The beach city of Pattaya in Thailand is famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for its after-dark activities. When Pattaya’s neon signs begin to burn, tourists know they’re in for a wild night as they hop from bar to club to cabaret.
Whatever it is, you’ll find something to suit your taste along Pattaya’s soi (alleyways) after dark. Looking for cheap lager? Soi 6’s beer bars will have you covered. Gay bars more your vibe? Off to Pattayaland with you.
And you don’t have to go far to see (and drink) your fill: the nightlife scene in Pattaya covers a relatively small area, so you can party as hard as you want without wasting time on the commute.
There are over 80 establishments on Walking Street alone, so if you’re a first-time visitor, you’ve got your night cut out for you. To help you out, we’ve put together a narrowed-down list of Pattaya’s best nightlife spots below.
Pattaya’s bar scene runs the gamut from the dirt-cheap “beer bars” to glitzy rooftop bars overlooking the city’s gorgeous skyline. Most Pattaya bars have a bell hanging overhead—if you ring the bell, you’re announcing that you’re buying everyone a drink. Some top bars include:
- Pattaya Beer Garden: It’s hardly typical of Pattaya’s beer bars, given its massive size (room for 350 punters) and excellent location both overlooking the beach and at the entrance of Walking Street. But it has almost everything you want in a legendary night out on the cheap: great food, affordable drinks, even a boxing ring for Muay Thai matches!
- Gulliver’s: Visually distinguishable by its London Underground-inspired sign and the red Cadillac sticking out of its exterior wall, Gulliver’s (or the “Red Car Bar”) offers a pub-style experience with pool tables, a dance floor, and a spacious central bar.
- The Ice Cube, V20 Cocktail Bar: The coldest spot in Pattaya might also be its hottest: a refrigerated room permanently set at 12.2 degrees F (-11 degrees C), all the better to enjoy its chilled vodka shots. The establishment provides toasty parka coats if you come in underdressed against the chill.
- Horizon Bar, Hilton Pattaya: Set yourself above Pattaya’s street-level hurly-burly—literally, as you enjoy 360-degree views of Pattaya and the ocean beyond from the 34th floor of the Hilton Pattaya. The Horizon’s atmosphere is a little more dignified compared to other bars—so remember to dress the part.
There’s a dance floor out there with your name on it: visit any of the nightclubs in this list to boogie on down with old friends or with new acquaintances. Most nightclubs won’t charge for entry, but they’ll make up for it with pricier drinks at the bar. Dance all night at one of these favorites:
- Mixx Discotheque: One of Pattaya’s fanciest nightclubs, Mixx Discotheque offers a massive 9,600 square feet of floor space, split into the hip-hop and R&B zone Rouge Club and the house and trance-playing Crystal Palace. Plush interiors and Russian dancers make Mixx one of the most distinctive nightclubs in the city.
- Candy Shop: You can’t miss this one as it’s the only fully open-fronted club along Walking Street. If you don’t feel like boogying down on the Candy Shop’s dance floor, you can enjoy casual drinks at the Mediterranean-themed bar or groove to the occasional live performances.
- Club Insomnia: World-class DJs, mindblowing laser light shows, and unrestrained energy make Club Insomnia an absolute must-visit for the dedicated clubber in Pattaya. A large dance floor, interrupted by stages for coyote dancers, offers plenty of room for guests to let loose as the EDM tracks flow forth.
- 808 Club Pattaya: The tiered spaces surrounding the brightly lit bar may not be the friendliest place for dancing, but the trendy interiors, magical laser light effects, and the pulsating EDM tracks make the 808 one of the hottest nightclubs on Walking Street.
Pattaya is a favorite destination for journeymen bands from all over Asia, thanks to the classic rock and pop fans who flock to the city’s live music venues after dark. Go to these places to enjoy a more relaxed vibe relative to Pattaya’s go-go bars and nightclubs.
- Hard Rock Café Pattaya: You’ll know it’s the real thing from the giant guitar signage and the pop memorabilia plastered on the walls. The house band plays impeccable rock and indie covers, keeping the party going till late.
- The Cave: When they said “we will rock you,” they meant it: the Cave’s interiors are literally a cave, complete with cave paintings on the stage walls. The house band plays excellent rock covers and takes requests.
- Hot Tuna Bar: Nothing fancy here, just a very proficient band doing flawless covers, as patrons enjoy their cold beers while grooving to the music. The establishment is open at the front, so you can enjoy the music while sitting outside.
- The Stones House: One of the larger live music venues in Pattaya, the two-level Stone House showcases two different bands each night, playing both Thai and Western pop and rock music. Monthly Thai Super Star concerts feature major local performing artists.
Kathoey (also known locally as "ladyboys") are a fixture of Thailand’s nightlife; performances at Pattaya’s cabaret shows feature the loveliest local kathoey in showstopping extravaganzas. Pattaya cabaret shows are more showy than sexy, and its genderbending stars aim to entertain and not titillate.
- Alcazar Cabaret Show: Several times each evening, a 70-minute pageant unfolds in Alcazar’s 1,200-seat theater—the 400-person cast does a feisty song and dance performance with state-of-the-art music and lighting worthy of any Las Vegas revue.
- Tiffany's Cabaret Show: Over 40 years after its first show, the Tiffany’s Cabaret Show has defined the kathoey cabaret experience for the rest of Thailand. Three nightly shows, each one a display of magnificent costumes and showstopping dance numbers, all take place in Tiffany’s grand theater.
Thailand’s major festivals unfold in the country’s cooler, drier months—allowing festival-goers to party down without worrying about rain or heatstroke!
- Maya Music Festival: Held over two days every February, the Maya Music Festival melds Western house, trance and pop with Thai cultural touchstones, all at an open space some 7 miles east of Pattaya. The star of the show: the monkey god Hanuman, whose massive LED-lit face looms over the stage.
- Pattaya Music Festival: This annual March festival is targeted mainly at locals, with over a hundred Thai rock, pop, and indie groups performing on four stages on Pattaya’s beaches. Over 100,000 festival-goers attend this festival annually.
- Wonderfruit Festival: Held every December near Pattaya, Wonderfruit combines Asian and Western music, art, and culture into a single event unfolding over five days. Daring yet environmentally-sustainable stage areas host a diverse lineup of musical acts and off on the sidelines, there are seminars on topics ranging from ceramics making to orangutan conservation.
Tips for Going Out in Pattaya
- If you’re not staying anywhere near walking distance of Walking Street, your transportation options in Pattaya are limited to the songthaew, or the “baht bus” pickup trucks/buses that follow preset routes; the motorbike taxis that have a terrible safety reputation; and taxis, which can be exorbitantly expensive to take. Motorbike taxis are always present at closing time, though they may increase prices steeply at that point.
- Time your trip for the cool, dry months of November to February. While this is peak tourist season, Pattaya’s weather is super-pleasant this time of year, with only very occasional rain and cooler winds throughout.
- You may encounter very friendly ladies at certain bars, and you will be gently pressured to buy them drinks. Buyer beware: the “lady drinks,” as they're called, are often extremely expensive, because the girl gets a cut of the profit. In most go-go bars, patrons who refuse to buy lady drinks tend to be ignored by the bar staff.
- While Pattaya is generally safe for tourists, watch for snatch theft and pickpocketing when you’re out and about. Drink spiking has also been known to happen, mostly administered by petty criminals to male tourists in the hope of robbing them blind. If you experience crime first-hand in Pattaya, you can call the tourist police at 1155, or look for a patrol (they’re always about).