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Bars in Koh Samui
Guide to the bars, clubs and nightlife in Koh Samui
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The idyllic island of Palm Trees, coconuts and clear blue seas is also famous for its night life, especially the full moon party which takes place in Koh Pha Ngan. What is there to do the rest of the time though? ASIA Travel Tips.com reviews all the latest bars and night spots, and one thing is for sure you will not get bored! Take a look below.
We do ask though that you please do yourselves a favour and do not drink and drive - why ruin a perfect holiday by injuring yourself on a motorbike? The taxis will only cost 20 Baht per person during the day, but will increase substantially as it gets into the early morning, but believe us, this is a lot cheaper than a hospital bill and a holiday on crutches, or worse. Keep the bike for the day, and have fun at night. If you believe this to be an unnecessary warning then just remember that more people are actually killed in Phuket and Samui than you would imagine, Samui has one of the highest road death-rates in the world ! and these are people who know how to ride bikes. Take a taxi!
Samui is a small island, unlike Phuket, and as such, there are less venues, although still plenty of choice! There are 2 main towns on Samui: Chaweng, and Lamai, a little further to the South. Lamai is the choice if you want a quieter time: it is smaller and arguably more friendly (and cheaper) than Chaweng, which is now suffering from a sudden rash of development.
If you've been here before, then you will be in for a surprise. The face of Chaweng changes weekly, and it is common for residents to look around and suddenly wonder what bit of the town they are in! The rustic charm of a few years ago is now being replaced with McDonalds, Boots (the Chemists), Starbucks and the like. The mellow Cotton Club has vanished, replaced by Pizza Hut. The old route of the Reggae Pub and then onto the Doors bar when it closed has long since vanished, along with the famous rickety wooden bridge crossing the lake en route. The gothic Santa Fe disco has been derelict for a long time, and other, newer and more hi-tech places are popping-up everywhere. Unfortunately, now that all places must close at 2.00 am, the party-scene is much quieter now, as everywhere. BTW before we get into the bars, please do not miss the chance to enjoy a dinner at what we regard as the finest restaurant on Koh Samui - Dining on the Rocks which can be found at the Sila Evason Hideaway & Spa on Samui.
Have you voted yet for your favourite bars in Koh Samui yet? Premier Travel Awards for Excellence - Vote Now! We also have extensive photo galleries offering different images from around the world. Have a suggestion for a bar we have missed contact us here. Along with all our other country tips and guides, we also cover Bars in Phuket, Bars in Singapore, Bars in Dubai, Bars in Koh Samui, Bars in Hong Kong, Bars in Manila, Bars in Jakarta, Bars in Bangkok and Bars in Vietnam.
The action in Chaweng centers in the area around the Green Mango disco and the short soi (street) leading to it. The "bars" area is noticeably smaller than comparable tourist areas elsewhere, but there's still lots of good places! One of the best spots is outside the Green Mango. There are 2 bars here, both open to the street ("Sweet 'n Soul" and "Mario's Austin Powers Dance Bar") which play solid funky rock and blues. Mario's is actually right outside the Green Mango, and the "dance floor" is the open space which was the entrance area to the Green Mango. There are seats round the edge and at the bar-area, so this is the place to be if you want to watch the parade of happy tourists and funky locals strutting their stuff! All the other venues are within 10 minutes stroll of here, so you won't need a taxi to get around !
LUKES BLACK JACK BAR
In the narrow alley alongside The Deck, this is a small British style pub, with two floors. Nice atmosphere but gets a little too claustrophobic when the live sporting events are on.
Has moved to Bophut. More to come.
Chaweng Beach Road, close to the Soi Green Mango. Canadian owner Dennis Hodgkinson has successfully repeated the winning formula that he used in his Phuket "Islander". An excellent restaurant serving enormous amounts of very good food. The "Daily Menu" is outstanding and incredibly good value for money. Check out the fish and chips and prepare to be amazed. This place also doubles up as a bar and shows all the live sporting events from around the world. Unlike many, the service is fast and polite! One place you can not go wrong with.
THE GREEN MANGO DISCO
This one of the most famous discos/bars in Samui. It opens at 8 pm but the disco does not get lively until around midnight, and then it gets VERY busy. The DJ's are great, often coming from leading clubs around the world.
The dance area is large and very lively, especially on the stage area, where people like to show off. If you fancy a game of pool before the dancing starts then they have the best-quality pool tables in Samui and it only costs 150 Baht an hour!
Once the disco does get going they play popular dance tracks through to techno. As with all clubs in Thailand now, it closes at 2 am. One word of caution, there are a lot of 'katoeys' (ladyboys) here who normally hang about near the pool tables, on the opposite side of the bar as you walk in.
MARIO'S AUSTIN POWERS DANCE BAR
Just outside the Green Mango, there is a large paved area, forming a big triangle, with the bar itself at the far side. Mario's often attracts as big as crowd as the Green Mango...and it can be quite a struggle to elbow your way through the leaping bodies! Music is loud 'n funky and the atmosphere is beach-party. Very popular !
SWEET 'N SOUL BAR
Just across the narrow street is a smaller bar, no dance area (people do it standing up!) but open onto the street. Cosy, intimate, dark, popular and crowded! The music is generally more laid-back, (Dire Straits, Chris Rea, Dido etc) and if you can find a seat, it is a good place to land after you've worked up a sweat dancing.
The Soi Green Mango is actually U-shaped, and if you wander all the way round it and back onto Chaweng Beach Road (must be all of 300 metres!) you land on The Deck! Well...outside it actually. This 3-floor building is one of the coolest places to hang-out in the town. It has a lot of space and even Thai style seats where you take your shoes off and lie on the raised floor It would be absolutely perfect if they offered the equivalent of finger bowls so that people could wash there feet - but until they do, please do us all a favour and do it at home!
THE FULL CIRCLE DISCO
Right on Chaweng Beach Road, a few months ago The Full Circle could barely be seen from the street. This disco began about 2 years ago named Full Circle, failed, closed, expanded and modernised, failed again, closed, opened again as The Soundshaft, expanded again and failed. Until someone had the idea of making it Chaweng's THAI disco (as the old Santa Fe is no more.) and called it The Full Circle again. Which it now is. So this means that few tourists go there. SO...to attract the farangs, there is now a live resident band playing each night in the narrow entrance area, which is the size of an average bathroom. Unfortunately, they are not exactly...erm...crowd-pullers. Due to the tiny space and the high volume...the opposite in fact. And...the tranquility of The Deck is disrupted each night by the row from next door, much to the irritation of everyone. Still, things change quickly on this island, so check it out when you're here.
CHRISTY'S CABARET BAR
Christy's Cabaret Bar / Show, with ladyboy's or transsexuals has moved again to a non air-conditioned bar and has in a way returned to its roots as a beer bar / cabaret.
Sigh. Not so long ago, the routine was that you went to Christy's, then thrashed about at the Green Mango until 3.00 am, then wobbled off to The Club until they threw you out in the morning light. Not anymore. The Club is physically a GREAT place, in it's design and decor...lots of dark little nooks and crannies, comfortable seating, low intimate lighting, 2 bars and modest drinks prices. It used to be so full at 4.00 am that it was a hassle moving around. Now...it's almost deserted. There is a sprinkling of tourists who find The Green Mango too crowded and noisy, but that's it. Great music...mellow environment...and definitely worth a look, because things change fast here.
THE ROCK PUB
Down the Beach Road in the other direction is the Rock Pub. (Near to The Central Hotel) A small but vigourous bar, with a live-band each night, it makes a change from the bustle round the Soi Green Mango. Worth a look.
THE REGGAE PUB
Samui's first and oldest disco. Alas, now not so popular as it was a few years ago. This rarely gets going till about midnight, and, as its name suggests, before this time plays reggae. Midnight, the sounds switch to house and techno and it starts to fill. More popular now with older visitors and those that read old copies of "The Rough Guide". Hipsters and those in the know stick to The Green Mango and the Beach Parties!
THE SECRET GARDEN
On the main road at Big Bhudda Beach. Sunday afternoons only! This is a little bit special. Live music, jamming sessions, visiting bands, food stalls, crafts, gifts, souvenirs...It's where the locals get to to meet-up and relax, and the atmosphere is easy and the music is usually excellent. Well worth a look if you are jaded from all that partying !
Take your ease with tribal harmony! Once upon a time...it was The Full Moon marathon over at Koh Pha Ngan (pronounced " pan gan"...unless you have watched "The Beach", when you will call it "pan-yan" for some odd reason)Now there is The Black Moon Party, The No Moon Party and The Freedeom Beat Beach Party. All have the same basic theme: get stoned, paint something on your body, interact with humankind, wriggle about, crash out and go home. Two problems. You have to get to Koh Pha Ngan by boat. Come back this way too. First boat back is at 6.00 am. so if it is raining or you are NOT a happy bunny, you're stuck! Second problem: the place is crawling with police (many in plain-clothes)...and others (particularly ladyboys) who are just waiting for you to get so stoned that they can remove your money/watch/camera/Walkman etc. The Black Moon Party is another alternative...held on the tiny (and closer) island of Koh Som, near to Big Bhudda Beach. Maybe better still, the Freedom Beat is here on Samui, on a lovely strip of beach close to Chaweng at Choeng Mon. This is well-organised, with open beach pavilions to crash/shelter in, toilets, food and drink stalls, proper parking for cars and bikes and a cheap and regular set of taxis running from Chaweng. Try this before you decide to go across the water.
Smaller and quieter, there is less going on here, but still lots to do.
Like Chaweng, the action is centered on either side of a central road that runs through the middle. There are 2 main bar areas...the "Night Plaza" near to the landmark of the Bungee Catapult, and the "Round Bars" surrounding the open-air boxing ring. (Watch out for the lady-boxing nights...that's a scream! Great atmosphere too!) The greatly-promoted Angkor Disco, outside and up the hill failed miserably, as nobody wanted to journey away from where it was all happening. The rustic-charm of Lamai is now beginning to fade, as it welcomes its first McDonalds...replacing the popular Bikers And Rockers Pub.
THE BAUHAUS DISCO
Lamai's only disco. What more is there to be said.
New in Lamai, this is a small but excellent club, close to the Round Bars on the main road. Some very mellow sounds and a great, laid-back atmosphere. The only place to go, other than the Bauhaus.
BIKERS AND ROCKERS PUB
Still here but down the side street near to Fusions. The only place in Lamai with live music, and some very excellent touring bands play here. Music is strictly rock. Great place if you're into this.
THE RISING SUN
Lamai's main restaurant...main road, right in the middle! As well as superb English and continental food there is an excellent pool table and 2 dart boards. The owners, Penny and Patrick are outgoing and chatty and have trained their staff to know exactly what service is needed...fast and efficient! Great outside (covered) dining area right on the street. ideal place to people-watch.
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