Bangkok is widely considered to be the “Gay Capital of Asia”. To an extent that is true. While exploring gay Bangkok on my 2 week trip, I found myself in some of the most liberating gay neighborhoods, streets, drag shows, and met some of the most fabulous people I’ve ever known. Furthermore, to my tourist eyes, it seemed that LGBT+ people were widely accepted in the country.
That is, of course, far from the truth. While Bangkok — and Thailand — is a great place for Pink Tourism, it offers little to no protections to its own LGBT community. As such, Bangkok has quite a “two-faced” global reputation in terms of LGBT tolerance. In consideration of that, I’ll refrain from calling gay Bangkok a hub of LGBT+ acceptance, because it isn’t.
Having said that, exploring gay Bangkok is still a lot of fun if you’re a tourist. You can use this guide as a bucket list for all the best gay Bangkok experiences.
Table of Contents
Not only does the bar feature some of the best drag queens in Southeast Asia, but also the most unique. I’m not being shady here, I love the drag queens in other cities as well. However, whereas the drag shows in other cities such as Chiang Mai, Phnom Penh, etc, lean in more towards serving 80s glamour diva realness, The Stranger Bar leans into raunchy humor with some of the fishiest queens imaginable.
The bar is quite small and dingy, which is totally a part of the aesthetic. If you’re seated in the front row, you’re bound to eventually become a part of the entertainment. Don’t be surprised if one of the drag queens comes along and plants a little kiss on your cheeks, or twerks on your lap. That’s all a part of the show. That, and the “sperm” shots they offer you if you can guess the name of the song and artist they’re playing.
Going to the drag show in Bangkok for the first time was quite an intimidating experience. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
The most famous gay dance club in Bangkok is DJ Station. It’s located in Soi 2, a fabulous gay street lined with dance clubs, throbbing with the energy of hundreds of horny gay boys and of-the-moment pop tunes.
You have to pay ฿150 (Approx. ₹300 | $5.00) as entrance fee to get into the street. However, you get a free drink coupon, and you gain access to all the dance clubs in the street. DJ Station is always the most crowded of all the bars. In fact, your movements will pretty much be at the mercy of the crowd.
DJ Station is spread out across two floors. All the dancing mostly happens in the lower floor. The upper floor is a sort of lounge wherein guys get drinks and find prospective partners for the evening. Sadly, the music stops and the entire street closes at around 1 AM.
There are several Soi (streets) in Bangkok dedicated solely to gay entertainment. The most popular gay streets in Bangkok are Soi 2 and Soi 4. Both of them are located close to each other, within a 5 minute walking distance along the same road. However, both of them have a completely different yet complementary vibe.
Soi 4 is usually where people start their evenings. It’s a wide street flanked with gay bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs, etc. Some of the most popular bars in Soi 4 are Balcony Bar and Telephone Bar. Both of these gay bars are located opposite to each other, and they feature outdoor seating. If you’re looking to find a partner to spend the evening with, this is the right place to be. It’s quiet, it’s pretty, there’s plenty of place to move around, and it features some great entertainment. This is also the street with the best drag bar in Bangkok — the Stranger Bar, as mentioned earlier.
Soi 2 is the exact opposite of Soi 4. It’s a small and narrow street lined with dance clubs on either sides. This is where you go once you’re done drinking in Soi 4. It’s the best place to let your freak flag fly as the dizzying lights and sound and the sheer volume of people offers you anonymity.
One of the most popular hotels and spa in Bangkok is Babylon Gay Hotel. This hotel is already pretty infamous in Bangkok for its various events, be it the foam party, naked party, or others.
If you want to access the spa, you need to pay ฿400 (Approx. ₹800 | $13.50) to enter the hotel grounds, and with that you gain access to most of their facilities. However, the facilities are all complementary if you’re a guest there.
You can dip into the swimming pool or lounge around it soaking up the sun if you so choose. If you’re into cruising you can wander amidst the “Garden of Earthly Delights.” This is basically a maze, a series of dark steamy labyrinths where you can indulge all your sensual pleasures. You can also go and sweat it out in the steam room, which often has some gay porno playing on a screen.
As far as the crowd is concerned, it’s largely old expats and western tourists. You won’t find a lot of young people here either. Though that’s largely because young gay folks are less likely to go to cruising spots in general.
My favorite backpacker hostel in Bangkok was located in Silom, called Three of a Kind. There are a lot of gay hotels in Bangkok and in Southeast Asia. However, this was the first gay-friendly hostel in Bangkok that I came across. It’s not a gay-exclusive hostel, but due to the fact that the hosts have advertised it as ‘gay-friendly’, a lot of gay folks frequent it.
I stayed in the hostel for a period of 2 weeks, and struck up some wonderful connections with the other guests in the hostel. This is certainly not a “party hostel”, and it has quite a homely vibe. The common room has a TV, several sofas, a dinner table, and is generally very chill. A lot of the guests in the hostel had been staying there for several weeks. As such, if you’re staying in Bangkok for a longer duration, this is the perfect place to strike up some queer and queer-supportive friendships.
While this isn’t a party hostel, it’s close to the major gay nightlife of Bangkok. Both Soi 2 and Soi 4 are within 15 minutes from the hostel on foot.
Cost: ฿250 (Approx. ₹500 | $7.50) per day.
You can find the hostel listing on TripAdvisor.
Gay Bangkok has a lot more to offer. Even though I spent 2 weeks in the city, I’m sure there’s a lot more that I haven’t explored but look forward to on my next trip.
For example, I’ve heard the W Hotel hosts a Boy’s Evening every Wednesday when they offer free champagne to guys, specifically gay guys, though there’s no way to verify the sexuality of course.
I would also like to be a part of Bangkok’s Gay Pride Parade which happens during November in Silom. If you’d like to keep tabs on gay events in Bangkok you can follow Out BKK, a non-profit and non-governmental organization that works towards the interests of the LGBT+ community in Bangkok.
Feel free to let me know whether you found this guide to Gay Bangkok useful. If you have any other recommendations that I missed out on, please do mention it down in the comments section.
Now, Sashay Away!
I can be quite socially awkward occasionally. Sometimes, during these intermittent periods of social waywardness…