Bangkok Gay Travel
Trusted Bangkok gay travel recommendations for top hotels, hostels, gay bars & the gay district.
The Gay Travel Experience: Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok gay travel has always been fun, fantastic and comfortable. The Thai culture is very accepting of LGBT people. It’s easy to tell how the gay people in Bangkok feel safe just by meandering the hectic streets.
Bangkok’s buzzing gay district is both an electrifying and culturing experience, as the area showcases its wonderful transgender community.
Why do gay men love Bangkok? Because Bangkok is a Southeast Asian destination where you can always count on finding other gay travelers. Plus there’s a multitude of gay bars, clubs, and a friendly atmosphere.
Most gay travelers only spend a day or two in Bangkok, but I think that is not nearly enough time. You might be eager to get to the islands, but leave at least two to three days for Bangkok. There is so much ground to cover, so don’t rush it!
Many foreigners believe that being gay or trans in Thailand is easy. However, the country still remains a place where the gay community is not granted many specific rights.
LGBT foreigners have no issues traveling Thailand, as overall the society is more open than most others in Asia. Plus, Thailand’s tourism industry benefits from LGBT travelers and plans to continue to do so.
Bangkok is an incredibly gay-friendly city for a few reasons. The interpretation of Buddhist religious fundamentals has developed in a way that allows for more tolerance of homosexuality, as opposed to that of other religions.
Gay Bangkok: Hotels, Hostels & Where to Stay
Bangkok is enormous and has a huge variety of places to stay. The city is also incredibly popular among backpackers.
Below, I’ll cover some of the best hostels and hotels for gay travelers in Bangkok. Whichever you end up choosing, be sure to keep transit time to attractions in mind!
Hostels in Bangkok
The cheapest Bangkok hostels start as low as $5 USD per night. For only a little bit more at around $12 USD per night, you can book a “pod hostel,” which I love because you get your own private space with a drawstring curtain.
Check out Bangkok Hostels on Khao San Road if you plan to go the hostel route. Thi area is the famed “backpacker street,” which has loads of cheap places to stay.
Khao San Road is a vibrant and older area of the city. It’s close to the scenic Chao Phraya River and a lot of other popular attractions. It’s a fantastic area to stay.
You can find great hostels in other Bangkok neighborhoods, too.
I stayed at LAF Hotel Aree, an impeccably clean and modern LGBT-friendly pod hostel. I loved their connected coffee bar on the street level.
LAF hotel Aree is in the Phaya Thai neighborhood, where I stayed for a portion of my most recent trip to Bangkok. The area is lively and has easy transit access to the rest of Bangkok.
International hotel chains in Bangkok concentrate in a different neighborhood than most hostels. Typically with infinity pools and rooftop bars, you’d find most luxury Bangkok hotels in Klong Toei and Bang Rak.
Reasonably priced luxury hotels cost about $100 USD per night. By western standards, this is quite cheap!
I stayed at the Novotel Sukhumvit 20. The service was impeccable. Novotel had such friendly staff who know how to make a visit memorable. I highly recommend this hotel.
Gay travelers in Bangkok love the plethora of infinity pools available at different hotels. Why not show off your sexy swimsuit in a glorious pool with city views?
Luxury hotels in Bangkok may be cheap for the room, but beware that they come with western food & drink prices. Cocktails at a Bangkok hotel rooftop bar can cost you $10-15 USD and they can be hard to resist!
Bangkok Gay Travel Experiences
My local boat tour through the canals off the Chao Phraya River was one of my best Bangkok travel experiences. Grab a boat near any waterfront market and you’ll be on your way.
Steady canal waters make for a relaxing ride. The rear porches of local’s homes hover over the water’s edge. Friendly locals wave as you take in all the raw beauty that comes with traversing the quiet waterways of a metropolis.
Get your own personal tour guide, especially if you don’t have much time to spend in Bangkok. They know the fastest way into and out of the temples, the ins and outs of the markets, etc.
They won’t rush you and many times they will just hang around nearby until you show interest in moving to the next stop. The fair price is well worth it. Don’t forget to tip!
Moon Bar at Vertigo is one of a few luxury rooftop bars in Bangkok. I fell in love with the skyline views here. Being up so high and feeling the humid breeze felt like a movie scene.
Vertigo is quite expensive and you need to conform to their dress code (just pants and no open-toed shoes). Apparently, many guests miss this rule, so they hilariously yet practically have black trousers they will give you to put over your shorts! I felt so silly…but it was dark so thankfully it wasn’t noticeable!
Sky on 20 is another amazing city-view rooftop bar. They’re located on the roof of the Novotel Sukhumvit 20 Hotel. They have a huge amount of space and great views.
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Shopping Malls & Markets in Bangkok
Bangkok is the king of knock-off designer apparel, shoes, and accessories. There are a few gigantic shopping centers where you can buy pretty much anything, including these knock-offs.
MBK Center is an eight-story shopping mall with more than 2,000 small shops. You can easily spend several hours here. MBK looks more like a traditional shopping mall in structure. Be sure to go earlier in the day. An hour or two before the official closing time, many shops close up.
Chatuchak Market is another awesome place to shop in Bangkok. Chatuchak is a covered outdoor market with hundreds of small stands. Navigate the narrow walkways and you will find clothing, bath products, jewelry shops, food, and more. Plan to spend about 2 hours here.
The Grand Palace and Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
These attractions can be extremely busy during the middle of the day. Many people will tell you to avoid the crowds by going first thing in the morning, but I disagree!
To avoid these crowds, it is actually best to visit just before sunset! I have been a few times, and my visit to Wat Pho was absolutely magical at dusk because I was pretty much the only one there!
The secret here is that the Reclining Buddha closes at 8 PM, so if you arrive at 6 or 6:30 PM, the temple will be basically yours! Additionally, the colors reflecting off the temple from the sunset are magnificent.
The Grand Palace is quite large and you can spend a few hours there. Visiting in the middle of the day can be very hot. Make sure to wear pants and a shirt that covers your shoulders or you will not be allowed in.
If you forget, there are shops that will rent some cheesy cover-ups to you for a few hours across the street. The entrance fee is a steep 500 Baht (roughly $16.50 USD)! For reference, Thailand prices are usually lower!
Visit Bangkok During Songkran
I highly suggest overlapping your trip with the Songkran Thai New Year Festival if you are thinking about visiting Bangkok in the springtime. Experiencing Songkran festivities in Bangkok is truly a bucket-list-worthy experience.
Songkran, the Thai New Year, is a celebration during the month of April. One weekend, the city becomes a giant water-throwing party. Everyone runs around with water guns, hoses, or just buckets of water to throw on complete strangers!
Bangkok Gay Bars & Clubs
The Bangkok gay district is the most vibrant of any Southeast Asian destination! The gay parties in Bangkok are rowdy, friendly, and easily navigable.
White Rabbit was the first stop for me and my friends, a relaxed lounge open to the street with free wi-fi. Earlier on, the vibe is subdued. If you go closer to midnight, I have seen it packed. Afterward, we wandered the gay district for a little while, before heading to the clubs!
Telephone Pub is another staple gay bar in Bangkok. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, with all tables facing the street. Telephone Pub is toward the end of the famous Bangkok gay street, Silom Alley.
Although in recent years prices of drinks have increased at Telephone Pub, you can still have a cheap time if you stick to the Thai whiskey!
Soi Silom 4: The Gay District
Soi Silom 4 is the famous Bangkok gay area, which is located in the Silom District. Numbered alleyways branch off Silom Road, which runs straight through this neighborhood. One of those is Soi Silom 4!
Bangkok’s gay area is a must-see for every tourist if nothing else but to experience the chaos! At night, bars get rowdy and play loud music. Walk by even if you don’t want to go out partying!
DJ Station & G.O.D.
You absolutely have to party at DJ station, Bangkok’s most popular gay club! Gay travelers all over the world visit and know about DJ Station. I think it’s one of the best places to party.
DJ Station is a short walk from Soi Silom 4. It’s part of a cluster of bars in a single alleyway that all share an entrance. You’ll find a queue out front at the alley entrance so don’t be confused when you don’t see a door on the street.
After 2 AM, there is another Bangkok gay party called G.O.D. It is right next to DJ station in the nearest alleyway. There is a cover charge to enter.
Bangkok Gay Travel Tips
Be sure to factor in taxi/tuk-tuk fares for wherever you’re staying. Given Bangkok is such a large city, you will need to take cabs quite frequently. If you stay too far away, your hotel savings may not be worth it.
Is Bangkok Cheap?
Many world travelers will rave about how cheap Bangkok is. It is true some things, like accommodations, are quite cheap. However, Bangkok is not as inexpensive as it once was.
Prices have been driven up as travelers from all corners of the world visit the increasingly international city. With higher demand for everything, restaurants and bars have most easily been able to hike up prices.
Alcohol in Bangkok bars is not that cheap anymore. I noticed a definite increase in the price of a basic mixed drink between my visits to Bangkok in 2016 and 2019.
Usually, only the locally produced liquor will be cheap. Be careful not to drink too much of this stuff, though, You might end up with a nasty hangover.
Hotels are still affordable in Bangkok. So is street food. The biggest thing to note is that anywhere tourists are located, prices will be high.
Taxi Fares in Bangkok
Tuk-Tuk fares can be cheap if you make sure to bargain! Don’t be afraid to “pretend walk away” if the driver won’t accept your haggling. Over-charging is very common since Bangkok has so many tourists.
How do you know what is a fair price? Start by downloading the Grab Taxi application. This app will give you the current fair price for your journey. Any significant traffic will increase the price, as the app includes surge pricing.
Show this quoted price to your tuk-tuk driver and make sure they beat it. Otherwise, walk away.
I’ve done this many times. I also let them know that the Grab price is for an actual taxi, not just a tuk-tuk. So, it has to be cheaper!
Gay Life in Thailand
Thailand attracts many LGBT travelers given its reputation as a very tolerant nation. Same-sex relations were legalized back in 1956.
Thailand passed the Gender Equality Act in 2015, banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. It was a huge leap for Thailand! This was the first law mentioning homosexual persons for the nation.
Lastly, same-sex marriage is not legal in Thailand; however, the progressive country is making progress toward its legalization. As exemplified in Bangkok, there are vibrant gay communities throughout the country.