Patpong Night Market in Bangkok is one of Thailand’s most visited tourist attractions. The area is well know around the world as one of Bangkok’s red light zones.
Is this a fair description of one of Bangkok’s main tourist spots?
We don’t think so, in fact we know there is so much more to this part of the city, and this article will show you why. Of course a lot of will also want to visit for the sexy side of Patpong, so we cover that as well.
General information on Patpong
Firstly lets cover the basics – whether you are planning on visiting to enjoy the night market, nightlife or the red light area. we cover the very basic info you will need to get the most out your visit.
When is the best time to visit?
This is a great starting point, especially for those of you planning your trip to Bangkok. Well the great news is that the night market and nightlife is open every night of the week, and no particular day is better to visit.
If you are visiting, the only consideration we would advise, is make sure you are not up too early the next day visiting another attraction. People often get carried away with the nightlife and stay longer than planned.
Opening times of the Night Market
The stalls start setting up from sundown so around 1800 (6pm). They stay open as long as there are enough customers in the area, this is usually until after midnight. On really busy nights it is not unusual to find stalls open at 2am
Where is it?
There Patpong area is officially only two Soi’s (streets) PatPong 1 and Patpong 2, which run parallel to each other between Silom road and Tharon Surawong. Although the area has now grown and the stretches along Silom road towards the west.
Getting to Patpong – If you are staying centrally in Bangkok, then getting here is really easy on the public BTS (Sky train) system. You need to get off at Sala Daeng stop and head out the western entrance, which is clearly displayed. This entrance will bring you out on Silom road, and from here it is less than 5 min stroll to Patpong 1 and 2.
As soon as you leave the BTS station, you will be faced with market traders lining Silom, hold off the urge to spend just yet, the best of the market is on Patpong 1 and 2.
If you are staying in an area that doesn’t have access to the BTS then getting here by taxi is very easy. Being such a popular spot for tourists all taxis will know where to go. Simply ask for Patpong.
Is it safe to visit?
The good news is yes Patpong is perfectly safe to visit. As a main tourist spot it is heavily policed and well lit. Tourist police boxes can be found at both ends of Patpong 1. The Thai tourist police are specially trained to deal with tourists and their issues.
Using caution is advisable when travelling, and here is no different. Keep wallets, purses and other valuable items close and secure. Do not follow any hawkers down dim lit side streets. Check your purchases and change before leaving the stall. Be respectful of Thai culture.
Patpong Night Market Guide
As we mentioned Patpong is more than just a red light zone, it is also an extremely popular market. Every evening the area transforms itself from the business and offices workers to a bustling shopping zone. Primarily aimed at tourists, the place is busy every night of the week.
The market stalls start as soon as you get off the BTS system and continue along Silom road to its western end, but the main area for shopping is Patpong 1 and 2, this is where you will find the greatest density of market stalls and the greatest variety of goods on offer.
What can you buy
The simple answer is anything you want, well not quite anything. But if your looking for the usual items offered for sale to tourist then you will find them here.
T-shirts of all manner can be found here, tourist tops printed with Thailand’s best attractions and sights are almost everywhere. As well as the fake goods that Thailand is famous for. The most popular fake goods that can be found are designer handbags, jeans and sunglasses.
You can also purchase fake electronics such as i-phones. A word of caution although they may look like an i-phone they will not work like one. Most run on android.
Souvenirs are another popular purchase here. There are lots of stalls offering Thai arts and crafts which make for great presents.
How much should you pay
This is not a simple question to answer! Prices in Patpong are not fixed. Each stall holder sets their own prices for their items. And YES all prices are negotiable.
The stalls nearer the BTS are generally the more expensive. They hope to get you when you first arrive, when your wallet is full.
Night market shopping is a bit of a dark art. The more experienced you are the better prices you will get. It all comes down to how well you can barter. Different people have different bartering styles. None is better than the other and whats works best for you is good.
If you are new to the whole bartering thing, then watch a few others first and see what works and what doesn’t. The only advise we can give is do not pay the starting price. It is easy enough to get 30-50% discount, especially if buying more than one item.
Food at the Market
Patpong has a large range of food venues to choose from. No matter your preference you will find something to suit your taste buds here.
Most of the bars and restaurants offer a wide variety of western food. All along Silom road you will find western franchises such as Subway and McDonald’s.
If you are travelling to Thailand, then you surely want to enjoy some Thai food? Dotted throughout the night market you will find loads of food stalls. These food stalls are a must when in Thailand, this is where the best and cheapest Thai cuisine can be found. All the food stalls here are perfectly safe to eat from.
These stalls sell all types of cuisine, from the ever popular Phad Thai (noodles), noodle soup to deep fried insects. Being mainly for tourists the spice will be mild and taste suitable.
Check out our full guide to food in Bangkok
Patpong Nightlife and Red Light zone
So to the reason why the area is so famous, its nightlife and red light district. Lets be honest this is why most of you will visit, and even if not you will want to enjoy it when your here.
Opening times run alongside that of the market, but the bars and clubs don’t get busy until a little later around 10pm. The bars will stay busy until around 2am.
Dotted along the side of the market in Patpong 1 and 2, you will find selection of bars and restaurants. Glass fronted bars that you can easily see inside from the street are the regular bars and a great place just to pop in for a drink and relax. You will not find any of the sexy stuff in here.
Air conditioning is almost compulsory in the bars, which makes them a great place to catch you breathe and plan your night. Prices are reasonable for a big city, 110-140baht a beer.
There are not really any nightclubs of the regular to talk about here. If this is your thing check out RCA Bangkok.
Anyone who has heard of Bangkok has heard of the sex shows of Patpong. But that is not all this famous red light area is all about. Allthough that was how the area first became famous, it has developed a lot since then.
Nestled between the normal bars and restaurants that line the side of the market, you will find the GoGo bars. These are easily identified as you cant see into them, they have a black curtain over the door. Visiting a GoGo is not as seedy as you’d expect. The most you’ll be exposed to is scantly clad girls dancing on a stage. Drink prices inside are more expensive, expect 150-180 baht a beer. Drinks are usually on a tab. Tab’s should be placed in front of you at all times, so you know how much you’ve spent.
It is perfectly safe and secure to visit a GoGo in Patpong.
Pingpong and Sex shows
Shows are rife in Patpong. Hawkers approach tourists trying to get them to follow them to their show. If visiting a show is on your list, then make sure you know how much everything costs first. Drinks should be paid for as ordered and do not run up a tab. Lasting only 5-10 mins each, one drink should be enough. Expect to pay 250-300 baht a beer plus tip for performer. Shows are all the same wherever you go, so no need to visit two. Do not follow anyone to a side street and stick to the shows upstairs in the main market area.
Check out the rest of our Bangkok Nightlife guides