When the denizens of Bangkok want to escape to the beach on a long weekend, the resort town of Pattaya is usually the first choice.
Located a comfortable hour and a half drive Southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya got its start during the Vietnam war when it became a popular "R & R" destination for servicemen stationed at the nearby U-Tapao air base.

Given these origins, it should come as no surprise that a flourishing sex trade developed. It should also be no surprise that some servicemen preferred to be serviced by men, and so probably began Pattaya's gay scene.

Although recent enhancements to Pattaya's infrastructure such as improving the water quality and the roads have broadened Pattaya's appeal, the sex trade still flourishes.

The bar at Splash in Boyz Town surrounds a glass-sided show pool.
Many Thai governments over the years have promised to clean up Pattaya, and the current one is no different. Their "social order" campaign has been extended to Pattaya. While there is ample reason to be concerned about where this campaign is headed, it has so far consisted mostly of enforcing the laws regarding closing times (2.00am) and the minimum drinking age (20). Although gay venues have been subjected to official inspections, they don't appear to have been singled out for special harassment. Sunee Plaza has had some checks carried out on the ages of working boys and several places were fined or closed as a result.


The gay scene itself is still heavily commercialised. Although there are go-go clubs and "host" bars dotted all over town, most gay venues are located in one of two centres. The older and easier to find is Boyz Town, located around Pattayaland Soi 3 just off Pattaya 2 Road. You'll find two of the exclusively gay hotels here, the Ambiance and New Cafe Royal, as well some of the few non-commercial bars where you can drink in the scene without having to pay for the company of a host. The New Cafe Royal is the new name for Le Cafe Royale Hotel, the former Music Bar and Restaurant which now has a nightly Cabaret Show as well as after show Karaoke.

Castro Bar is a popular gay show bar in BoyzTown that starts with handsome guys presenting a nice swim show in the water tank/pool and nightly cabaret drag shows by beautiful male dancers. Start the night on the terrace, and enjoy the scene at the BoyzTown with a cool Cocktail.

The second cluster of venues is Sunee Plaza further south on the opposite side of Pattaya 2 road. Senee Plaza largely caters to those looking for "younger" companionship. Aside from the go-go bars in Boyz Town, nightlife seems to follow a predictable pattern here with the many boys and their admirers staggering from one venue to the next.

Around the Jomtien complex you will find many gay bars and clubs. BC Bar Jomtien has many drink varieties and many hosts to take care of you; Sun Bar has International and Thai Food, ice cold drinks, a Pool Table, 3 large TV Screens showing International Sports; Ganymede Bar offers a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy after an exhausting day at the beach. The male hostess keep visitors entertained all night long and there is also karaoke and sauna available; or there's Boy Gaga which offers great music and cute boys.

M2M Bar Club Cabaret in the Pattaya City area is a vibrant LGBTQ friendly bar in jomtien complex with happy hour from 16:00-21:00. Great dance and cabaret show in air-conditioned room from 22:30-24:00. @ Home Bar, Dragon Man Club Pattaya, Lady Boy Bar and Diamond Boy Bar are close by too, and all have nice guys on stage and offer a place to relax the night away with good looking men.

In Muang Pattaya, which is right next to the Gay Beach area you will also find Toy Boys a large host bar which has comfortable seating around the central dance stage area. There are regular dance shows by the young men in a friendly atmosphere and it's not far from The Body Club (Man) Pub with a similar offering again close to the beach area.
Nightlife on Walking Street in Pattaya.
Photo: DimaBerkut
One of the most popular places to start the evening is at Panorama Pub, a no-frills bar brightened by its cute clientele and waiters, though be aware - this is Pattaya! - that almost everything is up for sale. The terrible music is compensated for by the cheapness of the drinks and the aforementioned cuties. There's plenty of both to be found.

Just across the street from Panorama is the hallowed Boyz, Boyz, Boyz. It's officially a go-go bar but come midnight it seems like the whole of Pattaya's gay scene piles in and it becomes a disco. The small dance floor is packed nightly with nubile young things and western tourists ranging in age from 25 to almost infinity. Though age probably wouldn't prevent even the odd dinosaur going home happy.

As most places mentioned unfortunately close at 2am due to Thailand's new found Puritanism, people wanting to drink the night away can head from Boyz, Boyz, Boyz across the road to New Café Royale where the hotel's piano bar hosts what must be the kingdom's most incredibly kitsch singer. If you do happen to go, please whisper in his ear that leather trousers were never actually in. It's a great laugh, though, and if you're still alone at this point, you won't be for long.


Of course, the real reason many of us visit Pattaya is to spend some time on the beach, allowing the fresh ocean air to clean Bangkok's pollution out of our lungs. Thailand's only gay beach is located near Pattaya. The gay hotels in Boyz Town like to advertise, as hotels will do, that they are "just minutes from the gay beach." It is true that they are only about a hundred yards from Strong beach, but they are in fact about 20 minutes from the gay beach, which is located South of Pattaya in Jomtien.
Jomtien is a long sandy beach on the other side of a mountain that forms the headland at the South end of Pattaya Bay. The gay section starts where the beach road turns away from the beachfront and extends up to the Pattaya Park hotel at the base of the mountain. The experience here is unique, combining a natural attraction of the ocean with the ambiance of a sidewalk cafe.

"Jomtien Beach Pattaya 7-13-14 1" by THE Holy Hand Grenade! is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 .

The beach is divided into sections about 30 feet wide, each run by an individual concessionaire who provides beach chairs, towels and at least some food and drinks. Our regular spot is the section in front of Tui's Place, which is right in the middle of the gay section and has a menu that runs from cooked breakfasts and hamburgers to all the standard Thai dishes. They have some of the cheapest room rates anywhere, considering that the gay beach really is less than a 30-second walk to your room.

There are also vendors wandering up and down the beach selling fresh pastries, fruits and ice cream, as well as trinkets, newspapers henna tattoos and many other things. In addition you'll get many offers of a traditional Thai massage from masseuses working on the beach. These are generally licensed and appear to be safe. Some of them also seem to promise what are euphemistically called value added services. There are usually also some ladies offering manicures as well.

The water here is warm and relatively clean. The beach flattens out just below the high tide line, so the sea remains quite shallow for several yards. The waves are generally only two to three feet, so there's no surfing. Some people do swim, although you have to keep an eye out for the odd Jet Ski or windsurfer who strays inside the swimming area buoys.
© Tourism Authority of Thailand
Unfortunately there are no real bars along the gay beach but a great place to enjoy a sundowner with that new friend is just a short hop away. Dick's Café at nearby Jomtien Complex has brought a smattering of its Bangkok style to this recently opened branch. The interior is artsy and comfortable, though most popular is the outdoor seating and the new romantic garden setting just across the road. Friendly service, good and cheap food, reasonably priced drinks and no hassle from money boys ensures this is one of Pattaya's most popular gay additions.

Divarium Cafe Bar and Restaurant is a cafe, bar & restaurant open from 4pm to late everyday in the Jomtien complex. Many boys are here for serving you with smile and energy. Question Mark Bar is another favorite local gay bar in Jomtien Complex with a pool table downstairs. The friendly Thai staff offer massage services upstairs. The adjacent QM Bar serves a menu of breakfast, burgers, sandwiches and snacks.

Thappraya Rd which is runs parallel to the beach area offers many gay restaurants and bars. Bamboo's Gay Bar Restaurant Small, fun gay bar & restaurant which gets busy in the late afternoon with the beach crowd, and stays open until about midnight. 4-T bar and Big Kiss Bar are close by with nice boys and good drinks. Cocka2 Bar is super friendly and drinks are also reasonably priced. It's a great place for people watching.


The older and easier to find are in Boyz Town, located around Pattayaland Soi 3 just off Pattaya 2 Road. There are some small hotels in Jomtien. If you'd like to be as close to the gay beach as possible, I'd suggest the gay-friendly Rabbit Resort, which is right on the beach, right in the middle of the gay section. The resort consists of several individual cottages built in a traditional Thai style but with all the modern amenities.

If you would prefer be near the centre of the daytime action rather than staying in far-flung Boyz Town, you really need to be in Jomtien. The Best Bed House Dong Tan Beach is less than five minutes' walk from the gay beach and all its attractions. The hotel's rooms are all fairly sizeable plus you can request a sea view and a double bed! At a little over ten pounds a night this cheap and cheerful joint really does represent excellent value and is perfectly situated. Not only that, the friendly staff seem to have no objection to guests bringing "visitors" back to the rooms for some post-beach fun.

Pattaya does put on one of Thailand's best organized Pride festivals, with fund-raising events held throughout the year leading up to the big bash in early December. The festival is organised by 10 of the gay bars and clubs in the area in response to the increase in gay tourists to Pattaya and the obvious rise in the attendance at the city's many gay venues.
Neon signs and blurred people on Walking Street.
Photo: ViewApart


One of the drawbacks to Pattaya is that it can be so full of westerners that you could easily not know you're in Thailand, or even Asia. Its always nice to find someplace where you can be reminded that you're in a culture that is very different from your own. I recently paid a visit to a new attraction of sorts that is still under construction just North of Pattaya.

With the extravagant name of Sanctuary of Truth, the temple-like structure was conceived by the same rather eccentric businessman who built the Ancient City near Bangkok. Khun Lek made a fortune importing luxury cars, he became convinced that the western values that have heavily influenced Asia in the last 50 years has not been a particularly good thing. In particular, he saw the rise of materialism as being highly detrimental to Asian values. The sanctuary was built as a rather subtle reminder of the artistic and cultural heritage of Asia.

Dramatically sited on a point of the coast in Naklua, a comparatively sleepy village abutting Pattaya to the North, construction was started about 20 years ago. One of the many unusual things about the structure is that it's constructed entirely of wood. A team of 250 wood carvers from northern and northeastern Thailand is at work on the building, which is now about 70% complete. They are hopeful of completing construction in the next five years.

Although the overall design of the sanctuary is Thai-inspired, each of the cruciform plan's four wings is decorated with carvings in a different style, representing the four artistic styles and philosophies present in Thailand: Hindu, Khmer, Chinese and Thai. You won't find the Sanctuary of Truth in guidebooks or even in any of the local tourist publications. Although visitors are welcome, they aren't actively promoted since too many would get in the way of the construction. If you do visit, you'll be given a guided tour although the guides don't appear to speak English very well.

Michael Holland. Courtesy www.bluway.com


@ Home Bar (Pattaya 1 Alley, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
4-T bar (315/170-171 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; Ambiance Hotel (325/89 Pattayaland Soi 3, Pattaya Chon Buri; T: 662 38 424 099 Website)
Bamboo's Gay Bar Restaurant (410/35 Thappraya Rd, Muang Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; facebook)
BC Bar Jomtien (330/12-13 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; T: 668 22 576 349; facebook)
Best Bed House Dong Tan Beach (45/16 Moo 12, Jomtien; T: 662 38 231 386; Website)
Big Kiss Bar (315/170-171 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; T: 668 70 474 783)
Boy Gaga (106 plaza 413 Soi Jomtien 1, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
Boyz, Boyz, Boyz (325/91 Pattayaland Soi 3, South Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; T: 662 38 424 099)
Castro Bar (325/106-109 Pattayaland Soi 3, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; T: 668 81 931 002; facebook)
Cocka2 Bar (330/26 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
Diamond Boy Bar (273/37-38, M 10 Soi Sunee Plaza, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
Dick's Café (413/129 Jomtien Complex, Tappraya Road, Jomtien; T: 662 38 252 417)
Divarium Cafe Bar and Restaurant (413/16-17 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; facebook)
Dragon Man Club Pattaya 87/24-9 Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; facebook)
Ganymede Bar (413/85-86 Jomtien Complex, Moo 12 Thappraya Road, Jomtien Beach)
Lady Boy Bar (XV4Q+GQ9, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
M2M Bar Club Cabaret (Pattaya 1 Alley, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; facebook)
New Cafe Royale (102-5 Pattayaland Soi 3, Pattaya, Chon Buri; T: 662 38 428 303 Website)
Panorama Pub, 244/10-11 Pattayaland Soi 3, South Pattaya, Chon Buri; T: 662 38 710 597 facebook)
Question Mark Bar (413/15 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chang Wat Chon Buri; facebook)
Rabbit Resort (Dong Tan Beach, Jomtien; T: 662 38 303 303 Website)
Sanctuary Of Truth (206/2 M., Soi Na Klua 5, Pattaya City, Chon Buri; T: 662 38 367 815; Website)
Sun Bar (Jomtien Complex, 413/45-47 Thappraya Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri; facebook)
The Body Club (Man) Pub (WVHG+29J, Muang Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
Toy Boys (WVGG+VGJ, Muang Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri)
Tui's Place Guest House (318/78 Thap Phraya Road, Moo 12, Tambon Nongprue, Jomtien; T: 662 38 251 432 Website)

Revised March 2023


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