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Drinking and nightlife

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For many of Bangkok’s male visitors, nightfall is the signal to hit the city’s sex bars, most notoriously in the area off the east end of Thanon Silom known as Patpong. Fortunately, Bangkok’s nightlife has thoroughly grown up in the past ten years to leave these neon sumps behind, and now offers everything from microbreweries and vertiginous, rooftop cocktail bars to fiercely chic clubs and dance bars, hosting top-class DJs. The high-concept bars of Sukhumvit and the lively, teeming venues of Banglamphu, in particular, pull in the style-conscious cream of Thai youth and are tempting an increasing number of travellers to stuff their party gear into their rucksacks. During the cool season (Nov–Feb), an evening out at one of the seasonal beer gardens is a pleasant way of soaking up the urban atmosphere (and the traffic fumes). You’ll find them in hotel forecourts or sprawled in front of dozens of shopping centres all over the city, most notably Central World Plaza. Among the city’s club nights, look out for the interesting regular events organized by Zudrangma Record Store at venues such as Cosmic Café, which mix up dance music from all around Thailand and from all over the world. Getting back to your lodgings should be no problem in the small hours: many bus routes run a (reduced) service throughout the night, and tuk-tuks and taxis are always at hand – though it’s probably best for unaccompanied women to avoid using tuk-tuks late at night.

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