The Naklua nightlife temptations in Pattaya tend to go largely unexplored by most visitors to sin-city, which is understandable because most guys don't know it exists. It does exist though, and so do the Naklua girls who make the bars good fun!
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I regard this part of town as a place to go if you are not intending a heavy night of drinking, but don’t let that fool you, there are plenty of watering holes for thirsty tourists. It’s just that the general area is a little more relaxed and slower paced.
There are no a-go-go bars here, and very few discos, but there is a decent crop of beer bars to choose from. It is a popular area with European tourists, and some of Pattaya's finest hotels are located nearby (see below for details). Some of these high-end hotels offer some particularly fine bars/restaurants. There are also a lot of good eateries in the area.
If you know Second Road in Pattaya then you can easily find the main nightlife action in Naklua by heading to the Dolphin Roundabout at the northern end of Second Road. From there you take the second exit off the roundabout and the bars start within a few yards up that road - which is imaginatively named 'Naklua Road'.
Another reason to get to know this area is offered by Wong Amat Beach, which has become my favorite mainland beach in Pattaya in recent years. It comes with a deep beach, less hassle from hawkers, and zero road noise. You can get to it via Soi 18 off Naklua Road. Soi 18 is itself an interesting soi with plenty of bars and restaurants located on it.
I like to watch the sunset over Wong Amat Beach, and then go for a casual stroll back down Soi 18 stopping at a few bars as I make my way back to whatever hotel I’m staying at. If you like a good sunset, then this is one of the most peaceful locations in the city enjoy it.
You're spoiled for choice with the restaurants that you'll find on Naklua Road, and grabbing a bite to eat after a few hours on the beach, and in the bars, is a fine way to start what might go on to become a big night out.
I’ve found that the general standard of the restaurants here is better than in Central Pattaya, and you still get all the international cuisine options to choose from.
You'll probably need to stay in a nearby hotel to make this area a sensible option, because you're going to want a shower after a trip to the beach. If you are staying at a hotel in Central Pattaya then the distance you'd need to travel is enough that you won't want to make the journey back again after you've got yourself cleaned-up.
Alternatively, if you’ve grown too familiar with the better known areas of sin-city, then Naklua is a really good option for some daytime exploring. There are winding roads, gentle hills, and interesting features to be discovered. For example, the ‘Sanctuary of Truth’ is found here, and it will impress anyone who appreciates intricate woodwork buildings.
The typical Naklua beer bars are a mix of the usual groupings of small, square, open-air bars as pictured below, with a selection of standalone bars that have indoor air-conditioning facilities as well as outdoor seating.
As for the customers that frequent this part of town, they tend to be middle-aged guys or a little older. Due to the slower pace of the bars there aren't as many younger guys in this part of town.
I think that the slower pace of the Naklua nightlife, and the slightly more upmarket feel to the place, helps to ensure that patrons are a bit more civilized than you often find in the more rowdy areas of Pattaya, and that also helps to ensure that everyone is well-behaved.
You’re very unlikely to get into any dangerous situations here with some moron who has had a few too many beers, not that this is particularly likely to happen in other areas, but there are some infrequent incidents to be wary of in the busier areas.
Similarly, the Naklua bar girls are usually (not always) better behaved. Things like bill-padding are a little less likely to happen (although this might be because there are fewer overly-drunk customers to take advantage of). Happily, I can’t recall ever hearing of any incidences of petty crimes in the area such as bag-snatching or pick-pocketing.
The girls here do tend to be slightly older than the Pattaya girls in the more well-known nightspots, but there are some younger temptresses to be found here and there.
The only danger here, as is often the case in Thailand, is the traffic.
Naklua Road is a main road with dual carriageways, and since the best bars and restaurants that the Naklua nightlife has to offer are situated on both sides of the road, you'll want to be crossing it from time to time. If you are not familiar with traffic flows in Thailand, it’s a good idea to take your time before stepping out in front of it…
The bars and restaurants along Naklua Road continue up from the Dolphin Roundabout until Soi 18 on the left hand side of the road, after that they start thinning out. There's a 'Kiss Food and Drink' restaurant opposite Soi 18, which is good for cheap food, but if you want higher quality fare then I'd go for the restaurants on the left (beach side) of Naklua Road.
There are several massage shops along the way too and, although I'm not certain about it, I'd imagine that the Naklua girls working in them offer all the standard 'extra' packages that leave customers grinning!
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If you want to be particularly adventurous then you could consider heading off into Naklua (rather than the Naklua Road area) but you won’t find many other tourists there. This part of Pattaya caters primarily to the locals, which means the bars there play mostly Thai music and the restaurants serve Thai food only.
There are still plenty of expats here, so you won’t feel too out of place.
You do get the feel of a more authentic Thai village here, but it won’t appeal to you if you are looking for bar-girls. That is not to say that the girls here are all regular Thai girls who are suitable for a serious relationship, I advise dodging Pattaya for anything like that, but if you cannot resist this temptation then the girls here are at least much more likely to be trustworthy than anyone you meet in the popular beer-bar areas.
If you already have a lady, and you are both fans of seafood, then Naklua proper does have some quality restaurants to choose from that are much cheaper than, for example, the seafood restaurants on Walking Street.
For the lowest prices on these and many more, get the best hotel deals here.
I do like the Naklua nightlife but, like I said, it is a slow paced affair and once you've fueled your libido with a few beers you might find that you want to go somewhere with a few more options regarding some female company for the night.
There is an option nearby i.e. Drinking Street Pattaya on Second Road. Be warned that it doesn't get busy until relatively late, maybe 11pm or so, but it does get going eventually and is well worth a visit. Drinking Street has a lot of bars and plenty of bar girls...
The set up here is bars down both sides of a wide street, and a long central island with another two rows of beer bars (see pic above). I advise sticking to the central island because it tends to get busier and, for some reason, the drinks there are cheaper.
I don’t recommend the pool tables on Drinking Street, they are far too close to the seating around the bars and when the complex is busy you’ll be forever asking people to move so that you can play your shot.
The mix of customers here, in terms of nationality, is about the same as in other areas except for a stronger presence of Indian tourists. The beer bars on Drinking Street have noticed this fact and they have mixed up their music playlist to accommodate it. Indian music is not my favorite, but it does add some extra character to the complex. You still get primarily western music, just not exclusively so.
Directly opposite Drinking Street, on the beach side of Second Road, is Tiffany's. This is a Ladyboy cabaret show that draws a lot of interest from tourists. If you want to get your picture taken with some elaborately dressed ladyboys then this is possible each night after each show ends. The ladyboys congregate outside the building and charge tourists for any photos that you take of/with them.
After the Tiffany's cabaret show is finished, Drinking Street starts to get busy. Don't go thinking that Drinking Street is a venue for ladyboy fans though - there are none that I know of to be found in the beer bars themselves, only girls.
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Drinking Street is within easy walking distance of the Naklua nightlife scene, walking from there you'll find it just after the Terminal 21 shopping mall.
Opposite Drinking Street, adjacent to Tiffany's, are a selection of good beer bars that also get busy. I don't really recommend these bars though, they charge prices that are similar to gogo bar prices on Walking Street whilst having none of the gogo bar entertainment to justify those prices.
All in all, the Naklua nightlife and nearby attractions are enough to keep you entertained for a few hours. It is the least hectic of the Pattaya nightlife options that I'll be writing about, and that's actually part of its appeal.
I don't recommend the Naklua nightlife for younger guys who want to paint the town red, but I do recommend it for most other people, either on an infrequent basis for a change of scenery from the usual drinking holes, or for a more peaceful and relaxing vacation near to some quality hotels, the best beach, and some fine eateries.
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