For many decades, Bangkok been regarded as one of the world’s gayest and most exotic cities. Known as The City of Angels, this is the place to visit if you want to find some hot romance, experience some of the best shopping Asia has to offer, visit wonderfully ornate temples, partake of the most delicious food in the east – or just hang out in a local park with the locals. Bangkok’s nightlife is legendary, with an extraordinary variety of go-go bars, saunas and massage parlors – and that’s before you start meeting some of the Thai guys on-line in the many dedicated social networking sites.
But first, some thoughts on the city itself. Bangkok became Thailand’s capital in 1782. After a massive building boom towards the end of the 20th century, the city is now very spread out and boasts a population of more than 9 million, most of whom are Buddhists. Gorgeously decorated temples (wats) are evident in most areas of the city, and the first you must see is Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in the Grand Palace complex.
Because of Bangkok’s traffic, it’s best to take one of the many public riverboats. Getting off at Tha Chang Wang Luang pier, you have just a short walk to the official entrance. The Grand Palace grounds are included in the ticket price, but you must beware of touts outside who will tell you the complex is closed for lunch and then take you on an expensive tuk-tuk ride around town. Official visiting hours are easily checked on the internet. Also check the dress code for visiting temples – e.g. flip-flops and short shorts are not permitted.
Nearby is Wat Pho, home of both the huge reclining Buddha and the famous massage school. Not far away is the beautiful and perfectly symmetrical Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabopit. When you get tired of grandiose temples, you can always check out Bangkok’s famous Penis shrine just by the garden at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road. Don’t forget your camera!
After each day’s sightseeing, Thailand offers nearly every type of cuisine from inexpensive traditional Thai food to pricier classic Western cuisine. No matter what your tastes, you will certainly be able to satisfy your hunger to set you up for a night on the town!
For it’s still true that many guys come to Thailand for one main reason – to meet and mingle with some of the many eligible Thai guys around town. Don’t be afraid to banish your inhibitions! This is Thailand, after all! What you do in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok after you return home, no matter who it is that you go down on and where you have fun.
Despite the city’s traffic problems, the good news for gay tourists is that most of the gay establishments are accessed relatively easily on the Skytrain (BTS) and subway (MRT) systems. For your first night out, you’ll probably want to aim for Soi Duangthawee (popularly known as Soi Twilight and so named after one of the original bars there – now called Hotmale). This is near the top of Suriwong Road at its junction with Rama 4 Road and almost directly across from the Wall Street Tower. Here is a veritable mélange of go-go bars (at least six and all with sexy shows late in the evening), open-air beer bars, massage places and the popular Dick’s Café where you can drink, dine and amaze yourself just watching all the non-stop activity in that soi.
The next major road down from Suriwong is Silom. Here head for the gay Soi 4 with its indoor and outdoor bistros where you can chill out and meet up with other cool guys! Soi 4 is very close to the Saladaeng Skytrain or the Silom subway stations. Still on Silom but closer to Rama 4 is the tiny Soi 2 which has a number of gay haunts, including the always popular DJ Station disco where the dance floor is heaving with gorgeous shirtless bodies most nights. Once again, though, there is a dress code for access to that soi, and you have to be 21 or over. If you look anywhere under 40, make sure you take your passport!
Many gay tourists spend their afternoons or evenings at one of the city’s abundance of gay massage parlors. There are now so many of these in Bangkok that you need to be sure to keep an eye out on our forums for the latest up-to-date information. Remember that the price of the massage will not cover the cost of any extra services, so make sure you have enough cash for the tip.
Bangkok also has a thriving sauna scene spread over several areas around the city. Most will have heard of the popular Babylon just off Sathorn Soi 1. Be aware, however, that in many of the recently-opened saunas further from the city centre, the clientele is largely Thai guys looking for other Thais or Asians. Our City Listings is the best place to check for much of this information. The Gay Thailand forum and other specialist gay cruising sites may have some more detail.
Like any city, the hot spots in Bangkok come and go constantly. What’s popular today may be closed tomorrow and new places are popping up all the time. Once again, check before you go. Make a post of the Forum and one of our regular posters will always be happy to give you advice. And since you will certainly meet some new boy friends when you are out and about exploring the gay scene, don’t be afraid to ask them to give you advice on where else you should go.
Whether it’s bars, saunas, massage, shopping – the best thing about Bangkok is that it is ever-changing. So you really need to keep a close look at this site for the latest information about the new and the not-so-new. For our part, we will do our best to keep this part of the site as updated as possible.