U T O P I A



Out and Proud
in Paradise

We could hardly imagine a more beautiful spot on the planet to celebrate gay pride than Phuket with its glorious sun, white sand and turquoise surf. Festival organizers effectively coordinated a larger and more broadly attended series of festival events with the full support of the Mayor of Patong Beach and provincial authorities. Congratulations to them all for a great success!

Festivities kicked off on Patong Beach with the annual gay volleyball championship, sponsored this year by Club Bamboo. Players from Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand faced off in action-packed competition in the breezy afternoon heat of Nov 9 and 10. The team from Tangmo Cabaret took the bronze medal, Heaven Bar placed silver, and the Bangkok All Stars took home the gold with an outstanding performance.

Just over 30 visitors and locals woke up early on Nov 11 to join an all-gay speedboat boat cruise on the spectacular Andaman Sea to jewel-like Khai Island, with its eggshell-white sands and crystal-clear ocean surf. Barbecue lunch and some impromptu drag entertainers on hand for those who didn't opt for snorkeling, volleyball or exploring the sea and coastline. After a day of fun it was back to Patong Beach for sunset and cocktails.

In the evening, a special Loy Kratong Party and Supermodel of the Year contest was held outdoors in the sprawling Paradise Complex, home to Phuket's gay community. A dozen gorgeous contestants vied for several trophies while news crews from the major TV channels were on hand to record the pageantry. Afterwards, onlookers crowded the clubs and restaurants to party the evening away.

On Sunday, Nov 12, entertainment and the Festival's message of AIDS prevention and social tolerance were presented to the public by organizers at a large stage set up next to the beach. A large crowd of locals and tourists gathered for the free show and lined the beach road as the parade made its appearance.

More than a dozen large floats, two elephants, and smaller marching contingents comprised this year's expanded parade. The colorful spectacle was the center of attention for the many thousands of holiday-goers and locals alike. Many marchers chose to wear traditional Thai costumes, or extravagant original creations that perfectly suited the rainbow celebration.

The parade wound its way through town and ended back at the Paradise Complex where a free-form street party kept the cheerful spirit of pride and togetherness going well into the wee hours of the following morning. It is a testament to Phuket's tolerant way of life that so many people from everywhere in the world happily joined along in the fun.

For images and report from the 2002 Phuket Gay Festival, please click here

PHUKET GAY FESTIVAL 2000
all images are copyright 2000 by Utopia.
Contact info@utopia-asia.com for permission to reproduce.


The colorful parade packed Beach Road and was well-received by thousands of delighted onlookers
The colorful parade packed Beach Road
and was well-received by thousands of onlookers.


Patong Beach was the fantastic setting for an action-packed volleyball championship
Patong Beach was the fantastic setting
for an action-packed volleyball championship.


Khai Island was the tropical get-away for this year's all-gay island cruise.
Khai Island was the tropical get-away
for this year's all-gay island cruise.


There were lots of activities to choose from and plenty of other distractions
There were lots of activities to choose from
and plenty of other distractions.


Miss Phuket Gay Festival was crowned at the Supermodel of the Year contest.
Miss Phuket Gay Festival was crowned at the
Supermodel of the Year contest.


Patong Beach partiers were putting on the glitz and glamour on the night before the big parade.
Patong Beach partiers were puttin' on the glitz
and glamour on the night before the big parade.


The main stage drew crowds from the beach as festival entertainers got out the word about AIDS prevention
The main stage drew crowds from the beach
as entertainers got out the word about AIDS prevention.


Hunks, divas, queens and tomboys all had their moment to shine in the sun.
Hunks, divas, queens and tomboys
all had their moment to shine in the sun.


Of course, gays and lesbians are welcome in Phuket 365 days of the year!
Of course, gays and lesbians are welcome in Phuket
365 days of the year!



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