Phuket’s Red Light District: An Equally Fun Tourist Attraction to Check Out
The beaches of Phuket in Thailand are favored for its pristine white powdery sand, the glittering seas, swaying palm trees and the charming little towns around it. Whenever I visit Phuket I am constantly amazed by the new things for me to discover, it’s true what they say, there’s a little bit of everything to satisfy every kind of traveler.
In terms of budget, Thailand is one of the many places in South East Asia that won’t break the bank. Accommodations are aplenty from Airbnbs, beach front hotels, resorts, hostels, and even spots to just pitch a tent or hang a hammock. I’ve found the best food at hole in the wall food shops and street vendors.
Not to say that there aren’t any sumptuous feasts in fancier restaurants, coz believe me, there are lots! Phuket at night is also a sight to behold, thousands of lights greet both the locals and travelers who are in search of the best spot to party the night away. One such area that I find to be one of the most interesting places to enjoy a night out is no other than the Red Light District.
The Red Light District: A Quick Overview
Several years ago the mere mention of any city’s Red Light District would be met by disdain. Not to say that it is now widely accepted to visit these areas since it still elicits some negative reactions and eye rolls here and there.
Red light districts, are popularly known for being the central spot for anyone interested in the sex trade or businesses that primarily profits from a sex oriented trade.
This could range from adult theaters, strip bars, massage parlors with their happy endings, sex shops, brothels, liquor stores, nightclubs, karaoke bars and a slew of other “interesting” establishments. I can’t blame the wary traveler but hear me out before you dismiss me altogether.
Reasons to Visit the Red Light District
It’s part of the adventure! Before you think of any of the questionable activities that go on in this area, think of the potential fun you can discover. Phuket’s nightlife is robust and teaming with other curious wide eyed tourists. It’s the perfect place to mingle and ogle at the flamboyance, the energy, the men and the women all gearing up for a night of unadulterated fun.
Do it for the Gram! If you are one of the many people on the planet who enjoy Instagram as much as I do, then the Red Light District of Phuket is such an amazing place to take photos. You’ll even likely meet other travelers and photographers who flock the area.
Seedy as it may be there are loads of good food to be found. Take a bite of some exotic bar food, fusion cuisine, and standard bar fare in one of the many businesses that line the streets. Stop at a road side eatery on your way home from a night of drinking and load up on some Pad Thai, Tom Yum, or sate being freshly cooked upon each order.
Find some unique souvenirs to take back home. Maybe grab a gift from one of the countless sex shops to bring back as a prank for a good friend. Aside from the countless options, the items are pretty affordable, hell I’m not gonna judge you for buying one for yourself.
Happy endings aside, Thai massage is hands down (pardon the pun) one of the best in the world! Get an hour long full body massage or just 30 minutes for your tired feet at the fraction of what it’s going to cost you back home. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Whether you opt for an additional service, is all up to you.
Soi Bangla at Night
Unassuming during the daytime, the area comes alive at night. Men and women litter the streets of Phuket’s most famous adult entertainment district, Soi Bangla. I’ve found that the street is closed off to vehicles when the sun comes down to give way to the pedestrians that come in droves.
A bustle of activity visitors will find scantily clad women, flamboyant lady boys, and acrobatic pole dancers. This kaleidoscope of neon lights, cheering crowds and blaring dance music from every corner does not hold a candle to the sensory overload of the explicitness of sexual activity that would make even the bold blush crimson.
Of course, the main attraction of Phuket’s red light district is the Ping Pong show. Curiosity would get the better of anyone who would wander towards one of these establishments. When you stray in, be prepared to watch a circus of darts, razors, balloons, and balls that are powerfully thrust out of a lady’s reproductive genitalia.
As awkwardly as it is to sit there, one cannot help but be in awe at the sheer strength of a woman’s well trained pelvic muscles. Shows are incomplete without asking a member of the crowd to participate, while the act instantly turns raunchy, it is generally performed all in good fun.
It would be unfair to simply peg Soi Bangla as a hedonistic, sordid and steamy part of town. Like many who visit for the first time, I was surprised that all was not as grungy as the street is filled with bars you can just grab a good local beer from, or find one discotheque to dance away all the street food calories you consumed earlier.
The maze of street food stalls filled with aromatic steaming hot food, I gawked at just as much as the rowdy silken haired Thai women and flirty lady boys.
A melting pot of street performers, cabaret shows, exotic dancers, bars, local arts, interesting crafts, and glorious food, Bangla has it all! To simply scoff snobbishly at this crazy juxtaposition of Thailand’s sex tourism capital is an experience tragically lost especially for first time visitors of the country.
Admittedly, the red light district may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I, however find Phuket’s worth the visit at least once in your lifetime.