Bangkok is a city that never sleeps. With so much to offer in the day, it’s hard to imagine how much energy Bangkok’s night scene has. From night markets to ladyboy cabaret shows, what you see in the day is only one facet of Bangkok’s vibrant and glitzy personality, with another that the city only brings out when the lights go down. Get to know a whole different Bangkok at night! Here are 20 things you can do to experience all that Bangkok’s nightlife has to offer:
1. Carry on your day's shopping at Bangkok's night markets
Night markets are just one of the highlights of Bangkok’s nightlife. As you make your way back to your hotel, you are sure to pass by at least one night market. If you’re not ready to hit the lights and turn in, checking out the night markets has to be the first thing you do. The markets offer a diverse range of food, goods, and entertainment, with sizes that get so big it might seem impossible to complete.
A popular, trendy night market is Talad Rot Fai (Train Market). This market has two locations, but the more central one is Talad Rot Fai in Ratchada. Stalls here line up under a blanket of bright and colorful tents selling an extensive range of food from local favorites and baked goods to more personal creations that are worth trying. Separate from all the food, you can find tents selling clothes, shoes and other merchandise like unique doggy costumes and hipster stationery. However, there is a whole other section next to the tents where vintage cars and Volkswagen vans set up shop selling vintage goods like antiques, vinyl and clothes. There is even a very gentlemen’s set-up of shoe shining services. Around that area, you will find food truck cafes and bars with open-air upper decks where you can enjoy a beer with an awesome view of the bustling, vibrant market below.
A similar market is part-vintage, part-flea JJ Green. Located near Chatuchak Weekend Market, JJ Green is more chilled out, comprising permanently-built shops and bars, with make-shift stalls dominating the large carpark at the back. The stores here are where you can find cheap, secondhand clothes and more collectible finds. You can find things like vinyl, old car models, artwork, vintage watches and cameras, musical instruments, and even biker-gear, all at more affordable prices than what you find elsewhere. The night market also has a handful of bars, a good place to just chill out and allow you to stay till 2 am.
2. Light up your night with fireflies onboard a long tail boat at Amphawa Floating Market
See what a floating market has to offer in the night at the nearby Amphawa Floating Market. Although not as large as the famous Damnoen Saduak, the evening market in Samut Songkram Province poses a more authentic vibe, especially with the highest influx of visitors being Thai locals.
Here you’ll be sure to enjoy the best seafood and, if you’re lucky, a spectacular firefly watching experience in the night. Firefly watching begins at around 5 pm to 6 pm at the dock. You will set off in a long-tail boat and stop at different locations several times to see the fireflies. It’s not every day you see fireflies, let alone from a boat for that matter, so this will definitely be a memorable mark to your trip.
Tours are available to bring you the best experience of Amphawa Market. However, you can easily get there on your own by taking a minivan from Victory Monument for around 80 THB (2.25 USD). Just make sure you check the times of the last van / bus back to Bangkok city center!
3. Spend the night on the waters on a Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise
Enjoy the riverside scenery of Thailand’s temples lit up and other landmarks as you cruise past them while eating great food and enjoying live music in the background. The Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise offers a buffet dinner with a wide selection of Thai and international cuisine for its 290 guests on board. There is also a sushi bar for those who crave a little fresh sashimi goodness. On board, they have a live band and professional singers, singing and jamming up sweet tunes to serenade your evening and set the mood. It’s a good place for families and groups of friends to enjoy a memorable night out on the waters.
4. Beat that late night hunger
Bangkok is a food haven, ready to feed you at any time of the day. Yes, even in the wee hours of the morning you can still find something amazing to eat! A 24-hour cafe you can head to is 24 Owls by Sometimes. The cafe serves an amazing pasta selection that can immediately soothe your late night hunger. The dishes to try here are the spaghetti tobiko and snow fish steak with butter and lemon sauce (yum!), pairing them with a chilled Hitachino craft beer too.
If you’re craving something more local past dinnertime, Thip Samai is one place to definitely check out. Popular amongst locals and foreigners, they serve different variations of pad Thai. Their most famous kind is their must-try “The Superb Pad Thai”, which is soft pad Thai wrapped in a bright, fluffy omelette with prawns. Pair your succulent noodles with their chunky, pulpy orange juice for a fully-satisfying meal. The eating joint opens till 1.30 am and can easily be reached by taxi with the keywords “Pratu Phi Pad Thai”.
5. Cycle around the city at night
Get on two wheels with an evening bike tour in Bangkok and spend some time cycling through backstreets or visit famous sights when its crowd-free. With Grasshopper Adventures, you can see Bangkok through a new lens as you explore quiet back roads and trip down to visit the ancient temples all beautifully lit up. You will enjoy the cooler temperatures of the night and also appreciate a (slightly!) quieter Bangkok.
Grasshopper Adventures provides everything you need for a safe night of cycling, so just come with a heart of adventure (and some bike skills) and you’ll be set!
6. Go on a midnight tuk tuk food tour
Join Bangkok Food Tour for Bangkok’s Best Eats Midnight Food Tour! Hop into a tuk tuk and explore the favorite eats of locals, which include the best pad Thai in town. The tuk tuk rides give you a tour of the famous landmarks and temples after dark, getting to know a new side to Bangkok. The tour offers you a whole itinerary, from visiting the flower market to chilling at the “secret bar” with an amazing view of Bangkok.
At the end of the tour, you get a ride back to your hotel doorstep, provided it’s within Bangkok city centre.
7. Grab a drink at a VW van bar
Grab a drink from a swanky, unique Volkwagen van bar. Choose from their long list of drinks, each at an inexpensive price. Hang out there in your pajamas. Yes, that’s right; if hipster, cheap and relaxed are on your list for bars, then this is where you should be. With the top open and windows dropped, grab yourself a stool, enjoy a refreshing drink, and just watch the city go by.
8. Catch your favourite celebrities at Calypso Cabaret Show
Catch Bangkok’s best cabaret show, featuring representations of famous Hollywood stars like Beyonce and Lady Gaga by professional transgender artists. Enjoy a night of impressive broadway-style performances, with live music and dance. For over 25 years, they continue to bring strong performances, entertaining audiences of all ages! You can make a reservation online, each ticket-holder entitled to a free drink.
9. Visit a gay club (for the first time, maybe?)
Bangkok has many gay clubs. DJ Station is one of the most popular clubs to check out. The club has an impressive 3 levels with a bar on each floor, and an outdoor terrace for smokers on the first floor.
Expect to see crowds, and lots of them, especially on the weekends. However, don’t miss their popular drag queen show at 11.30 pm that adds more fun than just moving around on the dance floor. The minimum age to enter is 20, ID is required of course, and the admission charge covers two drink vouchers.
10. Party at Royal City Avenue, Bangkok's largest entertainment and clubbing area
More commonly known as RCA, Royal City Avenue is the epicenter of Bangkok’s clubbing scene. It is an officially-designated nightlife zone with popular clubs like Route 66 and Slim, which are packed every night, especially on weekends. There are many options you can find in one night, like enjoying international DJs or rocking out to live concerts and soundtracks by popular local artists.
RCA runs a pretty strict dress code, so come in your best dress or shirt. You can be sure to be surrounded by Thais in their late teens or early 20s, creating a young, carefree vibe. The place is safe for you to party all night.
11. Laugh the night away at Bangkok Comedy Club
Spend your night at Bangkok’s first dedicated English-language comedy venue. Fans and performers of stand-up, ‘improv’, and other forms of live comedy, gather here to laugh and to make people laugh. Other than the typical stand-up comedy that we know, there is improvised comedy where a scenario is given and the performer has to think on his / her feet how to make the audience laugh. A random prop can be given instead, which makes for unexpected comedy! There are also game shows hosted and international acts that fly in once a month.
You can catch a performance on Friday nights only (for now), as the community of fans continues to grow. Head to The Royal Oak pub on the third floor above for a night of good comedy. The place is less than a minute away from Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain by foot. Expect to pay around 250 THB (7 USD) minimum.
12. Learn about Thailand's history and culture at Siam Niramit cultural show and dinner
Don’t miss the world-class performance of Thailand’s history and culture by Siam Niramit. With over 100 performers and 500 costumes involved, you’re bound to witness one spectacular show. The show consists of 3 acts, each showcasing the union of different groups of people and how they come together with similar beliefs and Thai rituals that are said to ensure their place in heaven before being reborn. You will be blown away by the intricate and brightly-colored sets and costumes, all coming together to provide a storytelling experience that is out of this world.
The show starts at 8 pm, but the gates are open from 5 pm. Come early and take part in their pre-show activities. You can visit a traditional Thai village or ride an elephant, experiencing the bygone days of Thailand that is difficult to find elsewhere today. You can have dinner before the show too. Their dining room presents an impressive buffet serving Thai and international dishes.
13. Enjoy a night of live jazz music at Bamboo Bar
If you’re up for a night of sipping good cocktails while enjoying stellar music, Bamboo Bar is the place to be. Located within Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, you can expect it to be fairly posh and upscale. The classy and chic decorations, accompanied by the warm yet dim lights give it the feel of a jazz bar in New Orleans.
Come dressed up to fit in with the Great Gatsby vibe. The band of four pieces includes a veteran saxophonist from Russia. The accompanying singer has strong, powerful vocals, all of them blending and mixing well together to make music that will really hit the spot, especially for those who live to appreciate the art of music. You can try a usual Pina Colada or get one of their unique concoctions like Miss Penelope The Quentin Tarantino Royal Cocktail for a taste of Pulp Fiction. There are complimentary snacks for you too.
The band plays every Friday and Saturday night from 9 pm to 1 am. A tip would be for you to get there before 9 pm so you get a good place for the whole night.
14. Cheer on professional fighters at a muay Thai match
Get into the muay Thai craze with the roaring crowds at Rajadamnern Stadium. Catch a match on any Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday, and watch as fighters battle each other with great skill and wit. Each night begins at around 6.30 pm and will include nine matches in total. The duration of the total night will depend on the efficiency of each match. The audience is encouraged to stay for all, as the highlight of the night is usually the seventh match.
Tickets along the ringside cost 2,000 THB (56 USD), and they are the best seats in the house. Tickets for 1,500 THB (42 USD) will put you slightly further back, and tickets priced at 500 THB (14 USD) leave you high in the rafters with the least ideal view. However, the further you are, the less likely you’ll be to experience sweat from the fighters flicked upon you during a match.
15. Have a dinner for a good cause at Cabbages & Condoms
Enjoy tasty Thai food while contributing to a good cause. At Cabbages & Condoms, your meal can help raise funds for the Population and Community Development Association that initiates programs that promote safe sex and sex education.
The unconventional restaurant is open every day from 11 am to 11 pm. The restaurant has both inside and outside seating, and is donned with decorations mostly created from condoms. The outdoor seating is beautifully set up with hundreds of fairy lights hanging from the trees, setting up a cozy yet fairytale-like feeling.
The restaurant has an extensive menu of authentic Thai food that will leave you spoiled for choice. After your satisfying meal, you can walk around and explore the place and take pictures of their wonderful condom creations, and maybe grab a bunch of free condoms on your way out.
16. Watch the Grand Palace light up
Once the sun goes down, the lights come on. Watch as the night takes the Grand Palace to another level of glory as lights from every edge of the palace light up. The golden glow of the palace in the night makes for a great picture, as it seems to stand alone in the night. Take it up a notch and film a timelapse of the place lighting up, something you can take home to share and watch, and be amazed over and over again.
17. Watch the sunrise at Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
Although the temple isn’t open for visitors at 5.30 am, it’s worth going to simply watch the sunrise against the backdrop of the temple and witness the broken pieces that cover the temple glisten in the sun is a must-do for anyone visiting Bangkok. As Wat Arun means Temple of the Dawn, to watch the sunrise is really what it’s all about. You can either choose to camp out the across the river right opposite the temple to get a wide view of the whole sunrise, or take a boat from Saphan Taksin station for 40 THB (1.10 USD) per person. Sunrise is usually around 5.50 am.
However, if you’re not a morning person, or turned in late the night before, you can alternatively watch the sunset instead, which is just as glorious. This time, you can be in the temple itself to watch the sun go down. The sun usually sets at 6.45 pm in the summer and 6.20 pm during winter.
Enjoy the amazing architecture and a view that is absolutely scenic.
18. Have a late night neon bowling session at Major Bowl
Get pumped as you bowl to the awesome beats played by Major Bowl’s DJ. The club-esque bowling alley in Thonglor’s J-Avenue Mall has glow-in-the-dark motifs, bright neon-colored bowling balls, and ultra-violet lanes that give you a whole new and rather interesting bowling experience. The place closes at 12 midnight so you can order your group a beer tower and bowl the night away.
If you plan to go at the weekends, do yourself a favor and book lanes in advance, as the limited number of lanes get snatched up quickly.
19. Sing your heart out at karaoke, R&B Lounge
Head down to R&B lounge, one of Bangkok’s best karaoke spots. Sing your heart out to chart-toppers in Thai pop and Billboard’s top 20. There are two outlets you can go to, one in Prakanong on Rama 4 Road and the other in the Sathorn area. You can opt for a small private room for two people or “The Concert” room, a huge room that can accommodate up to 25 people. At both the locations, you will find plasma TVs, wireless microphones, and high-end sound systems.
R&B Karaoke offers a delicious selection of food, like fried prawn cakes, crab meat in yellow curry, and barbecued fried rice, to satisfy your karaoke hunger. There are also western-style dishes like salmon steaks and chicken salad. Quench your thirst with their beer and spirit selection too.
The lounge is open from 6 pm to 1 am on weekdays, and from 2.30 pm to 2.30 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
20. Ride the Asiatique Sky
Ride the tallest ferris wheel in Bangkok and enjoy spectacular views of the city lights and the waters below. Located at Asiatique The Riverfront, the joyride faces the Chao Phraya River, so you can watch as the boats stream by, all beautifully lit up. At 300 THB (8.40 USD) per person, you get a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous city all lit up below. After the ride, you can visit Asiatique. The large open-air mall has 1,500 shops and stalls to attempt to cover, and 40 restaurants for you to choose from. This place is anything but boring!
21. Soak up the seedier ambiance of Patpong, one of Bangkok’s red light districts
Head down to one of the world’s most famous red-light districts. Found between Silom and Surawong Roads, Patpong houses around 100 neon-lit strip bars that showcase naughty shows and the famous pole-dancing entertainment every night. However, its reputation has become more of a huge attraction for sightseers who are more interested being eye witnesses than participants, and there’s nothing wrong about that!
You can, however, be an active participant at the Patpong Night Market, bargaining with stall owners for fake Prada. The place is pretty safe and well policed with CCTV cameras set up all around and a tourist police office at the end of the road. Families can come here safely, but it is advised to stick together just to be on the safe side.
You can take a break from the overwhelming ambiance of Patpong at its more toned-down side. You can find quality bistros like Le Bouchon or Salasawan, both of which situate on Soi 2. Mizu’s Kitchen on Soi 1.
Whatever your agenda, Patpong is definitely worth a peek.
22. Catch a movie at SF World Cinema in CentralWorld
Up for a relaxing evening movie? How about a World first class movie experience? At SF World Cinema at CentralWorld Mall, there are two 90-seat VIP theaters that promise to give you ultimate luxury for the night. For 700 THB (19.60 USD), you get buffet-style appetizers and soft drinks in the lounge before you head in. You can have a worry-free movie night with private servers to meet whatever request you may have, and serve you unlimited popcorn and drinks.
The day is never over just because the sun goes down
Bangkok shows its other side when night falls and the street lights come on. The night comes alive with a whole different experience to offer to visitors. Make full use of your time in Bangkok, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and fully immerse yourself in a culture that’s completely new to you.
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