Bangkok

The city that was once notorious for its raunchy sex trade is now entertaining a burgeoning class of professionals hungry for thumping discos, trendy cocktail lounges, and swanky rooftop bars. There are also stricter rules that limit the sale of alcohol (11 pm from stores). Most bars and clubs close around 2 am, though nighthawks can probably find a place or two open until 5 or 6.

There are a few notable nightlife sections: the area off Sukhumvit Soi 55 (also called Soi Thonglor) is full of bars and nightclubs; Sukhumvit Soi 11 has evolved into a hot-and-heavy bar and club hangout, and trendy and happening new places are springing up around Sathorn Road and the adjoining Suan Phlu.

If you want to take a walk on the wild side, Bangkok still has three thriving red-light districts: Patpong, Nana Plaza, and Soi Cowboy. Patpong, the largest and most touristy, includes three streets that run between Surawong and Silom roads. Nana Plaza, at Sukhumvit Soi 4, is packed with three floors of hostess bars, go-go clubs, and ladyboy clubs. Soi Cowboy, off Sukhumvit Road at Soi 21 (the Asok intersection), is where many expats go, finding it slightly more relaxed and less of a tourist trap than Patpong or Nana.

Even though it may not seem like it, live sex shows are officially banned and prostitution is illegal. The government doesn't always turn a blind eye, so exercise caution and common sense.

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  • 1. Bacchus Wine Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    You'll find four laid-back floors and a long list of worthy wines here. ...Read More

  • 2. Concept CM2

    Pathumwan | Dance Clubs

    This flashy, energetic club hosts live pop bands every night. Be prepared to pay a steep B550 entrance fee on weekends (B250 on weekdays), which...Read More

  • 3. Diplomat Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    Come here for smooth music, a sophisticated crowd, and a splendid selection of Scotch and cigars. Cigar makers are sometimes brought in from...Read More

  • 4. Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand

    Pathumwan | Live Music

    The club hosts live jazz on Friday night—films, lectures, and art openings on other nights—and has a pretty nice bar. Nonmembers are welcome. ...Read More

  • 5. Regis Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    From this 12th-floor bar that overlooks the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, you can watch the horse races while sipping a Siam Mary, the Bangkok...Read More

  • 6. Roof Top Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    On the 83rd floor of Thailand's tallest building, this glass-enclosed bar is one of the highest drinking spots in the city. With lounge singers...Read More

  • 7. SF Strike Bowl

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    One of the city's hottest nightspots, this futuristic bowling alley, lounge, and bar has a sleek style that rivals most nightclubs. A DJ spins...Read More

  • 8. 87 Plus

    Pathumwan | Dance Clubs

    The dance floor here meanders throughout the bar instead of concentrating in front of the DJ booth. The music is thumping, and the crowd is...Read More

  • 9. Suan Lum Night Bazaar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    Suan Lum Night Bazaar has grown into one of Bangkok's most happening night markets, which is a big tourist draw. It offers an all-in-one experience...Read More

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