Hat Yai is a bit of a funny one for its nightlife. It’s far from buzzing and is actually very tame by day, but has a good spread of bars right in the city centre. Many of these appeal to expats and tourists, yet very few have your typical bar girl setup as with Bangkok and popular seaside resorts.
Most visitors are Chinese Malays who prefer it in-house and, as a result, there are many busy karaoke places with girls on stage, along with massage parlours and lounges with garland girls. The good part about this is that the town would be a lot quieter on the nightlife front if Malaysians and Singaporeans stopped coming, meaning far fewer girls to choose from.
Another plus with going out in Hat Yai is that the beer is reasonably priced, although some of the lounges and karaoke places hike the tariffs a bit. In addition, the streets of Hat Yai have been cleaned up of late, with many of the overly smutty façades of massage parlours torn down along with the burying of unsightly power and telecommunication cables in certain high traffic areas.
The place to go for bars in Hat Yai is Thanon Thamnoonvithi (or Thamnoon Vithee Road). It runs from the train station, west to east, and has the bulk of the foreigner friendly Hat Yai bars and pubs. There are many popular places along here, some of which have live music and even coyote dancers. They include The Pubb, Post Laserdisc, and the Swan, while farther along are more Thai-orientated bars. Popular Hat Yai bars away from Thamnoon Vithee include the Pink Lady, Acoustic and Sa-by.
Most bars and venues along this road are one or two unit size, while the bigger karaoke and lounges with pretty girls sat outside are typically in less busy parts of the town. Some of these places get really pushy with buying overpriced drinks and tipping the singing girls and are best left to the Malays. The ‘sexy shows’ are also pretty lame.
Bars in Hat Yai
Sa-by Bar: Large lounge bar featuring pretty ladies outside, expensive beer and ladies on stage accepting garlands (200 baht) from customers. Worth a look-see, but more for locals and visiting Malays. 181/54 Prachathipat Road, tel: (074) 342 254.
The Swan: Further on down from Post Laser Disc, this open-fronted bar has a nice atmosphere, set as it is up off the street, and has very well priced drinks. Friendly staff and also has a couple of TVs (satellite). Thamnoon Vithee Road.
Co Art: Café-style hang-out of an evening featuring a live band and standard drinks prices. Pracharom Road.
Pink Lady (Hotel): Most notably associated with massage, sex and karaoke, this fine establishment also has a bar area complete with bar girls and beer. 24/11-12 Sanehanusorn Road, tel: (074) 230 960.
The Pubb: Located just up from the railway station on a corner road of Thamnoon Vithee, The Pubb is perhaps the best place for a beer in the evening. It’s a well decorated live music bar that mainly appeals to moneyed Thais and expats and is a lot smarter than the nearby Post Laser Disc. Good house band, albeit limited repertoire, and also good for meeting local females as well as prostitutes. 79 4-5 Thamanoonvithee Road, tel: (074) 247 666.
Living Room: Popular place on Thamanoonvithi – replaced the ageing Monkey Club nightclub – and comes with a nice, quiet atmosphere. 94 Thamanoon Vithee Road
Post Laser Disc: Perhaps the best known bar in town, located just down from Lee Gardens Plaza mall and Pink Lady, it’s a medium sized place with house band and cheap beer. Popular with expats, backpackers and locals and especially useful for daytime beers. 82-84 Thamnoon Vithee Road, tel: (074) 232 027.
Ta-kun Bar: Interesting little bar with cheap beer located opposite the long-running Kings Hotel, not far from The Pubb. Also has cheap food and well worth a look early on. Nipatutij 1 Road.
Oceania Boutique Bar: Large open-air restaurant/bar across two storeys with food and live music and a disco later on. Open til late and is good for ‘trying’ to pick up locals and freelancing prostitutes. 706 Rat-Uthit Road.
Paragon Pub: Part of the large Hansa Plaza in the southern part of town, featuring a large disco and plenty of available girls. Also has bars and karaoke. 5 Hansapattana Road, tel: (074) 363 777.
Other worthwhile bars and clubs in Hat Yai include: Blue Kiss Ice Bar (Hoimook Road); Bee Club, with live music, pool and food; and Deep Wonder, just across from The Pubb.