Advisory: Thailand is a welcoming place for gays, lesbians and transgenders who respect Thai laws and customs. Homosexuality in Thailand is largely a non-issue. Gay and lesbian visitors are very welcome and homosexuals are surprisingly integrated and into the big Thai family. Thailand has three annual gay pride events in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket.
Persons convicted of sex with a minor face immediate arrest and harsh penalties including life imprisonment. Persons who have sex with a prostitute below the age of 18 face arrest, fine and imprisonment. You must be 20 years of age to enter a night club. Recreational drug use is illegal and surprise drug testing may take place at popular night spots. Nudity, at beaches or in saunas, is against Thai custom.
We follow the lead of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote a positive image of Thailand for tourists who happen to be homosexual. We stand united against the exploitation of women and children.
A typical taxi cab conversation goes something like this:
"You like lady?"
"No, thank you," you answer politely.
"You like man?"
"You like me?" laughs the hard-knock cabby, spinning around to flash you a Cinerama smile as he darts in and out of the traffic, good luck charms and amulets swinging madly from the rear-view mirror.
Welcome to a country where it's no big deal who you fancy, but a very big deal how you behave.
With three annual gay pride festivals and highly visible ladyboys and tomboys everywhere you look, Thailand, not Disneyland, seems to be the happiest place on Earth for gays. Yet Thai GLBT face the same challenges to gain respect and understanding as everywhere else in the world. Still, Thailand manages to integrate gays into its everyday life, and allows many homosexual citizens to reach the very top of the socio-political ladder.
The outside world has always been overly fascinated by the laissez faire commercial aspects of Thailand’s wide-ranging entertainment industry. While there are undoubtebly more prostitutes in the United States or in China than there are here, Thailand has gained an unfair reputation because of its pragmatic and tolerant view of human behavior. Asia, in general, has traditionally taken the common sense view not to dwell too seriously on sexual tastes, whereas historically recent complexes about homosexuality are largely based on notions imported from prissy colonials and religious fundamentalists.
Two decades ago, Thai gays had little choice for social venues beyond the commercial lounges and gogo bars. In the last 10 years, however, the commercial scene has plateaued while a new generation of gay entrepreneurs has launched boutiques, hotels, restaurants, karaoke clubs, pubs and spas that cater to Thai gays and lesbians who want to socialize on a friendship basis. These types of venues continue to grow in variety and popularity and contribute to a more positive lifestyle for young GLBT.
In 1994 we launched Utopia as Southeast Asia’s first gay and lesbian center in Bangkok, the first shop in the region to sell books and gifts specifically for gays and lesbians. These days you can buy GLBT books in most bookstores around the Kingdom and there are plenty of niche businesses looking for the pink baht.
GLBT issues have been brought to the attention of the press and public by the brave efforts of Anjaree, Thailand’s first lesbian organization, founded in 1986. The hard work to improve social conditions as well as combat AIDS continues with groups like Rainbow Sky, Lesla, and Bangkok Rainbow.
also visit these excellent resources for local info:
#114 Airport Business Park Bld, 90 Mahidol Rd, Chiang Mai, 053-203-430 FAX 053-203-460, email. A gay-managed consultancy company specializing in hotels, restaurants, spas, recruitment and various types of training programs geared especially for these types of businesses. Discounts for gay organizations or individuals. They work "hands on" with owners and employees to improve their operations and increase revenues.
Utopia Member Discount
Vipavadee Rangsit Rd, 084-120-5052, FAX 02-277-9458, email. Gay-owned. They help frequent fliers and travelers who arrive in Bangkok or Phuket on business or for leisure, and who hate the lines, crowds, and hassles. They offer first class service between the plane and the hotel, for arrivals, departures and transit, no matter which airline or class of travel is being used. They also orgnanize fast track immigration, transits and lounge services in Suvarnabumi BKK and Phuket HKT. Utopia Member Discount
Email. Award-winning Gay Travel OUT Adventures specializes in gay and lesbian tours in Thailand and around the world. Unlike many gay operators, they use local group leaders, stay in small locally-owned hotels and dine at small local restaurants, ensuring you have a truly authentic travel experience. Choose from active, mid-range, luxury or independent trips.
Email. SanPat specializes in services for mature travelers and taxi, chauffeur or guide, around Bangkok and Pattaya.
757/83-84 Rajavithi 21, Bangyeekun, Bangplad, 02-883-1219, FAX 02-883-3720, email. Gay-owned Siam Pride provides travel services and arranges customized trips especially for Thailand "trendy" tourist groups, including GLBT. We can arrange almost every service from a variety of tour packages, sightseeing, transportation, gay guide service and gay-friendly accommodations. Utopia Member Discount
+66 3875-7142, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly Thailand Holiday Homes provides an extensive range of high quality vacation properties that represent value for money and will cater for your taste and budget; from delightfully intimate 2-bedroom pool villas to vast countryside estates and mountain lodges.
Specialists in the luxury travel market, they strive to keep a personal touch as they assist you with your accommodation plans. Utopia Member Discount
The seaside resorts of Cha-Am and Hua Hin are popular getaways for Bangkok residents who want a very quiet, Thai-style weekend away from the city. Located on the sunrise side of the Gulf of Siam, this is also where generations of Thai royals have built their vacation retreats. Marukkhathayawan Palace, built between the two cities, is a beautiful Victorian gingerbread palace built by King Rama VI and now open to the public. It is, in fact, a traditional Thai "village" raised high on stilts, open to the sea breeze and with its various "compounds" connected by covered teak walkways. It was rescued from ruin, restored, and now stands as one of Thailand's architectural gems.
Nightlife in Hua Hin, including the gay scene, is very quiet (out of respect for its neighbors), with seafood dinners at the wharf and the busy little night market being the main attractions. Hua Hin is therefore a perfect get-away for couples who want a little peace and privacy.
The population of Cha-Am and Hua Hun is over 100,000 (that's about 4,000 Utopians).
Check out this useful map of gay Hua Hin maintained by two41 UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2015 :
Hat Yai is a busy economic hub of Southern Thailand. It serves as a R&R holiday spot for many Malaysians who head north for the city’s less-conservative nightlife and shopping opportunities. Transgender performers are visible at straight places, but the little bit of local gay life is fairly hidden from view.
It’s short drive from here to the beaches of neighboring Songklaa province.
The population of Hat Yai is about 200,000 (that's about 8,000 Utopians).
7/2 Sriphuvanut Rd. Run down and seedy, but the staff are very friendly.
Pub and disco. The gay area is on the left side when you enter the door.
Top Man UTOPIAN VERIFIED JUN 2013
38 Thaiarkarn Rd, 081-540-2410, 074-421-341. Coming out of GL Sauna soi, turn right and it's on the next soi. Owned by Mr. Tong who is gay and very, very friendly and attentive.
9 Chaiyakul Uthit Rd, 081-541-3719.
GL Sauna UTOPIAN VERIFIED JUN 2013
37/73 Sinbenjaponcenter Bld, Soi P. Nattapon 2, Sripoovanart Rd, 089-976-7268. Near the Diana Shopping Center. A large, illuminated sign rolled out on the sidewalk in the evening. Clean and well appointed. Nice ambience. Many friendly local guys hang around here. Opens after 7pm.
Zeus Club UTOPIAN VERIFIED MAR 2014
79 Thung Sao 1, Soi 3, 081-646-2447. Near Diana shopping complex. A 4-storey converted bungalow with a small gym, maze, dark rooms and sauna. Very clean. A nice place to chill out. Good crowd of mostly locals and tourists from Malaysia and Singapore. Fri is underwear night.
2/F Lee Gardens shopping Center. Fashions and gay style, with good advice on the local scene from the staff.
Road 401, email. Discover more to Southern Thailand than its magnificient beaches. Nopporn and Mathilde are delighted to introduce you to the jungles of Khao Sok National Park. Treks, elephant trips, canoeing on Sok River, Chew Larn Lake expeditions, and local accomodations. Tailor-made adventures in a ecologic and fair tourism spirit. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Utopia Member Discount
043-235-171, email. See map on their website for their new location.
33/6-7 Soi Suphateera, Srichan Rd, 043-33-3468, 081-717-8185. Sauna, steam, gym, and bar. Massage also on offer. Very friendly.
Koh Chang (Trat)
Located in Trat Province, near the border of Cambodia, Koh Chang is Thailand's second largest island after Phuket. Still relatively undeveloped due to its pristine interior of tropical jungle and aquatic environment designated as a National Marine Park, Koh Chang and the dozens of picturesque islands ringing it have now been discovered by tourists and tourism developers. You can still find cheap little bungalows right on the beaches here and its close proximity to Pattaya (2.5 hours by car) and Bangkok (4.5 hours) means its popularity will continue to grow.
White Sand Beach (Had Sai Khao) has the most foreign tourists, while Kai Bae Beach and Bang Bao are more popular with local Thai. Most of the island's gay-friendly venues are located in Kai Bae. You may want to drive onto the island, via the 30-minute ferry at Laem Gnop, so that you can explore the various beaches, waterfalls, and rural communities.
Click here for Koh Chang hotels and accommodations.
Most of the gay-friendly venues are located in Kai Bae beach. The scene here is unlike elsewhere in Thailand: it's happily non-commercial, relaxed, and unpretentious. Wind down and get into the tropical groove.
NOTE: Many of Koh Chang's little bars and hang-outs go to sleep during Low Season (Mar-Oct), and, as a result, the clubs mentioned below may or may not be active, or even open, if you visit during those months. We hear reports of closures, but it's hard to know whether those are permanent or simply seasonal...
Lonely Beach (just on the road at the end of the village). This cute little bar is tropical tiki cross-pollinated with amateur drag and staffed by locals who tend bar, play guitar, or burst into spontaneous lip sync performances.
Bangbao Fishing Village (seafood)
This fishing village built on stilts is located on the southwest end of the island. Come here in the early evenings for the fresh catch of the day. Many restaurants to try, including Ruan Thai Restaurant, 089-833-5117, which serves fantastic garlic fried scallops and crab omelet with spicy/bitter vegetable leaves.
Funky Hut Resort (Thai and international)
Dan Kao Beach (northeast side of the island, 1 km from the car ferry pier), 089-936-7750, 089-414-4271. Fantastic food and warm, personal attention from owners Chris and his lovely wife, Khun Oh. Lie back on pillows with a fruit shake or tropical cocktail and watch the fishing boats bob on the waves at this quiet beach. Try the crab or potato cakes. Try them again. Bonus: they've got the most enchanting restrooms north of Bali.
Marina (Thai and international)
Kai Bae Beach. Located five minutes walk north of K.B. Bungalows, just beyond Lemon Bar (see directions above). Gay-friendly open-air restaurant serves up great food for lunch and dinner! Movies play each evening.
31/16 Moo 4, Kai Bae Beach (opposite Why Not Bar), 081-922-8497. Funky Gilligan's Isle hut ambiance and yummy food.
Rendezvous Tom Tum (seafood, Thai and international)
Inland side of the main road, White Sand Beach. Gay-owned and staffed. Pex and Pon run this friendly, open-air hang-out. Layers of colorful decor have survived a number of holidays. Good food. Nightly movies.
Koh Payam (Ranong)
Click here for Koh Payam hotels and accommodations.
Koh Phangan (Surat Thani)
Koh Phangan is located just 30 minutes by boat from Koh Samui, but feels worlds apart (no giant condos, malls, or outsized development). It is infamous for its free-wheeling Full Moon parties that have been rolling since the mid 1980s. The island boasts a stunning wealth of natural beauty - most of the it is a National Park preserve offering challenging hikes and incredible viewpoints. Triathlons and mountain bike races are regular occurances. The diving around Koh Phangan is stunning, with easy access to beautiful coral reefs.
The island has a much smaller gay scene than Phuket and Samui, but it is just right for those looking for something a little more quiet (except, of course, during the full moon). Haad Rin, where the parties take place, is a very popular beach. Good gay cruising spots are at the extreme ends of the beach, where it's more quiet. Most of the
guys there are younger Europeans and Australians, with a good amount of Thai mixed in.
Click here for Koh Phangan hotels and accommodations.
Once the favorite get-away for in-the-know Thai vacationers, Krabi’s new airport has signaled international awareness of this picture postcard paradise of fairytale islands, spectacular sea caves, isolated inlets, monkey-filled jungles, eco-protected mangrove deltas burgeoning with wildlife, floating Sea Gypsy villages, and an influx of well-designed 5-star boutique hotels that (mostly) blend into the scenery.
Quiet Ao Nang Beach has the only stretch of shops and restaurants, but it’s decades behind the over-development of resort areas like Phuket or Pattaya. Most tourists want to stay out on the peninsula in the chock-a-block bungalows between Railei Beach and Ao Nang Beach (now accessible only by sea or the small public pathway that skirts the “private” Rayavadee hotel. Note the small fisherman’s shrine tucked into a limestone cliff on Ao Nang Beach – it's stuffed with an exotic variety of balad kik phallic offerings.
The population of Krabi is about 25,000 (that's about 1,000 Utopians).
6 Pruksa Utit Rd, 086-689-8782, 085-797-9149, FAX 075-611-673, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly travel company designing innovative itineraries in the Andaman sea area - Krabi, Phuket, Trang and Phanga. They are very happy to provide gay and lesbian tour information, where available. Travelers can look forward to a well organized trip, with seamless transfers from one location to another. Groups and FIT clients are welcome.
2/F CenterPoint, 423/9 Moo 2, Seafront Rd, 086-404-1984, email. Gay bar. Find the fun on Ao Nang's seafront road. Relaxed place for you to wind down. Try some potent cocktails and chat with their friendly team. Open daily from 5pm until late. Happy hour from 7pm-9pm. Utopia Member Discount
Comments from Utopians:
"Fox Bar recently opened on the beachfront road in Ao Nang - inside Centrepoint (near Burger King). Currently the only gay bar in Ao Nang. The host, Oscar, provides a friendly service with a fully stocked bar and good music. Its easy to find but discreetly sectioned off from the other bars for more privacy. Mix of locals and tourists (mostly tourists). Comfortable and friendly lounge bar with great service." -- Ben, Nov 1, 2014
Up 2 You Bar and Restaurant
7/5 Chao Fa Rd, email. Lesbian-owned and gay and lesbian-friendly. Located on Chao Fa Rd, just up from the night market. They serve a wide variety of tasty Thai and western food. Free Net for customers, a pool table and extensive cocktail menu.
Banana Leaf Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
Ban Ao Nang, Ao Nang Beach, 087-563-7931, email. Located opposite to Sunset hotel and 25 meters down from Krabi Resort. The restaurant is gay-owned and gay-friendly. Extensive menu with Thai food, seafood and steaks. Also serves well presented cocktails in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, with a discreet ambience and outstanding service. Soft background music with mood lighting. Open daily from 3pm-1am. Utopia Member Discount
Coffee Arthit Ao Nang
23/28 Moo2, Ao Nang Beach, 075-637-847, 081-895-1538, email. Gay-owned Internet café. The owner, Boonchai, is very nice and friendly. Fresh coffee and tea, all day breakfast, soft drinks, cocktails and ice cream.
The Seven Elephants Café (western and Southeast Asian)
356 Moo 1 Soppong, Pangmapha, 053-617-107, email. Dine indoors or al fresco in the garden amongst the palms and heliconia. The café also features tropical house drinks, a wine list and real coffee drinks with an espresso machine. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Utopia Member Discount
Nang Rong, Prakhon Chai (Buriram)
Click here for Nang Rong, Prakhon Chai hotels and accommodations.
Nongkhai, Sangkhom and Thabo -- area code (66-42)
Isan (northeast Thailand) is full of friendly people, surprising sights, and magical festivals. These three towns are stretched along the mighty Mekong River, with Nong Khai about a 45 minute drive from the major city of Udon Thani. Laos is just across the river by bridge and there are national parks, fascinating temples, and unspoiled nature in abundance. The area hosts several seasonal festivities, the most famous being Bahng Fai Paya Nag, the mysterious emanation of glowing "Naga rockets", unexplained colored lights which shoot from the Mekong River at full moon during Pansaa, (Buddhist Lent) in October.
Click here for Nongkai, Sangkhom and Thabo accommodations.
Nongkhai. Surreal folk-art garden of sculpted mythical and spiritual figures, some 5 stories high! The garden was originally begun in Laos, but the war forced the creator to abandon his works and relocate to Thailand where he started over again, completing close to 100 sculptures during his life. The remains of the original garden, much overgrown, still exist on the opposite side of the river and should not be missed if you plan to visit Laos.
A nice little bar on the road fronting the river. It's near the small outdoor eateries that set up at sunset. Cindy, a ladyboy, runs it. She's a lot of fun and so are the staff.
Phi Phi Villa Resort reception area, Tonsai Ba, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly Love Café Phi Phi serves up hot and foamy cappuccinos, drinks with benefits, sensational smoothies, organic teas from Northern Thailand, luscious cocktails (including some unique tea and coffee based cocktails) all to a backdrop of great tunes. All real, however you like it: latté, espresso, cappuccino, machiata affogato, corretto, and with regular, soy or skinny milks. Passionate about coffee or chilled music - come and feel the love! Utopia Member Discount
Fasirung Pub and Restaurant UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2013
1/6 Mu 4 Tambon Banklang, Ampeur Kongkrailat, 086-977-8769, 081-675-1651, 05-562-5269, email. Gay-owned Fasirung is a restaurant and pub serving Thai and western dishes in an exotic tropical garden setting located on the main road between the cities of Pitsanuloke and Sukhothai. Open daily from 11am onwards till the last custumer, the later the gayer. Every October 31st they hold a Miss Fasirung gatuey (transgender) contest, a popular event for the area's gays. Utopia Member Discount
The population of Trang is about 70,000 (that's about 3,000 Utopians).