Sure, every continent has nightlife, but trust us when we say that no continent has nightlife like Asia! From the seedy clubs of Bangkok, to the high-end cocktail bars of Hong Kong, each one of these cities could seriously claim to have Asia’s best nightlife. But, alas, there can only be one city with the best nightlife in Asia.
10. Beijing, China
Though not as glitzy as Shanghai, Beijing’s nightlife has a special, approachable quality to it that’s really appealing. The Sanlitun bar street is a huge hit with locals, travelers and expats alike, and visitors can expect to find low-key bars, lots of outdoor seating and super cheap Tsing Taos. Those looking to dance the night away in upscale nightclubs can, instead, check out Gongti and its longstanding clubs like Angel Club and Babyface. And, finally, one of the city’s more unique nightlife experiences can be found at Chocolate – a hot spot with the local Russian crowd that’s known for its gauche design and vodka.
9. Macau, China
Macau is part of China in the same way that Tahiti is part of France – Xi Jinping may be its head of state, but he’s not really running things in Macau. No, for those shot-callers one has to go to the Cotai Strip and its billion-dollar casinos. And as would be expected from a place with billion-dollar casinos, Macau has a pretty good nightlife too. The pool parties at the Venetian alone are worth the trip!
8. Busan, South Korea
Busan is a city that often gets overlooked for the bigger and brighter lights of Seoul, but that’s part of its charm. Only a few travelers include stops in Busan on their whirlwind tours across Asia, and the city’s expatriate community is much smaller than the one in Seoul. This, and the larger number of universities in Busan, gives the city’s nightlife an authentic South Korean student vibe. Think cheap drinks and great times.
7. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo’s nightlife is epic, there’s no debating that. The only reason it’s not higher on this list is that it’s also very expensive. But the rush one gets exploring the twisting lanes of Shinjuku and its red-light district or dancing the night away in Roppongi is unrivaled in Asia.
6. Taipei, Taiwan
By day, Taipei is a bustling capital city filled with office workers and motor scooters. At night, however, the city truly comes alive with its open-air night markets and excellent nightlife offerings. For a great introduction to the city’s nightlife and fashionable clubbers, check out Spark in Taipei 101. Otherwise just read our in-depth guide to Taipei’s nightlife.
5. Shanghai, China
Like most things it does, Shanghai’s nightlife is loud, brash and unforgettable. Up-tempo partiers can go nuts at No 88 for a classic Chinese clubbing experience. Those on the edgier side can stop by The Shelter, which is an electronic music club housed in a disused bomb shelter. Or, if you have money to burn, Bar Rouge and its rooftop deck has a view to die for of the Shanghai skyline.
4. Hong Kong
If partying on, in or amongst skyscrapers is your type of thing, then you’ll love Hong Kong. Its primary nightlife district, Lan Kwai Fong, is situated in the city’s densely populated Central district, and sees locals and expats mingle in posh nightclubs and cocktail lounges. Nearby, the trendy neighborhood of SoHo is a huge hit with the city’s fashionable expats and has some of Asia’s most exclusive nightclubs. Across town, the dark and dirty neighborhood of Wan Chai presents a compelling mix of red-light district meets upscale nightlife. One thing that can be found in every neighborhood is a rooftop bar with a stunning view.
Despite its uptight reputation, Singapore actually has a raucous nightlife that gives the other cities in Asia a run for their money. Mega-clubs abound in Clarke Quay, where the décor is kitsch, the drinks are expensive and the clientele uber trendy. Just upstream, the super club Zouk is often hailed as the best nightclub in Asia.
2. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s nightlife is just about as good as it gets in Asia. For starters, it’s super cheap. Which is a lifesaver considering how delicious the local alcohol is – we’re looking at you, Soju. The city’s nightlife is primarily concentrated in two neighborhoods: Hongdae and Itaewon. Itaewon is a popular haunt for American soldiers and the city’s expat community, while Hongdae is the center of student nightlife in the city.
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, forever immortalized in the film Hangover 2, is without a doubt the world’s wildest city. It first became known as a city of sin during the 1970s when it was a popular destination for American soldiers on R&R. Today, the soldiers have been replaced with party-seeking tourists, but they still come for the same epic red-light districts and gigantic nightclubs. Not all of the nightlife is sleazy though. RCA is a popular spots for dancing and making new friends, while the city’s trendiest nightspots can be found in and around Thong Lo. One cool establishment is Iron Fairies, a small jazz bar whose interior resembles something out of a Tim Burton film.