Phuket Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Phuket gay travel guide to top hotels, beaches, gay bars, clubs, & authentic experiences.
The Gay Travel Experience: Phuket, Thailand
Here in Phuket, you’ll find the largest concentration of gay men in Thailand outside of Bangkok. As one of Thailand’s most popular gay destinations, Phuket has a pretty bustling gay scene.
In Patong, gay bars snuggle up against one another in a little area called the Paradise Complex. This thriving gay nightlife hub is a must-see for LGBT travelers, but I also recommend exploring the lesser-known parts of Phuket!
I’ve always felt comfortable being gay no matter where I go in Thailand, and Phuket was no exception. If anything, Thai women from massage parlors approaching me (and grabbing my booty!) would be what made me uncomfortable. Ha!
Read this guide thoroughly, because Phuket is a highly touristic area that needs to be explored tactfully. If you don’t plan correctly, you might just end up ordering a pepperoni pizza in an Egyptian restaurant surrounded by Russian tourists.
My biggest piece of advice for gay travelers is to spend time in more than one place in Phuket. Each area of the island (which is quite large) has a completely different vibe–and it’s all worth exploring.
Gay Phuket: Hotels & Where to Stay
Phuket is a gigantic island, so there are dozens of different areas to choose from. Below, I’ll mention options including bustling Patong Beach, the Phuket Old Town, and some more secluded areas with more natural beauty.
Gay Patong: Where to Stay
Patong is by far the busiest and most touristic area of Phuket. It’s the gay nightlife hub and is very walkable. I recommend gay travelers visit Patong, but really only for the nightlife.
Two nights in Patong will suffice. I think the gay culture here is entertaining and unique, but there really is not much authenticity in this part of town right next to the shore.
Patong suffers from over-tourism in my opinion, exemplified by every single restaurant offering international food with menus in 5 languages.
Plus, the beach is way over-hyped! Your best bet is to stay just a bit away from the beach so you can enjoy more local markets and such.
I recommend Phuvaree Resort in Patong Beach. Reasonable prices, exceptional service, and great amenities make this hotel my top choice for being near the center of nightlife. They have a big air-conditioned gym, a large tranquil pool, and bright natural light in the rooms.
Motorbike rentals are available right next door to the hotel, so you can get around very easily! Taxis are also available on the street and the fare to the bars is quite low.
Phuket Gay Homestay
Phuket Gay Homestay is a relatively new gay guesthouse-style resort in the Kathu area, which is only 15 minutes from Patong Beach.
They’re a men-only accommodation with caring staff and a lovely pool that’s usually filled with gay guys having a ton of fun.
A 5-room gay resort with well-air-conditioned rooms and plenty of common space, Phuket Gay Homestay always offers a comfortable and intimate experience.
Where to stay in South Patong
Slightly further south along the west coast of Phuket, you will find more secluded beaches with fewer tourists. As you go down the coast, there are more large resorts.
I also stayed at The Yama Hotel Phuket on my journey through south Patong. By far, this was the best hotel I’ve stayed in while visiting Thailand.
Yama Hotel’s service was outstanding, and the building’s physical design was something I had never seen before. My private terrace with a mini pool made me so happy. It was total luxury!
Old Phuket Town Hotels & Hostels
At Bloo Hostel, I stayed in a comfortable and stylish private room and absolutely loved it. It was quiet, modern, and had great air conditioning. I’d 100% stay here again.
Other Places to Stay in Phuket
Many popular and luxurious beach resorts are halfway between Patong Beach and the airport. Adjacent to Surin Beach, Bang Tao hotels and resorts are quite popular for those staying north of Patong.
With major resorts like the Banyan Tree Phuket along the waterfront, this area speaks for itself. I didn’t get a chance to visit this part of Phuket, but my gay Italian friends loved it.
More Phuket Hotels I Recommend
Here are a few other fantastic places to stay in Phuket that are highly rated and near Patong Beach, the notable Phuket gay area.
Stay in Multiple Phuket Locations
For first-time travelers Phukey gay travelers, I recommend spending a few days in southern Phuket to experience some true beauty, and perhaps two nights in Patong Beach to experience the gay nightlife.
Head to the very south of the island if you have more time. You’ll find even more seclusion here. Alternatively, book a place in the Old Phuket Town toward the eastern side of the island.
Phuket Gay Travel Experiences
If you haven’t had or seen these before, know this: you either like them or the smell repulses you. The fruit has the texture of soft butter and the taste is nothing like the smell! It’s quite sweet.
Big Buddha is a fantastic destination for an afternoon, a masterpiece of a sculpture that should not be missed. Big Buddha is best reached by motorbike. Cruising up the mountainside is peaceful and relaxing. I guarantee you will love it.
It takes a bit of time to reach the top of the Phuket Big Buddha, so make sure you have enough gasoline! Entry is free, there are bathroom facilities, and some shops selling essentials outside the entrance.
The Best Beach in Phuket
Paradise Beach was without a doubt best beach I found in Phuket. Music with great beats, beach bed rentals, seclusion, and modern facilities made this my favorite spot.
There is a wonderful floating pier from which you can dive in the water. Activities wind down here at sunset, except on nights where there is a festival! I didn’t catch a festival, but it looked like it would have been a blast.
You will need a motorbike to get to Paradise Beach since the approaching road is extremely steep, a bit too uncomfortable to walk.
Halfway to the beach from the main road, all cars are stopped, but if you have a motorbike you can drive down the mountainside right up to the entrance. There is free parking too.
Patong Beach & Karon Beach
Patong Beach was quite displeasing in my opinion. Generic gay travel as well as regular travel websites completely over-hype this beach to capitalize on website clicks. The water was murky and had significant trash floating around.
Don’t believe all the filtered images of Patong Beach that you see online. The water here is nowhere near blue. Personally, this false advertising gets on my nerves!
It is also difficult to relax on Patong Beach because there are boat-drawn parachutes taking off and landing all along the shoreline. Their attendants continue screaming to get people out of the way.
Karon Beach was decent in my opinion. A great middle-ground option if you don’t want to drive to Paradise beach, It’s a short distance south of Patong Beach.
Less of a crowd, plenty of rentable chairs, and clearer water make it a better option for gay travelers in Phuket.
Gay Patong Experiences
You must of course get a Thai Massage while visiting Patong! But be judicious about which place you enter. How can you tell a good massage parlor from a dirty, sketchy place?
Firstly, the better places don’t need to have five to seven women sitting on the sidewalk chanting “massage.”
Choose a massage parlor that you don’t need to be convinced to enter. This way, you’ll avoid potentially unpleasant surprises, if you know what I mean.
Jungceylon is a modern shopping mall complex located right in the center of Patong Beach. International clothing and accessory brands are located here, so you’ll have a chance to pick up any needed items.
Restaurants (most of which are not Thai) and bars in the Jungceylon complex are outrageously expensive for Thailand. However, you are really paying for the experience more so than the food.
I only recommend eating in Jungceylon to those who strictly prefer ornate restaurants and have the extra money to spend. Many places here including Starbucks also have free wi-fi.
Phuket Old Town Things To Do
Old Phuket is known for its picturesque multicolored pastel buildings. The streets are just as charming as the photos portray. This little town has such an adorable ambiance, completely different from bustling Patong.
Don’t miss Thalang Street, the main place to find adorable shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Thalang #31 is my top suggestion for cooling off with a drink while exploring Old Phuket Town. It’s an impressively stylish bar and café with indoor/outdoor seating. Spending an hour or so here enjoying the wonderful interior finishes and thoughtful design is so relaxing.
Modern coffee shops are popular in Old Phuket. They are everywhere, and usually are quite stylish! Many of them have that sort of “hipster” feel.
I spent some time at Campus Coffee Roasters, which has super cold air conditioning, the fastest wi-fi around, and delicious pastries.
Je t’aime in Phuket Town has some unbeatable Vietnamese food. If you’re in the Old Town, a meal here is a must!
The flavors I experienced here were like nothing else. I was also a newbie to Vietnamese food, and they showed me the proper way to eat everything. Absolutely incredible service and a beautiful interior.
Thailand Gay Tours in Phuket
Joining a Thailand gay tour group is a fantastic and easy way to explore the most beautiful parts of the country.
Alongside a group of other gay travelers, you can make a bunch of new friends and make the most of your travel experience. Plus, transportation, logistics, and all sorts of other details are taken care of for you.
Out Adventures is the best and most popular organizer of Thailand gay tours. They offer a couple of different vacation packages and honestly, these tours look epic.
Their Temples & Beaches gay tour starts in Bangkok, stops over in Chiang Mai, and ends in Phuket.
For other Thailand and Phuket gay tour options, check out offers from these popular gay tour companies.
Phuket Gay Bars & Clubs
Paradise Complex is the main center of Phuket gay bars. There are many gay bars and small gay clubs along this street, all of which you can check out in one or two nights.
Boat Bar & Zagg Club
Boat Bar is my Thai friend’s favorite gay bar, located right next to the Grand Paradise Hotel. A great drag show with dancing and fun bar staff kept us going all night long!
Zagg Club is another popular gay bar option. It is only a few steps away from Boat Bar. They have an outdoor show pretty much every night with a large number of dancers. After that show, they welcome everyone inside the bar for more fun and dancing.
Make sure you read my travel tip below on when to get to Paradise Complex Phuket gay area because going too early can be a mistake.
Other Phuket Bars
You’ll probably walk through Bangla Walking Street without even trying. This is the main straight nightlife center in Patong, which garners some mixed feelings from gay travelers. It is extremely crowded and full of what you may call “trashy” bars.
You’ll encounter female dancers on bar tables and hundreds of workers trying to convince you to come into their establishment.
Since you’re in Patong, I’m sure you will want to check it out anyway. And so, if you are there, go to Crystal Bar.
In my opinion, this cute spot was the most elegant bar in the area. They play fun pop music that gay travelers would love! There are also cute little beanbag chairs outside near the sidewalk.
Phuket Gay Travel Tips
Finding an Airport Transfer
Phuket International Airport is far north of central Phuket and public transit isn’t a reliable option, so you must plan to grab a taxi or shared minivan if you’re flying in or out.
Budget travelers typically book inexpensive shared van transfers, which tend to take longer since they’re not as direct.
However, there are also direct van transfers that will take you to your hotel at only a slightly higher cost.
Those who prefer both privacy and comfort can book an air-conditioned private airport transfer.
Be sure to pay close attention to exactly where your transfer will pick you up/drop you off, especially if it’s a shared van.
I say this because Phuket’s two main bus terminals are not near Patong Beach. I learned on my journey that buses destined for the main terminal will stop at travel agencies along the way.
The idea is that at these travel agencies, you can book a shared van to your hotel in Patong Beach. If you want to make sure this is possible on your route, check with the bus attendant because your ticket likely won’t state it.
Pack Your Tropical Vacation Essentials
Before you head off to paradise, check wolfyy’s useful list of what to pack for tropical destinations. You’ll find my favorite waterproof gear, lightweight clothing ideas, rain gear, and tons more.
The Paradise Complex
You may be itching to check out the Patong Paradise Complex (the Phuket gay street) as soon as you arrive, but don’t go too early!
If you show up before 11/11:30 PM, you may find yourself creeped out by the male masseurs crowding around you on a dark, empty street.
Life in the gay area begins just before midnight. Don’t make the same mistake as me by going earlier.
Avoid Massage Solicitations
In Patong Beach, I guarantee you will be approached and offered a massage on the sidewalks. Here is a chance to practice your best poker face.
These women (and sometimes men) can get feisty, pulling your arm or repeatedly tapping you. So, if you want to avoid a prolonged interaction, just keep walking.
Phuket Money-Saving Tips
You will save a bunch of cash in Thailand by bartering. Here are a few helpful tips. Keep these numbers in mind, or jot them down before your trip so you don’t overpay.
When renting a motorbike for a day, don’t pay more than 200-250 Baht. Anything more and you’re getting completely ripped off. Usually, they will give you a bike that’s almost empty, so plan to add some gasoline. For 100 Baht, the company that rented to me filled my tank.
Taxi rides from town to town should not cost more than 500 Baht. I paid 450 Baht to get from Patong Beach to South Patong (a 30-minute ride), but the advertised price is 600 baht.
For reference, I paid 600 Baht for a private air-conditioned car from South Patong to Old Phuket.
Pad Thai and other noodle dishes cooked in local restaurants should cost no more than 100 Baht per plate.
In most Thailand destinations, I paid 80 Baht for noodle dishes with chicken, so if you’re paying more, you’re probably in either a fancy restaurant or a tourist trap! The bare-bones price for Pad Thai is 80 Baht, no lower.
For more inspiration, explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.