Browsing "Older Posts"

Browsing Category " Isaan Nightlife "

Nong Khai Nightlife: Where to Party and Drink?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →

Even if you live in Thailand, you may not be familiar with Nong Khai. This town of 50,000 inhabitants is near the border with Laos, and it is often a stopover for people heading to Vientiane by land.

This is exactly the reason I was there, for only 1 night. Naturally, I tried to find out if there was any nightlife.

The city gets very quiet in the evening and you'll barely hear any noise apart from dogs barking and motorbikes. Even finding street food after 10PM can be challenging.

Some areas are more busy though, with restaurants, bars, live music and even nightclubs.
Below are my top recommendations for drinking and partying in Nong Khai:

Along The Mekong River: Mostly Thais
There is a nice promenade along the Mekong River called Rim Kong Alley. It is approximately 3 kilometers long from the temple Wat Hai Sok up to the Phra That Lanong (a replica temple).

Along the way, you have at least 100 restaurants, among which more than 50% specialize in hotpot/BBQ (don't ask me why). At some point, you will see local pubs and karaokes, sometimes with live music.

In particular, young people will hang out in a few cafés located at the intersection of Soi Yot Kaeo 3 and Rim Kong Alley. The venues there are modern and really packed until 1AM. You can eat, drink, watch sports and enjoy some Thai live music.

Among those venues, you have A-GainSanamsook and ร้านเต่าหนองคาย (sorry I couldn't find the English translation). You may meet some pretty Thai girls there, most likely young students.

Near 
Wat Hai Sok: For Expats and Tourists
Just one street behind Rim Kong Alley, in Soi Rim Kong 1 (100 meters from Wat Hai Sok), there are a few bars and restaurants owned by foreigners (usually married with Thai girls).

As there are many guest houses around, they get reasonably crowded at night with a mix of expats and tourists.

It is very basic but friendly. The popular venues are next to each other: Jimmy's 1, Anchor Bar, Warm Up and Noi & Brendan.

Soi Nipatat: For Expats and Tourists Looking for Bargirls
My hotel was on this street which is about 300 meters from the Mekong. It can be considered the red-light district of Nong Khai as you have around 5-6 beer bars with prostitutes. There are also normal restaurants without girls (I ate in the French-owned Mai and they serve good food).

As in Soi Rim Kong 1, it seems that every bar is owned by a retired foreigner who married a Thai woman. Each one proudly displays his nationality outside the bar. You have an Italian (Oasi), a Swiss (Muscha & Lee), an American (DJ's Bar), an English (Candy Bar), an Australian, a Kiwi, etc...

From what I understood, new places open and close quite often since most customers in Nong Khai are only interested to get the cheapest beer they can. Many of those businesses don't make a profit and they are just little toys to keep the wives busy.

As you can expect, the girls are not exactly the prettiest you'll meet in Thailand, but who knows you might get lucky.

Prices in those bars are about 70THB for a beer and 120THB for a Thai dish. The closing hours are flexible and change every night depending on the customers. In general, only a few places will be open after 1AM.

Elsewhere: Thai Clubs and Bars
You can find nightclubs elsewhere in the city that will stay open until 3AM. They are typical of those you may have already visited in Thailand: A beer pub with a live band singing in Thai. Between breaks,  he is replaced by a DJ who mixes loud EDM/Top 40 remixes.

They are normally free to enter, and then inside it will cost you around 70 THB for a beer and 600-800THB for a whisky bottle.

The best one is probably Yellow Bus (near the riverside). It opened in 2016 and it attracts a crowd of young Thai people.

Another option is Sam Ran, not too far from Soi Nipatat. It is busy every night with clients older than in Yellow Bus. There are some freelance prostitutes as well.
Sam Ran Pub and Restaurant
Finally, you can go to Lam Kong Brewery but it is more traditional. I'm actually not sure of the name as there is no English sign in front of it (I used an automatic translation after finding the place on Google map).

Finally, there is a friendly Thai bar on Soi Hai Sok called Chilly's. No girls there but very friendly atmosphere.

You can see the exact location of all these places on my Nong Khai nightlife map below.

Where to Stay in Nong Khai Near the Nightlife?
For party purposes, I recommend you to stay in Soi Nipatat even though it is not exactly by the Mekong River. My hotel offered great value for money (13$ per night for a double room with AC) and it was just 5 meters from the bars. You can check it on Agoda: Nong Khai City Hotel. A slightly more expensive option in the same street is the White Inn (18$ per night).

If you want to stay by the Mekong river, the Mut Mee Garden Guest House has excellent ratings and it costs only 11$ per night.

For something a bit more upmarket, the brand-new Amanta is the best hotel near Nong Khai nightlife. Its price is still reasonable (40$ per night).

Meeting Normal Thai Girls
There aren't that many places to meet Thai girls in Nong Khai. The best option would be to go to one of the bars on the Mekong promenade (like A-Gain or Sanamsook).

Alternatively, you can check before your trip if there are any profiles on the popular dating sites ThaiFriendly and ThaiCupid. It is free to register and to browse profiles.

Nong Khai Nightlife Map

Udon Thani Nightlife - Best Nightclubs and Bars 2017

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Udon Thani is located in the North of Thailand (Isaan Region), near the border with Laos. Even though it is the 4th most populous city in the country (150,000 people), it is very laid-back and provincial.

I was there for 5 days as a stopover before heading to Laos and I was not really expecting there would be any nightlife.

As it turns out, I was wrong. You can find bars and nightclubs that are open and busy every night, but for that you'll need to go outside of the tourist areas.

This short review will guide through the best venues I went to during my stay. If you think I forgot one, please leave me a note in the comment section below.

Best Hotels Near Udon Thani Nightlife
Hotels in Udon Thani are really cheap, even during high season. I was staying in the Centara, a 4-star property with a perfect location next to a large mall, and I was paying only 45$! You can click here to check the current price: Centara Hotel - Udon Thani.

If you want to be close from the red-light district, an excellent hotel is The Pannarai (4-star, 42$/night). You'll be only 20 meters from the first beer bars. A cheaper option nearby is the Prajaktra (20$/night).

You can check Agoda for more option, just remember to stay close from the Central Plaza Mall.

Nightlife Areas in Udon Thani
Party in Rhythm Club
The nightlife for foreigners in Udon Thani is very easy to find. Basically, you have two adjacent streets with a total of around 30 bars (some with ladies, some normal).

Note that the expats in Udon Thani are quite old on average and that they sleep early! You should go out before 10PM otherwise all bars will be empty. In fact many are already closed by midnight.

The first street you can try is Soi Samphan Thamit, just behind Central Plaza Mall. Most bars there are not very sophisticated and they only have the basics for you to enjoy a beer. A few bargirls will keep you company if you need. They aren't the prettiest girls you'll meet in Thailand but a few are cute.

The most popular places as of January 2017 were Sports Bar (the most crowded), Vikings Corner Bar, Zaaps, Tiffy, the Meeting Point, the Irish Clock (an Irish pub and hotel), Fun Bar (it had the prettiest girls) and Shadow. I also saw a bar/massage parlor with ladyboys. You can just go there directly, walk around for a few minutes and sit in the bar you like the most.

There is also a tiny beer bar complex called Day & Night, just next to the Pannarai Hotel.
The second street is Soi Prajak Sillapacom, at the end of Soi Samphan Thamit. The bars are a little bit nicer there, especially Sisters (but unfortunately it does not get so busy).

The main attraction in Prajak Sillapacom is a beer bar complex called Nutty Park, which is similar to Day and Night. You'll see quite a lot of old guys, especially in the restaurant/pub the Good Corner (it seems to be a hub for the expat community). You also have bar-girls/prostitutes but they are not too pushy.

Thai Nightclubs, Bars and Cafés
The bars mentioned above are just OK for a few beers (or to find a girl if that's your goal), but they are not really happening. By the time of your second day in Udon Thani you'll certainly be bored.

Thais nightclubs are a much better option. They have the advantage of staying open later (maximum 2AM) and to have a younger crowd (including some normal Thai girls).

My most recommended venues are the following:

Rhythm (in Napalai Hotel)
Rhythm was my favorite club even though it is located more than 4 kilometers from the city center (100-120THB with a tuk-tuk). It is made of one large room, quite modern, with a live stage where bands play Thai rock/pop. I went there on a Sunday and it was full, with many girls in their 20s. When the band is not playing, the DJs mix EDM songs.

Free entrance on weekdays (200THB on weekends if there is an event). Close at 2AM.

Full review: Rhythm Udon Thani or Facebook: Rhythm.

Phoenix
Phoenix is also a fun nightclub and it is walking distance from Central Plaza. It is the newest and hippest in the city, but smaller than Rhythm. They have great sound/lighting, an intimate atmosphere, an upmarket crowd and excellent rock bands. Some of the hottest girls I've seen in Udon Thani were customers of Phoenix (or prostitutes, I'm not 100% sure).

Free entrance every day of the week. Close at 2AM.

Full review: Phoenix Udon Thani or Facebook: Phoenix

Yellow Bird (in Charoen Hotel)
Located in Charoen Hotel, a 10-minute walk from Central Plaza. It is also a very popular nightclub but it is more old-style compared to the ones listed above. The bands will sometimes play Thai folk songs and the customers are over 30 years old. During breaks though, you'll get some loud EDM and sexy dancers. The best night is on Wednesday (ladies night).

Free entrance every day of the week. Close at 2AM.
Tawan Daeng
Tawan Daeng is an institution in Udon Thani. It is located 2 minutes from the tourist area of Soi Samphan Thamit (behind Central Plaza) and for this reason you'll see plenty of foreigners inside. They have live bands (playing folk/country songs from Isaan region) and also some more random shows (comedians, dancing, etc). You can go their early for dinner and try some Isaan food.

Website: Tawan Daeng Udon Thani

Kongsiam Café
This laid-back, cool café is located next to Phoenix Club. They have live music every night, with bands who sing in English or in Thai (mostly covers of famous songs). The design and set-up is really original. It is my most recommended venue for a date with a Thai girl.

Facebook: Kongsiam Udon Thani

Twenty Up (20UP)
20UP opened on January 10th, 2017 and it was already busy when I visited. It is a Thai-style beer garden with a whole bunch of sexy hostesses and live acoustic music. Young crowd. Open until 1AM.

It is just in front of Grand Naga Hotel & KTV where apparently you can can get a massage plus plus.

Facebook: 20UP Udon Thani

Bar'ista Brasserie
In front of UD Town Mall and the train station, this is a popular restaurant with an indoor and an outdoor area. It gets full almost every night with upper-class locals. They have Thai music, usually pop and mellow songs.

Facebook: Bar'ista Brasserie Udon Thani

Meeting Normal Thai Girls in Udon Thani
It is much easier to meet normal girls in Udon Thani compared with Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya or Chiang Mai.

The best way is to make a profile on online dating sites like ThaiFriendly or ThaiCupid. Both have thousands of girls who are eager to meet with foreigners. Ideally you can chat with them a few weeks before arriving in Thailand to build up the excitement. If you have a decent profile pic, you can get non-stop dates from morning to midnight.

Tinder works well also, but there are less profiles and most of the girls will not be interested to chat if you are not living in Udon Thani.

Meeting girls in nightclubs is also possible, especially in Phoenix, Yellow Bird and Rhythm. It will require more effort and a bit of luck though.

In the daytime, you can hang out and meet Thai girls either in UD Town shopping center (most recommended) or in Central Plaza Mall.

You can also read: Khon Kaen Nightlife.

Udon Nightlife Map

Khon Kaen Nightlife - Best Bars and Clubs 2017

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this review of Khon Kaen nightlife, I will give you tips about the best areas to party, where to stay, my favorite venues and how to meet local Thai girls.

I stayed there for two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) and managed to visit all the famous nightclubs and bars. It's not that difficult, as you will see they are almost all within a small area.

Where to Party in Khon Kaen?
Khon Kaen is a medium-sized Thai city about 1 hour away from Udon Thani. There are few tourist attractions there, but it is a pleasant town with great street food and very cheap accommodation. It also has a small, but fun nightlife, which is dominated by young clubbers (students make up a quarter of the population).

What I really enjoyed about Khon Kaen nightlife is that almost all the bars and clubs are located within a small area. Even better, within just a few streets, you will find a mix of different types of venues, including expat bars, student cafés, sports bars and live music clubs. You can try several of them in one night without ever using a taxi or walking too much.

Pracha Samran Road

As you can see on the map, the busiest street for bars is Pracha Samran Road. It is lively from 7PM up to 3AM with mostly bars for Thai people. Here are the current happening places in 2017:

99 Vintage
The most crowded venue on the street. It is actually a small complex that consists of the Vintage pub and the 99 Vintage nightclub. It is full of students around 18-22 years old, including an impressive number of hot Thai girls. They have either a live Thai band or EDM/Trap DJs. I didn't see other foreigners so you should attract attention. It is not particularly stylish but it is fun and messy. The service is horrible though, I never managed to get any drinks and I left after 20 minutes. It closes at 3AM. Lots of gays and lesbians.

I shot this video inside:
Full Frame
This is one of my favorite bars in Khon Kaen. It is just 100 meters from 99 Vintage but with a more upmarket/adult crowd. They also have live music, not too loud, and plenty of pretty girls around. Closes at 2AM.

Monroe Club by Rads
Part of the Rads complex, this is a gentlemen's club with sexy coyote girls/hostesses (including Lao girls). They wear kinky outfits and they'll perform some erotic dancing. If you want a girl to keep you company, you'll need to pay at least 350THB. There is not sex involved unless you make a deal with her (or seduce her). It was completely empty around 9PM, but when I went again at 1AM there were around 15 guys. It closes at 3AM.

In the same complex, you also have Home Gastro Pub and Beer Factory. I went to neither of them but from outside I could see they had a few customers, seemingly upper class Thai.
Topless coyote girls show in Rads (now Monroe Club)
Deep by Rads
Next to Monroe, Deep has the particularity of staying open until 5AM. This means that starting 2-3AM, you will see a lot of clubbers going there to finish their night out.

Street Café by Rads
Beer garden and restaurant with old-style/country-style Thai music. Older crowd.

The Koon
Small student bar. Hipster/alternative vibe. Live acoustic music.

Wine 22
Large beer garden with also an indoor area. Not too crowded. English/Thai live music, usually soft-rock and pop bands. Serves food. Good for dating.

Degree
Laid-back, open-air beer garden with Live Thai pop music. Huge screen for watching sports.

Top West
A restaurant and bar with a Western saloon theme just across the street from 99 Vintage. It is quite kitsch, attracting a mix of older Thai and foreigners. A little bit dirty. 110THB for a large Chang beer. The live bands play Thai country music. Depending on the songs, you may have some people who start dancing.

Didines
More a restaurant than a bar, it serves the best Western food on the street. You should be able to meet some foreigners there (also in the bar next door but I forgot its name). Owned by a Swiss-Canadian.

Blues Bar
This bar was closed for the two nights I was in Khon Kaen. I'm not sure if this is permanent or not. It is an expat-owned beer bar with Indian food, pool tables and some bargirls.

Levels Up
Similar to Full Frame: An open-air bar with live music and a Thai crowd. Close at 1AM.

Wine Blah Bar
This is quite a unique place. It is a bit hidden from the street and features both a live music bar and karaoke rooms. Some very pretty lady companions.

Pretty Relax Karaoké
I didn't visit it but you can see some girls wearing sexy dresses trying to lure customers inside.

Around Pullman Hotel
As you walk closer from the Pullman Hotel, most of the bars you'll see are much smaller, less sophisticated, and they target foreigners. They'll always have a few working girls, but honestly not very pretty ones. If you are half decent-looking, I advise you to find a girl on ThaiFriendly or ThaiCupid instead.

Yokotai
A restaurant/bar, popular with expat regulars with excellent fusion food. Owned by a Dutch man.

My Bar Sports Bar
The most lively bar in the area. Several prostitutes. Pool tables. 90's pop/rock music.

Eric's Bar, Happy Times and Tiki Tiki are just in front of My Bar. They are pretty much identical.

Chillin' and 4AM are microscopic bars with a couple of waitresses each and cheap beers.

U-Bar
Nightclub with DJ (EDM) or live music. Older and more stylish crowd compared to 99 Vintage (but not as busy). Some pretty girls (including prostitutes) who will make eye contact as there aren't many foreigners. 120THB for a small Carlsberg. 1,000THB for the cheapest whisky bottle. Non smoking. There is a small beer garden in the back. Close at 3AM.

The Underground
It is a German pub and restaurant located in the basement of the Pullman Hotel. I didn't visit it. They serve Kronen Brauhaus Beer. In the same hotel, they also have a lounge called Cleo's Palace and a karaoke.

Bee-Gin
Another open-air beer bar with live music. Not many people were there.

Elsewhere in Khon Kaen
All the bars and clubs I've listed above can be visited by walking. If you manage to find a tuk-tuk or a taxi (not so easy in Khon Kaen), you can also try a few more venues:

Bangru or Ban Gru Nightclub
This Thai disco is located just beside Khon Kaen Hotel. Surprisingly, the music was not EDM but Deep House (maybe because it was still early). They also have live bands singing in Thai. The crowd was mid-20. Opened from 7PM to 2AM. Outside there is a beer garden with a giant screen for watching sports.

Harem Club
A gentlemen's club part of Khon Kaen Hotel. Similar to the Monroe Club = You have hot thai girls dancing and you can invite them to your table to accompany you.

Tawandang
Another branch from the popular Tawandang chain. If you have never tried, they are an institution in Thailand. They have live shows all night long from comedians to singers (folk songs in Isaan language). The crowd is usually above 30-40.

Kloud 37 Rooftop
Recently opened, this modern rooftop bar and restaurant is the highest in the whole Isaan region.

Supan's in the City
A very popular beer garden among trendy/artsy students. Music not too loud.

Best Hotels Near the Nightlife
Harem Club in Khon Kaen Hotel

Khon Kaen offers some of the best value accommodation you'll find in Thailand. I was paying only 12$ for a clean double room with AC just 200 meters from the bars (the name of the hotel is Bann Vor Serviced Apartments).

If your budget allows you to spend around 50$, then don't hesitate to book either the Glacier Hotel or the Pullman Hotel. They are right in the middle of the nightlife area and they are both rated above 8/10 on Agoda.

You can also book a hotel that has a spa plus plus/soapy massage parlor within its walls. The best choice for that would be the Charoen Thani Hotel. It is 300 meters from the Pullman, and inside you have a soapy massage parlor called New Lily's (about 2,000THB for one session). Another famous massage parlor (soapie) is Caesar's (see position on map below) but there aren't any hotels very nearby.
Massage room in Caesar's Spa
Finally, while the Khon Kaen Hotel is not rated very high (only 7.6/10 on Agoda), it is cheap (30$ per night) and next to Ban Gru/Harem Club.

Meeting Normal Thai Girls in Khon Kaen
Since there aren't many foreigners in Khon Kaen (and especially younger ones), it is fairly easy to meet girls in nightclubs or bars. The only issue you will have is to find a way to approach them as they are often within a small group of friends. I think it's better to talk the guys first, and wait until they introduce you to the girls.

The best venues to meet normal girls in Khon Kaen are 99 Vintage, Ban Gru, U-Bar, Full Frame and Top West.

You can also plan a few dates ahead of your visit by chatting with girls online. The best sites for that are ThaiFriendly and ThaiCupid. Both are free but they work much better if you pay the 25$ premium membership (you can cancel after 1 month).

Khon Kaen Nightlife Map
This map features all the nightclubs, bars and massage parlor mentioned in this review: