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Explore the bustling of Bangkok...
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
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. Western tourists now flock
here to share this freedom.
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
should eat, but modestly. Freedom's
opportunities can disorient some
on a binge. But others learn discretion
from Thais, for whom such things are
personal and family matters.
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
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
Getting there, getting around
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
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
Bangkok bars & clubs
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
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
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.
(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.
Society (12/3 Silom) 24-hour
caffeine, internet access, all-day meals include veggie options.
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.
(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
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.
Bangkok (38/3-6 soi Pratuchai) good shows twice nightly, part of the Best Boys group of many dancers.
(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,
(Patong soi 2, Surawong) wide selection of dancers, plenty of contact opportunities, open later than most.
(39/2 soi Anuman Ratchathon, Suriwong) intimate club with go-go stage shows from 8pm to 2am, among least expensive drinks in town.
Club (2/2 soi Tantawan,
Surawong) amiable muscle men get off nightly onstage and offer massage onsite or off.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
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.
Decho Rd, Silom; 2-635-8800) modern
rooms, studios and suites with wood
bathtubs, near bars, American breakfast
LUXX XL (82/8 Langsuan,
Pathumwan; 2-684-1111) near Luphini
Park, suites and executive rooms, large
pool with bar, wi-fi.
Hotel (119/5-10 Surawong; 2-238-
2620) stylish hotel, simple and deluxe
suites, daily newspaper, restaurant with
Thai and Japanese specials.
Colonnade (21 soi Saladaeng,
Silom; 2-636-0131) teakwood apartments,
fitness center, long pool, in-room
breakfast, monthly rates.
Bangkoksong.blogspot.com) stylish and
spacious apartments, kitchens, local
pool and gym, near bars.
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
Sathorn (59 Silom soi 3, Phipat
2; 2-266-8030) rooms andsuites,
restaurant, pool, sauna, exercise room,
in-room massage, near shopping and
Bangkok (54 Soi Ngam Duplee,
Rama 4; 2-679-7127) longtime favorite,
standard and luxury rooms, restaurant,
Lodge (72,74 Naratiwat, Silom;
2-635-0169) tidy guesthouse,
Thai/western restaurant, wi-fi.
Guesthouse (12/1 soi Ngam
Duphli, Rama 4; 2-286-3348) spotless
rooms, restaurant, near Luphini
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.
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.
Sauna (32 soi Ari 4, off
Phaholyothin soi 7) fully equipped
sauna, upscale decor, pool, restaurant,
bar, Thai and Asian clientele.
Sauna (119 soi Mahesak, Silom,
4th floor) steam room and sauna, rooftop spa and garden near Skytrain station Surasak, popular with local office crowd.
(35/2 soi Phipat 2, off soi Convent,
Sathorn) small gym, rooftop terraces,
busy underwear night, mostly Thai crowd, wide range of ages.
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
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.
Beauty (Third Floor, Thaniya
Plaza, Silom) hair coloring, cuts,
massage, facials, body waxing.
Clinic (281/15 Soi Silom Road;
2-635-5414) cosmetic surgery, botox,
The Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaew
complex, and the Wat Pho and Wat
Aruntemples are magnificent
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
peaceful Dusit Gardens the Vimanmek Teak
Mansion is a museum dedicated to King
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
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
Thailand has a variety of
Boys has videos of gay competitions and Pride parades.