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Inside the Tiger’s Lair

Inside the Tiger’s Lair

During the day Patong may not look anything out of the ordinary.

Local outdoor bars and expats enjoying cheap Western set lunches.

Local Thai women weaving their way and in out of the tourists while pushing carts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

While some of the…ahem…architectural choices may look a little bizarre during the day… the atmosphere was laid back and inline with the rest of Thailand.

Tiger Live Band in Phuket

Although we previously knew the reputation of Patong long before arriving there, as we continued wandering further down the road, we started to see more hints that Patong may not be just the laid-back beach area it seemed to be.

Drunk in Patong, Phuket

And then, everything changed.

At night walking back down Soi Bangla, the whole area had undergone its transformation.

The previously laid-back atmosphere of tourists grabbing a drink and a bite to eat quickly changed into an animalistic party scene.

The area was flooded with bright, flashing neon, the streets were crowded with tourists and the music was blaring. Bar after bar after bar… sometimes it was hard to tell where one establishment ended and another had started.

Street performers were out, ladies (and ladyboys) were dancing on tables, and you couldn’t walk more than a few feet without being propositioned for a ping pong show.

Although we told ourselves we weren’t going out to party that night, we found ourselves slowly walking down soi after soi (meaning ‘street’ in Thai) off the larger Soi Bangla. It was like a train wreck we just couldn’t pull our eyes from.

So here’s a look at our journey through the Tiger’s lair that is Soi Bangla:

Outside Tiger Disco

The infamous Tiger Disco, a three floor complex of bars, lit up at night.

Tiger Disco in Patong

Girls line themselves up outside of Tiger, with a full menu of services in hand.

Playing games in Soi Bangla

In any of the many bars inside, you’ll often find bar girls playing games, such as Connect Four, with customers.

Hit the nail bar game in Thailand

Another popular bar game is “Hit the Nail”, where you try to hammer a nail with the opposite side of the hammer.

Husband Daycare in Soi Bangla

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this is the kind of “daycare center” I’d want my husband being dropped off at!

Soi Bangla in Patong

Bars next to bars, on top of more bars.

Street performers in Patong

Street performers use the crowds to their advantage. From magic tricks to people with weird pets you can pose with, you’ll find it all on Bangla Road.

Dancers in Patong

The Moulin Rouge isn’t just in Paris anymore! No, it’s now Phuket’s popular Russian go-go bar.

Inside Soi Bangla

A look down Soi Seadragon– home to most of Soi Bangla’s go-go bars and ping pong shows.

Patong ping pong show

If you’re looking for something a little less family fun, you won’t have to look real hard. Touts waving signs for ping pong shows line the street and aren’t afraid to approach you.

Soi Crocodile in Patong

Beware of any ladies you approach in Soi Crocodile, as they might not actually be ladies…

Patong ladyboys

Katoeys, or ladyboys, love to pose for photos with tourists… for a price.

Crowds heading to Soi Bangla

Even as we were leaving, crowds of people were still heading to Soi Bangla.

While we may not have had the most typical Soi Bangla experience to write about, hopefully you get the idea of what it’s like in Patong. Even though we didn’t waste all our money getting drunk and watching ping pong shows, we still had a really enjoyable time in Phuket, since there is plenty else to do that doesn’t involve crazy partying.

Have YOU been to Soi Bangla? Would you see a ping pong show?

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