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
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
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
4. Beat that late night hunger
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
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
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
8. Catch your favourite celebrities at Calypso Cabaret Show
9. Visit a gay club (for the first time, maybe?)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
17. Watch the sunrise at Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
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
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
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
21. Soak up the seedier ambiance of Patpong, one of Bangkok’s red light districtsHead 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
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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