Gay Vacations in Phuket, Thailand

Patong Bay, Phuket, Thailand
Patong Bay, Phuket (Corel)

Gay and Lesbian Highlights: Phuket

  • Plan to stay in downtown Phuket, rather than on the tourist beaches. Phuket is a small town and is easy to get around on foot or motorcycle (either taxi or by daily rental). You can easily visit the island's beach areas by cheap public transportation or by motorcycle. Staying in town has numerous advantages: It is more economical than the over-priced tourist areas, it's quieter and more authentic and cultural, and without being hassled (as in Patong) you can meet locals and make friends with real Thai gay men and others with the "commercial" aspect involved.
  • Avoid the high season (November through January) and plan to come in the off-season or shoulder season. The island is less crowded during this time, and more welcoming. Another good time to visit would be October during the Vegetarian Festival when everyone is in a festive mood and receptive to visitors, who are welcome to take part and share in the festivities (although sex, like meat-eating for the observant, is a no-no during these nine days). There are blocks of inexpensive vegetarian food stalls downtown and one can graze from one to the next. If you do plan to come during the Vegetarian Festival it is a good idea to make reservations for any of the downtown hotels well in advance as they are usually heavily booked by Chinese from Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Take advantage of the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) at their downtown office. As a government service, they offer helpful, unbiased, free advice and tips. The young men who sit behind the desk are quite friendly and are a wealth of information. They can help you plan your holiday itinerary around the island to your best advantage.

An island province in the south of Thailand, about a one-hour flight from Bangkok, Phuket has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top ten island resort areas in the world. Like Bali, it also attracts a growing number of expatriates, especially gay ones, who have made it a second home.

Phuket (should be pronounced as pooKET) is a large, hilly, and scenic island, about the size of Singapore, with long, sandy beaches and secluded groves. Phuket is easily the gayest beach destination in all of Asia. Patong Beach is the prime attraction for LGBT visitors due to its concentration of gay nightlife in the Paradise Complex area. In short, Phuket is highly developed as a gay resort destination with bars, restaurants, gay inns, and a gay beach filled with boys in Speedos. Accommodation options run the gamut from camping and budget backpacker digs to ritzy, five-star luxury resorts. Phuket's Gay Pride Parade is also quite colorful, but is not held regularly.

Phuket Town, the provincial capital on the east coast, is an old Chinese settlement where laborers were brought in to work the tin mines and, like Penang, has some fine examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture worth exploring. The town's annual nine-day Vegetarian Festival, a kind of local Mardi Gras, is a major tourist event in October. Although Phuket was hard hit by the tsunami in 2004, you would hardly know it nowadays, except for the proliferation of warning signs offering tsunami escape routes.

Published: 3 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 29 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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