When we travel, we’re removed from everything that usually brings us comfort. This is the most fun part about traveling but also the most risky. Even though backpacking is fun, sometimes we crave a piece of home. But this story isn’t for the homesick. And it certainly isn’t for the sober kids either. For a truly authentic experience of a new country, you have to try out the local liquor. I mean, have you even visited Thailand if you haven’t tried Mekhong? This is your sign to ditch Corona beers and learn how to get properly smashed in true Thai style!
TRY OUT LOCALLY BREWED TRADITIONAL THAI LIQUORS
Thailand offers a range of alcohols made from native crops. If you want an authentic alcohol experience in Thailand, we say ditch the vodka and try something new! Here’s a list to start with –
- Mekhong – Mekhong is a dark, spicy liquor that is made from sugarcane and rice. It has a unique flavor that is similar to whiskey, and is often mixed with cola or soda water.
- Sangsom – Sangsom is a type of rum that is made from sugarcane molasses. It has a sweet, fruity flavor and is often used to make cocktails, such as a classic Thai rum and Coke.
- Ya Dong – Ya Dong is a type of herbal liquor that is made by infusing various herbs and spices in alcohol. The traditional Thai drink is believed to have medicinal properties and is used to cure muscle aches and improve libido (wink, wink). It is often sold in small roadside stalls and night markets. The flavor and potency can vary widely depending on the ingredients used. Ya Dong can be quite potent, so remember to pace yourself!
- Sabai sabai – The ‘Thai Welcome Drink’ as it’s often known, is the official alcoholic drink of Thailand, incorporating Mekhong liqueur with lime juice, syrup and sweet basil leaves to create the perfect Thai cocktail.
- Sato – This one is for all you wine-lovers. Sato is a Thai rice wine made from glutinous rice and is usually served in small brown jars. Sato has a short shelf life, making it a bit difficult to find in commercial bars. If you do get your hands on it, you can even try mixing it with some fruit juices for a sugary twist.
- Lao Khao – Also known as Sura Khao or ‘white spirit’, this traditional liquor is brewed from fermented rice and can go up to 40% proof alcohol. It’s usually quite easy to find and because of its cheap price, is an attractive option for the masses.
- Maa Jai Dum Flowery – Maa Jai Dum Flowery is an alcohol brewed from coconut flowers. It has a unique flavor and you should definitely taste it by itself first before mixing it as a cocktail. We’ve tried some freshly crushed strawberry and mint leaves in combination with this liquor and it’s nothing less than a 10/10.
If you’re on the fence about trying something local you can go the more traditional route and test out some locally brewed whiskey instead. Brands like Blend 285 and Regency whiskey come highly recommended from our friends.
THAI BEER? WE GOTCHU.
If you’re sitting on the beach and in the mood for an ice cold beer instead of a cocktail try out these local brands –
- Chang Beer – Chang beer is the cheapest of the most popular Thai beers
- Singha Beer – Singha is the oldest surviving beer brewery in Thailand, with origins from 1933. Its finish is fruity and hoppy, and usually the most popular with tourists and expats. Singha is also the most expensive of the big 3 in this list.
- Leo Beer – Leo is short for leopard in Thai and Leo beers are arguably the most popular local beer, as it consumes the largest market share.
SAY CHEERS, BUT THAI-STYLE!
Salud, cheers, santé, cin cin! We toast to good health and long life across the world. When in Thailand, say as the Thai do – ‘chon gâew’ ชนแก้ว! It is pronounced ‘chon geeyaw’ and literally means to crash glasses together.
VISIT AUTHENTIC THAI BARS AND PUBS IN BANGKOK
Getting drunk in Thailand like a local can be a fun and memorable experience, but it’s important to do it responsibly and with respect for the local culture. One popular way to drink like a local is to visit a Thai-style karaoke bar. These venues often offer cheap beer, lively music, and karaoke machines for patrons to sing along to.
Thailand has a vibrant bar scene with a variety of options for locals and tourists alike. But still, some spots are simply places to drink while others are cultural institutions. Here are some must visit spots in Bangkok:
- Wong’s Place, Bangkok: Wong’s Place is one of the oldest dive bars in Bangkok, having opened first in 1987. It’s a no-frills bar with a laid-back atmosphere and a range of drinks at reasonable prices. Wong’s opens at 10pm and runs until after the sun comes up the next day. Be warned – Wong’s is not for the faint of heart.
- Tep Bar, Bangkok: Tep Bar is a cozy bar in the Old Town area of Bangkok that specializes in traditional Thai herbal drinks and cocktails. Tep combines a relaxed vibe with fine dining and tapas with a menu that features locally sourced ingredients like mangosteen and butterfly pea flower. The small bar hosts local musicians every weekend for live performances. Pro tip – try out the Songkran cocktail!
- Bamboo bar: Another popular venue for live music that has been part of Bangkok’s nightlife culture since 1953 is Bamboo Bar. With a star-studded list of visitors like Audrey Hepburn and Mick Jagger, you can kick back with a cocktail and some live jazz music at this legendary pub.
FIND THE BEST PUB CRAWL TOURS IN BANGKOK
If you’re looking to experience Bangkok’s vibrant nightlife, then pub crawls are the way to go! Even though pub crawl tours are not really how the locals might spend a Saturday night, they do offer a fun and safe way to explore the city’s most happening bars and clubs, all while making new friends from around the world. Bonus – you discover the best spots in the city. When it comes to pub crawl tours, there are a few hostels in Bangkok that do it best:
#1 Slumber Party hostel which offers a wild and unforgettable experience. Their pub crawl tours take you to some of the best bars and clubs in the city. With this tour, you spend 3 hours at various bars and pubs, hopping from one to the other. You’re guaranteed to have a great time bonding with the Slumber Party family.
#2 Bodega hostel is also known for its good vibes and fantastic pub crawl tours. The tour deal gets you a t-shirt, and covers your entry costs. With pre-game, drinking games and post-chill at the in-house bar, the party just goes on and on!
#3 Get Your Guide, is a website, not a hostel but is a great choice for those who want a more laid-back pub crawl experience. Their tours are less focused on partying and more focused on exploring Bangkok’s local bars and hidden gems.
So there you have it – 5 pro tips from the monkeys who know how to get nice and wasted in Thailand. We hope you’re inspired to try more local brews on your next trip! Chon gâew, folks!