Thailand

Photo courtesy of http://www.phuket-pride.org

Although Thailand is renowned for a generally non-judgemental attitude with Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, particularly, offering a gay-friendly ambience, away from the mix withwestern culture – especially in country areas – many people are conservative.

Bangkok’s Silom district is the major financial and business centre and bursts into life at night.Around Silom road onthe vibrant side alleys of Sois 2 and 4, the gay sceneis busy and friendly;attracting crowds in Soi 4 are The Balcony and Telephone pub. Only around 200 metres away is Soi 2 which has the most popular Bangkok gay club, DJ Station with another well patronised one closeby -G.O.D. (Guys On Display). Reputedly offering some of the best go-go bars – numbered at around 40,Soi Cowboyattractsmainly tourists and expatriates.

In Pattaya, two well-known gay beaches – each laying claim to ‘the most popular gay beach in Thailand’ are Jomtien and Dong Tan.A choice of gay-friendly bars populate the area near Jomtien beach and around the Jomtien Complex.Almost year round, Dongtan beach’s gay area is busy during afternoons and weekends.

On the island of Phuket, the majority of gays and transgender people live and party in Patong – which refers to the beach and town.Centred around Soi Bangla (themain entertainment zone for straight people) andthe gay area of Paradise Plaza,the lively nightlifefeatures many night clubs, massage parlours and bars as well as a variety of restaurants withmany activities also offered by day.Connected to the Royal Paradise Hotel & Spa,the Paradise Complex comprises gay-centric guesthouses, restaurants, shops, clubs and bars. The bar girls are often bar boys, and popular ones include Boat Bar, My Way Cabaret, go-go bar ZAG Club and the Tangmo Club which has nightly shows featuring beautiful lady boys.

Popular accommodations which are mainly gay owned and/or gay managed include Connect Guesthouse, Adonis Guest House,Club One Seven Phuket, Aquarius Guesthouse & Sauna thatis “men only” as is Phuket Gay Homestay which opened a new herbal steam room sauna in 2016. Of note, CC’s Hideaway Karon is also pet friendly.

In Chiang Mai, gay bars can be found in the Night Bazaar area – includingRam Bar, Secrets Bar, and Orion Bar.

Parties/Events

Bangkok’s best-known gay sauna and one of the longest-running gay venues, Babylon Sauna hosts a special edition of its popular monthly Foam Party on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, with live DJ and cocktails, starting around 6:30pm. The following day Babylon hosts a Xmas mini concert from 7pm.

Soon after is end-of-year bashWhite Party Bangkok.Featuring three massive parties, world-renowned DJs and star performers, it runs from Friday, 30 December, 2016, to Sunday, 1 January, 2017 at GMM Live House 8/F CentralWorld.

Looking ahead, Gay events for 2017 set tocontinue to attract much interest include The Bangkok Pride Festival and Phuket Pride.

Phuket Pride features a choice of activities from April 27-30, including pool parties, sports events, day trips and beach parties for LGBT residents, tourists and friends to celebrate the 2017 inclusive theme of “Come Together”.

From May 15-20, The Bangkok Pride Festival offers a variety of film festivals, workshops, LGBT social events and parties culminating in the popular Pride March on Saturday May 20 on Silom Road.

Patong hospital has the only MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) clinic on Phuket – at the end of the parking lot is Sabadee clinic.Gay and bisexual foreigners can visit theClinic for an HIV test or obtain PEP treatment.