Thailand’s New Ibiza

In Holiday Reviews - Asia, Holiday Reviews - Thailand, Islands & Beaches by The H4C Team

Surin and BangTao especially are abuzz with new clubs and lounges and fast earning the reputation as ‘Thailand’s new Ibiza’.

Xana pool at dusk

One of the largest is Xana run by the team behind Singapore’s club Attica at the Laguna Angsana hotel. Set on a beautiful stretch of BangTao Bay,it’s got it all: a 35-metre pool which sparkles, illuminated at night, private cabanas set on the sand, and romantic poolside day-beds for reclining. With some of the biggest DJs on the decks, from Paul Oakenfold to Tim Cullen and Dennis Ferrar – and most recently Black Eyed Peas – Xana is setting the example on the island. Its themed party nights and Ministry of Sound events have earned it a reputation as THE place to go for visiting party animals. Be warned, although it’s not all about the money, the price tag on the daybeds is fairly steep.The good news is that the fee is redeemable in food and beverages, so it might set you back 1000 ThB (AU$ 34) for a day’s lounging, but at least you’ll have plenty to eat and drink!The menu includes such delights as Smoked Salmon Ravioli and Alaskan King Crab Tacos, but you can’t go wrong with the fresh ‘Fish’n’Chips’ with Tar tare…

There’s more live DJ-ing at the very appropriately named Bliss in nearby Cherngtalay, further along BangTao Bay.Giuseppe,the club’s affable manager, runs regular parties like Aperitivo (for free nibbles with your sundowners) and Soundwave Sunday, Phuket’s longest running beach party.

It’s also worth knowing that at Bliss sun loungers are very affordable at 220THB (AU$8) and come with no strings attached – ideal for a day’s relaxing before climbing up to the deck and collapsing in the giant loveseat-type pods. Order anything from the menu, the Aussie chef Alexander Oddys is a local star and produces some of the best food on the island, from ‘basic but good, fresh ingredients.’ The hamburger is well worth the trip, as is the Grilled Aubergine salad, handmade pasta, not to mention the fantastic Mac ’n Cheese… Also worth noting, the club is a wine lover’s paradise, with over 100 labels from ten countries on offer.

The ambience most nights is very mellow and relaxed, and on big party nights Giuseppe confides that he sometimes takes the party indoors. Bliss has its own swanky indoor sound- proofed club, complete with dance floor, huge bay windows and a top-of- the-line sound system.

Catch Club
Catch Club DJs

Further down the coast, the famous Surin Beach is where most of the beach clubs are concentrated. Set around the infamous Catch, smaller contenders have popped up, such as Bimi (stands for Bikinis & Martinis!) and Diamond, as well as the latest addition: Zazadas. At the top tip of the promenade, it’s situated on the perfect stretch of beach, offering privacy and a picture- perfect view framed by typical Phuket boulders and palm trees. It couldn’t be a dreamier spot! The all-red decor blends nicely with dark woods, sun loungers and bean bags, and the staff ’s Thai Fisherman pants give a nice quirky edge making the place both sultry and sleek.The food is fantastic. A menu offering a mix of Eastern and Western, it was a surprise to find such good carbonara in this neck of the woods! But the real attraction is the mixologist and his array of sexy cocktails – from the American-inspired Apple Pie to the delicious Mocha Martini…

Run by charismatic Brit, Jay Leshark, the club is without a doubt the new kid on the block and hopes to be more approachable than some others, pulling in a slightly less ‘bling’ crowd.The perfect solution for those who are not driving Ferraris to the beach!

There’s no doubt Catch (catchbeachclub. com) is THE club on the island that’s set the benchmark.The ice blue and white themed beach club is Phuket’s must-do nightlife spot boasting international DJs such as Aussie Shane OB and Frenchmen NicolasVega or Joe Gradante.With one of those menus you can’t put down, Catch is all about sleek sophistication, and a definite ‘wow’ factor.