Gay Vacations in Bangkok

Aerial view of downtown Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok's skyline (Corbis)

Bangkok Highlights

  • Avoid taxis. Bangkok's traffic is legendary, so avoid it by riding on the city's modern and clean BTS skytrain and subways, or better yet, the canal boats.
  • Learn your lesbian labels—you'll hear them a lot. "Tom" is short for "tomboy," while "dee" is short for "lady" and refers to femmes.
  • Gay life in Thailand is by no means limited to Bangkok. Be sure to check out the uber-popular Phuket Pride event in late March/early April, with parades, beach volleyball competitions, fashion shows, cabarets, a Miss Queen Phuket contest, sunset foam parties, and fashion shows.

Despite the developing gay and lesbian infrastructure in the region, Bangkok remains hands-down Asia's premier gay destination. As the financial and commercial heart of Thailand, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, Bangkok is quickly shedding its seedy image and becoming more and more upscale before the world's eyes as its gay scene becomes more sophisticated. Yes, Bangkok is crowded and concreted, but it's one of the most fabulously gay-positive cities on earth.

Silom is the overflowing LGBT area, with its famous streets Soi 2 (dance club central) and Soi 4 (more mellow, with restaurants and lounges). But gay life can be found all over this vivacious city, in areas like student-popular Soi Ramkhamhaeng 89/2 (also called Lamsalee), the bar- and sauna-filled Saphan Kwai and Sukhumvit areas, and Surawong Road, home to go-go boy bars. There are even half a dozen glam lesbian-popular joints around the city, and girls are welcome to ogle female strippers nearly anywhere.

And not all the attractions are confined to the nighttime. The city is a shopping paradise, from modern glass and chrome malls to all-day outdoor markets. Local designers and artists present their wares at the weekend Chatuchak market, and the city's official night market, Suan Lum, bursts to the seams. Check out the Thailand Creative & Design Center for edgy multimedia exhibitions. And you'll be dazzled by the royal Grand Palace Temple of the Emerald Buddha, as well as the sweeping views of Lumphini Park—the "Central Park of the Tropics." For relaxation, indulge in a traditional outdoor Thai massage at the Wat Po temple complex's open-air pavilion. If you want to check out the flashy Bangkok Gay Pride event, it usually takes place in late October or early November in the Silom area.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 23 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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