OutUK correspondent Robin Newbold continues his guide to what he believes is the gayest capital in the Far East.

It may be a long way from London's Park Lane but the opening of the renowned COMO Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok's business district a few months ago has only enhanced the city's reputation.

And with it comes the Met Bar, which from the venue's sleek exterior to the minimalist innards radiates that X-factor which makes for all great bars - an encyclopaedic drinks menu, cute staff (clad in uniforms by designer Yohji Yamamoto) and sexy clientele. Strictly members' only but if you look sassy and smart chances are they like to say yes.
Minimalist chic, the Metropolitan in Bangkok.
Courtesy Metropolitan Hotels.

If you exhaust the culture and the temples and the sophistication, then you could always head to a go-go bar if you really must. There are any number off Surawong Road, all providing a similar sort of experience. The Hotmale Club and Bar Beer is a well known resting place to meet for a beer and enjoy a hot show; Banana Bar On 4 has an unsual name but is clean and boats friendly staff, quick service and nice cocktails; and Tawan Bar is a muscle men gay bar with exciting erotic shows nightly at about 10:30 pm. Drinks are consistent but a bit pricey.

Fake Club Bangkok is an energetic, gay-friendly hot spot featuring table service & laser beams, plus music & dancing. Tables are expensive but the shows & music are good and it has a pleasant atmosphere.

One of the best is probably Jupiter 2018 in Si Lom, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak. Expect strapping Laotian farm hands looking to make it in the big city, or at least that's what they'll tell you, in broken English.

The Boys Bangkok is an adult entertainment club nearby to Jupiter, as is The Stranger Bar (House of Drag Queens) a compact LGBT hangout offering creative cocktails & nightly drag shows in a lively atmosphere, and Moonlight Bangkok with their men models and sexy show every night.

Other bars include Fresh Boys located on the 2nd Floor in Thanon Patpong and Screw Boy Bar which lives up to is name by having some terrible reviews including one that says, "Don't believe the fantasy that you will get a good experience out of this."

Finally, a mention for DreamBoy BangKoK which is relatively new and presents some outstanding shows with all the Dreamboys you would expect!

STEAMY

Bangkok wouldn't be Bangkok without its saunas, there are zillions of them providing anything from just being a place to chill and escape the infamous traffic to those offering "special massage".
Yes, you've probably heard all about Babylon, the greatest gay sauna in the world. But though Chakran (near Aree Skytrain station) might be a little more difficult to get to, it's even better and even more opulent. Both places have a swimming pool, great restaurants and individual cabins for those, er, more steamy moments.
"Mr Sexy Swim Suit" contest, which has (thankfully) become an annual event at Bangkok Pride. Courtesy Telephone Pub.
Other steamers include the Faros Sauna located in the Bangkok on Ramkhamhaeng Road. It has steam room, karaoke room, sauna, video room, Jacuzzi bath room and lounge. Food and beverages are also available. Heaven Sauna which is the sauna of choice for bears, mature men and admirers looking for a place to chill out and relax. They have a rooftop garden with an open-air jacuzzi and shower. There is karaoke downstairs. Take the elevator to the 4th floor behind the furniture shop.

There's also Sauna Mania which has some rooms which are a little small but there is a nice rooftop garden; 39 Underground Sauna which atrracts a good mix of people; and Ratchada Sauna found in Ratchada, Asoke Dindaeng but it does come with a few questionable reviews.

HOT'N'SPICY

Thailand's reputation obviously goes before it in terms of food and there are simply thousands of restaurants, Thais love to eat 24/7. We'll just concentrate on the gay - or gay-friendly - places to narrow things down.

If it's hot and spicy you're looking for, Fork & Cork by Sphinx is another Bangkok institution on Silom Soi 4 and deservedly so, because it offers great Thai food (locals love eating here) at very reasonable prices: think 20 for a complete blow out for two, including wine. Service is friendly but discreet and it's handy that the kitchen serves till 1am as most city eateries, aside from the open-all-hours food stalls, close at 10pm.

Eat Me, great name(!), just off of leafy Convent Road is also a favourite with Bangkok's gay community. Spread over three floors, and often featuring exhibition art hanging on the walls, this classy restaurant offers fusion food at hotel prices with a very anti-hotel intimacy.

GET LAID

A stone's throw from the city's gay bars, somewhere to lay your head in comfort and no little style is the aforementioned famous Metropolitan Bangkok. It may have been stylised to within an inch of its life but all the accoutrements you'll ever need for that great gay stay in Thailand are here.

Two lovers with a view of Bangkok. Photo: Ranta Images
This includes a very attractive swimming pool by which to admire your fellow guests and a soothing spa to ease body, mind and spirit. The uber cool staff are also unlikely to raise an eyebrow if you bring a "guest" up to admire your room. Upscale prices for Thailand but with rooms just over a hundred pounds a night it's good value for one of the city's best hotels.

A more budget choice but no less stylish in its own inimitable way is Babylon Barracks, part of the renowned Babylon Sauna. At less than 20 per night, which includes a free daily pass to the sauna, it must rank as one of the city's best stays. The rooms are airy and bright but basic with no TVs, though guests often make their own entertainment. One bugbear is the lack of en suite bathrooms but this is the kind of place where everyone mucks in together.

OutUK's hotel partners Bookings also have a large range of hotels bookable online at special discount prices.

Back

Robin Newbold is a Bangkok-based writer whose debut gay novel Vacuum-Packed is available from Amazon and can be ordered from all good bookshops. His latest is Bangkok Burning about a closeted 40-year-old man crippled by anxiety issues and an abusive marriage who finally manages to escape, running away from his lifeless existence on a smile, a whim, swapping his life in South London for the chaos of Bangkok.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

39 Underground Sauna (1511 39 Phahonyothin Road, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai; T: +66 2 279 1511; Website)
Babylon Sauna (34 Soi Nantha, Sathorn Soi 1; T: 02-679 7984; facebook)
Balcony (86-88 Silom Soi 4; T: 02-235 5891; Website)
Banana Bar On 4 (114/17 Silom Road., Soi 4, Suriyawong, Bang Rak; T: +66 83 000 0000)
Chakran (Soi Aree 4, Phahon Yothin Soi 7; T: 02-279 1359)
DJ Station (Silom Soi 2; T: 02-266 4029; facebook)
DreamBoy BangKoK (3 Patpong 2 Alley, Surawong Rd, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 95 164 8461; facebook)
Eat Me (1/6 Soi Pipat 2, Convent Road; T: 02-238 0931; Website)
Fake Club Bangkok (60/1 Soi, 4 Ratchadaphisek Rd; T: +66 81 390 8888; facebook)
Farose Sauna Ramkhamhaeng (Ramkhamhaeng 21 Alley, Lane 2, Khwaeng Phlabphla, Wang Thonglang; T: +66 2 102 1617)
Fork & Cork by Sphinx (Silom Soi 4; T: 02-234 7249; Website)
Fresh Boys (2nd Floor Soi2 37/9 Thanon Patpong 1, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 83 711 9088)
Heaven Sauna (119 soi Mahesak Silom rd BIS building floor 4 Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 2 266 9092; Website)
Hotmale Club and Bar Beer (37/3-17 Patpong 2 Alley, Surawong Rd, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 98 828 4225; facebook)
Jupiter 2018 (90-96 Si Lom, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 61 794 4698; facebook)
Metropolitan Bangkok (27 South Sathorn Road; T: 02-625 3333; Website)
Moonlight Bangkok (Soi Anuman Ratchathon, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 95 768 0637)
Ratchada Sauna (502/373-374 Ratchada Soi3 Asoke Dindaeng; T: +66 2 642 0265; Website)
Sauna Mania (35/2 Soi Phiphat 1, Silom, Bang Rak; T: +66 2 636 8129)
Screw Boy Bar (PGHJ+WQC, Patpong 2 Alley, Surawong Rd, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak)
Tawan Bar (2/1-2 Si Lom 6, Bang Rak; T: +66 2 234 5506)
Telephone Pub (114/11-13 Silom Soi 4; T: 02-234 3279)
The Boys Bangkok (1 Thanon Patpong 1, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Bang Rak)
The Stranger Bar - House of Drag Queens (114, 14 Silom 4 Alley, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak; T: +66 2 632 9425; facebook)

Revised January 2023

 

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