Paradise found – partying at Phuket’s most legendary LGBT+ venues
The jewel of the Andaman Sea and Thailand’s most expansive island, Phuket, is known for being one of those destinations that can do it all: offer thrills to adventure seekers, relaxation to wellness lovers and perhaps most importantly, a wild night out to those looking to party!
LGBT+ travellers are sure to encounter the gay mecca of Patong beach when looking into the local nightlife, and there’s no arguing the infamous Paradise Complex belongs on the agenda of any visitor flying the rainbow flag: head here for colourful cocktails, sleazy pop tunes and a fun crown of dancing queens and kings. One night in Bangkok and the world might be your oyster, but one night in Phuket and the moon is, too.
As far as Phuket’s nightlife institutions go, ZAG Club is almost certainly one of them. Even if you wanted to miss the viby venue, you’d have a hard time not being wowed by the free street performances some of ZAG Club’s dancers put on every night. Most gay tourists find themselves automatically gravitating towards the club’s three areas (we blame the flashing lights!), packed with a fun crown of locals and travellers from around 11 pm every night… Need an excuse to show off your biceps? Go on Topless Tuesday, when drinks are half price as long as you keep your shirt off – which won’t be hard, just trust us on this one.
Stumble out of ZAG Club and chances are you’ll find yourself in another one of Phuket’s most prominent LGBT+ venues, Boat Bar. Having played host to party posses for an astonishing twenty years, Boat Bar has recently moved location, though they’re still on Soi Paradise, heating up the local scene! There’s no actual boat here but the brand-new and oh-so-sexy black interior, as well as live DJs and professional dancers, more than make up for that. If you’re looking for a fun-filled night with a mixed crowd of both girls and boys, this one’s for you. You can thank us on your way out at 4 am!
There’ll come a time during every party animal’s wild night out when they’ll simply want to sit down, kick back and watch others funk to the beat. When struck by sudden dance fatigue (temporary, we’re sure), pop into Tangmo Club, where an ever-changing set of performers keep the party going: from drag queens belting out the latest chart-toppers in six-inch heels and Gaga-esque wigs to some of Phuket’s best exotic dancers putting on a show to remember! Though of course you won’t be tied down to your seat, so when the second vodka Red Bull hits, don’t deny the crowd your best moves – this is one of the biggest venues of Paradise Complex, after all.
The friendly owners of Sundowners Bar could hardly have chosen a more appropriate name for their Patong-based establishment, for the bar is perhaps the most fun place to get the night started; though that’s not to say we don’t like to stay until 2 am! And really, there are some very convincing reasons not to stray away from Sundowners. Browse, for example, what we think is the most expansive drinks and cocktails menu in the neighbourhood, or arrive early and save yourself a seat on the outside terrace. Why, you ask? Because there’s quite simply no better place from where to watch the street performances nearby ZAG bar puts on every night!
Photography courtesy of Boat Bar via Facebook