Chiang Mai Gay Travel
Chiang Mai gay travel suggestions for top hotels, hostels, experiences, gay bars & more.
The Gay Travel Experience: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is known for local elephant safaris and nature parks. The locals love their elephant buddies! Chiang Mai warmly welcomes the gay community as open-minded backpackers seek harmony with nature and local Thai people.
In the north of Thailand, away from the bustle of Bangkok, Chiang Mai has the feel of a very big village. A sense of peace and serenity blankets the streets. I felt so at home here even though I was on the other side of the planet.
Locals greet you with the largest smiles. They are authentically happy to meet travelers from so many regions of the world.
Sharing beer each evening with our hostel host and my group of friends was one of my fondest memories of Chiang Mai. Mixed in with some other travelers, we certainly had one of those true “backpacker” experiences. Everything felt communal and everyone felt relaxed.
Gay Chiang Mai: Hostels & Where to Stay
Crashing in a hostel is most common when visiting Chiang Mai. It’s all about serenity. Overly standard hotels can make it more difficult to connect with nature, at least in my opinion.
There are lots of options for Chiang Mai hostels on Hostelworld. Many offer private rooms and even private bathrooms. You can definitely stay in a hostel without a shared bedroom situation.
I stayed at the Counting Sheeps Hostel in Chiang Mai and it was wonderful. I didn’t look for luxury accommodations because I was more interested in meeting with some other travelers in a communal setting. There was still plenty of privacy though.
The best part of Counting Sheeps Hostel was the staff. The were so welcoming and fun! Our host sat outside with us each night on the front porch to share some beer and snacks.
If hostels are not your thing, you’ll still have plenty of choices. You can find some stunning private Chiang Mai VRBO rentals, many with gorgeous pools. I recommend staying either in the center of town, or within a short walk of it.
Looking for a gay-only accommodation? Chiang Mai’s only dedicated gay hotel is the Club One Seven Gay Hotel. This facility also has a fitness center, sauna and large pool. Club One Seven is also the most popular gay sauna in the area. See more of in the video below.
To learn more about the different areas of Chiang Mai, check out The Crazy Tourist’s Chiang Mai neighborhood guide.
Chiang Mai Gay Travel Experiences
Many gay travelers in Chiang Mai tend to seek out places where they can get in their bathing suits and get dirty with the elephants, but please don’t to this at the expense of the elephant. Riding on an elephants back is uncomfortable for the elephant and can hurt them.
I personally would not support a park that chains elephants by the leg all day long. These creatures are beautiful and extremely intelligent, and so we should only support those who treat them fairly.
Seeing them run free and interact with each other in the open fields of Thailand will be much better than climbing on top of an elephant for ten minutes, anyway.
Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai
My friends and I took a 30-minute bus ride to the Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park. At this establishment, the admission fee goes toward rescuing endangered elephants. Feed, hug and hang with the big guys as well as watch the locals give them baths in the river.
Tour guides walk you from elephant to elephant and tell each one’s story. A few elephants had casts on one of their legs due to stepping on remnant land mines in places they were originally roaming. The workers help to feed the elephants and to extend their lives by taking care of them in many ways.
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Things to Do in Chiang Mai at Night
After dark, hit the streets to experience the glowing Chiang Mai night markets. Vendor stands that sell food and gifts continue down the streets for what seems like forever! It is best to wander the night markets after dinner since they are in full swing after dark.
Chiang Mai Gay Bars
The best place for gay travelers to party in Chiang Mai is now Ram Bar. This spot opened after my visit, so I didn’t get a chance to check it out. I love how they brand themselves as a “straight-friendly” gay bar in Chiang Mai.
Other local gay bars you should check out include Secrets Bar, which hosts weekly drag and cabaret shows and is frequented by both locals and travelers alike.
Chiang Mai has dozens of small bars in the city. Many of them line the four streets that bound the old city. While I found that many of these bars in were of low quality, this was several years ago. So the experience now may be completely different.
Chiang Mai Gay Saunas
There are two known Chiang Mai gay saunas I’ll mention. These spots opened up after my visit though, so I can’t give a personal opinion on them FYI.
The first is House of Male, a sauna and gym just for men. They have a small fitness room and a large pool area that seems to be a great area for cruising comfortably.
Club One Seven is a newer gay cruising facility in Chiang Mai. They have guest houses, massage services, a sauna and an amazingly phallic shaped pool and lounge area.
Chiang Mai Gay Travel Tips
Don’t forget some bug spray, because you will need a lot of this stuff. There are a lot of mosquitos out there. Bug spray is sold everywhere in Thailand too, so you can get more as needed.
If you dislike the smell of traditional bug repellent, many Thai convenience stores sell citronella and other bug spray scents like ginger. Since you’ll need it on all the time, you might as well enjoy the scent.
Are you on a long journey through Southeast Asia? Here are some tips on how to refresh yourself for continued long-term travel.