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Chiang Mai Nightlife: Best Bars and Nightclubs (2017)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I only spent 6 days in Chiang Mai but it was enough to get a quick overview of the city's nightlife. I managed to visit all the most famous bars and nightclubs, a task which is not so difficult considering there aren't more than 20 interesting venues.

I didn't really enjoy the party scene there. Chiang Mai is the 4th largest city in Thailand but it is provincial and conservative. The thing I hated the most was the curfew on bars at 1AM. Even on a Saturday night you'll struggle to find a decent club open after 2AM. For a tourist and university town, that's really a shame.

Also, most nightclubs have live music instead of a DJ. This means the customers will rarely be dancing, but instead they'll stand around tables or sit in sofas watching the show. If you are going out alone, this isn't the best configuration to meet other people.

Finally, generally speaking foreigners and Thais don't mix. If you go to a tourist bar or club, the crowd will be almost 100% foreign and inversely if you go to a Thai nightclub, the crowd will be almost 100% Thai. There are not some many places in-between (except those with bar girls). That's very different from the situation in Jakarta.

Nightlife Areas in Chiang Mia
Chiang Mai Nightlife Areas
There are 3 main nightlife areas in Chiang Mai, each catering to a different crowd:

→ Nimmanhemin (or Nimmanheminda) Road - also shortened Nimman:
This the posh area of Chiang Mai and it attracts mostly young Thai students. You'll also occasionally see a few foreigners, usually under 30, who are long term residents in Chiang Mai. From the Old City, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach using a taxi.

Almost all the nightlife in Nimman is located just south of the upmarket mall Maya. More specifically, the highest concentration of bars, restaurants, live music clubs and coffee shops is in the Soi 7 and soi 9. In 2017, the most crowded places are Mirror Café (a beer garden/sports bar with pool tables and a live music room), LISM, LVMC (Living Machine Chiang Mai), Rush Bar and Wanz Café.

These venues are quite similar to each other. They have Thai music (often from a live band), a Thai crowd, sports on flat screen TVs and a hipster design. They are generally inexpensive, with local beers costing between 60 and 80THB.

Outside from Soi 7 and 9, Nimman also has larger nightclubs with more professional live bands. They will normally have a 200THB entrance fee and the drink menu will be more expensive (a beer will cost up to 100THB for instance). You can go there later in the night as they close around 1AM. 3 are spread around a huge parking lot at the end of Soi 6, namely Infinity (the more upmarket), Loft (not to be confused with the gay club Loft Hero) and TaWanDang (it has working girls). You can also try Warm Up just a few blocks away.

→ Old City (and particularly Boon Yoo Market)
The nightlife within the old city is scattered in various locations but the best area is definitely in Boon Yoo Market (also called Soi Reggae). This is where all the backpackers and all the international students gather to party every night. You will be surprised by the number of foreign girls too. There are only a few Thais who are interested to meet foreigners (including some freelance prostitutes).

Zoe in Yellow is easily the most busy bar/club in Boon Yoo Market (and maybe in Chiang Mai). It is split in two venues including a pub and a semi outdoor beer garden. It has pop/electronic music that will get the drunk patrons dancing by 10PM. It is so full that the crowd spills to the streets and to the adjacent bars (like Roots Rock Reggae). It closes at 1AM.

In the old city, another busy place is the North Gate Jazz Coop. It is a semi-opened small bar on two floors with live Jazz/Reggae/Soul/Blues music every night. I went there a few times as I was staying nearby. It was always full with a mix of more mature expats and tourists. A local beer costs 80THB.

Finally, on Chaiyapoom Road, north of Tha Phae Gate (East Gate), there are some naughty venues with freelance prostitutes. The most popular, Spicy nightclub (same group as Spicy Bangkok) is a proper disco (with a DJ). It can be fun but it closes at 1AM. On the other side of the road, 500 meters in the south, Mandalay is a Thai-style live music club that closes at 2AM (200THB entrance). You can also try the gogo bar Spotlight.

If you are looking for an after-hour venue, there are two in the Old City:
- Living Room (closes at 6AM) is a billiard lounge hidden in Sithiwongse road, behind Miami Hotel. It has no sign at the entrance.
Jack Wan is even more hidden and it does not have a sign as well. You'll find it 100 meters from Spicy, near Mad Cow Burger (closes at 5AM/6AM).

→  Loi Kroh Road
This area is within walking distance from the Old City and from the night market. There are no nightclubs there except the new Safe House (click to read my review).

If you walk around, you'll find plenty of beer bars that all look alike. The best area is within the Loi Kroh boxing stadium where you have around 40 of them. Each has about 8-10 hostesses that will try to grab you and force you to sit down as you walk by. They can accompany you for drinking, for playing pool or for sleeping if you pay (15$ bar fine + 30-50$ for the girl).

There are also more normal live music bars that don't have prostitutes. Among them I liked Interbar even though the band was awful. They all close at 1AM but depending on the number of customers, they may stay open an hour more with the curtains closed.

→  Other Areas
I've seen other bars on other parts of Chiang Mai but they often seem to be catering to locals only (they only have Thai signs).

If you feel like exploring, you may want to check the Santhitham student neighborhood where more bars can be found (including Differ Club). Another club I wasn't able to try but that seems interesting is Take It.

Chiang Mai Nightlife Map
This is a map I created to help me when I was going around the city. Each color represent a type of venue (click here to full details).

Hotels Near the Nightlife
Nobody comes to Chiang Mai specifically for the nightlife. I imagine you want to find a hotel near the tourist attractions first, and if possible close from the bars/nightclubs.

The best area for that is anywhere near the Tha Phae Gate. It is walking distance to the Old City and walking distance to the Night Market. Also, it is near an important road with fast access to Nimman or to the airport.

These are my recommendations (I appreciate if you book from Agoda as I receive a small commission out of your booking - no additional cost for you):

4-Stars
Amora Tapae (60$): The best location in Chiang Mai. A bit old but good value or money.
Duangtawan (60$): It has the nightclub Safe House inside. Walking distance from the beer bars.

3-stars
Thapae Loft Hotel (65$): A brand new hotel near the Sunday market. 
P21 Hotel (40$): Modern and comfortable hotel. Good WIFI.

3-stars
Thapae Happy House (30$): Excellent value for money for this clean and new property

Meeting Girls in Chiang Mai
Compared with Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket or Samui, it is relatively more easy to meet girls, foreign or local, in Chiang Mai.

I think the main reason for that is that there are less male tourists and much more female tourists than elsewhere in Thailand.

The bars and nightclubs I would recommend for meeting girls are Zoe in Yellow, Mandalay, Warm Up, TaWanDang, Spicy, Safe House and The North Gate Jazz Coop. Some of them have a high proportion of working girls.

In local clubs like Infinity (and those I listed in Nimman Soi 7/9), girls will be a bit harder to approach. If you are not living in Chiang Mai they may lose interest quickly.

Online dating is a more easy way to find someone. Tinder does not work very well apart with foreign girls. Thai Cupid or Thai Friendly are much better options and they have the largest database of users in Thailand. The girls there are looking for serious relationships so you should start chatting with them a few weeks before your trip.

Where to Party in Jakarta - Nightlife Areas + Hotels

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
If you are wondering where you can party in Jakarta, this review will guide you through all the most famous nightlife areas in the city. You can also read 10 Best Nightclubs in Jakarta and Where to Stay in Jakarta for more detailed information.

I've circled in blue two main areas: South Jakarta and North Jakarta. Each has its own characteristics:

• South Jakarta is the most modern part of the city, with plenty of skyscrapers, luxury malls and upmarket houses. Naturally, this is where you will find the most high-end nightclubs and bars in Jakarta. Expats and rich Indonesians will normally party there.

• North Jakarta, or Kota Tua (Old Town) is the historical part of town. Most of the buildings are only a few floors high, and they may look shabby. The nightlife is often within large one-stop entertainment complexes comprising of a club, a massage parlor and a karaoke.  Drugs and prostitution are common. The party crowd is local and you'll only spot a random tourist once in a while. It is not as safe as in the South, particularly for the taxis, but it is still OK compared to any other world capitals.

South Jakarta Nightlife
Where to Party in South Jakarta?
SCBD
SCBD, which stands for Sudirman Central Business District, is a mixed-use development with many prestigious offices, a luxury mall and high-end residences. It has been the most happening party area in Jakarta for a few years already, especially among hip Jakartans and younger expats.

The best location for party in SCBD is the Fairgrounds complex where Lucy In The Sky, Fable Nightclub, The Pallas and Hide & Seek are located. Other popular nearby venues include Empirica, Beer Garden and the restaurants on the Ground Floor of Pacific Place Mall (Potato Head, Cork & Screw).

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Harris FX Sudirman

Senopati
Just a kilometer South of SCBD, Senopati is the most expensive residential area in Jakarta. There, you'll find smaller clubs, lounges and restaurants catering to the elite. The trendy places change every year, but currently you can go to Monty's, Pao Pao, Lola, Branché and H Gourmet & Vibes.

Best Hotel Nearby:
→ 4-star: The Gunawarman (Boutique hotel, 120$/night)

Mega Kuningan
It is also a mixed-use development, similar to SCBD, but with more residences and hotels. This is where many single expats in their 30s choose to live.

There are no nightclubs but several busy bars and restaurants like Loewy, Basque, E&O or Bauhaus. All of these are walking distance from each other and they are great for meeting expats and Indonesian girls.

Mega Kuningan is bordered to the South by Jalan Gatot Subroto on which two famous nightclubs (Dragonfly and Blowfish) are located.

Read also: Best Bars in Mega Kuningan

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 5-star: Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan or Oakwood (near Loewy)
→ 2-star: Favehotel Gatot Subroto or Amaris Satrio (35$/night both)

Senayan
Between Senopati and SCBD, Senayan is a popular shopping hub with 3 major malls: Plaza Senayan, Senayan City and FX. 

Each of them has bars, restaurants and nightclubs. X2, the largest and most crowded nightclub in Jakarta, is located inside Plaza Senayan. Domain Club is within Senayan City.

Some other recommended venues are Union Lounge (for a date/drinks), CJs (for live music if you don't mind freelance prostitutes) and Prohibition (jazz bar).

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 5-star: Mulia Hotel (with CJ's bar) and Fairmont (connected to Plaza Senayan)
→ 4-star: Harris FX Sudirman

Sudirman-Thamrin
The axis Jalan Sudirman-Jalan Thamrin is the most important thoroughfare in Jakarta as it connects the South and the North of the city. It is lined up with skyscrapers, most of which have a lounge, a rooftop or a restaurant.

Around the iconic Bunderan HI (or Hotel Indonesia roundabout - see photo above), you have some of the most exciting nightlife venues in Jakarta (most of which are within the malls Plaza Indonesia or Grand Indonesia): Immigrant nightclub, the rooftops SKYE and Cloud, and plenty of bars like Cork&Screw, Social House and Paulaner Brauhaus.

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 5-star: Kempinski (Grand Indonesia) or Grand Hyatt (Plaza Indonesia)
→ 4-star: Pullman Thamrin
→ 3-star: Holiday Inn Express

Jalan Jaksa
300 meters from Sarinah, Jalan Jaksa is the backpacker street of Jakarta. There are some cheap, friendly, open-air cafés where you can easily meet travelers and young Indonesians. You can also go to the nearby Wahid Hasyim street to visit popular bars like Beer Garden Menteng or to the B.A.R.T. rooftop in Artotel.

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Morrissey Hotel
→ 3-star: A One (New property)
→ 1-star/backpacker hostels: It is better to go to Jalan Jaksa directly and ask around. You can get a room with a fan for 10$.

Kemang:
Kemang is a residential expat area with many of the best-value Western restaurants in Jakarta. The bars and nightclubs are affordable, some catering to foreigners (Eastern Promise) and some to Indonesian teenagers (Tipsy, 999, Venue, Nu China).

Read more: Kemang Nightlife

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Grand Kemang Hotel
→ 3-star: Amaris La Codefin

Blok M, Wijaya, Melawai (Little Tokyo)
Those 3 red-light districts are located near from each other but they have their own characteristics:

Blok M (Jalan Falatehan) is a small street with 4-5 bars that have freelance prostitutes. They are popular with older expats.

Wijaya is a complex with small massage parlours and karaokes. It is popular with Koreans, Japanese and Indonesians.

Melawai (or Little Tokyo) is made of a few streets with authentic Japanese restaurants, Izakayas and karaokes.

Best Hotels Nearby:
Since the area is considered low class (due to all the prostitution activity), you can find rather good-value accommodation. The hotels are girl-friendly and they sometimes offer short-time.

Pondok Indah
Pondok Indah is an upmarket residential area in South Jakarta. You have a few bars in Pondok Indah Mall (Street Gallery) and a few more outside (like the expat bar De Hooi).

→ Don't sleep there unless you live in Jakarta.

Cilandak
Cilandak is a growing residential and business area (oil & gas). For the moment, its nightlife is limited to a few laid-back bars and Jenja nightclub in CITOS mall.

→ Don't sleep there.

North Jakarta Nightlife:
Where to Party in North Jakarta?
Gajah Mada - Hayam Wuruk
Gajah Mada and Hayam Wuruk are actually the same street but bizarrely, the left side is called Gajah Mada and the right side Hayam Wuruk.

On this 2 kilometer road, you will find almost all the high-end prostitution venues in Jakarta (Malioboro, Malio Club, V2, Sun City, Illigals, Paragon, Club 36).

Best Hotels Nearby:
There are affordable mid-range hotels in this area, only 15-30 minutes from Grand Indonesia.

Pecenongan
Pecenongan is just a few streets away from Hayam Wuruk. It is famous for just two properties: Emporium Spa (with Tease Strip Club) and the gigantic Classic Hotel bordello.

Best Hotels Nearby:
Note that you can actually book a room inside Classic Hotel. If sleeping inside a brothel is not what you are looking after, you can go instead to the Alila Pecenongan.

Kota Tua, Mangga Besar, Glodok
This is also a red light area, but more middle class compared to Hayam Wuruk. Dozens of brothels, lady bars, karaokes, discos and massage parlours are spread around. You will find most of them in the Lokasari complex, on Jalan Mangga Besar Raya, or on the smaller street Mangga Besar VIII.

Glodok and Kota nightclubs have a high number of drug users (ectasy, crystal meth). Since Stadium and Mille's closed down, the go-to venues are Exotis, Puja Sera, Golden Crown and Old City. 

Colosseum, a more luxurious nightclub within the 1001 one-stop entertainment complex is also located there, just 200 meters from Taman Fatahillah.

Best Hotels Nearby:
This area has a bad reputation so you can get cheap prices for budget hotels. I once lived there and it was not as bad as it seems. I really enjoyed the authenticity and the hundred of street food stalls around.

Ancol Beach
Ancol has two sides. A "clean" one with laid-back live music cafés by the sea, and a more dirty one with dangdut bars and a naughty one-stop entertainment complex (the infamous Alexis).

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Discovery Ancol

Mangga Dua
Mangga Dua is a cheap shopping destination with several budget hotels. There are some massage parlours and some karaokes as well.

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 5-star: Le Grandeur (maybe the cheapest 5-star hotel in Jakarta)
→ 4-star: Novotel
→ 3-star: D'Prima

Kota Indah/Pang-Jay
Sometimes referred to as the Blok M of North Jakarta, Kota Indah is a small street with 5-6 "massage bars", a euphemism for brothels. It is local and cheap.


Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 3-star: Zuri Express or Orchardz (with a spa ++)

Kelapa Gading
This is a residential area for middle to upper class Indonesians. You have several bars and coffee shops in and around Mall Kelapa Gading, Mall of Indonesia and La Piazza. There is also a red light district with 5-6 massage parlours and strip clubs (Sumo, King Cross).

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Grand Whiz or All Sedayu
→ 3-star: Whiz Prime

Pantai Indah Kapuk
The trendiest area in North Jakarta, PIK (for Pantai Indah Kapuk) is made of two roads with 30-40 restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs. It is popular with rich Indonesian-Chinese living in the upmarket neighborhood of Pluit.

If you are an Asian tourist craving for Taiwanese desserts and soju, you may enjoy it.


Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 3-star: Ozone

Grogol
Grogol is a middle class area strategically located between Jakarta and Tangerang (the airport). There are normal bars and clubs inside the malls Taman Anggrek/Central Park, but also many brothels, massage parlors and dirty discos (Bandara, Top 1, etc) in smaller nearby streets.

Best Hotels Nearby:
→ 4-star: Ciputra
→ 3-star: Grand Tjokro
→ 2-star: Hotel 88

Tanjung Priok
Near the busiest port in Jakarta, there are at least 30 small, low-end prostitute bars catering to seamen (many of whom are from Sulawesi). I wrote a full review here: The Far Away Nightlife of Tanjung Priok.

→ Don't sleep there.

Hotels Near Jakarta Nightlife
For those looking for the best hotel near the nightlife, you should consider the following rules:

 If you are interested in South Jakarta nightlife only   Stay between Plaza Senayan and Plaza Indonesia not too far from Sudirman street.

• If you are interested in North Jakarta nightlife only  Stay in Hayam Wuruk (3-star and 4-star) or stay in Mangga Besar (budget)

 If you are interested in both South and North Jakarta nightlife  Stay near Sarinah (2-star to 4-star) or near Grand Indonesia (5-star)

OPIUM Nightclub Bali - Seminyak (Also Spelled OPIVM)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Opened in December 2016, OPIUM (officially named OPIVM Bali Obsession) is the newest nightclub in Seminyak, South Bali. It is managed and owned by Mac Pedari (creator of Pyramid) with Mark Baker from Townhouse as a partner. Both are figures of the Bali expat and nightlife community so I guess OPIUM will create a buzz for at least several months.

The club is located on the "gay" street Jalan Camplung Tanduk (ex Dhyana Pura) and features two floors. The total capacity is not more than 400 pax. It is rather dark, with a sexy, almost underground vibe. The best part are the sexy pole dancers and acrobats that perform all night long.

The music is similar to that of other expat-oriented nightclubs in Bali (Jenja, Shanghai Baby, ex-Mint) which is not surprising considering the DJs are the same: Ben Burgess, Pyrope, Shammui. You can expect progressive house, deep house and tech house.

There is not entrance fee at the moment as it is still new and the prices are reasonable (Rp100,000 for spirits + mixers, Rp1,000,000 for a bottle of Champagne). Note that there is normally a dress code that applies: They aren't so strict with it but avoid looking like a bogan.

Opening Hours:
From 10PM to 5AM on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

OPIVM Bali Obsession (OPIUM)
Jalan Camplung Tanduk No. 7, 
Seminyak, South Bali

Phone number: +62 (0) 8 56 209 1665
Email: opivm.rsvp@gmail.com or sia.mac.pedari@gmail.com (owner)

Facebook: OPIVM BALI

Patong Nightlife (Phuket) - Best Bars and Nightclubs

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Phuket is one of the most renowned nightlife destinations in Thailand. It has a frenetic party scene, yet most of its bars and nightclubs are concentrated in the 1-km long street of Bangla (or Walking Street) in the beach town of Patong.

Nightlife in Patong is rather male-oriented with your typical a-gogo dancers, bar fines, freelance prostitutes, naughty massage parlors and ladyboys. It is a (paid) sex paradise that acts like a magnet for single males from all over the World. While Russians are the main nationality, you also have hordes of Northern Europeans (UK, Germany, Scandinavia), Asians, Australians, Americans, Indians and Arabs. There are also thousands of foreigners who retired in Phuket or started their own businesses (restaurants, bars, tours, etc).

But Patong also attracts "normal" tourists, including families, couples and backpackers. They come mostly for the beach, but you can see them walking on Bangla street at night. They are just curious and not particularly interested in the sex trade. They might have a few wild night outs during their stay though for the sake of being on holidays. They make Patong nightlife a lot less creepy than it could be and I thank them for that.

My most recent trip to Patong was in December 2016. During 3 nights straight, I went to every nightclubs and bars I could find until they were all closed. This review is a summary of my findings. Please leave a comment below if you need more information.

Best Hotels Near Patong Nightlife
Hookers don't seem to bother families in Patong
If you are in Patong for party, I advise you to stay within walking distance from Bangla Road. By doing so, you will avoid the tuk-tuk mafias (charging ridiculous prices even for a 100-meter ride) and even better, you will avoid the temptation of driving back home while drunk. It is also better to be surrounded by like-minded people and not families/couples.

Agoda has created a great list of hotels located within a short distance from Bangla Road. Among them, the following are considered girl-friendly:

4-star and 5 star Hotels:
Sleep with Me (4-star): It is 200 meters from the nightlife and 100 meters from the mall JungCeylon. Price starting at 80$ on Agoda (check for better rates on HotelsCombined). Rated 8.5/10

Swisshotel Resort (4-star): This is where I was staying. It is in the same building as Hard Rock Café and Hooters Patong. The price was 75$ during high season but you can get a cheaper deal on hotelscombined.com. Rated 8.1/10.

Millenium Resort (5-star): The closest 5-star from Patong Beach. It is inside Jungceylon Mall. The first bars and clubs of Bangla street are just across the street. Prices starting at 85$ on Agoda (or compare on hotelscombined.com). Rated 8.3/10.

Kee Hotel is a family resort but it is connected to the infamous gogo bar strip of Soi Sea Dragon.

3-Star Hotels:
Yorkshire is a popular choice among regulars of Patong. It is both girl-friendly and a 200-m walk from nightclubs. Their basic room is comfortable and costs 50$ per night (compare prices now: HotelsCombined). Rated 8.2/10.

Summer Breeze is another favorite: 1-minute walk from the nightlife and quite cheap (less than 35$ per night if you book here). Rated 8.3/10.

Hostel/Backpacker (Not girl-friendly)
Just one floor above the nightclub Illuzion, there is a hostel called Kool Backpacker. They have dormitories for less than 10$ and all the guests there are party-people. Rated 8.1/10.

Note: Even the girl-friendly hotels in Patong may ask you for a "joiner" fee (around 300THB) if you bring someone who wasn't part of your initial booking.

Meeting Girls in Phuket/Patong
You shouldn't be too naive about the kind of girls you'll meet in Patong. As it turns out, even Western girls may end up being eastern European prostitutes.

If you are OK with paying for sex, then you won't need to make a lot of effort to be happy (but you should know that prices are higher than in Bangkok or Pattaya).

If you are not into prostitution, your best chance is to connect to popular dating websites like Thai Cupid or Thai Friendly. You can create an account a few weeks before arriving to make sure you already have some contacts on your first day.

Forget about Tinder. It is 20% lady boys, 30% prostitutes, 30% average looking, 10% Russian girls who don't reply messages.

Nightlife Areas in Patong
map phuket nightlife patong
Patong - Bangla Street Nightlife Map

90% of Patong nightlife is within Bangla and the adjacent small streets (called Soi).

Bangla Street Nightlife
Forbidden to non-authorized cars and motorbikes, it is lined up with cheap restaurants, bars, huge nightclub complexes and strip clubs. You can also find ATMs, money changers, convenience stores, banks, souvenir shops, fast foods and pharmacies.

Touts and girls will approach you ever few meters with various offers. Most often, they'll try to sell you a ping pong show or an all-you-can-drink promotion. For the latter, the touts are often foreigners.

Adjacent Streets (Soi) from East to West:
→ Soi Vegas: The two dirtiest bars in Patong are on this street (Belvedere and Money City). You can also find some local food.
→  Soi Tiger (or Soi Crocodile): Thai food and a ladyboy cabaret bar (Cocktail and Dreams).
→  Soi Viking: You have a very crowded Scandinavian bar (Grabbarna Grus) and a massage parlor.
→  Soi Sea Dragon: The highest concentration of gogo bars (Suzie Wong I & II, Harem, Lover Club, Upstairs, Exotica, No. 1)
→  Soi Freedom (ex-Soi Eric): A fun and crowded street full of beer bars and prostitutes.
→  Soi Gonzo: Nothing special, the alley leads to the nightclub White Rooms

Elsewhere in Patong:
→ OTOP market's bars: This market is located about 100 meters across from the Swisshotel Resort (10 minutes walk from Bangla Street). There are bout 20 tiny beer bars which all seem to be foreign-owned (especially by Australians and Germans). They are very laid-back and popular with expat residents to watch sports. You can get beer from 60-70THB.
Fat Mama's Beer Bar in OTOP
→  Paradise Complex (Soi Paradise): This is where most of Patong's gay nightlife is located. In this area, a recommended hotel is the foreign-owned, gay-friendly Connect Guesthouse.

Best Nightclubs in Patong
Party in Illuzion Nightclub Phuket
I wrote a detailed review about it called 9 Best Nightclubs in Patong. If you don't have time to read it, below is a quick summary.

Nightclubs in Patong are almost all free except White Room (200THB entrance). They are easy to get into as there are no queues and no dress code. If you are a small group, you should consider purchasing a bottle of alcohol as it will give you access to a table (minimum price 3,500 THB/100$).

All the nightclubs below run the same open bar promo: All-you-can-drink for 800THB from 10pm to 1am (the recently-opened Ecstasy has a deal for 599THB until 3AM but it won't last long I guess).

DJs will usually alternate between commercial EDM (Electronic Dance Music), Hip-Hop, Rn'B and Top 40. The only places where I listened to more original playlists were in the VIP rooms of Illuzion and Seduction.

The most recommended nightclubs in Patong are the following:

→  Illuzion is my favorite party place in Patong. Ranked 93rd best nightclub in the world by DJ Mag, it is brand-new and modern, with a huge stage where sexy dancers, acrobats, DJs and singers perform all night long. You have less prostitutes than elsewhere and most of the customers are young Westerners. It closes at 4AM but a smaller VIP club with tech house music stays open until 6AM.

Seduction is a huge nightlife complex with a beer garden, a regular club, a VIP club (Blow), a hip-hop bottle club and a rooftop restaurant. The regular club normally gets full every night with a mixed crowd a bit younger and lower-class than Illuzion. The VIP club has great music but it is happening only for special events.

Tiger Nightclub is also a multi-story complex, perhaps the most famous on Bangla street due to its enormous tigers statues above the entrance. On the ground floor, there are dozens of cheap beer bars with each a staff of bargirls and gogo dancers. On the second floor, there is the largest disco in Patong. It looks weird but it can be fun, especially if you party from the podium. It attracts less Westerners and more Indians/Arabs/Asians. Almost all girls in Tiger are prostitutes.

→ Stars Phuket is a Russian strip club until 4AM, but after that it becomes one of two after-hour clubs in Patong. It is quite small (100 pax capacity), but you can also hang out in the next-door Pool Club. The music is hip hop and Rn'B.

Tai Pan is an old nightclub popular with long-term Phuket residents. It is just one low-ceiling room with plenty of tables and dancing poles. There is always a show on stage: Dancers, live bands, DJs. At least 90% of the girls are prostitutes.

Some other nightclubs you may be interested to try in Patong are White Room (similar to Seduction), Hollywood and Ecstasy. You can read a complete review about them here: 9 Best Nightclubs in Patong.

Best Gogo Bars and Erotic Clubs
Girlie bars are everywhere in Patong and they make take several forms:

→ The cheapest are the ubiquitous beer bars that can be found every 20 meters (and especially in Soi Freedom or Soi Tiger). They can accommodate around 15-20 customers with a staff of 10 bar girls. You can sit down only for drinking beer (from 70THB), or ask for a girl's company. In that case, you should buy her lady drinks (200-240THB each) on which she gets a commission. To bring the girl back home with you, you must compensate the bar owner with a "bar fine" (short term - 1,000THB, long Term 2,000 THB), and then pay money directly to the girl (short term - 2,000 THB, long term 3,000 THB). That's a lot of efforts and money to end up with a prostitute!
Dirty Angel in Soi Tiger
Gogo bars are larger and more expensive. They have a podium with girls dancing in lingerie/bikini/uniforms, topless or naked (depending on the bar). Customers can seat all around and enjoy the show. Like in beer bars, you may ask a girl to join you. The prices for ladies drinks and bar fine are 25% higher.

Most of the famous Patong gogo bars are located in Soi Sea Dragon. The group Suzie Wong manages at least four gogo bars there (Suzie Wong I & II, Harem, Exotica) and another one on Bangla (Rock Hard). They are the best ones (hottest girls, great atmosphere, good music, first drink for 99THB).

You can also try the new Upstairs Gogo Bar (nude and topless girls, first beer 99THB then 200THB), No1 A GogoDiablo A Gogo and Club Lover.
Suzie Wong's Gogo Bar (without the girls)
Erotic clubs or Ping Pong Shows. Those clubs are a trashier version of gogo bars. They usually have older, less attractive girls who will do some kind of sexual performances. Most often, it involves inserting something in their pussies.

Honestly, it is pretty gross. With my own two eyes, I've seen a girl removing an actual frog from her vagina (and it wasn't a small one) then trowing it on a customer. The staff looked depressed and tourists were rather uncomfortable. The bar is called Money Night and you'll be asked to buy a 900-THB beer to enter (I paid 300THB after negotiating).

Another sex joint is Belvedere Luxury Club (next to Money Night on Soi Vegas). This place also charges 900THB for a beer but I wasn't able to negotiate the price down. They told me that the reason they were so expensive was because they were the only place in Patong with live sex performance on stage. As I didn't want to pay, they only let me inside for a few minutes. All I saw was a half-empty room with a mix of Russian and Thai hookers.

Note: Many tourists get scammed in ping pong shows. They get inside because they are promised a 99THB beer, but they ignore that it only applies to the first drink. After that, they get charged between between 500THB and 1,000THB per drink.
Sensual milk bath in Belvedere Club
→  There are a few Russian strip joints in Patong. More luxurious than Thai ones, they also cost more and have a bad reputation for scamming customers. I tried Moulin Rouge where I paid 330THB for a beer. It was rather quiet with just 2 Russian girls dancing, one of whom was topless. You can also go to L'Amour Club and Stars.
Best Bars and Live Music Pubs
Live Music in Patong
The number of pubs with live music on Bangla street is impressive. The most famous ones are crowded every night and they have great bands (Thai or Filipino). They are cheaper than nightclubs (around 120THB for a beer) and they have a more diverse crowd (more women, more couples).

The only thing I don't like about them is that the songs played are pretty much always the same: Adele, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, etc. After 3 nights out it gets boring.

The recommended venues are in this order: New York Bar (in front of Illuzion nightclub), Tao (belongs to Suzie Wong Group), Red Hot, Molly Malone's Irish Pub, Hard Rock Cafe (expensive), Rock City (classic rock), Heroes, Monsoon and Smiley. You can hear the bands from outside actually so just walk around and pick the one you like.

Best Bars on Bangla
Something that surprised me about Patong nightlife (compared to Bali nightlife for instance) is the lack of sophisticated bars. There are luxury beach clubs and lounges elsewhere on the island, but not many in Patong.

If you are looking for a nicer setup, you can go to the Patong Beach Club, about 300 meters from Bangla Road. They have a more upmarket Russian and Asian clientele, plus a few expats. It does not get so crowded though unless they have an event. It is just above Wine Connection an expensive wine shop and restaurant part of a Singaporean chain.

I also liked the new restaurant/lounge Cocoon. The upper floor has a laid-back setting overlooking Walking Street with Russian dancers and foreign DJs mixing chill/deep house tunes.

If you are Scandinavian, and more particularly Swedish, you will probably end up in Grabbarna Grus. I have always seen it packed with young, somewhat chubby blond girls and guys.
Grabbarna Grus Swedish Bar
More Tips About Patong Nightlife
Best time to enjoy Patong nightlife
All the information you've just read mostly applies to the high season which runs from December to February (with a peak during the Christmas holidays and Chinese New Year). More tourists choose to visit the island during this period because the weather is always sunny, the sea is quiet and the water is clear blue.

The rest of the year, and particularly in July or August, you will have considerably less people visiting Phuket. In Patong, the occupancy during the low season may not even reach 50%.

While you will get cheaper deals on hotels, you can't expect that all bars and nightclubs will be crowded.

Travel Insurance
One foreigner dies every three days in Phuket. The most frequent causes of death are drunk driving, drowning and strangely, suicide. There are thousands of non-lethal accidents every month and the worst ones may end up costing you a lot of money (a medical evacuation from Phuket to Australia = 100,000$). Other common problems like dog bites, malaria, dengue fever, food poisoning, flu, etc... can be treated in Thailand but you will get charged a highly inflated tourist price.

Before or during your trip, you should subscribe to a comprehensive travel insurance online, for instance on World Nomads (recommended by Lonely Planet). It costs a few dollars per day and it can save you a lot of trouble if something happens to you.

If you have any additional questions about Patong (Phuket) nightlife, do not hesitate to leave a message below. I'm also interested to know about your favorite bars and nightclubs if I missed them.

Abortion in Indonesia: My Personal Experience

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Note from Jakarta100bars: One of my readers sent me the following email regarding abortion in Indonesia. I'm publishing it because it might interest some people. This is NOT a professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you need to perform an abortion. You can also get support from Indonesian women's group such as Samsara (email: samsara.indonesia@gmail.com) or Misocare.

"Hi Thibaud,

As you know, abortion is officially forbidden in Indonesia. My girlfriend got pregnant a few weeks ago and since we didn't want to keep the baby, we had to find a solution.

We considered several options, including going to Vietnam where abortion is legal. Finally, we met an expat who told us it could be done in Jakarta because my girlfriend had been pregnant for just a couple weeks.

In my home country in Europe, chemical abortion follow this procedure:

→ 1st step: The girl takes one pill of Mifepristone (Mifegyne) to stop the pregnancy to develop further
→ 2nd step: After two days, she must take Cytotek (Misoprostol). This is to make the bleedings start (and therefore the flushing of the fetus).

You can read on the net about details, possible side effects, etc.

However, it seems like in Indonesia, the focus is only on the Cytotek if doing abortion by pills.

A friend of mine (who is a doctor) said Cytotek is enough if pregnancy is in early stage (but if later, better to take both pills like described before, for better chance of success).

It was surprisingly easy to get Cytotec in Jakarta. The reason is that this drug is primarily used for healing ulcers in the stomach, but the “side effects” is making cramps in the uterus and if 4 pills are taken, it will make heavy bleeding – making abortion happen as a “side effect”.

One would think that Cytotek was forbidden in countries where abortion is forbidden, but because Cytotek has another purpose, it seems easy to get.  

My girl called a “pramuka” (a grocery store for apoteks - pharmacies) and bought it online, also ordered home delivery. Very easy. Maybe you can get it in ordinary apotek also, I don’t know. There are also many illegal reseller on internet, for instance on Instagram (you can check the tag Cytotek for instance). The price depends on the number of pills you need, which depends on how long your girl was pregnant. You can expect to pay IDR1M for 1 month pregnancy and double that for 4 month pregnancy. I can't vouch for them as I didn't try.

Also remember, if taking Cytotek for abortion, the girl should also take Ibuprofen (ibux) as painkillers as the possibility for big pain is very high. Ibuprofen does not influence the effects of the Cytotek. One can also buy Ibuprofen from the pramuka together with the Cytotek, of course.

Remember also, the pain and bleeding can be very strong (as my girl experienced), so one should be able to contact doctor or hospital as a security if pain / bleeding is very heavy. It is for your own safety.

It is better to be looked upon as a “bad girl” than to bleed to death. My girl experienced heavy pain and bleeding so she had to go to hospital. There, she got painkillers and treatment, but she said the doctors looked at her with an attitude (did not believe her because she would not tell about abortion). So this is big stigma in Indonesia. To be pregnant if not married – very bad.

Okay, hope you can use this information in Jakarta100bars."

If you have had a similar experience, please don't hesitate to share with readers below in the comments.

There seems to be a private clinic in Cikini that performs abortion as well but I don't have more details. You can see their Instagram profile here: Klinik Aborsi Cikini.

Best VPNs in Indonesia- How to Access Blocked Websites

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this review I will explain you how to bypass Internet censorship (mostly porn) in Indonesia by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. I will also give you tips on how to watch Hulu and Netflix in Indonesia.

Most porn and torrent websites are blocked in Indonesia. This includes all the most famous ones like XVideos, YouPorn, PornHub, XHamster, KickAss Torrents and The Pirate Bay. It is also not possible to visit some forums like Reddit or InternationalSexGuide. Same thing with the dating website Adult Friend Finder.

Some regular websites have also been banned like Vimeo. Tumblr was shut down during 24 hours earlier this year as well.

Another problem internet users are facing in Indonesia is the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Act. This vague set of laws can make you the target of a defamation suit for exposing your views online. You are not allowed, for instance, of suggesting that someone might be corrupt.

Because of this law, posting a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Path in Indonesia can land you in jail. This is what happened to Alexander Aan or Florence Sihombing.

Since about a year ago, I decided to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in Indonesia. This allows me to visit any websites I want on the internet without anyone knowing about it. It is 100% legal, secure and safe. Actually, according to this 2015 study, Indonesia is the country with the most VPN users in the world: 23% of its Internet users are bypassing censorship by using a VPN.

The cost is cheap (less than 10$ per month) and it works great. If you travel a lot in Asia, it is also very useful in heavily-censored countries like Vietnam or China.

Since VPN companies usually give you a free trial for a few days up to 1 month, I tested several of them to make sure I was choosing the best. There are so many different companies that you could probably get a free VPN for at least a year just by changing provider once in a while. The prices are really reasonable though so once you've found one that works well, it's really more simple to just pay.

Here are my top 3 recommendations for best VPNs in Indonesia (I used the 3 of them and they worked great):

Hide My Ass (HMA) - Best VPN in Indonesia
HideMyAss.com
Hide My Ass is often considered the best VPNs in the world here because they have a massive 700 servers in almost every countries on earth, including in Indonesia. This means your connection is fast and smooth anywhere you go. If you can afford the extra dollars to get full speed (compared to free VPNs), HMA is an excellent choice. Remember that in the end, it is still only 60$ per year.

Hide My Ass is the VPN recommended by the Wall Street Journal to access blocked websites in China and it was also selected as the best VPN by the Guardian, Bloomberg and Forbes.

You can now try Hide My Ass for FREE! Just open the following link Hide My Ass Free and click on "Free Trial". You need to give your credit card details so don't forget to cancel after one month to avoid being charged.

If you decide to keep the paid version, it is much more interesting to choose a full year:

Pricing:
4,99$ per month with 1 year plan
7,49$ per month with 6-month plan
9,99$ per month without plan

The set up is super easy even if you are not good on computers and they are really fast to answer your questions of you have any.

Golden Frog - Vypr VPN - Fastest VPN Indonesia

I found that Golden Frog's Vypr VPN was even faster compared to Hide My Ass. They also have a server in Jakarta and a strong presence in Asia. The support is excellent (ask any question and they will answer you within a few minutes). You can pay with Alipay or PayPal and you can use up to 5 devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, etc).

NEW! You can do a free trial for 3 months by opening this link: Promo Deal for Ivacy VPN - Indonesia!!!

If you choose to keep it after the free trial period, you will pay the following:

Pricing:
5$ per month with 1 year plan
9,99$ per month without plan


NordVPN - VPN for Watching Netflix
This is often considered the best VPN on the market as they have a great support team that will help you with any of your requests. If you are planning on using US Netflix, this is your an excellent choice too as they have not been banned yet. This means you can use NordVPN to watch Netflix if you position your IP in the US. Only problem for Indonesian web users, they don't have a server in Indonesia at the moment so the speed is slower than the VPNs listed above. It is still good enough for most people (you can still download from torrents, watch movies, etc).

To try their services for free, you can just visit the following link: Nord VPN - 30-Day Money Back Guaranteed.

Since you can cancel and get your money back any time within the first month, I advise you to choose the 1 year plan directly to save on the long term.

Pricing:
NEW: 2 Years Deal for 3,29$ per month - Click here to get the offer: 72% Off Nord VPN
4$ per month with 1 year plan
5$ per month with 6-month plan
8$ per month without plan

How Do You Access Porn/Blocked Websites in Indonesia? Do You Use A VPN As Well?
There are a lot of new VPN providers entering the market every month. If you are using a different VPN in Indonesia or if you have another way to visit porn/blocked websites in Indonesia, please leave a comment below to share your experience!