Although the authorities really wish it were otherwise - and, really, who are they to talk? - Bangkok has a rather well-earned reputation as a place with a thriving sex trade where "anything goes". All "tastes" are catered for, including men who like men. When I first visited Thailand in 1987, the Bangkok gay scene consisted almost exclusively of go-go bars and the like clustered around the small alleys off Silom Road, near the more infamous Patpong Road.
The location hasn't changed, but the scene definitely has. From rather commercial origins, Bangkok's gay community is becoming more westernized, although there's still a huge selection of host and go-go bars. The main pubs and clubs that are non-commercial are still located near the Patpong area, on Silom Sois 2 and 4. See the general information sites listed below for up to date listings of the right places to be seen.
Beyond the pubs, clubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues, there are very few other businesses that cater exclusively to gay customers. However, that's not really a cause for concern. When it comes to things like hotels, you'll find just about every place is "gay friendly" to some degree. As in most Southeast Asian countries, Thais are adept at overlooking the obvious and think nothing of two men sharing a room, even if they ask for a king-size bed. Check out my recommended Bangkok accommodations for some ideas of where to stay, and explore the rest of this section to find the sights and activities that interest you.
Resources for Gay Travelers
There are a number of web sites providing information about Bangkok's gay scene. A number of them are oriented towards personals, etc. Here are the sites that we think provide the most useful information for the gay traveler:
General Information for Gay Travelers
- Dreaded Ned's
- A comprehensive site with information and additional links for everything from nightspots to personals, covering all of Thailand.
- Award-winning web site with lots of information for Thailand and the rest of Asia.
- Bangkok Lesbian
- One helpful lesbian's list of where to hang out in Bangkok.
Gay Travel Services
- Purple Dragon
- The guys at Purple Dragon specialize in personalized travel throughout Southeast Asia. Choose from a variety of base packages that you can add special side trips to for a one of a kind vacation experience.
Guide Books for Gay Travelers
Bangkok Gay Pride Events
Unfortunately, the annual pride event is no more in Bangkok. There was always official resistance to the idea of a parade, and the community was never strong enough to stand up to it, due in large part to infighting between competing commercial interests that wanted to dominate the organization. It also has to be said that pride was always a foreign-dominated organization in Bangkok. Parading your sexuality just isn't 'Thai' no matter what you may think.