Cold Chang beers were held high in the air for a toast. It was our first night at Phuket, Thailand’s celebrated resort town, and we were not gonna waste it sleeping inside our comfy resort rooms. Bringing along the smallest cameras we have and a pocketful of baht, we roamed the humid streets of Phuket, acquainting ourselves with Patong City’s exciting night life.
A gang of four, we left the comfort of Duangjitt Resort and headed to the nearby Patong Beach en route to Bangla Road. We were told that’s where the action is come night time in Phuket. Coming from the amazing Siam Niramit cultural show, it was almost midnight when we rolled.
It was a Sunday evening, and surprisingly the bars and restaurants lining the beach road were almost devoid of tourists. We were expecting a crowd but were instead greeted with Filipino bands singing to almost empty halls. Well, I guess everyone’s already at Bangla Road!.
Wanting to try the local street food in Thailand, we stopped at a particular cart being flocked by locals. With broken English, we were able to order a bowl of hot soup and a plate of the famous Pad Thai for only 50 baht. Besides these noodle chains, Phuket also seemed to be replete with stalls selling tasty crepes.
Our Pad Thai arrived in a few minutes and we were surprised at how generous the serving was. Still full from our late dinner, we shared the dish among the four of us. I have to say that it’s definitely better than the ones we have tasted in Thai restaurants so far. I guess this is as legit as Pad Thais get.
We continued our jaunt, passing vendors hawking all sorts of wares; Thai boxing shorts, t-shirts with the requisite elephants, beautifully embroidered scarves, colorful put-your-name-on-it bracelets and all the usual trinkets that tourists love. There were also stalls selling artsy stuff like Thai-inspired paintings and framed photographs but they’re quite pricey, with tags not going below 250 baht.
It’s not unusual to find girls offering Thai massage and fish spas along the road. And after some minutes, we were quite used to hearing girls harping in their tiny screeching voices the words massaaaaage every time we pass through their parlors.
After walking for almost a quarter of an hour, the gang finally reached the infamous Bangla Road.
During the day, this particular street is no different from most of the touristy roads of Phuket, with restaurants, bars, souvenir stalls lining its sidewalks. But as the sun retires and evening swallows the land, Bangla Road transforms into a crazy party place.
With both of its sides closed to vehicular traffic, Bangla Road turns into a party haven as people spill from the bars and restaurants lining its avenue right into the middle of the street. Beautiful lady boys clad in outrageous fashion strut through the road, making it their own personal runways. They look really fabulous, but prepare to dish out at least 50 baht if you want to have your photo taken with them.
There are also the notorious live shows that I always hear from people who have been to Thailand’s red light districts; talking about ping pong balls among other things. And unsurprisingly, we were approached with such shows, enticing us with free one minute look.
Warning sounds immediately sounded in our heads, cue National Geographic’s Scam City.
A bottle of beer cost an average of 80 baht inside the bars along Bangla Road. Rich tourists we’re not, so we decided to have our drinks the cheap way. There are convenience stores along the street and from there we bought our beers at a measly 30 baht a piece.
Surprisingly, they have SanMig Lights too, but where’s the fun in being in Thailand if we’re still gonna have that. We looked for the most Thai-looking beer and shoved it over the counter.
We chugged our cold beers while walking, looking for the nearest barbecue stall. It didn’t take long before we saw a table filled with street fares stuck with barbecue sticks. It looks similar to what we have in the Philippines but with a few exceptions. I tried the chicken curry barbecue which cost me 20 baht, the rest went with the squid stick.
With a bit of a buzz, we walked the final stretch of Phuket’s Bangla Road. It had been a long tiring day, what with the whole day jaunt to Phang Nga Bay and the Siam Niramit show right after. The call of massaaaaage overpowered us and we finally gave in.
For a mere 300 baht, we were offered a very thorough Thai massage by beautiful Thai girls. Unfortunately, I only have 150 baht left. That’s okay she said, let’s do it in half an hour.
Half hour it is.
And I savored those thirty precious minutes of hard Thai massage on every nook and cranny of my tired body. It was the best Thai massage I ever had.
The gang was fully revitalized as we went back down to the craziness of Bangla Road. It was almost three in the morning and the place was still very much alive. The crunchy chords of AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long rang through one of the open bars wooing us. But we have to call it a night, we still have one more night left at Phuket anyways. We’ll see you again Bangla!
Address: Bangla Road, Patong Beach, Patong City, Phuket, Thailand
Party Hours: 6:00 PM onwards
GPS Coordinates: +7° 53' 37.23", +98° 17' 46.86"
View Location on Google Maps