Sunday, 1 July 2012

Bars in Khao Lak

Khao Lak is composed of a series of villages along a 25 km long stretch of golden sand beaches. What is commonly thought of as the center of the region is the town of Bang La On. Confusingly this is also often referred to as ‘Khao Lak’ or ‘Khao Lak town’. When catching a taxi it is important to be specific as to your destination as some of the beach resorts are far from Bang La On.

The most popular beach is called Nang Thong. It is close to Bang La On. Along this beach you will find plenty of resorts that have bars and restaurants along the beach. In Bang La On there is one road that is lined with bars. The streets behind this one also have bars and restaurants. This is considered the most lively nightspot area in the region.

Although Khao Lak is only an hour or so away from Phuket by taxi, it has a completely different feel to Thailand’s most developed beach destination. Whereas many of the nightspot areas in Phuket cater to single old men with cash to spend on female entertainment, Khao Lak is largely free of the sex industry. Nang Tong, La On nor any of the other beach areas of Khao Lak can be classified as ‘party spots’ or bar beer strips.

La On has the best nightlife. Here are some of the highlights:

The Happy Snapper

The Happy Snapper is at the northern end of the village. It is considered the most happening bar in La On. It is a bar with live music at night. There is the ‘Snapper Brothers Band’ as well as other bands that regularly play the bar. As you can see from the YouTube video it is mostly cover bands. This is pretty much par for the course for all of Thailand. The Happy Snapper has live music from Monday to Saturday during the season. Music starts at 10.30pm and the bar closes at 1am.

Monkey Bar

No beach location in Thailand would be complete without the obligatory reggae bar. Monkey Bar fills this gap. It plays reggae and ska and has bands later on in the evening. You will find Monkey Bar in the center of Bang La On. It is open from 5pm until late.

O'Connor's Irish Pub

O'Connor's Irish Pub is at the northern end of La On. Nowadays, Irish pubs rival reggae pubs as the standard template for a farang bar in Thailand. This one is owned by a German and serves Korean barbecue. More in keeping with its theme, it also has single malts and international draught beers. The bar is popular, looks like an Irish bar and has a friendly atmosphere.

Tarzan Bar

Tarzan Bar is one of the longest running bars in Khao Lak. It is in a 2 storey wooden building in the center of La On. They show live sporting events on TV.

Fisherman Bar

This bar is on the main Petchkasem Road. It is a small bar and restaurant with cheap Thai food and cold beers. This bar has more of a Thai vibe and is a good place to get away from the more obvious tourist spots. People have commented about how friendly the staff is as well.

Rose Bar

When I wrote earlier that Khao Lak was free of lady bars, I wasn’t telling the truth completely. Rose Bar is located in the lane behind Monkey Bar (on Soi Monkey Bar). It is not a full-on beer bar spot. However, there are ladies there who hang around waiting for single men to buy them drinks. It is not a hard sell place. Like a Japanese hostess place, the girl’s spend more of their time entertaining the patrons then setting up monetary liaisons.

There are a number of other bars in Bang La On. Most of them are small ‘hole in the wall’ places with seating on the street. They offer the usual shakes, snacks and cold beers.

The main advantages of Khao Lak nightlife are that it is not overrun with either libidinous old men (like Sukhumvit in Bangkok) or young and loud lager lads and ladettes (like Chaweng in Koh Samui). Rather it’s a place to unwind, have a few beers and maybe listen to some average music after a day on the beach.

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