Phuket Island is a universally recognized destination for fun, good times and relaxing. All kinds of people from all parts of the world come to Phuket to let their hair down and this includes gay people.
They come for the reasons all people come, and they come because Phuket Island and Thailand, or most of it anyway, are very friendly to and accepting of gay people.
The outlook toward homosexuality in Thailand and its role in Thai culture is probably a little difficult for both those who are not Gay and those who are Gay but not from Thailand to understand. This is because it is so open and it manifests itself in many forms not so common in Western cultures.
Anyway, it is possible for gay people to travel throughout the island without feeling any of the hostility or suspicion they are used to feeling in other parts of the world. And those who are looking to meet likeminded people, either for friendship or more, usually have no problem doing this.
Many gay people, especially first time visitors, often feel most comfortable and happy when staying at or near the center of the island's gay community, which is located in Patong Beach, the largest tourist resort on the island.
Here, gay travelers can stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, drink in one or more of 20 bars and visit other businesses which are very friendly to gay people and usually run or managed by gay people, many of them expatriates. The majority of these places provide gay travelers an excellent opportunity to meet other gay people and to get useful information about Phuket Island.
The center of the gay community is located in what is called the Paradise Complex. This is a series of sois (small streets) connecting to Rat-U-Thit Road, an important shopping and entertainment venue in Patong. It is a short distance – around five minutes - from the beach and very near Bangla Road, the main entertainment area in Patong.
In recent years, the gay oriented businesses have actually spread outside of Paradise onto Rat-U- Thit Road, just as the straight bars and hotels on Bangla have done the same. Thus, there is a gray area in Patong where gay and straight are pretty well mixed together but this is basically no problem as most people are too focused on having fun, relaxing and getting what they want to worry about it.
There are several gay friendly hotels and guest houses in the Paradise Complex. Among them are:
In addtion the following gay friendly accommodations are available outside of the Paradise Complex but within Patong, often nearby:
The rooms in the places noted above all satisfy the basic expectations of Western guests. Some are absolutely first class facilities. Most of the hotels and guest houses have restaurants or grills. They are conveniently located both near the beach and the bar district. Many of them, such as the Flying Handbag, James Dean Bar and Guest House, Sundowners Bar and Guest House, and Time Bar and Bed, also have many of the best bars in Paradise.
All permit guests to bring back "friends" to spend the night with them at no extra charge. Rooms at most establishments – but not the first class places - tend to begin at around 500 baht a night but rise fast. During the busy season, rates could be a good bit more or it might not be possible to get an inexpensive room. It is a good idea to make reservations if one plans to make a trip in the high season.
As noted, there are numerous bars in and near the Paradise Complex and many are connected to hotels or guest houses. Among those are:
There are three gay discos in Patong:
There are also some saunas and massage places specializing in service to Gay men. They are the Alkazar Garden 135/14-15 on Rat-U-Thit Road, and the Sparatacus, on Soi 5 in the Paradise Complex.
There is gay life outside of Patong Beach. Most resort areas catering to foreigners have at least one gay friendly establishment, although they tend to more upscale and expensive than those in Patong. They also tend to be designed on a "bungalow" format and thus to cater to couples. Among the better known facilities are as follows:
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