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.
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
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.
THE GAY BEACH
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.
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.
BED & BOARD
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.
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
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
@ 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