you don’t want to go in, just be polite and say you’ll return, always works….The bars and clubs are situated right next to each other, so makes for a lively and loud atmosphere.

Bangla Road Bar Crawl

If you feel up for a crazy bar crawl, then join the Bangla Road bar crawl. During this activity, you will meet people from all walks of life who are just up for a good time. You will take in the experience while on the way to becoming very intoxicated with alcohol.

The crawl will take you from bar to bar, and club to club along the Bangla Strip. You will be drinking local beer, an unlimited amount of shots, and join in on some fun drinking games. All of that whilst speaking to all the girlies and hostesses of the bars/clubs as well as participants of the bar crawl.

It’s a great experience, with all the best venues handpicked for you.

Bangla Road is packed full of street performers and side shops. Those shops sell anything from souvenirs to full tailored suits and shoes. Don’t be surprised when you see many ticket touts, ladyboys, and in general plenty of girls which add to the element of a wholly entertaining and somewhat different night compared to that of a western night out.

Around the main Bangla Road, you will find packed side streets (Soi – this is the word used for street/road mainly in Thailand). These streets are full of bars, shops, more notable establishments, restaurants, smaller bars, some underground nightclubs, ping pong shows, and many go-go bars. You could spend all night and here and barely touch the surface of the place.

Many hostesses on Bangla road are ladyboys and may find it very hard to tell the difference between some of the ladyboys in comparison to the girls. Bangla Road is the epicentre for a night out in Phuket without a doubt. Just remember to respect their culture as things can get somewhat confronting, and you will be fine.

Best Places to visit on Bangla Road

Bangla Road itself explains all, and is packed full of places to go to. Hence, the best thing to do is just to get yourself down there and see for yourself which sites and venues suit your taste.

Further afield, but still on Bangla Road, you have the largest and best nightclubs in Phuket. The clubs are Seduction Complex, Illuzion and Tiger Disco. These nightclubs are the biggest in Patong, full of thumping music, neon lights, and multiple floors. The drink prices are pretty reasonable in here too, anything from 50baht (£1) upwards for a beer, and 150baht upwards for spirits, cocktails and so forth.If you enjoy dancing the night away, these nightclubs are the place to be in Patong – Bangla Road.

These nightclubs are the biggest in Patong, full of thumping music, neon lights, and multiple floors. The drink prices are pretty reasonable in here too. Anything from 50baht (£1) upwards for a beer, and 150baht upwards for spirits, cocktails and so forth. If you enjoy dancing the night away, these nightclubs are the place to be in Patong – Bangla Road.

Illuzion nightclub

Illuzion is one of the biggest nightclubs on the island with a capacity of 5000 people. The night club has four international resident DJ’s as well as eight international dancers who work on their each performance to make a night spent at Illuzion unforgettable. The performance is coordinated by the European choreographers and the program changes very often. Illuzion is undoubtedly one of the best night clubs in Phuket and even in the whole of Thailand.

clubs in phuket

Tiger Discotheque

Tiger Discotheque on Bangla Road is one of the venues managed by Tiger Group. They are famous for their tropics-inspired interior designs. Whenever you’re walking down the street and see giant tigers sticking out of  You won’t miss a Tiger club or restaurant

White Room Nightclub

White Room is one of the most decent clubs in Patong. Not to be mistaken for the White Box which is another night club further down the road from Patong to Kamala! The crowd includes many expats as well as tourists. The club features a spacious dance floor, VIP zone and a VIP balcony. As the name prompts, White Room interior design is mostly white. And of course, White Parties with all-white dress code are quite common here.

phuket b ars

Seduction nightclub

Seduction nightclub was opened back in 1997 and it quickly became one of the top locations in Phuket and the whole of Thailand. The nightclub has four floors each of them playing different music and have its own atmosphere. The best DJs from around the world come to Seduction to play their sets. The nightclub is open seven days a week, year-round, so no matter when you are visiting you can go and spend a night in Seduction.

Bangla Road Ice Bar

If you feel the need to cool down? Head over to Bangla Roads Ice bar, where it’s below -0 degrees, and have a few drinks. This will certainly change your body temperature from the heat consumed on the streets outside! Very pleasant, but beware the drinks can be somewhat pricey in here. Purely because you are paying for admission fee on top, and the bar can only fit so many people at one time.

Kathu Nightlife

Kathu located on the West side of Phuket is the smallest of the three districts that make up Phuket as an island. The old village of Kathu is relatively less commercialised compared to Phuket town for instance. Kathu is rather a communal town, but it still offers a wealth of activities to every taste.

Kathu has fantastic markets day and night, where you can buy just about anything. You will find everything you need from local delicatessen through to barbeque insects, to clothing.

Kathu is perfect for a night out in one of the many restaurants located around the area. You should go and check out the Royale Nam Tok, (house by day, fine dining by night). Perhaps a meal at the Thong Dee Restaurant. Trying out world class cuisines consisting of Thai home made specialities, Mediterranean and Swedish selections.

There are a few bars around, but in comparison to the other destinations mentioned in this guide, they are fairly quiet. For more information on Kathu read our Things to do in Kathu, Phuket guide.

Kata Beach Nightlife

Kata beach, a haven for surfers during the low season for its waves. While a hot spot for tourist during high season. Due to Kata’s gorgeous beach made up of white sand, and clear water, surrounded by a line of palm trees on the road side it’s truly a vacation paradise.

You will find an abundance of things to do here day and night. Basically any souvenir you will be looking for in Thailand can be found in Kata. Mainly, due to the numerous shops and night markets spread across the town. You will be spoiled for choice with eating out here. The place is a food galore. The restaurants include everything from traditional Thai cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Italian, through to European western foods.

Nightlife in Kata is fantastic, but definitely not as heavy as the hedonistic scene in Patong Bangla Road for instance. There is a vast range of bars which are mainly situated on the back road of Kata. The road runs parallel to the beach road. This street at night does come alive with many girlie bars, shops, street vendors and a few ladyboy bars.

The beachfront next to Kata Beach is pretty much dominated by Club Med holiday type of resort. Bear in mind that these venues are not nightclubs and may close early.

The Surf House Kata

One of the favourites for locals and tourists at Kata is The Surf House. The Surf Hous is located right on Kata Beach front. Great music, a wave ride system (similar to an inclined pool but with wave formation) allow you to test your surf skills and balance out after having a few drinks. It is seriously good fun, even watching your friends giving it a go, and falling off losing balance is highly entertaining.

To sum it up a great selection of inspired food, and generally a fantastic atmosphere. Apart from the particular back road mentioned the place is pretty much family friendly.

places to go in phuketBest Places to visit in Kata

The back street parallel to the beach street (beachfront) is where you will find the nightlife here.  Crammed with bars, food joints, and entertainment. The Surf House and a large choice of restaurants to suit your tastes. Nonetheless, Kata is more of a peaceful place and not really a party hub.

Kamala Nightlife

Kamala’s nightlife is even more laid back compared than of Kata, Karon and of course Patong and Bangla Road’s nightlife. Kamala has some very nice beach bars right on the side of Kamala beach. In those places, you can enjoy a beer, cocktail and some light entertainment be it girls or sports.

Wondering through Kamala village of an evening time, you will come across a variety of small local restaurants to feast your eyes upon. Kamala is host to some fantastic 5-star resorts. The beach also has a large friendly beer garden, two sports bars, a few small pubs, and a rock and roll bar.

A quieter place than its neighbouring party places, but still enough to warrant entertainment for an evening for most visitors. Bear in mind you take a 10 min taxi (tuk-tuk) down the road to the louder scene at Patong Beach.

Best Places to visit in Kamala

Kamala Sports Bar is a nice casual and cosy place for watching live sports on screen.Kamala Beer-garden is a friendly chill out hot spot. Finally, Aussie Pub Kamala offers a range of for traditional ales, good pub grub, and ambient atmosphere.

Karon Nightlife

Karon is known to many as the little sister of Patong (and the famous Bangla Road). The nightlife can offer many things that Patong offers, just on a smaller scale, and without the ping pong shows. A plentiful amount of bars which is the centre point for the nightlife in Karon, just off Patak Road.

You will have a lot of fun here, and the girls who work at the bars make it very welcoming. There are a lot of girlie bars here, and most stay open very late, almost up until dawn, so you won’t run out of things to explore and do for the night. If you enjoy live music, head over to Karon Aussie bar, and Kenny’s Aussie bar.

Best Places to visit in Karon

Karon Plaza, consisting of many bars, restaurants, massage parlours and guesthouses. This place comes alive at nighttime, with the streets lit up, the bars put on the music.  The girls and hostesses line up to bring in any passing customer. If you are in Karon, you must visit the Karon Plaza. Not as heavy as Patong’s Bangla Road, but you wouldn’t expect it to be due to its smaller L-shaped size.

4U Skybar Nightclub

4U Skybar Nightclub, a fantastic bar located on the rooftop, with a huge selection of cheap cocktails. The bar also features a pool to chill out in, or cool off from the tropical climate.

Bangla Plaza, a selection of mini sized open sided bars. All of them with many hostesses (girls and ladyboys mixed), music, pool tables and well-priced drinks.

Angus O’Tools

Angus O’Tools, a very popular Irish pub for its international ales and beers. The pub has a huge sports screens for popular sporting events i.e. football, with a genuine all round pub feel. This place will make many tourists feel more at home as if it were in your own country. A great selection of pub food is also on offer. For more information on Karon and it’s night life read our Guide to Karon.

Rawai Nightlife

Rawai, not often mentioned in the majority of Phuket guides as a town to visit for Phuket nightlife. Nonetheless, it is worth a visit if you are close by and would like to explore the sports scene. Rawai is located on the southern tip of Phuket. On the Rawai beach road, you will see a stretch full of bars.  The rest of the bars are located throughout the village away from the main beach road. Rawai has many local bars, some quiet, some are very busy, so it’s a nice selection.

There are a mix of restaurants too in the village, including some very exotic seafood restaurants to eat at. Nikita’s is perfect if you like lobsters and fresh seafood. Da Vinci’s world class Italian restaurant situated about a 5 min drive from Rawai beach, close to Nai Han gym. As well as many other local restaurants serving Thai and European menus.

Barwise you have Freedom and Sanchai bar which are the two main ones. They are also located on Rawai beachfront. If you fancy putting on your dancing shoes, you can head over to Laguna’s or Ikon nightclub. Both places will keep you up to early hours of the morning no doubt.

A quiet village mainly, but when the night is upon us, Rawai does become quite lively. Bear in mind most of this takes place at the Rawai beachfront. There is a decent mix of girly bars combined with ladyboys throughout Rawai.  Especially on the main road leading down to the beach. The scene here is somewhat dominated by Muay Thai. Thus of a weekend, when training is more relaxed, it becomes quite lively and entertaining.

The complete guide to Cheow Lan Lake

Friday, January 22, 2016 Uncategorised by admin

Escape to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, not far from Surat Thani and home to 5% of the world’s species – Khao Sok National Park. Deep in the succulent thickets of this 300 million year lowland jungle, known as the wettest spot in Thailand, you will be delighted to find Khao Sok’s emerald jewel – Cheow Lan Lake.

About Cheow Lan Lake

This magnificent man-made lake covers approximately 185 square kilometres. Emerging from the cool water are limestone karsts, traces of a coral reef system that once stretched from Borneo to China. These dramatic limestone formations, some of which reaching an impressive 960m, are dense with cycad palms that have thrived since the dinosaur-era and host a spectacular array of life.

Cheow Lan Lake tourism

Cheow Lan Lake formed in 1982 by a shale-clay dam called Ratchaprabha. Since its tucked away in the thickets of Khao Sok National Park – an area that remains relatively untouched and protected. Therefor the environment thrives and teems with magical biodiversity. The scenic body of water stretches its klongs (Thai word for river or waterway) inland reaching out for the rocky ridges and crags.

Klongs (waterways) of Cheow Lan Lake

There are several klongs sprouting from Cheow Lan Lake. Klong Ka is the easiest to get to being the closest to Ratchaprabha pier. Highlights here include travelling past the mesmerising Gui Lin viewpoint boasting many of the jutting limestone karsts. As well as easy hikes on flat terrain, enveloped by mountains and tall lush grass. This is the home of Pra Kay Petch cave, also knows as Diamond cave, one of the best in the park with awesome stalactites and stalagmites, and many bats.

places to see in Cheow Lan Lake

Klong Pey

Klong Pey is 2 hours from Ratchaprabha pier. Here you will find some of the best trekking along the trail to Nam Talu cave (January – April only). Journeys to this massive, almost 1km cave are often made at night when nocturnal life is aplenty. With a headlamp strapped to your brow, splash through waist-deep water in the cave keeping an eye out for nightly visitors like bats, spiders and crabs. The valley surrounding the cave has an interesting history as it was used as a sanctuary for foot soldiers and communists.

Klong Yee

The third waterway, Klong Yee is remote and secluded and falls within the wildlife sanctuary, along with its neighbour, Klong Wong. This means it features abundant animal life against a peaceful backdrop of water and jungle – ideal for kayak trips and nature safaris. Another highlight is a gorgeous waterfall hike (April to December) and a walk to the Krai Son viewpoint that overlooks a breathtaking valley.

Klong Saeng

Klong Saeng is Cheow Lan’s north-western waterway and was once Thailand’s largest river before the lake was made. It is the longest trip, nearly 3 hours by boat, but so worth it. This wildlife reserve requires special consent (and an extra fee). A park ranger will lead you into the natural riverine setting where you have a good chance of spotting wild elephants and deer.

Klong Mon

Klong Mon is distinguishable from its many elevated hills and valleys. This is a fantastic choice for bird-watching with its peaceful rocky outcrops. Often spotted here are Grey eagles and hornbills. There is a trail from Klong Mon to Klong Saeng but you need to notify the Khao Sok park ahead of the time as you need to be accompanied by a ranger.

Klong Mon is also an awesome spot if lure fishing is your sport! Get your adrenaline pumping and ask about snakehead fishing. Three types of snakehead are abundant in Khao Sok waters and the crowds of immersed trees make an excellent labyrinth for these predatory fish with their snake-like heads and sharp teeth. Other fish predominant in this area include jungle perch, mahseer and catfish. Cast-off from a long-tail boat while the sounds of the lake hum around you, a memorable catch for anyone who loves fishing.

Klong Long

Klong Long is the most popular and busiest klong due to the quick hike and raft ride to Coral cave (also known as Pakarang cave); boasting coral fossils over 10 000 years old. Also a 2.5 hour trek through deep jungle will lead you to the southern tip of the curve showcasing an impressive viewpoint.

Things to do on Cheow Lan Lake

We have the ideal selection of activities on Cheow Lan Lake to choose from. Not only will you explore the lake by boat, and go on a jungle adventure on our Cheow Lan Full Day Trip but you will also visit a local market. This is part of a community initiative allowing resident families to profit from the tourism in breathtaking Khao Sok National Park.

Long Tail boat cruising

Gllide effortlessly across the tranquil water on a long-tail boat. Grab your camera as a Peregrine falcon soars the blue heaven, taking his pick from the shoal of silvery fish darting in the cool water below. Peaceful trips on the lake make it easy for you to spy on indigenous life that inhabits this sanctuary.

Keep an eye on the leafy trees for sudden swinging movements; it may just be a long tail macaque monkey or a naughty long-armed gibbon. You may even spot a wild boar with his thick curved horns or large sambar deer. If you’re really lucky, catch a glimpse of the Malay sun bear – the world’s smallest bear, basking in the warm glow of the sun.

Bird Watching

So you’re an avid twitcher? Our Cheow Lan Lake Full Day Bird Watching Tour may peak your interest. There is no shortage of magnificent birds to see in Khao Sok National Park, with over 180 species of birds occupying these bushy crags including twelve species of kingfisher in various vivacious colour, hornbills and even the shy Great Argus.

Overnight Stay

If you have more time then the Cheow Lan Lake 2 days, 1 night Trip may be for you. The thriving jungle boasts a wide display of discoveries – birds, insects, amphibians, wildlife and even rare flora. Khao Sok National Park is home to the world’s largest flower – the Rafflesia. The beautiful red flowers of this unique plant reach an incredible diameter of 75cm.

On a night trip, you are definitely in for a treat! As the sun disappears and the love calls of cicadas emerge from the thickets, be on the lookout for nocturnal creatures like the adorable slow loris, and maybe even a clouded leopard! Float beneath a blanket of stars as you hear bats flying overhead looking for an insect snack.

Hiking

If you’re keen to dust off your hiking boots and head off for an adventure trekking along winding jungle trails in search of viewpoints, swimming holes, waterfalls and caves then the Cheow Lan Lake Wildlife Explorer Tour may be right up your alley!

Popular wildlife highlights of this adventure include wild elephants, sambar deer and the awkward pig-looking tapir.

How to get to Cheow Lan Lake

There are a few options when making your way to Khao Sok National Park, depending on where in Thailand you’re coming from.

When you disembark from your transport – local taxis will be waiting to take you to the entrance of Khao Sok National Park or if you’re up to it you can take a scenic walk.

Plane

If you’re flying from Bangkok, the closest airport is Suratthani. Phuket airport has a bigger selection of flights, and although Krabi airport is the same distance to the park, getting there via public transport is a little more complicated.

A one-way economy flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani costs about
฿1500 – ฿3000 (depending on season and time of flight).

Train

Bangkok to Surat Thai, there are several trains every night but the 19:00 train arrives in Surat Thani at 6:00 (but please note these trains are often delayed).

Bus

Getting to Khao Sok from Surat Thani is simple; there are also regular bus services from Phuket that stop in Khao Lak and Takua Pa.

Bangkok Southern terminal (Thonburi district) – Bus leaves at 18:40 and arrives 4:30. Cost ฿520. The bus stops in Ban Ta Khun, 10 minutes’ walk from the Khao Sok office (where you can purchase tickets to the lake) but because it arrives early, you will have a lengthy wait for it to open.

Takua Pa – Bus leaves every hour between 6:00 and 18:00 and the journey takes 1 hour. Cost is ฿40 – ฿60 depending on the class of bus.

Surat Thani – Bus leaves every hour between 6:00 and 18:00 and the journey takes 2 hours. You will be dropped at the access road to Khao Sok along Route 401 and will have to walk to the entrance. Cost is ฿120.

Phuket – Bus leaves every hour from 6:00 am until 16:00 and the journey take 4 hours and includes stops in Khao Lak and Takua Pa. Cost is ฿160 – ฿180 depending on the class of bus.

The Khao Sak National Park gate is 1.6 km from where you’re dropped off on Route 401. To catch the bus back to Surat Thani or Takua Pa, simply head back to the bus stop on Route 401.

From Takua Po it is possible to transfer to buses to Bangkok, Khuraburi, Khao Lak and Phuket.

Minibus

A minibus is better known in Thailand as a van. They are easy to book from where you’re staying or at your closest minibus terminal.

Bangkok – Leaves 15.00, journey takes 11 hours. Cost is ฿700.
Ko Lanta – Leaves 8:30, journey takes 5 hours. Cost is ฿700 including boat fare from the island.
Ko Pha Ngan – Leaves 7:30 and 13:30, journey takes 8-9 hours. Cost is ฿650 including boat fare from the island.
Ko Phi Phi – Leaves 8:00, journey takes 7 hours. Cost is ฿750 including boat fare from the island.
Ko Samui – Leaves 7:30 and 13:30, journey takes 6-7 hours. Cost is ฿550 including boat fare from the island.
Krabi Town / Ao Nang – Leaves at 8:30 / 14:30 and 16:30, journey takes 3-5 hours. Cost is ฿450.
Surat Thani – Leaves at 6:30 / 7:00 / and then every hour until 16:00, journey takes 1.5 hours. Cost is ฿250. If you’re heading to Surat Thani airport, the cost is ฿300.

Private taxi

Private taxis heading from the South mainland are easy to book. A standard motorcar can fit around 4 passengers while a bigger car can fit about 6 passengers with a spacious trunk (also depends on luggage).

Approximate cost per car: Takua Pa (฿1500), Khao Lak (฿1700), Surat Thani Airport (฿1700), Krabi Town (฿2500), Ao Nang (฿2800), Phuket Airport (฿2500).

Car hire

You can hire a car from Surat Thani airport with a standard economy vehicle costing about ฿700 a day. Most vehicles have GPS and the entrance to Khao Sok National Park is easy to find. GPS coordinates 8°56′12″N 98°31′49″E.

Getting to the boat pier from the Khao Sok entrance is a breeze as the lake is close to the entrance. Many local taxis are waiting to take travellers to the pier or it’ll be inclusive in your holiday package. For perspective – a 3 hour trip from Ratchaprabha pier will get you to the lake’s furthest waterway in the north-west – Klong Saeng.

Cheow Lan Lake Accommodation

Scattered across the expansive lake, you will notice rows of bungalows reflecting serenely in the water. In your free time, grab a kayak and explore the remote Cheow Lan Lake on your own.

Watch the day melt into the distance and replaced with a fiery sunset. Delight your taste buds at an authentic restaurant as you feast on local Thai dishes using fresh seafood and vegetables. Wash it down with a local beer while being serenaded by the calls of nature.

After a fantastic night’s rest, wake up to a rosy dawn and the sound of gibbon monkeys echoing from the misty outcrops. Take a refreshing dip in the warm water before starting your adventure for the day. These floating houses may be booked as part of your tour, or private hire – depending on your itinerary.

There are various levels of comfort and affordability when selecting accommodation for your stay on Cheow Lan Lake. Booking is crucial as bungalows are subject to availability and prices are approximate and vary according to season. Dry season, perfect for hiking, is between November and May while the rainy June – October season is ideal for splashing around in bursting waterfalls.

Traditional Accomodation

Budget and eco-friendly bamboo raft houses that are mostly family-run, providing an authentic Thai-hospitality experience. Embrace the elements and unwind on a low bed in a back-to-basics thatch-roofed, bamboo house with hand-woven walls that blends perfectly with its natural surroundings. Approximate cost from ฿400 – ฿500 a night.

Krai Son Raft House

Krai Son Raft House offers basic but charming bamboo bungalows situated near Klong Yee and offers spectacular views of the lake, a bar lounge, complimentary kayak, a diving platform and an excellent chance of spotting wildlife.

Ton Toey Raft House remains one of the oldest raft houses on the lake. Expect traditional Thai-style bamboo raft houses with a backdrop of lush green jungle. A night visit to Nam Talu cave is easy from this location. Facilities like free kayaks and a bar lounge are also available.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/krai-son-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Nang Prai Raft House

Nang Prai Raft House is located around the central point of the lake, and offers incredible panoramic views. These raft houses are situated near the Nam Talu and Diamond caves.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/nang-prai-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Modern Accomodation

Middle comfort bungalows made of concrete or wood that include benefits such as raised beds, electric fans and modern walkways. You will also be pleased with a bar and/or restaurant. The approximate cost is ฿600 – ฿1000 a night.

Sai Chon Raft House

Sai Chon Raft House is halfway to the rocky Klong Long bay and provides both rustic wood and modern concrete bungalows. Fantastic views, ideal for families or groups, a popular choice for locals and easy access make this a good choice.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/sai-chon-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Smiley Floating Bungalows

Smiley Floating Bungalows is situated at the entrance to Klong Pey and is both owned and run by one of the oldest families in Khao Sok. Their facilities include modern bungalows most of which have private bathrooms, and a wonderful restaurant offering authentic Thai cuisine. Close to Nam Talu cave and Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/smiley-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Chiew Lan Raft House

Chiew Lan Raft House is hidden in a secluded alcove on Klong Long, and close to Coral Cave. These bungalows are rustic but inviting with private bathrooms and a diving platform. The raft house is extremely popular with Thai travellers and their karaoke is a must. However, if you require a more peaceful evening, selecting alternative accommodation is advised.

Klong Ka Raft House

Klong Ka Raft House is in a remote area at the southernmost tip of the lake. It offers farmhouse-type family-sized bungalows as well as 2-person bamboo huts. Rooms are basic but lovely and this part of the lake boasts access to fishing gear, bamboo raft safaris and hiking access to Diamond Cave.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/klong-ka-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Plern Prai Raft House

Plern Prai Raft House is almost half way up Klong Long and is easy to reach. There is a choice between traditional and modern bungalows, set amongst limestone karsts. Highlights include access to Coral Cave and occasional mobile reception!

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/plern-prai-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Putawan Raft House

Putawan Raft House boasts standard and deluxe rooms. It is ideal for family and romantic retreats and popular with local travellers. Thus, you may even have an opportunity to practice Thai. The raft house offers a diverse restaurant and gift shop and the area is situated nearby both Diamond and Nam Talu cave.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/putawan-raft-house-khao-sok-thailand/

Prai Wan Raft House

Prai Wan Raft House is at the northernmost top of Klong Long and provides charming bamboo houses. The raft house is set against a serene jungle backdrop and is close to Coral cave. Since it is so remote, it is often the location for yoga retreats and health seminars. Anticipate gracious staff, a snack shop and one of the greatest restaurants on the lake.

Deluxe Accomodation

If you don’t feel like giving up your luxury comforts (especially during rainy season when hiking or safaris are difficult) then you may want to check out the deluxe floating bungalows. These raft houses feature hardwood interiors, private bathrooms and often include air-conditioning. Approximate cost from ฿2000 – ฿9000 a night.

Panvaree Deluxe Floating Villas

Panvaree Deluxe Floating Villas are beautifully carved wooden villas that boast both family and honeymoon suites with air-conditioning, hot showers, a kayak per room and satellite TV. In a private alcove, the location is perfect and still close to Gui Lin viewpoint, Coral and Diamond cave. The superb restaurant provides cooked-to-order meals.

500 Rai Deluxe Floating Bungalows

500 Rai Deluxe Floating Bungalows, remotely located in Klong Long, is privately owned and offers a luxury experience. This includes attentive staff, gorgeous wooden interiors, private bathrooms with hot water and air-conditioning. There is also a full bar and excellent restaurant. The resort also offers activity packages together with accommodation packages.

Details: http://www.500rai.com/

Keeree Warin Deluxe Floating Bungalows

Keeree Warin Deluxe Floating Bungalows are located at the entrance to Klong Yee in a secluded inlet. These premium hardwood 2-storey villas offer a private island, stunning views, fantastic staff, private in-room bathrooms and hot water.

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-item/keeree-warin-soating-bungalows-khao-sok-thailand/

Phupa Waree Deluxe Floating Bungalows

Phupa Waree Deluxe Floating Bungalows are located in Klong Wong and offer a rope swing, diving platform and a lovely two-storey restaurant. Enjoy a luxurious lake experience – stand on your porch and absorb the amazing views especially the sunrise!

Details: http://khaosoklake.com/travel-perior-floating-bungalows/

Different Tours available on Cheow Lan Lake

Here is the list of different tours and activities available on the lake.

Cheow Lan Full Day Trip

Fairy-tale scenery of towering limestone cliffs and over 100 islands jutting skyward. Cheow Lan Lake is one of the most spectacular places on earth. Take in the beauty, wildlife, and tranquillity of Khao Sok National Park with a day trip to the lake.
During the day you will visit a colourful local market. Then spend the rest of the day hiking through the virgin jungle, swimming, exploring a cave, kayaking, or just relaxing amidst the stunning limestone cliff scenery.

Cheow Lan Lake 2 days, 1 night Trip

An ideal way to really enjoy Cheow Lan Lake, this 2 day 1 night tour. The tour includes a 3 hour boat ride into the heart of the lake. Feel humbled as you pass the magnificent limestone karsts into the jungle of Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary. While on the lake or trekking through the jungle, spot indigenous species, such as the Malay sun bear or the introverted Great Argus.
Head back to your floating bungalow for some free time. Before a dinner of freshly-caught fish from the lake. You will look forward to retire to your bed where you’ll feel lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of nature.

Cheow Lan Lake Full Day Bird Watching Tour

Grab your binoculars and uncover the magnificent birdlife fluttering around the river. The many sweeping fields, the jungle or Cheow Lan Lake’s Klong Sang Wildlife Sanctuary.

Learn fascinating facts like unique bird behaviour and distinctive calls. Look forward to spotting hornbills, pittas, barbets, sunbirds, bee-eaters and up to twelve species of kingfisher in assorted vivid colours. If you’re extremely lucky you may even spot the very shy Great Argus!

Cheow Lan Lake Wildlife Explorer Tour

Explore the jungle. This 2-day, 1-night tour will take you deep into the lake, go on an adventurous jungle hike. You may spot sambar deer, hornbills, and the wild guar buffalo. Rare wildlife such as elephants, sambar deer, and tapir are also popular here.

Take a 3-hour boat ride through the spectacular limestone formations to the pristine jungle of the Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary.Then, a delicious dinner of fresh fish from the lake is ready to wrap up your day. You will fall asleep in a lovely floating bungalow to the symphony of gentle sounds from the jungle.