Party Guide Bangkok is part of the Reunion Tour Trip Report.
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
Those lyrics are often quoted but not many have taken on Bangkok as I have. My last time in Bangkok was NYE 2016 (see New Years 2016! My Last Binge in Bangkok). I had seen and done everything there was to do there and had no intention of returning. Covid duped me into returning again. Nostalgic and with someone who had never been to Bangkok, I went on another bender.
Disclaimer: This happened on a Monday night.
Like visiting Kahosan Road (see What Are You Doing on Khaosan Road?), every tourist has to go to Nana Plaza. I took my friend there to show him what it had to offer. Nana Plaza is where an infamous photo of me and a bucket of ping-pong balls had me ranked high on Google (see TPOL Is #1 in Thai Ping Pong Diplomacy).
THIS IS T-P-O-L BREAKING NEWS: Temptations, the Ladyboy bar, is closed (see Since I cannot personally go to SE Asia with Mikey and show him the ladyboy bars in Bangkok…). Traditional establishments of ill repute have replaced it.
Moral convictions aside (see TPOL’s Take: Sex Tourism in Thailand), we settled on one of the busy strip clubs. Unprompted, the hostess told me that Boom Boom for 2 hours cost 3700 Baht ($113). If you want to stay less than 2 hours that is fine too.
Exactly two hours later, I took my friend to the next obligatory stop, Khaosan. The same rival clubs were banging away music as they did years ago (see Guns & Butter: Bangkok Travel Guide). Somehow the music is louder than it was before.
- Marijuana: Thailand used to have very strict laws for drugs. I was shocked when I learned that effective June 2022, weed was legal. Everywhere I looked, I saw weed dispensaries (see Sign of the [Economic] Times: Marijuana Is Legal in Thailand).
- Balloons: Why would anyone inhale laughing gas from a balloon? It was confusing that I was continuously propositioned to give it a go.
Overwhelmed by the loud, banging music of Khaosan, I went back to Sukhamvit 11, the gritty street home to the Aloft Bangkok (see Aloft Bangkok: Accept No Substitutes). Along Sukhumvit, goons and goblins run amuck. It truly feels like the night of the living dead here as all sorts of dark characters approach offering a wide array of services. Everyone has an angle to make an extra baht. Some of the sweet, petite figures may take you by surprise. Don’t be shocked when the A cappella ‘m-a-s-s-ge’ call to action is delivered with baritone bass.
Too early for temptation, I went to check out the nightclubs instead. While they weren’t as packed as I remember, there were still many establishments open. Whether the patrons were there to ‘work’ or party was unclear. I went to Club Sugar but found the music in Bafros, the bar below it, to be better.
TPOL’s Tip: Khaosan Road is always worth visiting even if it is the epitome of tourism. My days of Sukhumvit filth, hotels included, are over.
If the Jeopardy answer was this place has bars that close at two and weed is legal, I would not ring in with ‘Where is Bangkok?’ But in today’s Bangkok, bars close early, leaving the creatures of the night to head to the dark corners in search of blood.
Blade reference aside, the place to be, or not be, is Soi Cowboy, a street full of bars and interesting characters. We went to Penny Wise until it also closed. On the way out, we saw the happiest gentleman in the world being whisked away by a hospitable local. Behind him was his friend, who could not contain his laughter. He remarked that his friend didn’t have all the information regarding his new companion.
Last Call, for Real?
If you’re determined to make bad decisions, there will be a place for you to make them in Bangkok. At this point, we should have gone back to the Aloft and conceded that we had done enough. Instead, we went to Soi 8, a pitch-black street, looking to ‘make party’. We found absolute quiet, another first in Bangkok. About to give up our search for smut, a little old man came to me and said, “The place you seek is close by.” Naturally, I followed him down the dark street into an unlit building. Inside, I found a pool hall with no lights on. I was told to go upstairs.
In a soundproof room, I found a speakeasy with a few people drinking and carrying on. I stayed for a couple of drinks before deciding that enough was enough.
Tom Yum and Green Curry
By enough, I meant enough drinking. There’s always room for late-night Tom Yum and green curry on Sukumvit 11.
I couldn’t imagine running this gauntlet for another night. That is why at 6AM, instead of going to sleep, I booked a flight to Samui leaving at 8AM (see Early Bird Audible: BKK to Full Moon Party). I swear this was my last binge in Bangkok!
Sounds like a night in the life of Hunter Thompson.
Does Bangkok even have strip joints as we know them in the USA? My wife and I went searching for one but all we found were places where the girls were hunting for customers to take them to a hotel.
Go go Nana Plaza and find out.