Thailand is a highly tolerant country where sexual preference is regarded as a personal choice when it comes to homosexuality. Gays, lesbians and transsexuals are all accepted as part of the Thai way. Thai people - both gay and straight - are also known for their sweet, friendly and polite natures. All of this have contributed to making Thailand a prime gay tourist destination, with Bangkok often being dubbed as the gay capital of Asia.
To celebrate this diversity and freedom, gay pride events are held annually in the three major tourist destinations: Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. The first Bangkok Gay Festival was organised in the Silom and Surawong area in 1999. The Bangkok Gay Pride Parade was restarted in 2017 after a short hiatus.
The inaugural event was the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, with participants dressed in extravagant, over-the-top and flamboyant costumes, cheered on by thousands of spectators. The lavish parade and decorated floats attracted both local and international crowds. Definitely a feast for the eyes, Bangkok Gay Pride usually takes place in late October or early November in the Silom area. Make sure you're close to the action; staying in hotels around the Silom area will guarantee you a front seat!
Bangkok gay nightlife is as fun, exciting and wild as the straight scene. Wide-ranging gay venues in Bangkok offer everything from gay-friendly hotels and guest houses to pubs, clubs, bars, karaoke venues, ladyboy cabarets, go-go bars, and more.
But before you do so, it's important to take note of a few things. As is always the case when you're traveling in a foreign country, it is vital to comply to the laws of the land. The same traps that can be found in the gay scene of any other big city also apply to Bangkok.
Bangkok Gay Areas
With its infamous Soi 2 and Soi 4, Silom is considered the main gay area of Bangkok. While Soi 2 caters exclusively to those who like dance clubs like DJ Station, Freeman and Expresso, Soi 4 offers a more relaxed atmosphere with pubs, bars and restaurants such as Balcony Bar, Telephone Pub and Sphinx.
Most foreigners tend to flock around this area more than others. Both Soi 2 and Soi 4 are located conveniently close to BTS (Sala Daeng) and MRT (Silom) stations. The tiny alley of Soi 2 is easily missed unless you're looking for it.
Soi 4 is just a short walk from Soi 2, directly opposite Soi Convent. If you want to experience something a little more adventurous, the nearby shady Suriwong and Patpong areas reveal the naughtier side of things.
Other notable areas include the Soi Ramkhamhaeng 89/2, or 'Lamsalee'. Many dance clubs can be found here and, due to lower drink prices, most of their customers are Thai university students. The area behind Chutuchak Weekend Market is also a small clutter of gay-dedicated establishments. There are also bars and saunas along the Saphan Kwai and Sukhumvit areas. But, unlike Silom, these areas are less frequented by tourists and cater for a largely local clientele.