Thailand is always at the top of the list of great destinations for gay men, especially older gay men. Many head directly to Pattaya ‘cuz they are just looking for sex and sleaze. Bangkok, however, offers more than just sex for the gay touri. Though there is certainly plenty of that on the city’s plate, too.
So then just how gay is Bangkok? Considering how often you’ll see gay touri out and about in the city with his bar boi d jour, I’d say pretty damn gay. And then there is the large number of local gay bois you’ll run across in bars, restaurants, and stores throughout the city. Ladyboys? Sure the sex worker version stroll the nighttime touri haunts, but just as many work the cosmetic counters of fashionable department stores. It’s one of the things I love about Bangkok. Local gay guys and ladyboys are quite common and totally accepted by the city’s citizens. Impossible to spend the day out and about without running across a few.
For the gay touri in Bangkok, come night, Patpong is where the action is. This once seedy red light district is today a bustling must-see destination for most tourists. Sure the sex bars are still there, but there are also hundreds of restaurants and tons of shopping. Percentage-wise when you add up all the gay places in Patpong, the red light district is pretty pink.
Soi 4, off Silom is home to the Bangkok’s more popular gay bars that don’t feature naked male flesh. More of a gay guy hangout area (though rent boys are well represented) the soi is anchored by the popular Telephone Pub and Balcony Bar, two sidewalk bar/cafes where drinking and people watching are tops. Both places fill up rapidly as night sets in and by 10 P.M. you’ll have a hard time finding an open seat in any weather. Numerous small shops, galleries, and smaller restaurants have sprung up along the soi making this small street a big city gay neighborhood to rival San Francisco’s Castro Street.
Wanna dance your ass off? For the gay men in Bangkok, DJ Station is the place to be. This disco has been around for years and continues to be packed nightly with tons of hot shirtless guys, both locals and touri. Located on Soi 2, DJ’s really starts swinging by 11 P.M. With three floors to entertain you, DJ’s is a great spot to cruise, there’s tons of eye candy on display nightly. Of course, this is Bangkok, so at DJ Station, even the old, fat farangs get attention. You’ll pay for that attention, but then what the hell, you probably were planning on that anyway!
When the party at DJ’s starts winding down, the gay crowd in Bangkok moves over to G.O.D. (Guys On Display) down the small alley between Soi 2 and Soi 4. A late night disco, G.O.D. is the place to party until the early morning hours. Amazing how many guys they can cram into this place. But that just keeps things hot, which means a lot of bare chests with plenty of hot guys dancing the night away. And as the lights go up at closing, if you haven’t yet found someone to take back to your hotel . . . I always laugh at the numerous quick, desperate attempts to snag a shag when G.O.D. shuts up its doors.
On the other side of Patpong, along Suriwong, Bangkok’s gay offerings take on a more commercial aspect. Soi Twilight (aka Soi Pratuchai, aka Duangthawee Plaza) is the home to a mass of gay gogo bars, cafes, and massage parlors. With tons of neon in every color of the rainbow, promising Buys Boys Boys, Dream Boys, Fresh Boys, Hot Male . . .it’s hard to mistake the purpose of this popular soi. Grab a seat at the open air Dick’s Cafe and watch as touri by the dozen stroll down the soi trying their best to escape the attention of the over zealous barkers grabbing one and all to pull them into their gay gogo clubs. How so many straight couples accidently pick this soi for a stroll always amazes me. Sure the neon lights and crowds stir their interest, but how could they miss the overuse of the word boy in all that flashing color? Or maybe him leading her down that street wasn’t accidental at all!
Several more of Bangkok’s gay gogo bars are strung along Suriwong, with Screwboys taking up one of the corners of Patpong itself. Further down Suriwong, the muscle lover’s Tawan bar, on the soi of the same name, packs visitors in nightly. Tawan’s soi is also home to a number of smaller gogo bars, specializing in sleeze, a magnet to those seeking pure raunch in gay Bangkok.
Massage parlors are more numerous than 7/11’s in Bangkok and many are specifically for gay men. While quite a few are to be found in Patpong, there’s a treasure trove of these places in the Sukhumvit Soi 11 area, including Albury Men’s Club, Banana Club, and Hero. And just a few streets away you’ll find the popular Body Club. More gay massage parlors can be found all over the city; it’s difficult to find a BTS stop that isn’t but an easy walk away from at least one massage place geared toward the gay tourist in Bangkok.
In addition to all the massage parlors, many gay men in Bangkok visit one of the city’s saunas. Top of everyone’s list is Babylon on Soi Nantha off Sathorn Soi 1. Babylon has everything a gay man in Bangkok could want: a gym, restaurant, disco, swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, private cabins and hotel rooms (in their Barracks section). The multi-storied Chakran is another of Bangkok’s popular gay saunas with a heavier presence of local guys. There’s a good dozen or more saunas for men spread out over the city. Some cater more to locals, but you’ll never be truned away and there’s a good chance of finding willing partners at any of Bangkok’s gay saunas.
Bangkok also boasts several gay hotels, with Tarntawan Place, Om Yim Lodge, and Baan Saladaeng leading the list and all located within walking distance of the gay clubs and bars in Bangkok. Even the gay inns, however, are accepting of those disgusting straight people. But turn about is fair play; you’ll be more than welcome at any hotel in town. Gay couples, whether in a long term relationship or freshly formed that night, have no problem checking in. Two guys asking for one large bed? Not an eyebrow will be raised. If you are pre-booking a room, it’s good too book a double, the cost is the same, and then when you find a new friend to bring back to your room no questions will be asked. Some hotels charge a ‘joiners fee’ which is an additional charge to the room for bringing a guest back – though in Bangkok it doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight when the scent of money is in the air.
Gay touri in Bangkok will find themselves welcomed anywhere in the city and will find plenty of gay venues to while away the hours at. You’ll find Bangkok a paradise for gay life with an abundance of highly visible establishments catering to the gay male and Bangkok’s ‘anything goes’ attitude. No matter what you purpose is in visiting Bangkok, you’ll be guaranteed a gay ‘ole time!