Phuket Gay Travel
Trusted Phuket gay travel recommendations for hotels, beaches, gay bars, clubs & authentic experiences.
The Gay Travel Experience: Phuket, Thailand
Phuket, and specifically Patong Beach, is where you’ll find the largest concentration of gay men outside of Bangkok. In Patong, gay bars snuggle up against one another in a little area called the Paradise Complex. More on this later.
Thailand is of course one of the best places to be gay in Southeast Asia, which is why Phuket has become such a popular destination for gay men.
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 treaded carefully. If you don’t plan correctly, you might just end up ordering a pepperoni pizza in an Egyptian restaurant surrounded by Russian vacationers.
My biggest piece of advice for you is to spend time in more than one place in Phuket. Gay travel to Phuket probably means you’ll want to visit Patong, but don’t forget to check out some other more local spots! Each area of the island (which is quite large) has a completely different vibe.
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 Beach: Where to Stay
Patong Beach is by far the busiest and most touristic area of Phuket. It is 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 staying at 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, 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 fare to the bars is quite low.
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
Phuket Town was my last stop on the island and accommodations are plentiful here. There are hundreds of Old Town hotels and hostels on VRBO within a 15-minute walking distance to the center.
Other Places to Stay in Phuket
Many popular and luxurious beach resorts are halfway between Patong Beach and the airport. There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Bang Tao, one of the more popular areas north of Patong.
I didn’t get a chance to visit this area, but my gay Italian friends sent me some photos of great places. The area speaks for itself with major resorts like the Banyan Tree Phuket located along the waterfront here.
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Stay in Multiple Phuket Locations
For first time travelers, I recommend spending a few days in southern Phuket to experience the 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 tried Durian fruit yet, now is your chance. They can be found at most outdoor markets, but I got mine at Baan Saan in Patong Beach.
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.
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.
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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 online. The water in Patong Beach 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. A bit less crowded, 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 potential 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.
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.
My number one suggestion for cooling off in the heat during your explorations in Old Phuket Town is to have a drink at Thalang Café, an impressively stylish bar with indoor and outdoor seating. The drinks are delicious. This is the perfect place to spend an hour with friends enjoying the wonderful interior finishes and thoughtful design.
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.
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.
Phuket Gay Bars
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
Without even trying, you will probably walk right through Bangla Walking Street, the main straight nightlife center in Patong. This area garners mixed feelings by 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
Travelers arriving by bus should take note that the main bus station is actually not near Patong Beach. I learned on my journey that buses destined for the terminal will stop at travel agencies before arriving at the main station.
At these travel agencies, you can get a shared minivan 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 mention it
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.
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 on 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 of Thailand 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.