During the day Patong may not look anything out of the ordinary.
Local outdoor bars and expats enjoying cheap Western set lunches.
Local Thai women weaving their way and in out of the tourists while pushing carts of fresh fruits and vegetables.
While some of the…ahem…architectural choices may look a little bizarre during the day… the atmosphere was laid back and inline with the rest of Thailand.
Although we previously knew the reputation of Patong long before arriving there, as we continued wandering further down the road, we started to see more hints that Patong may not be just the laid-back beach area it seemed to be.
And then, everything changed.
At night walking back down Soi Bangla, the whole area had undergone its transformation.
The previously laid-back atmosphere of tourists grabbing a drink and a bite to eat quickly changed into an animalistic party scene.
The area was flooded with bright, flashing neon, the streets were crowded with tourists and the music was blaring. Bar after bar after bar… sometimes it was hard to tell where one establishment ended and another had started.
Street performers were out, ladies (and ladyboys) were dancing on tables, and you couldn’t walk more than a few feet without being propositioned for a ping pong show.
Although we told ourselves we weren’t going out to party that night, we found ourselves slowly walking down soi after soi (meaning ‘street’ in Thai) off the larger Soi Bangla. It was like a train wreck we just couldn’t pull our eyes from.
So here’s a look at our journey through the tiger’s lair that is Soi Bangla:
The infamous Tiger Disco, a three floor complex of bars, lit up at night.
Girls line themselves up outside of Tiger, with a full menu of services in hand.
In any of the many bars inside, you’ll often find bar girls playing games, such as Connect Four, with customers.
Another popular bar game is “Hit the Nail”, where you try to hammer a nail with the opposite side of the hammer.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this is the kind of “daycare center” I’d want my husband being dropped off at!
Bars next to bars, on top of more bars.
Street performers use the crowds to their advantage. From magic tricks to people with weird pets you can pose with, you’ll find it all on Bangla Road.
The Moulin Rouge isn’t just in Paris anymore! No, it’s now Phuket’s popular Russian go-go bar.
A look down Soi Seadragon– home to most of Soi Bangla’s go-go bars and ping pong shows.
If you’re looking for something a little less family fun, you won’t have to look real hard. Touts waving signs for ping pong shows line the street and aren’t afraid to approach you.
Beware of any ladies you approach in Soi Crocodile, as they might not actually be ladies…
Katoeys, or ladyboys, love to pose for photos with tourists… for a price.
Even as we were leaving, crowds of people were still heading to Soi Bangla.
While we may not have had the most typical Soi Bangla experience to write about, hopefully you get the idea of what it’s like in Patong. Even though we didn’t waste all our money getting drunk and watching ping pong shows, we still had a really enjoyable time in Phuket, since there is plenty else to do that doesn’t involve crazy partying.