Thailand is a great holiday destination.
Friendly people, great food and lots of things to see and do.
And for the gay traveler, Bangkok offers some of Asia’s most
open gay scene and fun nightlife. All of this at very reasonable
prices. Shopping at the Jatujak weekend market, having a Thai
massage (with or without happy end) and a night out in Silom are
things every gay traveler in Bangkok must do. For the most
adventurous sisters, there are fried grasshoppers, raunchy
parties till sunrise and cruisy saunas to explore. From mild to
wild, Bangkok offers everything you could possibly want. And
most travelers don’t visit Bangkok only once. They keep coming
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is
served by many major airlines, so no matter where you live, you
can always find a convenient flight. Because Thailand is a
holiday destination and not a business hub like Singapore or
Hong Kong, tickets are usually quite cheap. Thai Airways serves
many cities in Asia and has got some cute flight attendants. For
something a little cheaper, try AirAsia but be aware that you
will land at Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport (DMK). For domestic
flights within Thailand, we recommend cute little Nok Air.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is about 28km South-East of the city
center. Metered taxis to downtown Bangkok are readily available
outside the terminal building on the first floor. If you travel
from the airport, you have to pay a 50 Baht airport surcharge.
You also have to pay the highway tolls. 25 Baht for the airport
highway and then 40 Baht for the inner city highway. The taxi
fare itself is around 250-350 Baht depending on where in Bangkok
you are going. If you want to avoid the 50 baht airport
surcharge, go up to the departures level and take a taxi that
just dropped off passengers there.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can also take the Airport Rail
Link. The City Line stops at every station, takes about 24
minutes to Phaya Thai station and costs 15-45 Baht depending on
where you are going. The faster Express Line just stops at
Makkasan station and Phaya Thai station, takes about 18 minutes
and costs 90 Baht. At Makkasan station you can connect to the
subway (MRT) and at Phaya Thai station you can connect to the
Sky Train (BTS). Taxis are also available at most stations.
Don Muang airport is about 27km North of the city center. If you
arrive there, take a metered taxi for about 200-300 Baht to
downtown Bangkok. There is a 50 Baht surcharge for hiring a taxi
from the airport and you also have to pay the highway tolls,
about 45-105 Baht depending on where in Bangkok you are going.
If there is not too much traffic and you want to save some
money, you can also ask the diver not to use the highway.
Taxis are probably the most convenient way
to get around Bangkok. They are all metered and all of them have
air conditioning. They come in various colours (including pink)
but apart from the colour, there is no difference between them
in terms of service or cost. The meter starts at 35 Baht.
Depending on where you are going, the driver may as you
“Highway?” or “Tang Duan?”. Depending on the time of day, it’s
usually a good idea to take the highway. If it’s raining or if
you look very touristy, the driver may try to charge you a fixed
fare, usually higher than what the metered fare would be. Just
politely point at the meter or get out and out use the next one.
The Sky Train (BTS) consists of the Silom Line and the Skhumvit
Line. You can connect between the two lines at Siam station.
Single journey fares range from 15 to 45 Baht. There are one-day
and three-day passes available as well. The last train is around
midnight. Stations of interest for the gay traveler include Siam
for shopping, Sala Daeng for nightlife and Ari for dining.
The subway or (MRT) has just one line. You can connect to the
Sky Train at Silom, Sukhumvit and Chatuchak Park stations but
note that the two networks have two separate tickets. Single
journey fares on the MRT range from 15 to 45 Baht. There are
one-day and three-day passes available as well. The last train
is around midnight. Stations of interest for the gay traveler
include Silom and Kamphaeng Phet for nightlife and Chatuchak
Park for shopping.
When to go
There are just two seasons in Bangkok:
“summer” and “very summer”. In other words, Bangkok is hot and
humid year round. But maybe even more so during April to
September. October to March usually sees less rain and slightly
lower temperatures but still around 30 C during daytime. But for
a weekend city trip, Bangkok is a fun destination all year
around. If you some during the hot period, just make sure you
book a hotel with a swimming pool, explore some of the air
conditioned shopping centers and don’t forget to drink a lot of
The most famous festival in Thailand is Songkran, or Thai New
Year. It’s held for three days in mid April and the main
attraction is the splashing of water in the streets. In Bangkok,
Silom and Khao Sarn Road is the place to be. But be prepared to
get wet in all parts of the city. A more quiet festival takes
place in November. During Loy Krathong, people all over Thailand
prepare small floats made of flowers and candles and let them
free in rivers all across the country. In Bangkok head to Chao
Praya River or Lumphini Park.
What to see
Thailand’s most stunning temple and palace complex
The “Temple of Dawn” on the banks of Chao Phraya river
Lively weekend market with endless shops and restaurants
Student hang-out and shopping area in the heart of Bangkok
One of Asia’s most famous gay bars with a nightly show at 23:30
Most hotels, guest houses and serviced
apartments have WiFi. Either free or paid. It’s also easy to get
a SIM card from one of the local mobile phone network companies.
The big three are AIS, DTAC and TRUE. All of them have sales
booths at the arrival level at Suvarnabhumi airport. The
coverage, speed and prices are very similar among all providers
but we recommend DTAC because they are the most funky. Grindr
and Jack’d are pretty popular in Bangkok so make sure you check
who’s online around you.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist
country and fairly open when it comes to gay issues. However,
family life plays a central role in Thai society and most
parents still prefer their sons to marry and have kids. So while
most gays are out among their friends, they might not be to
their families and the work place. There is a very open gay
scene in Bangkok, however, mainly geared towards entertainment.
While there is no lack to gay bars, clubs or saunas, there is
not much going on in terms of gay activism to promote gay rights
etc. The annual gay pride is a far cry from what the sisters in
Taipei or Tokyo are able to put on.