Patong Beach… definitely the main attraction for Phuket nightlife. There’s something for everyone there. You don’t really need a written guide directing you to various fun spots… you just have put on your comfortable sandals and take a walk through the well-lit streets across from the beach… there’s something going on every step of the way… a good place to do a traditional pub crawl by foot.
The street scene, with it’s numerous hawkers selling everything from funny hats to wooden bicycles, is a vibrant entertainment center all by itself… and it’s free! Of course, the club scene is even more vibrant. Also, there’s every kind of restaurant available… something for every taste.
There’s a deluge of articles written about Phuket nightlife… and most are focused on Patong. Information overload is a real possibility when trying to figure out where to go in this eclectic neighborhood… it’s confusing. Our best advice is to just get out there to discover and enjoy.
Phuket Town… There’s usually some kind of evening event or festival going on in Phuket Town (technically, Phuket City). There’s also a number of nice clubs and pubs. If you’re not in the mood for the fast pace of Patong, why not take a look at the downtown entertainment… it’s popular with both tourists and locals… featuring live bands in most clubs. There’s even a quiet Irish pub by the name of O’Malley’s.
Since the club/pub locations are fairly well spread out, you’ll probably need some transportation if you want to make a big night of it.
Kata Beach… about 10 minutes if driving south from Patong… and easily accessible from just about any location in Phuket… a little more laid back than Patong… a popular spot for both families and singles. The nightlife is active, but not overpowering… plenty of clubs and pubs to enjoy.
A popular nighttime activity here is dining by the sea as the sun sets into the Andaman… or just hanging out at a seaside pub, listening to the music… while watching the tide come in.
Phuket Cinemas… a great option for the rainy season or anytime you want to take a break from the social scene. Here’s three cinemas to choose from:
Many popular Hollywood films are shown in English with Thai subtitles… or sometimes in Thai with English subtitles… along with a choice of Thai films with English subtitles.
Don’t be surprised when the music starts before the film and everybody stands up. The national anthem is played while a short video is run… honoring the king. Foreigners are expected to take part. It’s a nice display of patriotism on the part of the Thais… and a sign of respect on the part of the foreigners.
Also, it’s a good idea to bring some extra clothing to the cinema. Sometimes the air conditioning is too good.
Kamala Beach… having grown quite rapidly in recent years… Kamala has been able to retain it’s original charm and laid-back atmosphere that made it so attractive to visitors in the first place.
There’re some great places to have a few drinks along the beach… while watching the local fishermen bring in the catch… lots of good food also. But, you won’t find large crowds looking for adult entertainment… Kamala offers a different kind of atmosphere. However, it’s far from boring… along with Phuket FantaSea, there are lots of fun nightspots popular with the expats and tourists.
Bangtao Beach… lots of luxury villas and 5 star hotels here. It’s a quiet place. Most tourists tend to frequent the hotel bars and restaurants, but there’s a group of local residents that prefer the small bars and restaurants out by the beach… to relax and solve the problems of the world… while watching the tide come in and the sun sink into the Andaman.
Surin Beach… This is a great place to fill the cooler with cold drinks and pick out a suitable spot on the beach to relax… in between treks up an down the beach. If you’re looking to get away from it all some night… particularly in the off season… this beautiful piece of sand and sea is what dreams are made of… and you can always find a first class restaurant with a sea view if you forget to load the snacks into the cooler.
Many people visiting Phuket end up renting an automatic scooter to beach hop during the day and venture out near where they are staying at night. I would recommend hiring a car to travel long distances or make use of the metered taxis that are dotted around the Island. There is also the local transportation.
Private Taxis… Outside many hotels and along the main roads you will see private cars that are used as taxis. They are privately owned and you can haggle with driver on your price prior to departing. Many people end up using the same taxi driver throughout their stay.
Tuk Tuks… These small, red, open vehicles are everywhere. They’re fun to ride in and they’ll take you anywhere you want to go… for a price, of course. The trick is to figure out (ahead of time) what the price should be before you start haggling with the driver.
It’s best to ask someone what the approximate fare should be before you talk to the driver. Keep in mind, if you’re not the only passenger, you may not get to your destination by the most direct route.
Metered Taxis… Of all the travel options available at night, this is probably the best… The taxis will take you directly from point A to point B. Just make sure it’s a metered taxi. Don’t take it if the driver quotes a fixed fare.
Your first experience obtaining ground transportation in Phuket can be a little intimidating, but once you get the hang of it… it becomes enjoyable.