Gay Thailand – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Gay Thailand - The Nomadic Boys

“You’ve been to so many places in the world guys, you must have a favourite?”
We sure do! Can you guess what it is?

Hint…it’s a country with gorgeous beaches, mouth-watering food, a rich cultural heritage, plenty of adventure activities, warm-hearted welcoming people, largely inexpensive, and a fantastic gay scene in its capital…

…it’s Thailand!

That’s right, the “Land of Smiles“ is one place we are always happy to come back to. It was one of the first places we ever came to in Asia many moons ago, and it’s one place we always strive to visit again and again, every single year! From the Circuit parties during Songkran to the fantastic street-party feel during New Years, we love love LOVE Thailand!

Thailand is a destination that offers so much to LGBTQ travellers. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to gayThailand setting out the best gay scenes across the country, the best queer events to look out for, lots of inspiration for best activities to do here and other practical information for LGBTQ travellers.

Here we go!

LGBTQ Rights in Gay Thailand

Overall, Thailand has progressive LGBTQ laws in places, easily making it one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia in our humble opinion. For example, homosexuality was legalised in 1956 then declassified as an illness in 2002. Furthermore, comprehensive anti-discrimination laws were introduced in 2015, the LGBT community have been allowed to serve openly in the military since 2005, and civil union laws are on the verge of being introduced.

In relation to the transgender community, the right to change legal gender is in the process of being introduced as well, but despite the lack of comprehensive laws about this, Thailand remains a haven for the transgender community in Asia. All the transgender men and women we met during our travels in Asia strived to come to Bangkok for a better life and to have the best surgeries. You can read more about this in our interview with our transgender female friend Regina from the Philippines.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Gay Phuket – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Gay Phuket - The Nomadic Boys

Grab a water gun, head here in mid-April and you have a legit free pass to spray water at any cutie you see walking down the street!

Songkran is the Buddhist New Year festival, which takes place every year from the 13th to 15th April. Around this time, Phuket and Bangkok host some of the biggest gay parties across all of Asia. But the thing to do in Songkran is chuck water at everyone. Seriously – in Buddhism, this symbolises the washing away of bad luck from the previous year. It cleanses you! And oh boy do we gays love a bit of cleansing? Trust us to take this to a whole different level, using it as an excuse to sashay the streets topless (it is, after all, super hot here in April!), chuck water at each other and make it into a massive party!

Phuket continues the festivities right after Songkran when Phuket Pride kicks off. Though to be frank, we found Phuket to be one big gay partyville throughout the entire year. There’s an entire area of gayness here in Patong affectionately nicknamed “Paradise Complex”, where all the gay bars and clubs of the island are. Head a few blocks from here and you reach Patong gay beach, full of hot speedo-clad guys posing, tanning, cruising, Instagramming, TikToking…suffice to say, if you’re looking for a gay beach holiday in Asia, Phuket’s got you covered!

This is our detailed gay guide to Phuket based on our trip here including the best gay hangouts, where to stay covering all budgets, gay spas, things to do and more. Note for LGBTQ travellers heading beyond Phuket, be sure to also check out our bumper gay guide to Thailand.

Gay Phuket

We loved gay Phuket. It was almost as fun as the gay scene of Bangkok, but right next to the beach!

The main gay strip of Phuket is based in and around the “Paradise Complex” of Patong. This is literally the Phuket gay area, all nicely concentrated within a few pedestrianised streets. More specifically, opposite the Royal Paradise Hotel, just off Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi Road.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Thailand Travel Resources

Thailand’s Trans Culture – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Thailand's Trans Culture - The Nomadic Boys

As soon as we mention we’re going to Bangkok, our (straight male) friends are quick to shower us with the “ladyboy” jokes also offering advice on “how to spot them“!

We always try to challenge stereotypes about transgender people in Thailand, the most common usually emanating from a guy’s fear that “they” are plotting to trap and seduce him. The reality, of course, is that “they” really are not! Most are simply trying to lead a normal everyday life, just like you and me, in a world that still hasn’t fully accepted its transgender community.

We have many transgender friends around the world who we’ve met in our travels, like Finn from Berlin. We take great pride in the LGBTQ bond that unites us: as gay men we are ultimately part of the same rainbow family, undergoing the same daily struggles of acceptance. We, therefore, take great pride in using our online platform to have an educative influence for transgender issues by challenging stereotypes and promoting a positive image of our transgender brothers and sisters.

One of our very good trans friends is Regina, who we met when we were out partying in the gay bars of Bangkok. Like us, Regina loves travelling and has stories from all around the world to share. Regina was also open to telling us all about her transition as well as her experience living/working as a trans person in Asia.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Bangkok’s Gayborhood – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Bangkok's Gayborhood - The Nomadic Boys

Lights… Camera… ACTION!

10s! 10s! 10s! across the board, as you sashay your way down Bangkok’s Silom Soi 4 street, the beating heart and soul of the city’s incredible gay scene.

We love it here. It’s one of our favourite gay scenes in the world. Regardless which day of the week you come, there’s always life and action. Whenever we visit Bangkok, the first thing we do is head straight to Balcony and have our obligatory “welcome to Bangkok” Pad Thai in their outdoor terrace.

Balcony is one of the many gay bars in Silom Soi 4 – an area with lots of gay hotels, massage parlours, clubs, saunas and restaurants. You can read our full gay guide to the city of Bangkok, but in this article, we take you on a magical journey through the gay area of Bangkok!

Where is Bangkok’s Gayborhood?

The majority of Bangkok’s gay bars and clubs are located in Silom, which is a sub-district of Bang Rak. There are two main gay streets in Silom, known as Silom Soi 4 and Silom Soi 2. Both of these smaller pedestrian-only streets lead off from the main Silom Road, which you can reach via the BTS Skytrain (get off at the Sala Daeng station) or the Silom MRT Station.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Travel Resources

Gay Life in Thailand – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Life in Thailand - The Nomadic Boys

“Guys you’ve been to so many countries in the world, you must have a favourite?”

Oh, we sure do! There are of course many places we’d go back to in a heartbeat, but if we had to pick just one – Thailand!

Thailand has it all, amazing beaches, a rich cultural fabric to discover, delicious food and most of all, it is very gay friendly! Bangkok, in particular, has a fantastic gay scene – in our opinion, one of the best in the world. Whilst Thailand has positioned itself to become one of Asia’s leading destinations for LGBTQ travellers, we wanted to learn more about what gay life in Thailand is really like from a local’s perspective.

We met cutie photographer, Saroj, in Bangkok, who gave us his perspective of what gay life in Thailand is really like and what it was like growing up gay there. Read his story right here:

Sawasdee krap Saroj, Please Introduce Yourself:

Hi guys, my name is Saroj Kunatanad. My friends call me “Ark”. I am 33 years old, born and raised in Bangkok. I grew up in Bobea, which is in the old town area of Bangkok, near Chinatown and the infamous Khao San Road.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Bangkok Gay Tours – The Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Tours - The Nomadic Boys

Aaah, Bangkok… this crazy, chaotic city can certainly overwhelm you with all the traffic and people but we keep on coming back for more! There’s just something so intoxicating about this messy, gritty yet absolutely incredible city…

Thailand is one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia, so it’s not surprising that its capital, Bangkok, has a fabulous gay scene. We’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring the gay bars and clubs in Bangkok, but sometimes you really just want someone in the know to show you around.

Luckily we’ve found these fabulous gay tours with local LGBTQ guides in case you’re feeling a bit nervous about venturing into the maze of streets and venues by yourself. They each offer something different, so whether you’re looking to party with drag queens or relax in the best gay saunas, you’ll find something to love.

Bangkok Gay Tours – Nightlife

This gay nightlife tour takes you on a whirlwind journey through Bangkok’s best gay bars and clubs. You’ll feel like you’ve followed the white rabbit down into the Wonderland that is Bangkok’s gay scene, so it’s appropriate that the first stop of the evening is at the White Rabbit Bar!

This cafe/lounge bar is a lovely spot for dining during the day, but let’s be honest, you’re joining this gay tour for something a bit more exciting than food, right? Luckily the tour includes a shot at each of the venues and of course you’ll be able to purchase more drinks for yourself if you feel like it. We suggest the “rabbit passion” cocktail to keep you going all night long (wink, wink)!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Travel Resources

Bangkok’s Stranger Bar – The Nomadic Boys

Bangkok's Stranger Bar - The Nomadic Boys

What used to be an unassuming gay bar in Bangkok’s Silom Soi 4 gay scene is now one of the hottest gay hangouts in the city. Every evening from around 9pm Stranger Bar has a hilarious drag show featuring some of the most talented, quirky and hottest queens from all around Asia.

We first came here back in 2012/3 and barely noticed it – the gay scene of Silom Soi 4 dominated by giants Telephone and Balcony bars next door. When we returned a few years later it had started making an impact and had become one of the fixed staples on the scene. Then when we were last here in early 2020, it had become THE hottest drag venue in the entire city, busy every evening!

We caught up with the super charismatic owner of Stranger Bar, Chakgai. In this interview, Chakgai tells us what it’s like owning a bar in Bangkok, what gay life is like in Thailand and what it is about Stranger Bar that has made it become so successful over the years.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Travel Resources

Gay Koh Lip – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Koh Lip - The Nomadic Boys

Koh Lipe is the best island in Thailand!

There, we officially declared it. The secret’s out…

We’ve been visiting Thailand for over a decade, trying out many islands along the way, but each time we keep circling back to Koh Lipe.

Why?

Koh Lipe still has those crystal clear tropical waters you associate with Thailand – surrounded by healthy coral. So you can literally wake up, go to the beach, put your head in the water and see Nemo swimming about around you! It was like this when we first visited many years ago and has remained this way on our recent visit.

We used to think the same about Phuket, Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi, but over time they quickly became built up, super touristy and overcrowded. Not gay Koh Lipe! We put this down to the fact that it’s quite remote and rather complicated to reach: first, you need to fly to Hat Yai airport in South Thailand, then drive over to Pak Bara port (around 2 hours) to then take a 2-hour speedboat to Koh Lipe…Let’s just say this is enough to put off the large crowds of packaged tourists.

Don’t get us wrong. Koh Lipe is developed enough to have plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars and shops, but it’s a controlled growth, helped by the fact that it is part of the group of Tarutao National Marine Park islands. We’ve put together our love for Lipe in this detailed gay guide to include the best gay friendly resorts, bars, practical tips and more.

How Friendly is Gay Koh Lipe?

Koh Lipe is very gay friendly! We met many more other gay travellers here than we did on most of the other Thai islands, plus the Thai locals are super friendly and accepting. Even if they don’t approve, unlike other places in the world, they would never outwardly express this in front of you.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Thailand – Once Upon a Journey

Thailand is our favorite country in the world to travel to! It’s such a diverse country that has beautiful islands, adventurous jungles, stunning temples, and delicious foods; we can’t get enough of it. Thai people are super friendly and welcoming, it’s accurately called the land of smiles.

Also important: in Thailand, we can truly by ourselves as a lesbian couple. It’s no problem to walk hand in hand, cuddle and/or kiss on the streets. In this blog post, we will tell you all about lesbian Thailand: the best places to visit, our favorite things to do, and practical information for lesbian travelers.

Lesbian Thailand – Where To Go?

Thailand is a much-visited country, but besides popular destinations like Bangkok and Phuket, there are still many hidden gems to explore in this beautiful country. The (gay) hub of Asia, Bangkok, can’t be missed during your Thailand trip, though we will also tell you about the lesser-visited places.

Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. We absolutely love this busy and dirty (sometimes smelly) city, though we can see why many people hate it. You really need to know where to go in this big city! Besides the famous sightseeing spots Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Lumphini Park, and the many markets, there is a large gay scene.

By Maartje and Roxanne – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Lesbian Thailand Travel Resources

Gay Friendly Asia – Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Asia - The Nomadic Boys

We spent 2 years travelling around Asia and completely fell in love with the continent. It offers so much in terms of cultural experiences, food and landscapes, with some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

But when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Asia has some serious work to do! In quite a lot of countries in Asia, being gay is either illegal or an arrestable offence, like in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. If it’s not illegal, then it’s such a strong taboo that you have to stay in the closet to avoid jeopardising your job prospects and embarrassing your family like in China, Russia and Indonesia.

Despite this, there are a number of countries in Asia that are paving the way forward in relation to LGBTQ rights. We’ve selected the top 10 most gay friendly countries in Asia, which we’ve based on the following criteria:

  • Where are they at with same sex marriage legislation, along with other LGBTQ laws?
  • What is the gay scene like and do they have any notable annual LGBTQ festivals?
  • Our personal experience travelling there as a gay couple, with reference to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

We have taken it as a given that homosexuality is legal in the countries we’ve selected, which is why we haven’t included Singapore despite it having quite a vibrant gay scene and a famous LGBTQ PinkDot festival in June/July.

We have also included two “places” (Taiwan and Hong Kong) rather than “countries”, because although they’re not officially recognised “countries”, they can still be regarded as a “country” given they have their own flag, currency, national anthem, set of laws etc.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Asia Gay Travel Resources