Metropolitan capital and most populous city of Thailand. Bangkok, known in Thai as Krungthep Mahanakhon (or simply “Krungthep”) is the centre of politics, economy, education, culture, entertainment and transportation.
Founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, Bangkok covers an area of over 1,500 km² on the plain of the Chao Phraya River, and has approximately 8 million people or more than 10% of the country’s population.
The most tourist-popular areas are located within the central districts, served either by the BTS skytrain or MRT underground system. These include:
· Siam & Lumpini
The heart of metropolitan Bangkok, filled with shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment venues.
· Silom & Sathorn
Bangkok’s business & financial district, home to many embassies, high-rise buildings as well as the main gay scene and nightlife.
An upmarket area, known for large shopping malls, 5-star hotels, popular among expats and upper-class locals.
Bangkok’s gay scene is perhaps the most popular in Asia (although Travel Gay started in Bangkok, so we might be slightly biased).
The main Gay Bars and Gay Dance Clubs are located in Silom area, particularly on Silom Soi 2 and Soi 4 Road. These bars (Telephone Pub, The Balcony, The Stranger Bar, etc.) tend to get busy after 10 pm with mostly foreign customers. For dancing, DJ Station is always the best option.
Also in Silom is the infamous “Patpong”, Bangkok’s ‘red light district’ that includes a gay section on Soi Twilight (aka Soi Pratuchai), where a few go-go host bars can be found.
There are more than a dozen gay saunas in Bangkok, with Babylon and Ratchada Sauna being the most popular. Many saunas offer massage services, but you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to a massage. Depending on the ‘type’ of service you want, you will likely to find a ‘spa’ near your hotel, though most shops are located in commercial areas like Silom or Sukhumvit.
Large-scale gay dance parties take place during New Year and SongKran Festival. The annual gCircuit parties attract thousands of gay party-goers from around the world.
in front of Silom Soi 4 gay bars
Bangkok is a huge, bustling city. Choosing the right hotel in the right area is important. Bangkok has an amazing selection of hotels, ranging from funky hostels to five-star luxury. Silom is a good place to stay if you’d like to be close to the gay nightlife. It’s very tourist-friendly and it’s packed with hotels. Siam & Lumpini embodies the main hub of metropolitan Bangkok – this area is full of action and easily accessible by both Skytrain lines.
Most gay visitors stay in or near the central districts of Silom district or Siam. For our list of recommended hotels in Bangkok for gay travellers, visit our Bangkok Mid-Range Hotels, Bangkok Luxury Hotels and Bangkok Budget Hotels pages.
Gay spas and massage providers are very prevalent in Bangkok, far more so than in the west. This is partly due to socially conservative attitudes. In less liberal cultures, gay-specific spaces and service providers offer a key service. A place to go as a gay traveller, have a gay interaction – so to speak – and then go home. Bangkok is quite notorious for being a city in which you can find anything.
We work with many gay massage services and spas in Bangkok. Most of them advertise through our site. It’s customary to tip the masseuse.
Bangkok is a city of pleasure. You’ll probably find more gay saunas in Bangkok than in any other city. Bangkok is the most visited city on the planet, by some measures. That means you have an unprecedented number of people flooding in and out of Bangkok, many of whom will be looking for fun.
Some gay saunas in Bangkok are more favoured by locals, others are more favoured by tourists. Out gay sauna guide will give you the lowdown on the best saunas in town, the busiest times to visit, directions and more.
Gay Rights in Thailand
Homosexuality is legal in Thailand. Gay marriage is not, although that may change in the not too distant future. Bangkok is known as a gay mecca. Gay travellers have been drawn to Bangkok for many years.
The reality on the ground is a little more complex for local same-sex couples. Thailand is a socially conservative country and gay people can face discrimination, particularly within families and in the workplace. That being said, Thailand is a very welcoming country to LGBT+ foreigners.
Thailand is famous for its ladyboys (kathoey). There is a wide held belief in Thailand that the kathoeys embody third sex. Kathoeys are accepted as part of Thai culture.
Getting to Bangkok
Bangkok is served by two airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport (IATA: BKK) and Don Muang Airport (IATA: DMK). Suvarnabhumi Airport is used by all airlines in Thailand except for Nok Air, Orient Thai and AirAsia which use the Don Muang Airport.
Both airports are about 30 km from the city centre, so be prepared for a long ride to get into the city – particularly during rush hour. Allow at least 3 hours to connect between airports, as they are far away from each other and there is heavy traffic.
From the airport
The Airport Rail Link is a skytrain that connects between Suvarnabhumi Airport and the city centre at Phayathai Station, stopping at 6 stations on the way (06:00 – 00:00). Travel time is around 35 minutes. If you have large or heavy luggage, this is not the best option as it will require some walking.
Most visitors take a regular taxi. Proceed to the taxi booth (just outside of the arrivals hall) at airport and you will be given a number for your assigned taxi. Taxis are metered. There is a 50 baht airport surcharge on the metered fare and you will need to pay highway tolls.
Airport Limos are also available at Suvarnabhumi Airport. An Airport Limo is a luxury taxi service that costs about 1,200 baht one way to most hotels (inclusive of highway tolls). You can book an Airport Limo on arrival at one of the booths in the arrivals hall.
FAQs about Bangkok
Getting around Bangkok
Spreading yourself around Bangkok is dealt with in other sections, but getting around the city is just as easy. These are your all options:
Taxis in Bangkok are cheap and available 24 hours a day. A red light in the front windscreen means the taxi is available for hire. The meter starts at a very cheap 35 baht, with no surcharges for nights or weekends. So long as your destination is a well-known hotel, shopping mall, or street name, then the driver will understand. If not, just jump out and hail another.
By BTS (Skytrain)
Bangkok’s excellent elevated metro is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel around the city centre, particularly during rush hour. If you are staying for more than a few days, buy a Rabbit Card. The card can be topped up or charged a fixed amount for 15 or 25 trips – economical and more convenient than queuing to buy single tickets.
By MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
Bangkok has just one underground line that operates daily from 6am until midnight. Its route, from Bang Sue to Hua Lamphong, intersects with the BTS Skytrain at Sukhumvit and Silom. Strangely, the MRT and BTS each have their own ticketing system – observe the locals.
Tuk-tuk’s used to be everyone’s favourite way of getting around Bangkok before the Skytrain and metered taxis came along. Passengers are exposed to heat and pollution, but a tuk-tuk can come in handy sometimes. If you decide to take one, agree on the price before boarding.
By motorcycle taxi
At every major street, there are motorcycles with riders wearing numbered orange jackets. You can ask one to take you down the street for a small fee (usually 10-20 baht). These are handy for short trips or when in a hurry.
Bangkok has an extensive bus network but drivers usually only speak Thai. You need to know the route in advance. Not tourist-friendly.
When to Visit Bangkok
Bangkok is busy all year, though peak season is from November to February, when the weather is comfortable, with temperatures varying from 25°C to 32°C. Around April and May, it is very hot, so be prepared. Rainy season is from June through October.
Many gay travellers come to Thailand for New Year’s and SongKran Festival (mid-April).
Things to See & Do in Bangkok
Besides the locals’ warm hospitality a very welcoming gay scene, Bangkok has a lot more to offer. Check our Bangkok Attractions page.
Gay Friendly Bangkok Tours and Experiences
Browse our handpicked selection of gay friendly tours and experiences in Bangkok from our partners with free cancellation 24 hours before your tour starts.
Most tourists can enter Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa (click here for a list of countries). On arrival, proceed to immigration. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your arrival, and you need proof of onward travel (e.g. a confirmed air ticket).
Consult your local Thai Embassy before travelling if you plan to stay longer, work or visit more than three times in any 6-month period. If you exceed your permitted stay, you will be fined. By law, you should keep your passport with you at all times. Very few tourists do this. However, it is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport in your wallet.
Thailand’s currency is Thai baht (THB). ATM machines can be found all over Bangkok. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants. You may be asked for a photo ID.
You can exchange case at most banks or at Super Rich which offers slightly better rates. Super Rich booths are conveniently at Siam, Chidlom and Asoke BTS Skytrain stations – your passport is required.
Tap water is not recommended for drinking. Bottled water can be purchased at all convenience stores (7Eleven, Family Mart, etc.) throughout Bangkok, 24 hours a day.
For other services you might find helpful, please visit our Gay Bangkok Services page.