Chiang Mai gay guide

Chiang Mai is as gay-friendly as they come

Chiang Mai is as gay-friendly as they come

Thailand is a wonderful destination for the gay traveller, and Chiang Mai is one of the most popular places in the country to visit or even settle. The gay scene is well established here, with a large community who enjoy frequent entertainment and plenty of male company from local Thai boys.

The Chiang Mai gay crowd blends in effortlessly since Thais are so accepting and unprejudiced about gender choices; a major reason why the ladyboys are so numerous. Thai boys also make good gay companions owing to their good looks and soft character. Whether you come alone or as a couple, Chiang Mai will be a memorable experience. There is also a more discreet lesbian scene (even if Thailand tends to attract men), with a few places and networks to meet an increasing group of gay or bi women.

Many have found their special partner here, while others prefer to simply have a bit of fun! The Chiang Mai gay culture is centred on bars, bistros, private massage houses, and even go-go clubs; but many also prefer a quieter life.

The city itself is relaxing and affordable, moving at a lazy place. Shopping, dining, socialising among the expat community, dressing up for frequent parties and immersing oneself in the contemporary culture of the city are all popular activities among the Chiang Mai gay community.

Meeting Thai boys

For the first time visitor looking to meet boys, there are a number of bars, clubs and saunas spread out throughout the city (see listings below). Additionally, there are many gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses.

Thai culture does not place a premium on youth in the way that Western societies do, and older men can still be quite desirable in Thailand. Chiang Mai is also a popular place to retire, for straights and gays. Thai boys are gorgeous, with toned bodies, lovely features and a soft nature. Everyone is friendly here, and you rarely meet outwardly vocal homophobic people.

Updated and correct: January 2013

Gay bars and restaurants in Chiang Mai

Glass Onion: A sophisticated, classy, gay-owned and run wine bar, attracting gay and stylish people later in the evening. Located on Nimmanhemin Road. Open: from 20:00, closed Sundays. The Boutique Mall, 61/2 Soi 17, Nimmanhemin Road, tel: (053) 218 479. Japanese : 087 0267 990

You also have a choice of the 'third sex'

You also have a choice of the 'third sex'

Soho Bar and GuesthouseGay-friendly bar with a relaxed, classy atmosphere and a garden bar and trendy interior. Conveniently located near Kad Suan Kaew mall. Coffee Bar open from 12noon,  full service bar 18:00-12:30. 20/3 Huay Kaew Road, tel: (053) 404 175, mobile: (085) 029 8485, (082) 695 9930, email: sohocm@hotmail.com.

Lotus Garden Bar: Sat next to the Lotus Hotel is this open-air bamboo hut bar filled with friendly people. Open: 19:00 till late, 2/25 Viangbua Rd., Chang Phuak, tel: (053) 215 376, (053) 215 462.

The Long Yang Club: LYC Chiang Mai is a Social Club promoting friendship between Asian and Western Gay men and lesbians. It holds regular social events, including dining out, sports, charitable activities and entertainment, details of which are on their webpage. Email: lyc.cnx@gmail.comwebsite: www.lyccnx.110mb.com.

The Playhouse Entertainment Complex: Chiang Mai's newest performing arts company (replaced the old Simon Cabaret) is a major new tourist attraction, with shows featuring gays and ladyboys. Shows are an hour and 15 minutes long. Show times: 20:00 and 22:00 (daily), closed Sundays, Live show: 1,000/500 baht for adult/child; 177 Changpueak Road, tel: (053) 410 671.

Others gay hangouts

Garden Bar: Small sociable place on the right night. 2/25 Soi Viangbua Rd., Chang Phuak. tel: (053) 215 376, 215 462.

Circle Club: Another choice for company for the evening. Cabaret show Friday - Sunday at 22:00. 161/7-8 Soi Erawan, Chang Puak Road, Chang Puak, tel: (053) 214 996.

New My Way: Sometimes busy and out of town a bit. Open 20:00-01:00, cabaret show nightly 22:00. 3/5-6 Hatsadee Sewee Road, Soi 3, tel: (053) 404 361.

Gay massage and spas in Chiang Mai

House of Male: A large, popular place to meet single people, boasting a sauna, gym with swimming pool, bar, and friendly service. Open: 12:00-midnight; 19 Soi 3 (off Sirimankalajarn Road), tel: (053) 894 133, email: admin@houseofmale.com.

Blue’s Club: Located among the karaoke bars of Chiang Mai Land, south of the Night Market, Blue’s offers massage and body scrubs by male therapists at affordable prices. Open 14:00 until midnight. 422/18 Chiang Mai Land, Changklan Road, tel: (053) 204 968, mobile: (086) 677 6592, email: info@blueclub-spa.com, blueclubmassage@hotmail.com.

Classic House Massage: Centrally located off Thapae gate and decorated in the traditional Lanna style, with body scrubs, aromatherapy, facial and 4-hands massage. Open: 12:00-midnight; 27/2 Thapae Road, Soi4, tel: (053) 904 582, email: info@classichousemassage.comwebsite: www.classichousemassage.net.

His Club: Situated in the Chiang Mai land area, His Club touts ‘More than 20 male therapists to choose from’ and offers various treatments. Also has a spa and sauna and is open until 01:00. 21/43 Soi Moo Baan Unn Reun, Paa Prao Nok Road, tel: (053) 204 148, mobile 08 4170 5507, (089) 637 3933, email: hisclub-cm@hotmail.comwebsite: www.hisclub-chiangmai.com.

Cheeva SpaServing the gay community for six years, Cheeva Spa continues to offer the best possible massages and beauty treatments in Chiang Mai. Gay and lesbian visitors from around the world return year after year for the wonderful service that Khun Parisa and her staff provide. Open Daily 10:00-22:00. 4/Hussadisewee Road, Sriphum,  tel: (053) 405 129, mobile: 08 1961 0578, email: contact@cheevaspa.com.

One-2-Come: A social place that includes a beer garden and host of extra facilities within a large converted house. Has private rooms, large beds and a Jacuzzi. Open 13:00 - 23:00. 360/1 Changklan Road, tel: (053) 204 385.

Gay accommodation and guesthouses in Chiang Mai

The following are specifically gay friendly…

Tokyo Vander: Chiang Mai’s largest gay accommodation is exclusively gay and has five floors of revamped rooms, along with a host of facilities. They include a pool, restaurants, massage/spa, and cabaret bar in the basement; popular among locals as a meeting place. Centrally-located across from the historic moat6 Boonreangrit Rd., Sriphum, Room rates: 790-1,350 baht. tel: (053) 211 100-3, email: reservations@tokyovenderhotel.comwebsite: www.tokyovenderhotel.com.

Santitham GuesthouseA nicely appointed, upmarket guesthouse and restaurant located northwest of the moat in a quiet suburb, yet within walking distance of Kad Suan Kaew mall. Room rates: 600-2,000 baht. 61 Santitham Road, Chang Phuak, tel: (053) 406 449, mobile: (081) 885 1329, (081) 020 3108, email: info@santitham.com.

Soho Bar and GuesthouseA popular gay venue that also has accommodation in a relaxed and friendly environment, if you don’t mind a lively atmosphere. It’s conveniently close to Kad Suan Kaew mall, near the old town, though on a busy road. Room rates: 800-1,600 baht. 20/3 Huay Kaew Road, tel: (053) 404 175, mobile: 08 5029 8485, email: sohocm@hotmail.com.

Seven Suns: Popular, lively place at 155 Ratchamanka Rd, Room rates: 999-1,550 baht (not include breakfast), tel: (053) 814 325, email: info@sevensuns.netwebsite: www.oldcitychiangmai.net.

Lotus Hotel: Gay-owned and run and very popular with visiting gay tourists. Room rates: May-October 1,050-2,850 baht, November-April 1,500-3,900 baht, 2/25 Soi Viangbua Road, Chang-Phuak, tel: (053) 215 376 / 215 462, website: www.lotus-hotel.com.

Baan Sammi: Gay homestay accommodation near Doi Saket. Room rates: 190- 1,500 baht, 79 Moo 6, PaLan, Doi Saket, tel: (053) 868 815, email: baansammi@gmx.netwebsite: www.baansammi.com.

About the Author

Andrew Bond is a travel writer who has been living in Thailand and writing about the region for more than 10 years, contributing to numerous local magazines and major web travel brands. He travels around South East Asia by tuk-tuk, bicycle, cyclo, jeepney, taxi, moto, elephant or foot in search of new smells, sounds, sights, and atmosphere. Share your travel bits with him on Google +

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