At one time you'd think Thailand and think sex tourism, now think again. In a
recent survey in the London Evening Standard, Thailand was the top
destination for young professionals, with The Guardian dubbing Bangkok "the
coolest city in Asia", but as OutUK correspondent Robin Newbold reports, the
Thai capital remains the gayest in Asia.
Oasis of cool in the hottest city on Earth, The Metropolitan. Courtesy Metropolitan Hotels.
The sleaze in Bangkok hasn't quite disappeared but thanks to the country's recovery
from the economic crash of 1997, things have gotten a whole lot more fabulous
particularly with the emergence of mixed gay and straight venues.
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.
Bangkok comes out during Pride.
Courtesy Telephone Pub.
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.
Night time is really the right time in Bangkok, it's when the city comes alive with
the exotica of the bustling markets (see Silom night market for anything from a fake
Rolex to genuine hill-tribe jewellery) to the taste explosion of the street-side food
stalls (for some of the finest chicken and rice/satay check out Pratunam). And, of
course, it's a time when all the pretty boys come out to play.
But where to find those boys? Well, for anyone who's been to Bangkok before they're
probably familiar with the usual suspects like Telephone and Balcony pubs on Silom
Soi 4 and DJ Station nightclub just up the road. The former two are cheap, cheerful
and friendly with reasonable food as well as beer and if you're alone you won't be
for very long.
One of the sights you're likely to encounter at Bangkok institution Telephone Pub. Courtesy of Telephone Pub.
Ditto DJ Station, and though the music has gradually improved, don't
be expecting the latest hits, think Kylie remixes and well known pop. It's still a whole lot of
fun, as are the cute guys but be prepared to pay.