Thailand is a gay paradise. Turquoise sea, spicy food and beautiful Thai boys have stolen hearts of many tourists. The majority of Thais are very broad-minded with sexual minorities. Even Thailand’s tourist authorities have built its own online travel page, Go Thai Be Free, to invite gay- and LBGTQ travelers.
In fact sexual minorities are so prominently present in the streets of Bangkok that minority is not a correct word to describe them.
Homosexuality has always been tolerated in Thailand
Homosexuality has never been forbidden by law in Thailand. Buddhism itself doesn’t condemn homosexuality. Tolerance might be the fruitage of the Thai principle of saving one’s face and also mai pen rai -mentality; everyone can live their life as they wish.
Buddhism itself has recognized the thought of four genders: male, female, female in male’s body and male in female’s body.
Thailand’s Ladyboys and Tom-dees
Generally Thai-homosexuals have embraced ladyboy’s role; men dressing like women. Lesbians, Tom-dees, on the other hand dress like men. Ladyboys are seen as female and tom-dees as a male born in the wrong body.
The main feature of the Tom-dee culture is that the tom dresses manly and dee (formed from the word lady) very feminine.
Even though there are a lot of lesbians in Thailand and they even have their own monthly published lifestyle magazine, Tom Act, there are only a few bars or clubs targeted for them.
However, homosexuals have hundreds if not even thousands of bars, clubs and massage places to choose from.
Thailand’s Modern Homosexual Culture
Influenced by Western society, Thai gay-culture has modernized and homosexuals don’t have to automatically take the role of female anymore -although many still choose to stay as ladyboys.
In spite of the tolerance, showing affection -kissing and touching publicly is not appropriate in Thai culture.
Thailand does not officially recognize the marriage between the same sex, nevertheless many gay-couples travel to Thailand to enter into informal marriage -blessed by Buddhist monks.
Where should homosexuals and lesbians go in Thailand?
Bangkok – the World’s Gay Capital
Thailand’s capital Bangkok is one of the world’s best gay-destinations, a real homosexual’s capital. Many of the Western homosexuals have lost their heart to Bangkok’s relaxed and convivial gay-clubs.
There are many gay areas in Bangkok. The best known area is Silom. Start the night at The Balcony Bar or the legendary Telephone Pub both located at Silom Soi 4. The first has happy hour- drinks profitable to your wallet, and the second has telephones on every table -to call the cutie sitting at the next table.
As the evening continues, check out trendy and atmospheric Tapas-club, which is a place for both gay and straight. Tapas is an old classic club bringing together those in the fashion industry. A new place on the street is One Night Only, a convenient combination of bar and club.
Men and women couples can find tempting bars also on Sarasin Roadilta nearby the Lumphini-park.
The most legendary gay club in Bangkok is DJ Station (at the end of the Silom Soi 2). This club is packed night after night and year after year. The night begins at 11 pm with a small ladyboy show but as the night turns into morning the atmosphere gets warmer and warmer making many partygoers throw their shirts off. Here you’ll find Bangkokian gays, flight attendants and weekenders from Hong Kong and Singapore. Don’t miss this!
DJ Station closes it’s doors at 2am along with most of the clubs in Bangkok. But fortunately nearby the DJ Station, at Silom Soi 2/1, party animals can continue their evening in G.O.D (Guys on Display) until the early morning (Closes at 6am)! The name refers to the muscular go-go dancers who make the party time fly like an arrow.
Another popular gay area is in Or Tor Kor in Kamphaen Pet Road. This area is still quite hidden from foreigners. Fake Club (is open until 2am) with its warm and local atmosphere is located in this area. There are not many tourists here!
The third gay club to check out is located in straight RCA-club area. Don’t let this fool you though, Castro is a 100% gay club. The band plays the latest music along with the handsome go-go dancers that make the night go smoothly. For stage divas Castro offers karaoke rooms and lounge areas for those who wanting more intimacy. Zeta and E-Fun, the only clubs for lesbians in Bangkok, are found in RCA.
Bangkok’s night life also offers sex shows in Soi Pratuchailla (alias Soi Twilight) in Silom. Prepare to see more than you can imagine, like dancers using other dancer’s penises as microphones while singing Westlife’s My Love. Live sex acts are also part of the program.
The most famous Gay-saunas are Babylon (34 Soi Nandha, South Sathon Road Soi 1, MRT Lumpini) and Chakran sauna (32 Chakran Building, Soi Ari 4, BTS Ari). While Babylon’s customer base consists of mostly older westerners, Chakran is popular amongst locals. In both places there is no room for shyness; one can go straight to business.
Bangkok’s most gay friendly hotels: Bangkok is bursting with these hotels! Read the recommendations from here (Kapteenin suositukset) and look for the great deals in the search box in the upper right corner of this page.
The most legendary gay hotel in Bangkok is the affordable Malaysia Hotel, located nearby Silom’s bar streets and saunas.
What else to do: Partying 24/7 is not the only thing to do to fill up your days. Thailand’s most beautiful temples, the best museums, and the most delicious restaurants are located in Bangkok. The city itself is a shopping heaven. Read more in the Bangkok Guide.
Phuket – the Gay Beach Paradise
If you are into a wild nightlife and gorgeous beaches, the best place for a gay vacation is Phuket. The gay scene is centered in Patong Beach in Paradise Complex (Soi Paradise). All the bars, night clubs, massage places and guesthouses are located in this area.
If you want to party with style, go to Chic Bar ( there are handsome waiters as a bonus). Those looking for go-go dancers and ladyboy shows should head over to the famous Tangmo Club and Kiss Club. Relaxing atmosphere can be found in classic Boat Bar, which has kept its doors open to the public for 20 years!
The most famous gay sauna is Aquarius equipped with swedish sauna, steam sauna, jacuzzi, private massage rooms and a dark room.
Blue Dolphin offers a quality Thai-massage by educated massage therapists. They also offer four hand massages (of course a with happy ending which is difficult to avoid in gay places).
Phuket’s gay beach is located in Patong Beach, in front of the stylish La Flora hotel.
Every April Phuket celebrates Phuket Pride event in Patong Beach.
Phuket’s gay friendly hotels: Sumptuous La Flora stands in the center of the Patong Beach, favored by gay travellers. Cozy Tropical Inn Phuket and Club One Seven Phuket are only 10–15 minutes walking distance away from the beach. Both places are much-vaunted for both their amenities and friendly, helpful owners.
What else to do?: Phuket is full of spectacular restaurants and wide-ranging activities. Even though Patong Beach is the most lively, other beaches are worthy of a visit. Read more in the Phuket Guide.
Pattaya’s wild gay-scene goes well beyond a sinful side. This place is especially good for those looking for bunny boys. Boyz Town and Sunee Plaza in Pattaya Beach are full of go-go clubs and massage places.
Another gay friendly Beach, Duangtan Beach, can be found in the beginning of the peaceful Joamtien Beach. A stone’s throw away from the beach is Jomtien Complex with its neat gay bars and cozy restaurants.
Pattaya’s gay hotels: There are many gay hotels to choose from, such as Poseidon Boutique Hotel in Jomtien Complex. Rooms in this hotel are spacious and stylish with a little pinch of Kitsch. Oscar’s, hotel’s wonderful breakfast is downstairs.
Another noteworthy option is Rabbit’s Resort at Duangtan Beach, visited by many gays. This stylish Hotel is made of old Thai-style teak houses, exuding a serene ambience.
What else to do: Pattaya’s ladyboy-cabarets are Thailand’s top. Pattaya is also a great place to golf. Read more from Pattaya Guide.
Koh Samui – Diving in (Gay) Style
Even though it’s difficult to find a true gay-scene in Samui, this island with its stylish, luxurious tourist ambience and vibrant nightlife is famous among gays also. Koh Samui is perfect for couples who want to spend lazy and romantic time together. Long and handsome Chaweng Beach is the busiest, whilst Bophut Beach with its fabulous restaurants is the perfect choice for culinarist.
The dive center Rainbow Scuba and Tours is specially targeted for gays and lesbians. In addition to diving under the sea, the programme includes diving into the on-land tourist attraction. Rainbow Scuba and Tours arranges liveaboard-trips not only to the best diving places in Thailand but also to other parts of Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia.
Hotels: Read Captains recommendations for the Koh Samui hotels.
What else to do: Koh Samui is a great place to taste the best pieces of Thai cake on one island. It also offers beautiful beaches, sea sceneries, Buddhist temples and fabulous restaurants. Check out the Koh Samui Guide.
Koh Samet – a Gay Weekend Paradise Island
Koh Samet is well known as a relaxed Bangkokian gay weekend retreat. The island’s main beach Had Sai Kaew, Ao Phai and peaceful Ao Tubtim are the most well known among the gays. Koh Samet is a wonderful place to merge a relaxed beach holiday with the wild nights in Bangkok and Pattaya.
During the weekdays Koh Samet is a sleepy little island, but on the weekends it comes alive with parties on Had Sai Kaew and Ao Phai beaches.
Ko Samet’s Gay friendly hotels: Silvesand in Ao Phai, is popular for those searching for nightlife; hotel’s club is favored by gays. Chic Bar and Bed -boutique guesthouse at Ao Noi Na Beach offers pool parties and is especially inviting for trend-aware Bangkokians in their 30’s. Tubtim Resort is a perfect place for those looking for the peaceful and simple beach life.
What else to do: Koh Samet offers nothing more than perfect white sand, turquoise sea and delicious seafood. Read more: Koh Samet Guide.
This post is also available in: German