Thailand is one of the world’s most popular gay travel destinations and LGBT+ visitors can expect a warm welcome. We asked the team at Out Of Office, a tailor-made luxury LGBT travel specialist, and Travel Gay, for their expert Thailand tips and advice.
What are your top tips for LGBT+ travellers heading to Thailand?
Thailand has a fantastic drag scene. Following in the footsteps of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the Thai spin-off is going into its third season and has drag superstars like Pangina Heals as hosts. You can see amazing drag shows in gay bars all over Thailand, featuring Pangina and other legendary queens. The hotspot for drag is definitely Bangkok! On the same note, make the most of the (gay) nightlife in Thailand. Not only Bangkok, but also popular party islands have plenty of gay/gay-welcoming venues. Even in more quiet areas most bars and restaurants are gay-welcoming even if not explicitly stated.
Besides all the partying, make sure to visit the beautiful temples, markets and beaches of Thailand. There is lots to do for active travellers: exploring caves, rock climbing, hiking and snorkelling. For a really special experience, visit an elephant sanctuary where you can see them up close.
Although Thailand is one of the most LGBT-friendly Asian countries, it is still a relatively conservative country. That means that public displays of affection are rather uncommon and should be left for the hotel room. It’s a cultural thing and applies to straight couples too. And as a more general tip, it’s always a good idea to be cautious of scams, spiked drinks, petty theft, and road accidents.
How gay-friendly would you say Thailand is compared to other countries in Asia?
Thailand is one of the most gay/LGBT-friendly places in Asia. In the bigger cities and on the islands there are plenty of gay bars, nightclubs and massage spas, so the gay scene is very lively and vibrant. As mentioned above, Thailand also has its own version of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. There are plenty of drag queens in Thailand, many of which you can see perform in bars across the country. Thailand is the only Asian country so far with its own Drag Race.
Most people in Thailand are Buddhists, so they are very tolerant, accepting, and welcoming. However, it is still a conservative country overall so PDA should be avoided.
Homosexuality is legal in Thailand and there are comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in place. Since 2005, the LGBT community have been allowed to serve openly in the military, and civil union laws are on the verge of being introduced. The only Asian country that may be more gay-friendly than Thailand is Taiwan (they introduced gay marriage laws in 2019).
Are there any specific venues you would recommend?
Take in the culture of Bangkok at the many Buddhist temples, especially Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. For nightlife in the Thai capital, the Silom area is home to some of the country’s finest gay bars and night clubs including The Stranger Bar (House of Drag Queens) on Silom 4 where you can see drag shows featuring the likes of Pangina Heals.
To find out more about the specific venues we recommend, as well as city/island guides, visit: https://www.travelgay.com/destination/gay-thailand/
Is there any particular island or beach resort you would recommend for LGBT+ travellers?
- Pattaya: Great nightlife and gay beaches
- Phuket: Patong is considered the gay hub of the island with plenty of gay bars and nightclubs
- Ko Samui: Alpha Gay Resort is an exclusively gay male resort on Samui Island
- Anantara and Avani+ hotel resorts can be found at locations across Thailand (mainland and islands) and are very LGBT-friendly and popular.
What are the main advantages of a group tour?
Travelling with a group of like-minded people with similar interests means that you will meet new people and possibly make life-long friends. Travelling in a group can be a great option for those who prefer not to travel alone, especially in exotic places. Group tours are great as well if you are a couple or two friends wanting to join others; you are sharing experiences and have the benefit of joining a guided tour of the country. Group trips are planned by professionals and cover the best spots and sights in the destination. A tour guide with knowledge of the local language is an advantage too.
A big thank you to Out Of Office and Travel Gay for putting together their Thailand tips. For more information and help planning your trip to Thailand, visit their websites here:
Out Of Office
You may also enjoy
Fan Club Thailand
Tourism Thailand (UK & Ireland)
We are here to help you experience the best of amazing Thailand. Bookmark our online magazine for ideas and tips for what to see and do in Thailand, and follow us on social media for even more travel inspiration.