Thai cuisine is famous throughout the world for its delightful displays of colors and spices. From five-star restaurants to 50 cent noodle dishes on the street, there is good value all round and an entrée rarely exceeds $30 USD. Bangkok is famous for its rowdy red-light district, which is not for virgin eyes. Bars, lounges, strip clubs, dance clubs and sports pubs dominate most of Thailand’s largest cities and resort areas.
Bars and Pubbing in Thailand
Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya are home to a range of delights after dark. Many party through the wee hours of the morning, and some don’t know the meaning of “closing time.” One of Bangkok’s best clubs is the futuristic and stylish Bed Supper Club (26 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok), while one of Sukhumvit’s dance gems is Q Bar (34 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok). Silom is a great place for a night out and for live bands and a great atmosphere, head to Tawadang Microbrewery (Rama Three Road, Sathorn, Bangkok), which has a host of their own beers to sample. Soi Cowboy and Patpong are Bangkok’s most famous red-light districts (if you need a preview, watch the Hangover 2) where S & M, ladyboy and ping pong shows are rampant, but know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time.
Pattaya has hundreds of bars and pubs, but the most popular spots are along Beach Road and the Walking Street. Soi Diamond’s Casino Club (Soi Diamond, 2nd Beach Road, Pattaya) is one of the most famous go-go bars in Pattaya, which is open until 7:00 a.m. Insomnia (Moo 10, Walking Street, Pattaya) is also worth checking out, but it doesn’t get going until after 11:00 p.m.
Phuket’s Patpong is the center of the Thai island’s nightlife. Head to Saxophone (188 Thaweewong Road, Phuket) for a taste of great live music. For the more risqué travelers, Pinky Bar (Soi Bangla, Patong, Phuket) has an interesting atmosphere. The largest club in the area is Tai Pan (Thanan Ratuthit Songroipi, Patong).
Dining and Cuisine in Thailand
Bangkok alone has more than 50,000 restaurants with some obvious standouts. Sirocco (63 Floor, State Tower, Silom) is the pinnacle of fine dining in Thailand with high prices and 63rd-floor views to match. Vertigo (61 Floor, Banyan Tree Hotel, Sathorn Road) is another sky restaurant offering sweeping vistas of the city. For a more cultural experience, the Yok Yor Marina (Soi 17, Somdet Chao Phraya, Bangkok), overlooks the Chao Phraya and provides daily boat cruise dinners.
Chiang Mai is the center of northern Thai cuisine. You have to try Old Chiang Mai Culture Center (185/3 Wualai Road, Chiang Mai) for traditional Khantoke food, dancing and crafts. Italian is alive and well at Arcobaleno Italian Restaurant (60 Keaw Nawarat Road, Soi 1, Chiang Mai), and for great Pacific-rim fusion dishes, head to The House (199 Moonmuang Road, Chiang Mai).
The cosmopolitan city of Patong’s dining scene makes it a formidable spot for hungry travelers. Seafood doesn’t get any better than at Patong Seafood Restaurant (130 Taweewong Road, Patong). For a unique taste of Scandinavian cuisine, sample the delicacies at Karlsson’s Restaurant (Soi Patong Tower, 108/16 Taweewong Road, Patong). In the Novotel Phuket Resort, a fusion of Thai and international food is served at The Old Fisherman’s (Taweewong Road, Patong, Phuket).