Rawai Nightlife

The beachside town of Rawai, located on the southernmost tip of Phuket, is probably not a place that hardcore partygoers would consider an essential place to visit, as the town can be fairly quiet in the evenings especially in the low season. Nevertheless, it’s not without its charms and there are several decent and friendly watering holes, restaurants, entertaining girly bars, music pubs and even two nightclubs that stay open very late and attract a considerable crowd.

Rawai Nightlife - CocktailsSince Rawai is quite spread out, it’s recommended to hire a scooter or your own independent transport as it’s not possible to get from bar to bar that easily otherwise. Drinks and food tend to be slightly cheaper in Rawai than in the more touristy places such as Patong Beach, which is yet another reason to venture further south and enjoy a more relaxed and alternative night out.

Here is a selection of the most popular nightspots in and around Rawai.

Asia Bar
A typically small and friendly bar with cheap drinks, and a pool table. Asia Bar is a good place in which to start your evening, and there are also some attractive and willing female hosts here. It’s not the only girly bar in town by any means, but most of them are fairly similar. In the same vein, Jasmine Bar can be found next door.

Where: Soi Sai Yuan 1, just off Viset Road on the way to Chalong

Freedom Bar
The always popular Freedom Bar is just near the beach and close to Nikita’s. The large orange signs are impossible to miss and it’s become quite a regular hangout for locals, expats and increasing numbers of Muay Thai students. It’s essentially a rough and ready sports bar which has two pool tables, football matches on TV, live music several nights a week, and more tattoos brandished around than you can shake a stick at. The happy hour lasts an incredible 5 hours, between 3pm and 8pm. It’s recommended to pay by the drink here, to avoid any extra drinks charges being surreptitiously added to your bill.

Open: 2pm to 2am
Where: Near Nikita’s on the Beach Road

Icon Nightclub
Always one of Rawai’s most popular after hours venues, this place stays open until the sun comes up, but doesn’t get going until after 2am when everywhere else closes. There’s a central dance floor as well as chairs and tables for the more retiring types.

Open: 11pm to 5.30am
Where: 59/22 Moo 1, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0)86 945 2239

Laguna Nightclub and Plaza
This smallish nightclub is completely deserted before 2am, but it’s where the locals and most bar girls alike go when everywhere else has closed, and as a result gets crowded later on. It’s an easy place to pickup some female company for the night, or just dance until the sun comes up. There is no cover charge.

The adjoining Laguna Plaza is a lively collection of umpteen girly bars with a common sound system and a few pool tables. Most of the bars open between 5pm and 2am, after which time everybody just nips around the back to the nightclub.

Open: 1am to 5.30am
Where: Viset Road, near SCB Bank and opposite Seashell Museum
Tel: +66 (0)89 159 1707
Web: www.laguna-rawai.com

Moby Dick’s
For anyone that appreciates a drink in a peaceful and fairly quiet setting without thumping music and raunchy girls jiggling about, then Moby Dick’s could be the ideal place. Set on the side of a hill and with good views, it was established by a group of expats and is run on a non-profit basis, which means that it’s extremely cheap to drink here. The atmosphere is convivial and friendly, and on most Sundays there is an all-you-can-eat BBQ for only 100 baht! With such cheap prices and deals like that, what are you waiting for?!!

Open: 12pm to 10pm
Where: on the small road to Promthep Cape

This beach bar and restaurant is blessed with a lovely location, right beside the beach with cooling sea breezes and some decent shade. The views are great and there’s a pleasant, relaxed ambience with subtle lighting. They serve Thai food, bar snacks and some international dishes too. Nikita’s is always busy and seems to attract a more upmarket crowd, but the prices are not bad.

Open: 2pm to 2am
Where: Beach (Viset) Road
Tel: +66 (0)81 272 0561

OK Bar
This bar is becoming increasingly popular especially with expats and Muay Thai fighters, as there is a training centre in the local area. As long as the ever-present bar girls don’t put you off it’s a lively and fun place to spend an evening, with fairly low prices.

Open: 12pm to 2am
Where: Viset Road near Soi Sai Yuan 1

Sunshine Bar
Sunshine bar is always amongst the busiest bars along the beach road. It tends to stay open very late and has a vibrant atmosphere, but customers aren’t hassled much by bar girls like they can be elsewhere. The staff are always entertaining and friendly, and they like to encourage customers to join in with the impromptu cabaret, singing and other performances that seem to happen every night. The drinks are reasonably priced.

Open: 2pm to 2am
Where: Beach (Viset) Road

Yoonique Stone Music Cafe
This place can’t be considered a proper cafe as there’s not much food on offer, but nobody really cares as they regularly feature talented local musicians in the evenings, and occasional appearances by the massively popular Thai reggae band Job2Do (does the song “doo teu tam” ring any bells?). Anybody that wants to try their hand at jamming with the bands is welcome, as long as they’ve got moderate talent. The décor is rather ramshackle and there’s a cosy, friendly atmosphere. Yoonique is not in central Rawai, but located close to Nai Harn lake which is further to the west.

Open: late afternoon until late
Where: 14/62 Moo 1, Nai Harn
Web: www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002046368554

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