Live music
Bangkok's live music scene has expanded rapidly over the past decade or so, with a multiplicity of new, extremely competent bands and recently opened clubs.

:: Major Pub Locations

Bamboo Bar
The Oriental Hotel,
Oriental Lane.
Open: 11am-2am. Music from 10pm.
Credit cards accepted.

Probably some of the best jazz musicians in the world play here at some point. Guest singers from overseas, great local musicians. You won't find much better anywhere in the world - in keeping with the Oriental's reputation. As you would expect, expensive but worth it.

Brown Sugar
Soi Sarasin,
Open: 5pm-2am. Music from 9.30pm
Credit cards accepted

Smoky, cool, great musicians, in need of a bit of refurbishment, friendly and laid back. Just as a good jazz club should be. Located around Soi Sarasin among a batch of small music venues, Brown Sugar has hosted a number of international artists and a local expat favourite.

Dubliner Irish Pub
Washington Square, Suhkumvit 22.
Skytrain: Phrom Pong Station
Open: 10.30am-1am. Music from 10pm.

Guinness, Kilkenny and other draught beers. Local expat favourite, Live music on Fridays.

Fabb Italian Restaurant and Jazz Cafe
Mercury Tower,
540 Ploenchit Road.
Tel: 02-658 6200/9.
Open: 11.30am-1 am. Music from 8 pm.
Credit cards accepted.

Good Italian food accompanied by good jazz.

Isaan Champroo Blues Bar & Restaurant
9-11 Siwaporn Plaza,
Opposite Ariston Hotel
Sukhumvit Soi 24
Tel 02 661 0359

An unusual combination of north-eastern Thai (Issan) and Japanese food attracting a clientele who apprecaite good live blues served up with a menu of Issan/Japanese food. The owner Ken encourages jam sessions, joining on harp on Thursdays. Great collection of blues CDs.

Peninsula Hotel,
333 Charoen Nakorn Road.

Tel: 02-861 1111.

On the opposite side of the river to the Oriental Hotel. Frequented by the upmarket and trendy set for jazz bands and status.

Plaza Athenee,
Wittayu-Wireless Road.
Tel: 02-650 8800.

Open: 6pm-12.30am. Music from 7pm.
Credit cards accepted.

Saxophone Pub
3/8 Victory Monument
Open: 5pm-2am.
Skytrain: Victory Monument Station

Local expat favourite with some excellent musicians and a relaxed fun atmosphere. Consistently good music music, food and service with a different jazz band every night playing a combination of jazz, blues and old classics. Good acoustics and cosy interior. Packed at the weekend.

:: Thai Dance-Drama Locations

A traditional Thai banquet accompanied by a classical dance performance, or a fascinating blend of modern and traditional dance/drama at the theatres.

National Theatre
Chaofa, Banglumpoo Ph. 02 224 1342
Thailand's most traditional lakhon and khohn performance (masked dance-drama based on stories from the Ramayana) are held here, near Phra Pinklao Bridge. The theatre's regular public roster schedules six or seven performances per month, usually on weekends. Attending a khohn performance is highly recommended.

Patravadi Theatre
Soi Wat Rakang 02- 412-7287
Established in 1992 by Patravadi Mejudhon, an award winning actress, director and playwright, the Patravadi Theatre complex provides a centre for Thai classical performing arts. Blending avant grade with classical Thai dancing can produce some refreshingly different perspectives on traditional performances. The classical epic poem Ramakien produced as a Rock Opera (Thailand's version of the Indian Ramayana) plus fringe festivals over the last few years have drawn Directors and choreographers from around the world, who come to the Patravadi to train in Thai classical, Khon and folk dancing. Performances can vary but if you like the theatre or performing arts, Patravadi offers an interesting evening.

The performances are held every weekend during the season. Additional performances of Thai classical and modern dances are also preformed at the riverside Supatra restaurant near the theater complex.

Joe Louis Puppet Theatre
Lumpini Night Bazaar off Wireless Road
Traditional puppets give performances of the Ramayana (or Ramakien in Thai) the Indian epic tale, full of plots and sub-plots. If it sounds terribly highbrow and boring, it isn't. The choreography and co-ordination of the puppeteers as they move around the stage, is mesmerising. Each puppet is controlled by 3 puppeteers visible on stage who work together in perfect unison to produce the incredibly lifelike human movements of each puppet. The puppeteers are classically trained dancers who imitate the movements of the puppets to literally bring them to life, capturing gestures and nuances.

The show lasts one hour, from 7:30-8:30. It's just long enough to appreciate the subtlety and skill of the performance.  The foyer contains an area which documents the history of the theatre and a display of how traditional masks are made. 

Shrine Dancing
Free performances of traditional may be seen daily at Lak Muang and Erawan shrines if you happen to arrive when a performance troupe has been commissioned by a worshiper. Although many of the dance movements are the same as those seen in the classical dance, these relatively crude performances are specially choreographed for ritual purposes and don't represent true classical dance forms. The dancing is colourful -the dancers wear full costume and are accompanied by live music, so it's worth stopping by to watch a performance if you are in the vicinity.