Thailand is a rather liberal place for those living an "alternate lifestyle," especially when compared to its neighbors. There has historically been very little official harassment of gays or lesbians. However, it should be noted that Thais generally are somewhat conservative in regards to overt displays of affection between any kind of couple in public. Holding hands or walking with your arms around your friend is okay, more than that is not.
Resources for Gay Travelers
Reflecting the rather liberal attitude described above, there are a wealth of businesses and information resources catering to the Gay traveler. Here's our picks for the best of these:
- Dreaded Ned's
- A comprehensive site with information and additional links for everything from nightspots to personals, covering all of Thailand.
- Award-winning web site with lots of information for Thailand and the rest of Asia.
- Cambodia Out
- Despite its name, this site has a good list of venues for all the major Thai destinations, as well as Laos and Cambodia.
Gay Travel Services
- Purple Dragon
- The guys at Purple Dragon specialize in personalized travel throughout Southeast Asia. Choose from a variety of base packages that you can add special side trips to for a one of a kind vacation experience.
- Rainbow Scuba
- This full service dive shop can arrange trips for experienced divers or even teach you how to dive so that you can see the best of Samui's scenery. It's where I learned to dive. They also offer a variety of active land tours for non-divers.
Thai Gay Pride Events
- Bangkok Pride
- After foundering for many years, the Bangkok Pride event got adopted by San Francisco's pride foundation and has now mounted successful events for the last couple of years. The events are usually held in mid to late November. Bangkok Pride is now the largest event in Southeast Asia. Dates for 2003 are 9 to 16 November.
- Pattaya Gay Festival
- Pattaya Pride is extremely well organized with fund-raising events held throughout the year, culminating in a big three-day bash in early December.
Books for Gay Travelers
For gay travelers, The Men of Thailand is a good guide, or was. It's now out of print and not generally available. The Utopia guide is your best bet, as it includes all the accumulated knowledge from their web site, although I have to say that the site and book is getting rather out of date. Of course, communication is the key to any 'relationship' so the language guide below may be your best bet.