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April 2010 Email this to a friend

Thailand

By Staff reports

Thailand

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded article click DailyXtraTravel

Prathet Thai, "land of the free," is a place of great beauty. The natural landscape, idyllic beaches and tropical vegetation provide breath-taking vistas. The people are generous with their smiles in this society tightly woven by Buddhism and love of their monarchy. Taxi drivers still stop at small temples to make offerings and pray, and at 6pm each day people all over Thailand stand quietly to pay respect to the king. Self-respecting and fiercely independent, they alone in the region succeeded in resisting European colonization.

Buddhist culture inspires uncommon concepts of sexuality and gender roles. To western eyes the many women who work construction in hard hats contrast oddly with "straight men" on bar stages dressed only in thongs or less, or doing sex work with men. In a world of far more important dramas, sex just isn't such a big deal. As with sustenance, their attitude goes, if hungry one should eat, but modestly. Freedom's opportunities can disorient some foreigners on a binge. But others learn discretion from Thais, for whom such things are personal and family matters.

Gay rights
Traditional Thai culture was not homophobic and was open to more fluid sexual and gender expression. Thai men are also less focused on body type and age than their counterparts in Europe and the Americas. Sodomy was decriminalized in 1956, and gays and transgendered people have been able to serve in the armed forces since 2005. There is not total equality, however. Sex among men is not particularly remarkable here, but self-identified gay men may not become monks and there are no same-sex marriage or partnership rights. Rural people are less hospitable to gay-identified men than are urban people and those in resort towns along the coast. Prostitution is technically illegal, but widely tolerated so long as it's with people over 18 years old, and an important part of the economy. The age of consent is officially 15, but various legal caveats make the practical age of consent 18.

Language note: a variety of spellings for business, place or street names may confuse you. With no standard for English transliteration of Thai words, they can be written in different ways. You'll soon get the hang of it.

Getting there, getting around
At Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, look for the "Taxi Meter Hire" stand. Fares to the center are $10 to $12. The subway system and the soon-to- be extended Sky Train provide convenient traffic-free transportation around the city. For travel and pass information see Bts.co.th.

The cooler months from November to April are peak season. See Tourismthailand.se or Whatson- thailand.com for general information. Budget airlines at Airasia.com, Nokair.com and Fireflyz.com.my provide cheap flights throughout Thailand and to neighboring countries.

Bangkok bars & clubs
By the Chao Phraya River, the Silom and Surawong Roads district has a thriving scene of restaurants, karaoke bars, saunas, massage spas, and go-go bars. It's where most gay visitors head first; where enterprising young local men come to meet them, and ladyboy (kathoey) mamasans emcee the sexually uninhibited shows. Clubs can have anywhere from a dozen to several dozen guys on offer, and any dancer who tickles your fancy can be had. Ask (and tip) the mamasan.
Fewer tourists go to another area of gay pubs and saunas in the Ramkhamhaeng Road area. It's a less blatantly commercial pick-up scene, a more Thai to Thai ambience, but simpatico outsiders are welcome enough. Khamphengphet Road, Sukhumvit Road and Saphan Kwai (Pradiphat) are similar.

Silom, terrace bars and restaurants
The Silom subway stop and the Sala Dang Sky Train station serve the Silom-Surawong district. Silom soi 4 has a famous cluster of bars, and a website to promote them at SilomSoi4.net. Others are on soi Pratuchai and other streets around Silom.
Balcony (Silom soi 4) bar and restaurant, known for tasty cocktails, two popular terraces, and friendly staff. Upstairs at the karaoke bar they have periodic cabaret nights.
Bearbie Bar (Silom soi 4) for bears' and friends, the meeting place for Thai Chub&Chasers; warm color metro-retro decor, big sofas to cuddle or sprawl, best karaoke equipment.
Coffee Society (12/3 Silom) 24-hour caffeine, internet access, all-day meals include veggie options.
Dick's Cafe Bangkok (soi Pratuchai) quiet oasis on a bustling street where early birds get the best seats. Thai and western breakfast, brunch, dinner and late-night snacks, plus wide selections of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.
Maxis Bar & Restaurant (soi Pratuchai) Thai and western meals, stylish cocktail lounge, second floor balcony and open air terrace.
@Richard's (Silom soi 2/1) neighborhood pub favorite of local expats and Thai friends -newcomers welcome, Quiz Nights; international restaurant with bar-b-q cook out and buffet specials.
Sphinx Bar & Restaurant (Silom soi 4, far end) award-winning national and international food, good wines, central location with indoor or al fresco terrace seating; upstairs Pharoah's karaoke bar
Telephone Pub (Silom soi 4) longtime favorite bar and restaurant with a little of everything, shows, parties, karaoke and dancers, pulling in a crowd of many ages and nationalities. Their website has a pdf map of the Silom district, plus news, videos, photos and links.

Silom go-go bars
Many go-go bars are in soi Pratuchai, also known as Duangthawee Plaza or "Boy Plaza" off Surawong Road. Bars change frequently, so listings and maps are quickly outdated; but touts at street level will quickly show where new places open.
Boys Bangkok (38/3-6 soi Pratuchai) good shows twice nightly, part of the Best Boys group of many dancers.
Dream Boy (38/3-6 soi Pratuchai) above Boys Bangkok, also Best Boys group, with big studs to fey twinks, explicit and big cock shows on two stages.
Future Boys (894/4-6 Soi Pratuchai) go-go boys on huge central stage, and back area shower stage.
Jupiter 2002 (Thaniya soi 2, off Suriwong Rd) fast paced go-go shows from 10pm, 20 to 30 handsome dancers, erotic big cock performances,
Screw Boys (Patong soi 2, Surawong) wide selection of dancers, plenty of contact opportunities, open later than most.
Solid Bar (39/2 soi Anuman Ratchathon, Suriwong) intimate club with go-go stage shows from 8pm to 2am, among least expensive drinks in town.
Tawan Men's Club (2/2 soi Tantawan, Surawong) amiable muscle men get off nightly onstage and offer massage onsite or off.

Dance clubs
9 Night Club (90-96 Silom Rd, soi 4) slick new disco in Silom, multi-level space, diva cabaret, fashion and dude shows, outdoor seating.
DJ Station (Silom soi 2) comedy and drag shows, over-the-top glamour, small dance floor, mostly Thai crowd.
G.O.D. (Guys On Display) (Silom, alley at soi 2) shirtless men groove to hard house and funk on large dance floor, most crowded after 2am.
JJ Park (Silom soi 2) not a dance club, but much the same crowd, with singers and stage shows, live music performances, chill-out space, mixed Thai and western.
ICK (Ramkhamhaeng soi 89/2) big, late disco, popular with Thai students. One of several gay clubs in the Lamsari Complex near Ramkhamhaeng University.
Think Pink @ Bed Supper Club (26 Sukhumvit Soi 11) fashionable Sunday night gay dining and dancing weekly event with top DJs.
g-Circuit (Gcircuit.com) sponsors annual parties that include three nights of Thai New Year celebrations in mid-April, drawing people from all over Asia. See their website for 2011 dates.

Bangkok Accommodations
Aquarius (243 Hutayana, soi Suanphlu, S Satorn Road) quiet gay guesthouse, in tropical garden at heart of Bangkok near Silom/Patpong entertainment district. Guests welcome to mingle in gay-family socials at bar, parties or in roof garden. Babylon Bangkok (34 soi Nandha, S Sathon Rd, soi 1) sauna, nightclub, restaurant, gym and cabaret, designed for all male pleasures. Lodging options from bed and breakfast rooms to garden or penthouse suites, plus three luxurious Botticelli House suites in 1920 Colonial-Thai style, set in manicured gardens.
Bally's Studio Suites (10 Silom Road Soi 2) boutique served residence, 53 fully furnished apartments, near all Silom nightlife, 24 hour security, satelite TV and Wi-Fi, in-house coffee shop and bar.
BBB Inn (918 Rama 4 Rd, Silom) centrally located clean modern inexpensive rooms, overnight or short term; private bath, double-glass quiet, 24-hour room service, TV, Wi-Fi access, fridges, multi-lingual staff, laundry facilities.
Luxx (6/11 Decho Rd, Silom; 2-635-8800) modern rooms, studios and suites with wood bathtubs, near bars, American breakfast included.
LUXX XL (82/8 Langsuan, Pathumwan; 2-684-1111) near Luphini Park, suites and executive rooms, large pool with bar, wi-fi.
Tarntawan Place Hotel (119/5-10 Surawong; 2-238- 2620) stylish hotel, simple and deluxe suites, daily newspaper, restaurant with Thai and Japanese specials.
Saladaeng Colonnade (21 soi Saladaeng, Silom; 2-636-0131) teakwood apartments, fitness center, long pool, in-room breakfast, monthly rates.
Bangkok Song (2-679-3343; Bangkoksong.blogspot.com) stylish and spacious apartments, kitchens, local pool and gym, near bars.
IBIS Sathorn (Soi Ngam Duphli Rama IV, Sathorn; 2-659-2888) modern rooms, restaurant and bar, wi-fi, breakfast until noon, in the heart of gay scene.
Furama Xclusive Sathorn (59 Silom soi 3, Phipat 2; 2-266-8030) rooms andsuites, restaurant, pool, sauna, exercise room, in-room massage, near shopping and nightlife.
Malaysia Hotel Bangkok (54 Soi Ngam Duplee, Rama 4; 2-679-7127) longtime favorite, standard and luxury rooms, restaurant, pool.
Om Yim Lodge (72,74 Naratiwat, Silom; 2-635-0169) tidy guesthouse, Thai/western restaurant, wi-fi.
Vincents Guesthouse (12/1 soi Ngam Duphli, Rama 4; 2-286-3348) spotless rooms, restaurant, near Luphini Park.

Bangkok Saunas & massage
Adnonis (44/11 Convent Rd, Silom) massage for men by men, luxury rooms in renovated Silom townhouse, large selection of handsome masseurs, free parking, seven day service with weekend hours until 11:30pm.
Aqua Spa (34 soi Nadhna, Sathorn) club for gay men at city center for fully-equipped gym workouts and sensual massage from (then relaxation with) one of their talented staff. Also with restaurant, bar and garden.
Babylon Bangkok (34 soi Nadhna, Sathorn) wide range of accommodations, lavish sauna complex, pool, gym, massage services, restaurants, wild cabaret, erotic and drag shows. All the pleasures of a man in one place.
Body Club (4/24-25 Sukhumvit Soi 8) massage for men by men, seven days a week noon to 10pm, many types of able guys.
Candle Paradise Spa (18/464 Rama 4 City Court) escape stress and hassles with premium spa therapy and massage in a warm, comfortable, private and peaceful environment.
Chakran Sauna (32 soi Ari 4, off Phaholyothin soi 7) fully equipped sauna, upscale decor, pool, restaurant, bar, Thai and Asian clientele.
Heaven Sauna (119 soi Mahesak, Silom, 4th floor) steam room and sauna, rooftop spa and garden near Skytrain station Surasak, popular with local office crowd.
Sauna Mania (35/2 soi Phipat 2, off soi Convent, Sathorn) small gym, rooftop terraces, busy underwear night, mostly Thai crowd, wide range of ages.
Senso (5/8 soi Saladaeng, Silom) erotic massage spa open daily 2-11pm, well-equipped, wide range of masseurs, hotel outcalls, and escort services.
Urban Male Massage (24/6 Sukhumvit 23) modern intimate boutique spa for men, spacious showers, private rooms, aroma therapy, highly skilled and personable masseurs.

Bangkok Shopping and Grooming
Silom Road has price-pleasing flea markets nightly except Monday.
Siam Paragon Center, at Siam Station has fashion shows, an aquarium, designer boutiques and department stores.
The huge MBK shopping mall is at National Stadium.
Cutey Beauty (Third Floor, Thaniya Plaza, Silom) hair coloring, cuts, massage, facials, body waxing.
Global Medical Clinic (281/15 Soi Silom Road; 2-635-5414) cosmetic surgery, botox, lipoatrophy treatments.

Bangkok Sights
The Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaew complex, and the Wat Pho and Wat Aruntemples are magnificent sights.
The National Museum has many artifacts of ancient Siam. The nearby National Gallery Museum houses traditional and contemporary works by Thai artists. For these and more see websites Bangkok-museum.com and Thailand Being Travel Guide
In peaceful Dusit Gardens the Vimanmek Teak Mansion is a museum dedicated to King Rama V.
Boat trips on the Chao Phraya River depart every half hour from Sathorn pier with cruises to places of historical interest. See Tour-bangkok-legacies.com for details on these and other destinations.

Trips to the Floating Market of Damnoen Saduak in Ratchaburi may be arranged through A&F Travel (120 Silom Rd; 2-266-5105). Phra Pathom Chedi, the holiest Thai structure, is on the way at Nakhon Pathom, 35 miles south of Bangkok. A&F books travel throughout Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Resources
Gay Thailand has a variety of general information.
Bangkok City Boys has videos of gay competitions and Pride parades.


NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Pattaya article click DailyXtraTravel

Pattaya

The beach resort of Pattaya is a two-hour drive from Bangkok. Air- conditioned coaches from Bangkok's Eastern Bus Station cost only a few dollars and depart every half hour. Limos and taxis cost about $40.

Pattaya's Baht Buses are less than a dollar for "in route" trips; a tour will cost a couple of bucks. Motorcycle taxis are inexpensive, but have correct change handy and agree on the price before leaving.

American soldiers on R&R from Vietnam helped transform this small fishing village into a sprawling resort dedicated to pleasure. Long after they left, the city still thrives by providing sensual comforts.

Most of the gay scene is in South Pattaya. It's joked that bars change their names when the toilet paper runs out, but numbers remain fairly constant. Dancers and waiters are available, and ladyboy mamasans help with arrangements. Each bar has its own style, ambience, and customer types; stage shows can be graphic. Some have rooms for private or group frolic.

Saunas, restaurants and dozens of massage shops are interspersed among the many bars and nightclubs. Pattayaland and Sunee Plaza have the majority of gay businesses. Not only in the bars but throughout the gay districts there are many young men seeking your company for sex; most are commercial. To play it safe, ask for ID (and remember the Thai calendar is diffent); 18 is legal. Tourists found with someone underage can face heavy penalties, both here and at home.

A gay scene has also developed around Jomtien Complex, a taxi ride away. At the nearby Jomtien gay beach, vendors offer souvenirs, food and massage. Look for the rainbow flag at Tui's Place, the only gay hotel here abouts. Rent two deck chairs with your umbrella and you won't wait long. Not far away, Rainbow, or Dongtan, Beach is splendid and has a gay ambience and plenty of amenities.

Local Media
It requires the local media to keep up the almost 150, often changeable gay businesses here. Some once reliable websites found in google searches can be very outdated. Better than average English-language sites include: Suneeplaza.info, Gay Affairs Pattaya and the new blog from a young Thai with an insider perspective, Nicky's Gay Pattaya. Each of these has maps, reviews, photos and event info for all of Pattaya's gay scene.
Pattaya Hot Male and Pattaya Gay TV are other good locals.
Spice and Thai Puan are magazine websites with news and features in English about gay life in Pattaya and other Thai cities.

Pride
The Pattaya Pride street party is to be held December 1st 2010, but other events take place throughout the year. See Pattayapride.com for details.

Accommodations
Ambiance Hotel (Pattayaland soi 3; 38-424-099) affluent feel, quiet rooms, penthouse suite, national and international 24-hour restaurant.
Boyz Boyz Boyz (Pattayaland soi 3; 38-424-099) hotel suites with balconies, gym with sauna and masseurs, a part of Ambience Hotel.
Beachpropertiesthailand.com (38-303-920), with a big range of properties, can help with purchases, rentals, and condos.
Bondi Beach Bar & Guest House (Dongtan Beach Road at Jomtien Beach; 80-630-7314) has rooms overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, and terrace bar a few minutes walk from the beach and close to Jomtien nightlife.
Le Cafe Royale Hotel (Pattayaland; 38-423-515) has rooms, suites, penthouses and apartments at the heart of Boyz Town nightlife with restaurants, cabaret, show/boy bars, and a sauna complex nearby.
Casabella (Pratumnak Road; 38-306-065 ) between Buddha Hill and Dongtan Beach, a casual and friendly guesthouse with roof garden patio, comfortable rooms, hot showers, a.c., fans, TV and video, starting at just US$16.
Don Plaza Guesthouse (soi VC, Sunee; 38-713-840) has large and comfortable rooms and suites, inexpensive rates, all at Sunee central.
East Suites serviced suites and loft Jomtien Complex residences near Dongton Beach, with in-house Pagoda restaurant, kitchenettes, WiFi, video gizmos, and easy access to gay nightlife.
Eldorado Guesthouse (Sunee Plaza; 38-713 259) small but compfortable ten room guesthouse and restaurant with a Swiss accent, at the center of all the Sunee nightlife.
Ganymede (Jomtien Complex; 38-303-731) twelve room residence, boybar and sauna complex with all the amenities, near the beach, starting at just US$18 per night.
Haus Mewie (Jomtien Complex; 66-87-148-0382) German pension with rooms and apartments, garden terrace, balconies, computer, entertainment and kitchen amenities, close to beach and nightlife, starting at just US$15/night.
Hotel Ibis Pattaya (Pattaya 2nd Rd; 66-2659-2888) big, bright, colorful and modern euro-style hotel with pool, balconies overlooking beach, restaurant, bar, shopping/nightclub district nearby. When in Koh Samui check their sister hotel on Bophut Beach, the Ibis Samui Bophut.
Howard's Guesthouse & Bar (soi VC Hotel; 38- 713-664) a local institution at the entrance to Sunee Plaza bars, shops and restaurants. Comfortable modern rooms, reasonable prices, charming staff. Their lobby bar has cheap beer and is frequented by young freelancers.
Mangoes Guesthouse (Sattahip; 38-238-519) small bungalow guesthouse in village just outside Pattaya, near Wat Yansangwararam. Bikes and motorcycles rented here for exploring local fishing village beaches.
Marina Inn Plaza (273/13-15 Soi Yensabai, Sunee Plaza; 38-429-232) newly renovated rooms ranging from budget to spacious suites just at the edge of all the Sunee action.
Palm Grove Resort (Sukhumvit Rd, Najomtien; 38-709-444) luxury resort, with private beach, chauffeur services. Pool Villas Suites include fully equipped units, and personal chefs.
Poseidon Guest House (Jomtien Complex; 38-425-512) German and English speaking gay hotel with rooms, studio apartments and suites, near gay beach, bars, with in-house gourmet restaurant and four-star service at inexpensive prices.
Rabbit Resort (Jomtien Beach; 38-251-730) a village of Thai beach bungalows on 4 acres of Dongtan Beach frontage, with lush gardens around two pools. Promotions begin at just US$90 per double.
Room-Club Hotel (Jomtien Beach; 38-251-461) bar, rooms and deluxe suites and penthouse, right on gay beach, some with seafront balconies, open-air showers. Also restaurant dining, in-house massage and spa, private open-air lounges.
Sansuk Sauna & Guesthouse (Thappraya Rd; 38-364-356) 19 room guesthouse between Jomtien Beach and Boyztown. Guests receive free pass to their large sauna and pool facility, plus computer access, and poolside breakfast at the restaurant. wi-fi.
Tui's Place Bar and Restaurant (Jomtien Beach; 38-251-432) small comfortable gay seaside guesthouse at north end of the gay beach. Located within the Greand Conotel complex at the end of soi Thep Prasit.
Two Guys Guesthouse (Soi Yensabai, South Pattaya; 38-713-652) homey and gay-friendly guesthouse near Sunee Plaza, a short walk to Boyz Town. Well-equipped rooms, and restaurant serving all-day breakfast from 7am.
The Venue Residence (Jomtien Complex; 38-303-787), a gay-owned, straight-friendly boutique hotel and cabaret near the gay beach, with three rooms categories, all with Japanese-style large shower bathrooms, and other first class extras.

Nightlife, Pattayaland
One of the three major gay nightlife districts are centered on and around three streets or "soi" 1, 2, and 3. On soi 3, most are a part of the Boyz Town hotel, sauna, massage, and nightclub group, with a community website for individual business links.

Boyz Boyz Boyz (Pattayaland soi 3) one of the best established of Boyztown bars, does spectacular cabaret and has go-go shows with dancers of all kinds and body types doing provocative "close-ups." They also have a chill-out back bar for conversations.
Copa Showbar (Pattayaland soi 3) toned torsos swim around glass tank for lascivious underwater shows, classy showtunes cabaret acts, and ready-to-go young men for the asking.
Oscars (Pattayaland soi 3) a homey cocktail bar with terrace, light meals and entertainment.
Panorama Pub, (Pattayaland soi 3) the perfect place to begin a Boyz Town exploration, with a fun staff and international crowd.
Serene Pub (soi 3) an oasis of quiet host bar, if you need one, amid the maelstrom of the surrounding scene.
Wild West Boys (Pattayaland soi 2) nightclub has very erotic bathtub shows, a wide range of enthusiastic and available dancers performing in extravagant shows and events.
Other Pattayaland go-go favorites include:
A-Bomb Boys (soi 2) older than average dancers; Cupidol Bar (soi 1) animated dancers set against black marble interior; Dream Boys (soi 1) long-time survivor, comfortable vibe, many pleasant dancers and waiters to choose among;
Funny Boys (soi 3) many dancers, varied kinds, intimate stage set-up; Sawadee Boys (soi 1) many dancers perform on large central stage; Star Boys (soi 1) known for Big Cock shows; Kawaii Boys (soi 1) known for on-stage jiggles; Lucky 777 (soi 1) cheap beers and slightly older dancers; Toy Boys (soi 3) large club, varied dancers, comfortable seating around central stage, more laid-back pacing than others; Vassa (between soi 1 & 2) older, less frenetic dancers; and X-Boys (soi 1) quieter club with older dancers on stage. Upstairs Dynamite also less busy, has cinema-style seating and plenty of dancers.

At Amor Restaurant (Pattayaland soi 3) you should book early for American holiday feasts.
New Orleans Restaurant (Soi Pattayaland 2) specializes in ribs and racks, Cajun and Creole, Italian and seafood, with a balcony booth.

Nightlife, Jomtien
Monty's Bar (Jomtien Complex) has sexy cabaret and dancing boy shows.
Lubov Boys, and La Dolce Vita are two more Jomtien Complex host bars with boys who'll offer their company.
Question Mark (Jomtien Complex) a small bar with pool table offers massage by their friendly boys who take you upstairs for private sessions.
Two Faces Bar (Jomtien Complex) a guesthouse, open-air beer bar, and coffee shop where waiters do double duty giving massage exactly as you like.
The Venue (Jomtien Complex) gay hotel cabaret lounge has three nightly full-production ladyboy shows that include a dozen sexy male dancers, from 10pm. Shows change constantly, particularly on Sundays which include Thai Classical numbers.

Jomtien area restaurants include:
Dick's Cafe Jomtien (Jomtien Complex) has an affable unstressed atmosphere near the beach, tasty cocktails and a wide range of foreign and local beers, plus Thai and Western breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks.
Holland House (Jomtien Beach Road 344) is a Dutch restaurant and guesthouse serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, known for their homemade peanut sauce, or sateh. They have Dutch language TV, and speak English too.
Manhattans Restaurant & Bar (Thappraya Rd, Jomtien), renowned for flame-grilled beef steaks and fresh seafood dining, also has fine Thai food and the best "wine by the glass" menu in town. On first Saturdays they feature live jazz music.
Ozz Bar & Cafe (Jomtien Complex) promises relaxation on their romantic terrace, hearty food and drinks, Wi-Fi access, and English language newspapers.
The Pagoda (Jomtien Complex) an al fresco terrace and restaurant serving Mediterranean, European and Thai cuisine, is considered to be one of the best in town, and not too expensive either.
Poseidon Restaurant (Thappraya Rd, Jomtien) hotel bar and terrace, opens 8am to midnight for breakfast, then lunch, and gourmet dining after 6pm with a good list of wines.

Nightlife, Sunee Plaza
This compact district packs dozens of bars, restaurants and a few hotels, just off Soi VC. Beer bars and cafes are more laid-back. Cafe staff are available, but not in your face. At nightclubs they're more focused on the basic imperative of hooking up.

Nightclubs with go-go boys include: Enjoy Pub; Eros; Euroboys; Good Boys; Happy Boys; Krazy Dragon; Mic My Boys; Nice Boys; Tom Yum; and Wonderland.

Host bars and cafes in Sunee Plaza include: Come In; Corner Bar; Country Club; Crazy Club; CU Bar; Don Club; Duc's Bar; Eden; Forest; Leks/ La Copa; Memories Music Bar; Mike's La Cage; New Queens; Rainbow; Redgy's; Sky Boys; Sundance Bar; Sunee Plaza; Three Zone; Treetz; Uniform Bar; Up2U Bar; Wan's (Place 2B); and Wunderbar.

In the Day & Night area on the Boystown side of Sunee Plaza, there are two more nightclubs with dancers: Number One Boys, and Office Boy.

Sunee Plaza Cafes and restaurants include:
El Dorado guesthouse, bar and restaurant offering prix fixe meals with a Swiss touch;
Don Plaza good and affordable International cuisine for breakfast and dinner, simple to elaborate meals;
Little Mango restaurant and internet shop, high speed internet connections, good, fresh Thai curries as hot and spicy as you like;
Oud's bar wih sandwiches, snacks, comfortable terrace seating;
Po Pot (273/10-11 Soi Yensaba I) small guesthouse with German, International and Thai food; and
Two Guys small, popular guesthouse restaurant with all-day breakfast, good food for good value.
A bit out from Sunee center, Wan's Cafe has nice, relaxed atmosphere, tasty food for reasonable prices.
The White Night Restaurant is gone - now part of a larger Mike's La Cage.
Between Buddha Hill and Sunee Plaza an upscale dining option is Bruno's Restaurant (306/63 Chateau Dale Plaza; 38 364 600-1), serving lavish European and Thai lunch and dinner with an extensive selection of wine.

Nightlife, Late Night Afterhours Clubs
There are five mostly gay or gay-friendly late-night after-hours clubs, busy from about 1am to dawn, with elaborate shows, boy dancers, and dancing. These generally attract a more Thai than tourist crowd.
Dave Man's Club (S Pattaya Rd, soi 16) is a big gay dance club with plenty of cayote dancers in the shows.
Deep Splash @ Dusit Club (2nd Road), and Out-XY (soi 15). Nab (Soi 6 at Second Rd) is the newest, with a sexy late show in North Pattaya, and xZyte Disco (Third Rd at soi 16) is a big and busy club, in a giant black warehouse setting filled with good sound and light shows.

Saunas and massage
Body Club (Pattayaland soi 3; bodyclub- pattaya.com) aromatherapy, professional massage from $10.
Boyz Sauna Gym (325/93 Pattayaland Soi 3; 38-424-0099) heart of Boyztown, masseurs, open 10am- 10pm.
Derby Men's Sauna (413/131-132 Thappraya Rd, Nhongprue) gym, sauna, steam room, darkroom, erotic massage.
Sansuk Sauna & Guesthouse (391/49 Moo 10 Soi 11, Thappraya Rd; 38-364-355) international crowd, maze, steam room, saunas, gym, pool. They also have a restaurant with five-course set meals or a la carte menu.
Thai Blind Massage Institute (413/89 Thapprya Rd, Jomtien) massage for pain in your back, not the bawdy bits.

Events and activities
Floating Market (Floating4market.com) cuisines of four national regions from floating stalls.
Pattaya Pride (Pattayapride.com) events and parties, website has videos of past festivals and contests.
Pattaya Park Beach (Pattayapartk.com) amusement and water park with rollercoaster, cable car and tower jump.
Pattaya Modern Art Centre (Liamsgallery.com) art exhibits, often with erotic overtones.
Tiger Zoo (Tigerzoo.com) feed baby tigers or see pig races and crocodiles.



NOTE: The above Bangkok and Pattaya portions of this article were updated in May 2010, but Phuket information that follows dates from April 2009.

For an updated and expanded Phuket article click DailyXtraTravel

Phuket

Thailand's largest island lies to the west in the Andaman Sea. Patong, its busiest town, has a gay beach attracting an international crowd. This year the Phuket Film Festival (Phuketfilmfestival.asia) takes place June 4-11.

Beyond the tourist traps, secret hideaways such as Kalim Beach beckon. There you'll share with locals an array of seafood and barbecued meats. For tranquility, try Karon and Kata beaches. For first-class seclusion, hire an island for the day. See Honeymoonislandphuket.com.

Phuket Accommodations

Adonis Guesthouse (Paradise Complex, Patong; 76-345-800) well-equipped rooms, quiet location, just off the main strip.

Aquarius Guesthouse and Sauna (127/10-17 Rat-U-Thit Road, Patong;76-341-668) at heart of Paradise Complex, rooftop hot tub and sauna.

CC Bloom's Hotel (84/21 Patak Rd soi 10, Karon; 76-333- 222) gay hideaway in the hills, sea view, near Karon Beach.

Club One Seven B&B (9/9-10 Prachanukroh, Patong) clean and comfortable rooms, near the sea.

Connect Guesthouse (125/8-9 Rat-U-Thit Rd; 76-294-195) budget to penthouse rooms, Thai and international food, Thursday buffet.

Puerta del Sol (105/9 Rachauthid Rd, Patong; 87-888- 1158) five minutes from Paradise Complex, shopping and beaches.

Ibis Phuket (10 Chalermphrakiat Road, Kathu District, Patong) bar and restaurant, near beach, in-room wi-fi and safe.

Sundowners (Paradise Complex; 76-344-215) terrace and sports bars, near nightlife, five-minute walk to gay beach.

Time Bar & B&B (125/12 Raj-U-thit Rd, Paradise Complex; 89-724-8497) guest rooms from $25, bar and parties.

Phuket Nightlife

Paradise Complex is the neon-lit gay zone in Patong. All of Patong becomes one big nightclub after dark, buzzing with the energy of the bars and dancing in the streets, as well as tabletops. Men, women, and ladyboys line sidewalks signaling their availability to growing numbers of international visitors, young and old. Of the 30 or so gay bars and restaurants in the area those below are in Paradise Complex.

Boat Bar cabaret bar, nightclub with modern sound and laser system.

Flying Handbag relaxed pace, tasty drinks, local beer.

Kiss eclectic crowd, underwear nights, uniform and fetish parties. Thai slapstick comedy shows with big-belly women in sequins.

My Way go-go bar, nightly cabaret, bevy of guys on offer.

Sundowners Bar & Guesthouse prime people-watching location, pool table.

Dining

Playhouse Theatre/Restaurant (120 Rat-U- Thit Rd, Patong) short walk from Paradise Complex, Thai food, and tapas, shows mix Thai theater and western comedy.

Seahag (78/5 Permpong Soi III, Patong Beach) Thai restaurant with stylish ambiance.

Da Maurizio Restaurant and Bar (223/3 Prabarami Rd, Patong) contemporary Italian in perfect seaside setting.

Phuket Events, activities

Song Kran, Thailand's traditional New Year, which begins this year on April 13, is a three-day celebration. The whole country observes religious and family rituals, but dousing people, especially foreigners, with water is the best-known tradition. There is dancing on every street.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival a nine-day festival running from October 17 to 26, marks the beginning of "Taoist Lent" with hot coal walking, skin piercings, and religious processions.

Rainbow-Scuba & Tour (rainbow-scuba.com) gay tours on land or underwater at Koh Samui.

Phuket: getting there, getting around

Within Thailand, a host of budget airlines can get you here. From Bangkok try Airasia.com or Nokair.com. Bus and mini- van connections are about $20, and can be arranged by your hotel. Taxi fare to Patong or Kata runs $10- 15.

Phuket Resources

Gaypatong.com has local Phuket gay information.

Thai gay media

Look for Spice Magazine, an English-language publication with excellent maps. Thai Puan is available in Thai and English.

Resources

Gay Thailand. Variety of information.

Bangkok City Boys. Videos of competitions, Pride parades.

The Pattaya Gay Festival is usually held in late November and early December. See Pattayagayfestival.com.

Resources

Gayaffairspataya.com.


NOTE: Our new website articles on Bangkok and Pattaya were updated in February 2011 (see top of column). The Pattaya and Bangkok portions of this article were updated in April 2010, but all Phuket information dates from April 2009.

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