Thailand

Photo courtesy of http://www.phuket-pride.org

Although Thailand is renowned for a generally non-judgemental attitude with Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, particularly, offering a gay-friendly ambience, away from the mix withwestern culture – especially in country areas – many people are conservative.

Bangkok’s Silom district is the major financial and business centre and bursts into life at night.Around Silom road onthe vibrant side alleys of Sois 2 and 4, the gay sceneis busy and friendly;attracting crowds in Soi 4 are The Balcony and Telephone pub. Only around 200 metres away is Soi 2 which has the most popular Bangkok gay club, DJ Station with another well patronised one closeby -G.O.D. (Guys On Display). Reputedly offering some of the best go-go bars – numbered at around 40,Soi Cowboyattractsmainly tourists and expatriates.

In Pattaya, two well-known gay beaches – each laying claim to ‘the most popular gay beach in Thailand’ are Jomtien and Dong Tan.A choice of gay-friendly bars populate the area near Jomtien beach and around the Jomtien Complex.Almost year round, Dongtan beach’s gay area is busy during afternoons and weekends.

On the island of Phuket, the majority of gays and transgender people live and party in Patong – which refers to the beach and town.Centred around Soi Bangla (themain entertainment zone for straight people) andthe gay area of Paradise Plaza,the lively nightlifefeatures many night clubs, massage parlours and bars as well as a variety of restaurants withmany activities also offered by day.Connected to the Royal Paradise Hotel & Spa,the Paradise Complex comprises gay-centric guesthouses, restaurants, shops, clubs and bars. The bar girls are often bar boys, and popular ones include Boat Bar, My Way Cabaret, go-go bar ZAG Club and the Tangmo Club which has nightly shows featuring beautiful lady boys.

Popular accommodations which are mainly gay owned and/or gay managed include Connect Guesthouse, Adonis Guest House,Club One Seven Phuket, Aquarius Guesthouse & Sauna thatis “men only” as is Phuket Gay Homestay which opened a new herbal steam room sauna in 2016. Of note, CC’s Hideaway Karon is also pet friendly.

In Chiang Mai, gay bars can be found in the Night Bazaar area – includingRam Bar, Secrets Bar, and Orion Bar.

Parties/Events

Bangkok’s best-known gay sauna and one of the longest-running gay venues, Babylon Sauna hosts a special edition of its popular monthly Foam Party on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, with live DJ and cocktails, starting around 6:30pm. The following day Babylon hosts a Xmas mini concert from 7pm.

Soon after is end-of-year bashWhite Party Bangkok.Featuring three massive parties, world-renowned DJs and star performers, it runs from Friday, 30 December, 2016, to Sunday, 1 January, 2017 at GMM Live House 8/F CentralWorld.

Looking ahead, Gay events for 2017 set tocontinue to attract much interest include The Bangkok Pride Festival and Phuket Pride.

Phuket Pride features a choice of activities from April 27-30, including pool parties, sports events, day trips and beach parties for LGBT residents, tourists and friends to celebrate the 2017 inclusive theme of “Come Together”.

From May 15-20, The Bangkok Pride Festival offers a variety of film festivals, workshops, LGBT social events and parties culminating in the popular Pride March on Saturday May 20 on Silom Road.

Patong hospital has the only MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) clinic on Phuket – at the end of the parking lot is Sabadee clinic.Gay and bisexual foreigners can visit theClinic for an HIV test or obtain PEP treatment.

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Chiang Mai Royale

Within the old city of Chiang Mai, lies Rachamankha, a 25 room and suite property that very well compasses the rich history of Chiang Mai. The distinctive architecture is strongly inspired by the eleventh centuries B.C, which makes Rachamankha, exudes old world charm and character.

Getting to the hotel from the airport is very easy. Just head out to the taxi stand and there’s a booth where all the drivers congregates and someone will be there to help you get a taxi. Don’t worry about touting, prices are fixed prior you get on a cab.

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Check in was a breeze. We stayed in a Courtyard Superior which was on the second level of the property. Room is furnished with strong emphasis on wood and simplicity. The high ceiling was a plus that made the room look spacious.

Around the property, there are places where you can simply sit and enjoy a book or even a cup of tea while you take in the serenity of the surroundings. Didn’t bring a book for your trip? Just hop over to the library where it houses over 2,000 books ranging from history, art to architecture. The library was such a tranquil place that I even spent a few house in there, slipping my coffee while tapping away on my laptop.

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You can either dine in the restaurant proper or al fresco at the patio. Should the weather permit, choose the latter. The patio is set within an intimate area of concrete walls and perfectly manicured potted topiary. Ideal for a romantic dinner after an evening stroll, exploring the little nooks of the property. The restaurant serves traditional dishes that celebrates the cultures of the Lanna, Burmese and Shan cuisines.

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There are many points of attractions that you can visit whilst in Chiang Mai. Just round the corner, there are four notable temples within walking distance. Looking for something more historical? Head over to the tour counter, located right in front of the restaurant and seek for some recommendations.

Transportations are aplenty within the old and new city of Chiang Mai. I love taking the red tuk tuks as it’s fast and definitely low priced. A trip into the new city starts from just 10 BAHT.

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Rachamankha is definitely a place to consider if you are in the mood for historical Northern Thai culture or just seeking a residential living rather than a hotel stay.

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