Ask any Phuket expatriate resident about Ka Jok Se and you get a surprisingly similar reaction. The eyes twinkle, the edges of the mouth lift instinctively and a naughty look of glee overtakes the face. From first hearing of it, we’ve asked everyone we’ve met and have been so fascinated by the humourous, knowing reaction and encouragement to go along, that here, finally are we. At Ka Jok See!
You won’t find a website or advertisements for this fun place, as owner Khun Lek operates purely on word of mouth recommendations. But it’s full every night and we can understand why. Absolutely everyone we’ve met who lives on the island has told us it’s a must visit. And it’s a must visit, if you like to be entertained, if you like to swing your hips. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never find it. Our taxi driver is even surprised we know about it! And then he drives up and down the street three times before finally caving and calling in for help.
We’re greeted on the street by Khun Lek himself and ushered into this tiny nook behind a waterfall curtained window. Yes I promise you, the window is waterfalled! Ka Jok See means stained glass window, and the interior of this hole in the wall joint would certainly make for the most colourful stained glass design your eyes ever alighted upon. Thai food is served for a fixed cover price, Thai style for sharing at table. Streams of snacks arrive seamlessly from smiling waiters until we call a halt to the flow.
Tireless Dancing Waiter
There is no ceremony here. Vodka with fresh orange is plonked on our table in plain glasses with plastic straws. The food is party style and patently more to soak up the alcohol than anything else. But what you come for is the fun. Around 9pm a gloriously coiffed singer with 6 inch lashes appears, belting out everything from salsa style to show tunes to operatic arias. (Yes that’s true too!) At one point s/he appears to be channeling Madonna. It’s awesome and soon everyone is up dancing as the tables are scraped back.
One Look Says It All – Those Shooters Are Dangerous!
Couples smooch, strangers mingle in the groove, rattling tambourines, hats are thrown around and everyone is laughing, singing, blatantly having an unhinhibted good time! A drummer walks in off the street and sets up large bongos, adding to the groove. It reminds me of sheer good times in Colombia in the Zona Rosa. The waiters are bopping, trays of shots are woven easily through the happy crowd.
Duo of Entertainers
Ka Jok See is a little Aladdin’s cave of colourful wall hangings and gently changing lights. I feel a little like I’m in a twinkling jewel box. It’s not for hard core clubbers or those looking for the latest tunes and ‘hot’ fashion. Here it seems everyone is taken as they come, rough or smooth, smart or casual, young or old, it doesn’t seem to matter. Ka Jok See is a superbly surreal experience that straddles the fun of a children’s Christmas party, with the entertainment value of musical theatre and the relaxation of letting your hair down at home with good friends. It’s unashamed partying at its finest, and I’m sure the rest of the night goes down in history.
Dancing on the Tables
We choose to sneak away with the excuse of an early rise. Outside, I truly feel I just came back from Oz or Wonderland. Hard to believe, back on that quiet street, what’s behind the window of this Sino-Portuguese shophouse. Go and see for yourself. Take yourself to a happy place and know that you’re going to simply have a great, totally unexpected, but great, great time!
Reason to visit: Ka Jok See is grown up escapism at its best. One of the best night’s out in Phuket Town.
Ka Jok See 26 Takua Pa Rd Phuket Town Phuket, Thailand +66 76 217 903 Opening Hours: 6:30 pm – late, Tuesday – Saturday We’re told that reservations are essential so be sure to phone in advance for a table.
I'm the editor of The Yum List. I have a passion for food, travel and having fun. Together with my team of writers I hope to lead you to delicious and enjoyable experiences around the world.