Thailand may appear to be more tolerant of ‘alternative’ lifestyles than other areas of Asia, but compared to Europe, members of the LGBT are afforded very few rights. Living in Thailand if you’re gay isn’t easy, as your relationships will not be recognised in law and there is no legislation to prevent homophobic hate crime. It took until 2002 for homosexuality to no longer be regarded as a mental illness or disorder, as had been the case prior to this declaration by the Thai Ministry of Health. Yet, Thailand has such a thriving tourist industry in large part due to the presence and openness of the Thai LGBT community.

Bangkok is an attractive city to many gay visitors, especially the areas of Silom and Suriwong, where there are many bars, clubs, saunas and massage parlours in which to pick up men. It is worth being aware of the fact that the age of consent is 18 and that although there are legitimate opportunities to find men for casual fun, you should keep your wits about you and be careful not to get ripped off.

Go-go bars and host bars provide you with a convenient way to find men who you can engage in no-strings attached sex with, as long as you’re willing to pay, because although prostitution is technically illegal in Thailand, there seems to be general acceptance of the practice. Undoubtedly, there are gay men willing to have sex without any kind of payment, but you generally know what you’re getting when entering these kinds of establishments.

Bangkok is also home to ‘Bangkok Together’ – a Gay Pride event that is held in October. The event presents an opportunity for members of the LGBT community to highlight their importance within Thai society and to promote the need for their rights to be properly acknowledged by the political classes. Another popular event amongst gay men is Songkran, which translates as ‘Water Festival’, and marks the Thai New Year. The gay bars of Silom are packed full of half-naked, wet men who are able to enjoy the three day festival that revolves around parties and dancing, as well as water!

Pattaya is another city popular amongst gay tourists, because of the significant number of gay bars, saunas, massage parlours and hourly hotels. In fact, the city has the largest gay scene in Asia, based specifically around Boyztown and Sunee Plaza. You can also enjoy the flamboyant kathoey cabaret shows that feature transsexuals performing and are very much a tourist attraction. The Sunee Plaza Gay Festival is also held in the area and is a celebration of the gay community that is held in November each year. Phuket is famous for its nightlife and attracts many gay men to the area, especially the town of Patong. Phuket Pride is held each year in April, and you can enjoy pool parties, dancing, swimming and cheap drink! There is also the opportunity to scuba dive and go on a day cruise. You can enjoy the street parties that are held during the week, listen to music, watch the final of Mr Gay Phuket, watch some fireworks and, of course, take part in the Pride Parade and enjoy the other festivities on offer. Chiang Mai is another city in Thailand which holds a Gay Pride event annually.

If you want to sample gay life in Thailand, it is therefore definitely worth a visit to Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket, as these are the areas that have much to offer in terms of a prominent gay community and thriving nightlife. There are plenty of establishments in which you can pick up men, whilst there are also a number of organised events that you can participate in and so there won’t be a shortage of things for you to do during your stay!

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Adonis Guest House , 143 / 34-35 Rat-Uthit 200 Year Road, Paradise Complex, Patong Beach
Central Pattaya Apartments , 149/99 Thabphaya soi 1