There’s perhaps no city in the world with a reputation for nightlife quite like Bangkok has. Hedonistic, playful, limitless, Bangkok nightlife comes in many forms, not all of which are naughty. Fancy a jazz bistro or a refined rooftop bar? No problem.
Still, cutting loose here is an art, and the beautiful backdrop of Asia’s Sin City, the ready canvas. So go on and paint the town red, from Asiatique’s cheeky cabarets and non-stop go-go bars to Silom’s dance clubs and dreamy dinner cruises on the River of Kings, Thailand’s nightlife comes alive in Bangkok, no matter the day of the week.
Here is our list of the top 7 Bangkok nightlife experiences.
Muay Thai Boxing
The global rise of Mixed Martial Arts has raised the profile of Thailand’s ancient form of kickboxing, better known here as Muay Thai. Not only are westerners picking up the sport back home, but they are coming to Thailand to live and to train under some of the country’s most distinguished teachers, and to see the action live, of course.
New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, near Don Muang Airport, is one of the best places in Bangkok to catch some of the country’s very best fighters, three nights a week. The other is the more central Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, Bangkok’s oldest, and the only major venue featuring female fighters, too. If MMA has got you hooked, catching a live fight here is a must!
Glamorous, glitzy and grand, Bangkok’s cabarets and ladyboy shows make for a fun evening out. Combining stage presence, humour and undeniable talent, world-class performers take to the stage in fabulous hand-made costumes, entertaining both tourists and locals alike.
For some of Bangkok’s best, head to Calypso Cabaret at Asiatique, Playhouse Cabaret, Golden Dome Cabaret and Mambo Cabaret.
If you didn’t get your fill of Bangkok’s ultra-modern shopping malls, get your haggle on for one of the city’s favourite nighttime activities: strolling the city’s many bustling night markets. While cruising a sea of stalls offering everything under the sun (and moon) is entertaining enough, some markets also feature a selection of delicious food vendors and even sultry go-go bars, complete with touts out front to lure you in for an experience.
Shop, eat and party at JJ Green Night Market (vintage treasures), Chatuchak Weekend Market (one of Asia’s largest), Asiatique the Riverfront (unique & trendy), Patpong (red light district included), and Neon Market (foodie heaven).
Probably the most surprising is Bangkok’s deep selection of quality jazz bars sprinkled throughout the city centre.
Saxophone Pub, Bamboo Bar, Brown Sugar, Jazz Happens, The Living Room, and Glaz Bar are all solid destinations for a tasty meal, a cold drink and some of the hottest live jazz in all of Asia.
Chao Phraya River Cruises
There is no better way to cool off a steamy Bangkok night than by taking a dinner cruise on the mighty Chao Phraya River. If you’ve visited the daytime Floating Market on one of its many tributaries, this is completely different.
For starters, Bangkok looks different from the River of Kings. Iconic landmarks, like the Grand Palace, are dramatically lit after sundown, dotting the busy cityscape with glowing, ornate temples in the softest of yellows. And rivers are romantic.
While most cruises include a buffet dinner and some musical entertainment, the meal isn’t the star attraction on most river cruises here – unless you’re on the Supanigga Dinner Cruise, whose famous Supanigga Eating Room restaurant has been drawing foodies to Bangkok for years.
The freshest breath of air in the city can be found on any of Bangkok’s many posh rooftop bars and patios. Most can be found accenting the city’s very best hotels, and all offer sublime, unobstructed 360° views of the river and surrounding area.
Perched atop the Lebua Tower on the 64th floor, Distil Rooftop Bar is Bangkok’s highest. Banyan Tree’s Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar is another favourite, as are Marriott’s Octave Rooftop Bar and Anantara Hotel’s ZOOM Sky Bar.
After a rooftop drink, a sunset dinner cruise and some jazz, end your night off right, dancing it out at one of Bangkok’s many booming nightclubs.
Spots like The Club and DJ Station (gay dance club & cabaret) are the place to be, along with Royal City Avenue (RCA area), its trendy Route 66 Nightclub and jumping Onyx Bangkok.
In Thailand, a Bangkok stopover is all it takes to indulge in some of the world’s very best nightlife. As they say, ‘One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster’.