Thailand is a backpacker’s paradise. It’s really no surprise that it has become one of the world’s top destinations for young travelers looking for a good time. A lot of beautiful things to see, a lot of fun stuff to do, and of course, a lot of partying. There are plenty of places to party in Thailand but from a backpacker’s perspective, these are the seven best party destinations in the country.
7. Koh Tao
Let’s start with Koh Tao. This paradise island is pretty much known for two things: scuba diving and pub crawls. If you are like me and don’t know how to scuba dive, then you basically just have the pub crawl to look forward to. I mean there are plenty of stunning beaches and beautiful viewpoints also, but yeah, back to the pub crawls. Koh Tao is famous for its legendary nightly backpacker pub crawls. The smallest island of the Samui-Phangan-Tao trio, it packs a lot of partying into its small size.
The Koh Tao Pub Crawl attracts literally everyone on the island for a night of drinking and debauchery. There’s no sugarcoating it. This is a very backpacker thing to do. The entire crowd will pretty much be young travelers looking to have a good time. It is a very easy way to make friends if you are traveling solo. There’s no guarantee that you’ll remember any of your new friends the following morning, though.
On the less backpacker-y side of the island is a much quieter and more relaxed nightlife scene. The bars are a lot more laid back and there are plenty of beautiful places to day drink right on the beach or in an infinity pool overlooking paradise. It’s quite lux but still affordable on a backpacker’s budget. If you’ve got a scooter, I recommend scoot scoot scootin’ over to this side of the island as well.
Pai is a much different scene the rest of the places on this list. Instead of being right on the beach, it is nestled in the quiet mountains of northern Thailand. The party scene is actually quite small but the community of travelers makes it one of the best places to have a good time. There are a lot of unique and trendy bars that you’ll be sure to find a good fit for you. Don’t Cry Bar is the only real post-midnight nightlife spot for people to go to but that just means that it is always packed with people.
One of the biggest reasons that Pai is so popular among backpackers is the laid-back vibe and of course, easy access to magic mushrooms. Several bars serve mushroom shakes and double up as amazing hang out spots with a great environment and ambience for tripping. Whether you’re posted up in a hammock, on some comfy cushions, or in a pool overlooking the mountains, you’ll find a good spot for your trip. Pai is as chill as it gets.
Perhaps my favorite part of Pai is the type of traveler it attracts. No offense to the islands in the south of Thailand but backpacker bros and Beckies are a lot less common up in Pai. Mostly everyone you’ll meet is laid back and radiating positive vibes. There were very few people that I met in Pai that I didn’t like.
Krabi is one of my favorite places in all of Thailand. Their beachside district of Ao Nang is one of the party capitals of Southern Thailand. Every night, the party congregates to Center Point, a small plaza right on the beach that has several stories of bars and clubs. During high season, it gets absolutely wild.
Of course, I gotta name drop my homies over at Slumber Party Hostels. If you’re looking to start your night off right and end it wild, then they are the place to be. Their pub crawls are legendary and if you don’t go, you might be the only one at Chang Bar not sporting a bright pink tank top.
If you decide to venture over to Railay Beach, they also have places that sell magic mushrooms. If you haven’t seen Railay, trust me. It would be a dope spot to trip. It has some of the most insane beaches and landscapes that I have ever seen. It is home to arguably the most beautiful beach in Thailand.
4. Koh Phi Phi
I know I already said this about Koh Tao, but Koh Phi Phi really really packs a lot of partying into such a small island. Seriously, every road and alley is maximized with as many stores, restaurants as physically possible. It’s actually impressive how efficiently they use the small space of this island. I could legit talk about that for an entire blog post but anyway, onto the party. The late night party congregates on the longer beach on the opposite side of where the boats drop you off.
Nightclub after nightclub lines this beach with fire shows, dance floors, and DJs keeping the party going all night. Well, until 2 AM anyway because of regulations and such. It’s actually pretty crazy how dedicated the clubs are to these rules. It could be a packed dance floor with everyone going wild but as soon as it hits 2 AM, lights shut off and the music stops abruptly.
The best part of Koh Phi Phi is its abundance of things to do in such a small, walkable distance. The beach is never more than ten minutes away. Trust me, when you are drunkenly making your way back to your room after the party, anything more than ten minutes will seem like a lifetime. It is never really a quest to get anything done in Koh Phi Phi which makes it the perfect partying in paradise destination in Thailand.
Bangkok is one of those places that is hit or miss for most people. For me, I consider it to be one of the best cities in the world. The nightlife is one of the most underrated and I genuinely think it is the best nightlife destination in all of South East Asia. However, from a backpacker’s perspective, Bangkok might not have the appeal that it does to a local or expat.
Most backpackers’ experiences with Bangkok nightlife are limited to Khao San Road or Soi Cowboy. Unfortunately, most backpackers are missing out on what Bangkok has to offer. Classy sky bars, trendy hole in the wall speakeasies, and booming nightclubs all call Bangkok home. Numerous red light districts and certain things that would totally be illegal in other countries round out why I consider Bangkok to be one of the best nightlife destinations in the entire world.
I purposely avoided going to Phuket for the longest time just because I expected it to be touristy and terrible. Well, sometimes you just need to let loose for a while so after a pretty rough month, I decided I might as well go and have fun. While I didn’t love Phuket as a travel destination, it is one hell of a place to party.
The infamous Bang La Road might be one of the wildest stretches of bars and clubs that I have ever been to. It makes Bangkok’s Khao San Road look trashier than it already is. There is seriously a bar or club that can fit anyone’s taste on this road. Some of them are admittedly really tacky but like I said, there’s something for everyone here. For me, my place was Illuzion, which was actually ranked the 48th best club in the world by DJ Magazine. I came a month too early to see Tiesto and Sean Paul which was a bit of a bummer since we just got Walmart brand DJ Khaled and a wannabe Marshmello.
1. Koh Phangan
Home to the famous Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan is much more than that single party. Sure, most backpackers make it here just for the Full Moon Party but for those that stick around before and after, they’ll come to find that Koh Phangan is much more enjoyable than trying not to suffocate on a crowded beach full of drunk people.
My favorite part of Koh Phangan is how easygoing it is during the day. You basically just do whatever you want, which is usually nothing. Luckily for you, Koh Phangan has some stunning places to just sit and do nothing. There are too many beaches to count where you can laze all day away nursing the hangover from the night before. There are some bars with stunning viewpoints of the island and the ocean. Weed is easily accessible throughout the island and most other drugs are obtainable if you look hard enough.
At night, of course, is when the crazy parties happen. There’s usually a party going on at Haad-Rin, the main nightlife hub of the island. However, themed parties happen almost every night during Full Moon week. The Jungle Experience is a rave in the jungle that is pretty wild. The Waterfall Party is another rave that takes place in another exotic setting. There’s a nighttime pool party that gets undeniably ratchet and gross. There’s a Lighthouse Party that involves no actual lighthouses but is an incredibly fun rave that lasts well until past sunrise. It is right on the beach with rocks jutting out into the ocean, making that sunrise after the rave a beautiful one to remember.
Oh yeah, and the Full Moon Party alone deserves its own blog post.
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