Nightlife & Entertainment
From boa and glitter-clad ladyboy cabaret shows to parties at the numerous beach clubs, Koh Samui has much to offer in the way of nightlife. Prefer something a little more traditional? Many restaurants and resorts host performances of Thai dancing and music. Whether a few beers at the local pub with friends is your thing, or you prefer to rock it up with a DJ’s vibes, Samui’s nightlife has what you are looking for.
Dancing Clubs And Discos
Samui has quite the active Salsa scene. Easy Thai Bar and Restaurant is a small establishment popular with locals, located about 300m past Big Buddha in Plai Laem, when coming from Bang Rak. Every Thursday evening, they push the pool table aside and make way for their Social Salsa Party, growing in popularity each week. Magnolia Cafe at the northern side of Chaweng, has a dance studio above, and offers Salsa dance classes. The Red Snapper Restaurant in Chaweng hosts a Latin night on either the first or second Friday of every month. A live band adds to the atmosphere, and the restaurant is well known for its Italian and seafood menu, so make a night of it.
Soi Green Mango in Chaweng is the main clubbing scene, with the Green Mango being a Samui institution. www.thegreenmangoclub.com This large cavernous club entertains partygoers until the early hours of the morning. Anyone looking for a good time need only head to Chaweng beach road, and follow the beat to the party of their choice. Those preferring an open air venue, may prefer Ark Bar Located on Chaweng beach – they host several world-renowned DJs, and are known for their pool and barbeque parties. If Reggae music is your vibe, Reggae Pub is located on Chaweng Lake, and often has live bands playing. Q-Bar is located on the hill overlooking Chaweng Lake, offering spectacular views of the nightly beach fireworks while listening to live DJs.
Beach Republic is Lamai’s trendy and happening spot, with Mediterranean-style tapas and Thai beachside dining from breakfast through to dinner. Beach Republic’s Ocean Club is a large modern thatched structure where functions are held and DJs entertain partygoers. Lipa Noi on the quieter west coast is home to Nikki Beach. The group is known worldwide for their ability to host a good party. Their ‘Amazing Sunday Brunch’ puts on a spread of over 50 dishes, and DJs or live music keep the festivities going around the pool and beachside dining area.
The entertainment areas of Tesco and Big C house Karaoke booths where one can hire a private room and sing along with friends. Karaoke bars can be found in the main tourist strips of Chaweng and Lamai, just listen for the off-key singing and howls of laughter as you walk past.
Traditional Thai Dancing
Thailand has a long cultural history of dance with each region having their signature dance. The costumes are elaborate, and movements controlled. Dancers are usually accompanied by a band playing traditional musical instruments. Most big resorts hold performances during the evening to entertain diners. Before a muay Thai match, contestants perform a ‘wai kru’, a dance to honour their teacher (kru).
Feather boas, false eyelashes and glitter galore are the order of the night at Samui’s cabaret shows – the stars being no other than lady boys who love to perform for a rowdy crowd lip-synching to 1970s disco classics. Thailand has a long and tolerant history when it comes to this ‘third sex’ also known as ‘katoey’.
Both Chaweng and Lamai have several cabaret shows, most starting after 9:00pm. Entrance is usually free, however you will be encouraged to order several pricey drinks. The shows are a good laugh and worth going to at least once. You’ll know where they are by the provocatively dressed dancers standing on the streets handing out flyers and the sounds of Gloria Gaynor drifting out the door. Don’t forget your camera, the performers are always game for posing for pics.
Full Moon Party
Although not strictly a Samui attraction, the Full Moon Party is held on Koh Pha-Ngan’s Haad Rin Beach as the name suggests, every full moon. Speedboats leave from several points along Samui’s Bang Rak beach on the evening of the party, carrying revellers across for the 20-minute ride to what is promised to be the party of their lives. A return ticket, including entrance to the party ranges from 700 – 1000 baht per person.
Thousands of party animals dance to music played by DJs at the bars lining the beach, while consuming endless infamous ‘buckets’ – that usually contain local rum, energy drinks and soda to keep energy levels up until past sunrise. Add poi shows (fire dancing) and fireworks and there is no wonder the Full Moon has earned its reputation as the world’s biggest nightlife beach party.
Samui’s bar scene is diverse, from bling champagne decks at the W Retreat, to tiny little beach bars, little more than a bamboo structure. Most bars offer their version of happy hour, those on the west and north coast usually during early evening to take advantage of Samui’s glorious sunsets. Whether it’s a traditional Irish pub you are searching for to down a Guinness, or a Reggae bar to listen to Bob Marley while throwing back a rum and Coke, Samui has it.
Sports bars display upcoming sporting events to be aired on their big screen TVs in order to draw in the expat crowd. At night, sun loungers are pushed together to form chill platforms for relaxed beach cocktails. There is no shortage of spots to quench a thirst and hang out with like minded locals and travellers. The nightlife on Koh Samui will not dissapoint you.