Anyone that has even been to Thailand will know that a list of the top 5 places to party in this beautiful country is definitely not enough. Whether you are travelling for a number of months or visiting Thailand on holiday you will not be short of places to relax and let your hair down as you watch the sunset and swap your flip flops, shorts and vest for well just a clean (not always) outfit of virtually exactly the same attire to carry on the party long into the night. There really is no shortage of party destinations in this vast country but for those who have never been and are currently planning a trip read on:
5. Chiang Mai
Although not exclusively known for its nightlife, Chiang Mai is a main stop on the Thailand backpacker trail which means there are always a good number of travellers to swap stories with over a drink. Depending on what you are looking for, Chiang Mai has a number of rooftop bars overlooking the walled city with THC RoofTop near McDonalds just outside of Thapae Gate probably the most well-known. Chiang Mai also has its own pool league so there are a number of restaurant/bars to grab a Chang in while you make plans for the rest of the night but the best late night bar is Zoe in Yellow which plays a variety of music by local DJs who definitely know their stuff. Zoe or Yellow Bar as is it sometimes known is also located almost centrally within the old walled city meaning it is walking distance from most backpacker budget hostels which makes it just about perfect!
4. Ko Tao
Just like Chiang Mai, Ko Tao is best known for other things than its nightlife. Learning to dive on Ko Tao is big business with dive instructor shops almost at every turn and this is the main reason why travellers visit the island but as mentioned where there are backpackers there is normally a pretty good drinking scene as well and that is no different here. If you’re a sports fan and looking to join others for some great food and a tower of chang then Choppers is definitely the place for you. The bar has a number of screens with a variety of food and often plays music in between the sports being shown on TV. While you will probably be spending your days at the beach or in choppers (if you’re not learning to dive) by far the best night out on the island is the Koh Tao Pub Crawl. The pub crawl visits a number of bars and a Cabaret Show which is an experience in itself if you have never been to one before and the whole night is a great way to introduce yourself to fellow travellers and then to reintroduce yourself the next day when you’re both a little more sober.
3. Koh Samui
Koh Samui has been one of the most popular Thai islands for decades. Chaweng is now the main stretch for backpacker hostels and budget accommodation and it is often easy to forget you are in Thailand at all on Koh Samui. There are of course other beaches as with any Thai island but if you are looking to mix with backpackers and to enjoy a night out or two then Chaweng is definitely the place for you. The two most popular night spots on the island are by far Green Mango which is situated off the main strip in Chaweng and Ark Bar which is based directly on the beach and also has its own accommodation. Both are often very busy during high season and offer a mix of music and entertainment, although the music at Green Mango can become quite repetitive if you spend more than a couple of nights on the island. The street leading up to Green Mango also has a number of different bars playing a variety of music from hip hop to reggae and the island is definitely worth a visit as warm up for The Full Moon party or if you have just been and are looking for somewhere to wind down a little.
2. Koh Phangan
It will probably be a surprise to some that Koh Phangan and the full moon party in particular doesn’t come in at number 1 on our list of top places to party in Thailand but you will find out that at Nocturnal Backpacker we’re not afraid to go against the grain on what most might expect! Now don’t get us wrong we are a massive fans of the full moon party and Koh Phangan as a party island but we will justify our number 1 choice in due time. The Full Moon Party doesn’t need much of an introduction and as one of the biggest parties on the planet is the main reason why a lot of people choose to travel to Thailand in the first place. The night as a whole is tough to put in to words especially in a blog post such as this and it will get its own write up very soon but it really does have to be experienced with your own eyes. The sheer number of people on one beach is hard to comprehend, particularly after one too many buckets and there really is something for everyone, from trance music, drum and bass and neon body paint to chill out bars that can be found just off the beach. You will probably spend much of the night walking up and down deciding where to plot up for the evening but wherever you choose you know you will be joined by fun loving travellers also looking for a good night. As well as the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan is also home to the Coral Bungalows pool party in the build-up to the big night and as a word of warning if you are looking for a bit of rest before the full moon Coral might not be the best place for you to stay. The Jungle experience or jungle party as most people call it the night before the full moon is also a great night, it will take a tuk tuk ride to get to but is definitely worth the experience of spending the night with friends in the jungle with the best in house and club music playing.
1. Koh Phi Phi
As mentioned the choice of Koh Phi Phi as the number 1 party island in Thailand might come as a bit of a surprise to some but we definitely think we can justify our choice. Unlike Koh Phangan, Phi Phi isn’t home to one of the biggest parties in the world but the island’s nightlife is unique in its own way. Phi Phi has no roads and is traveller friendly with beautiful beaches, affordable accommodation (slightly more than other islands but definitely worth it) and of course nightlife that will most likely mean you end up staying on Phi Phi a lot longer than you planned to – We did warn you. Koh Phi Phi’s main bars are located on the beach and you will probably spend your night dancing between Woody’s and Slinky’s with a bucket in hand and will often find yourself taking a break from dancing just to take in the magnificent views you are calling home for the night. Koh Phi Phi’s beauty lies in the fact that it isn’t Koh Phangan and although the island is busy, its intimate feel and smaller bars is the main reason so many people fall in love with the island.
So there you have it, Nocturnal Backpackers’ top five places to party in Thailand. We hope we may have helped those of you who are still in the planning stage of your trip with the names of bars and islands you should check out when you’re in Thailand and we hope we might of brought some memories flooding back for others, in which case we would love to hear your favourite party spots and travelling related stories so get in touch.