Bangkok became a popular destination with international tourists in large part because of its nightlife, made famous by the "go-go bars" - that is to say, the red light district type of evening entertainment. These days, while you'll find this kind of nightlife in the Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and Patpong neighbourhoods, the Thai capital has so much more to offer than just scantily-clad "dancers"!
Top tips: most bars and clubs officially close at midnight, with some places having licenses to remain open till 1 am or 2 am. The drinking age is 20, although this is usually only enforced at nightclubs. Rooftop bars and dance clubs have dress codes (no shorts or sandals) but most other places are relaxed.
As a rule, you'll be able to find a venue to suit your night-out tastes:
- Banglamphu: based on Th Khao San and its side streets, this is one of the city’s best nightlife hostspots, where you'll find a chaotic mix of foreigners and increasing numbers of locals. Brick Bar is popular with locals and has great live music; The Club is enormous and often hosts guest DJs; Phra Nakorn Bar & Gallery has a lovely rooftop area.
- Riverside, Silom & Lumphini: the streets off Th Silom are home to Bangkok’s gay scene and all are welcome. Rooftop Moon Bar and Sky Bar are iconic and offer spectacular views of the city - although drinks prices reflect this; find dance clubs on Soi 2; or head to Soi 4 for a more chilled vibe.
- Sukhumvit: this long street is packed with cocktail bars, craft beer pubs, live music venes, eateries and nightclubs. Favourites are Levels, a hotel club that stays open late; Nung-Len for live bands; and WTF (Wonderful Thai Friendship!) for pretty much everything!