Here is the what to do, where to go, and how to budget during your trip to Thailand.
Once a land shrouded in mystery and now a gleaming tourist destination for budget backpackers and wealthy beach-goers alike, Thailand is a place of adventure, relaxation, and eye-opening beauty.
With so much to see and do, knowing Thailand before you go is crucial to making sure you get the most out of your trip. This gay Thailand travel guide will tell you everything you need to know about traveling Thailand, whether you are in Thailand for 14 days or 40. For even more tips on planning your trip to Thailand, check out this article.
So, let’s dive right in.
Accommodation In Thailand
Places to stay in Thailand are cheap, very cheap.
Whether you decide to stay with an Airbnb host, backpack hostel to hostel, or stay in a beach-side bungalow or guesthouse, the options are aplenty.
Bangkok and Chiang Mai will traditionally be around 300-400THB per night (depending on the amenities) with the prices dropping as you move north or south. The islands will be around 600THB a night.
Airbnb is growing in Thailand, as well as gay Thailand accommodations such as Mister B&B. Shared rooms generally start around 350THB a night, and full apartments are running around 700-1000THB per night.
Transportation In Thailand
If you have previously gone to places where transportation is a large chunk of your budget, you will find that Thailand is superior in terms of price.
Local buses will cost around 8THB per tip. Meanwhile, Metro and Skytrain (rail services) cost around 15-50THB per ride, depending on where you get on and off.
Choose metered taxis if you need one, because they run around 60-100THB. Unmetered tuk-tuks are exhilarating but also more expensive than anything else (100-235THB).
If you use Uber, don’t expect to find many drivers. As of March 2017, government authorities have begun a crackdown on Uber and GrabCar apps, seeking to ban it from use.
Internet and Wifi In Thailand
You will find that free Wifi is available at many cafes, malls, restaurants, malls, and hotels.
During your gay Thailand trip, it is a good idea to grab a SIM card at any corner store or even in international airports!
Another option are prepaid cards available from convenience stores and malls. All you need is an unlocked phone that operates on the GSM network. Make sure you pick up a secure VPN for Thailand travel, so you can protect your data and use your apps properly.
A month of data and roaming costs about 489THB (15 USD).
I recommend bringing something like this portable battery pack by Anker with you. It will be a godsend while you are making sure you stay connected!
Food and Drink In Thailand
The street food throughout Thailand is some of the most diverse and delicious food you will ever try.
My Bangkok street food tour was probably my biggest highlight of Thailand. I have never been so full!
Staying full in Thailand isn’t going to break the bank, either.
Street food costs as little as 20THB per plate, but you can expect to pay double for more filling portions. A lot of travellers don’t even go grocery shopping to budget, because food is generally very cheap.
If you are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, however, you will have to go to the grocery market.
LGBT Safety In Thailand
The major issues that any traveler would worry about, such as petty crime, unsafe roads, and low priced alcohol is usually the extent of safety issues for gay Thailand travel.
The only exception: HIV. The HIV rate in Thailand is one of the highest in the world, with it being astoundingly high among kathoey sex workers. During your gay Thailand trip, it is important to make sure you are practicing safe encounters and taking the proper precautions to keep yourself healthy.
I like to always make sure I have an Amity Jack bedside box with me when I travel. You never know who you might meet, and it is always nice to make sure you’re safe and prepared!
Aside from STIs, in Bangkok and other urban zones, there are a number of “gay friendly” hotels, nightclubs, and resorts, so you can have some PDA without having to worry. Mister B&B makes for a great and safe gay Thailand accommodation option!
As always, it is a very good idea to have travel insurance whenever you plan to leave your county, just incase anything happens to you, your belongings, or your flights. I could not recommend World Nomads for their outstanding insurance plans enough. Click here or check out the link below to get a quote!
Budgeting in Southeast Asia is actually pretty easy! Your dollar will go far here. As of December 2017, 1 USD equaled 32.62 THB (and 1 GBP equaled 43.71 THB), meaning that if you save up around 500 USD or GBP, you can afford a couple of organized activities, food, a nice guesthouse room, and public transportation.
To save money, make sure you pack your belongings from home. Here are some important items to add to your Thailand packing list!
The chart below will show you how much you should budget per day, depending on the type of vacation you’d like to have:
- A basic guesthouse or hostel room (around 20-100THB per night)
- Market or Street Stall meals (100THB)
- Beer (100THB per can)
- Public transportation (20-50THB per ride)
- Western lunches and restaurant dinners (150-450THB)
- Organized activities (1000-2000THB)
- Mid-range hotel room (400-500THB per night)
- Mid-range to boutique hotel room (3000+THB)
- Fine dining (400-1000THB)
- Private tours (2000THB+)
- Car rental or hire (800THB per day)
If you play it smart, you can even go to truly luxury destinations within Thailand and still only spend around 70USD a day. The average cost of food per day is around 479THB ($15). Bottled water runs around 51THB per day.
1 week in Thailand costs around 15,265THB (US$466) and 1 month costs around 65,500THB ($2000) for one person. These estimates should double for two people.
Places To Go and Things To Do in Thailand
There are visual splendors and fascinating cultural activities to indulge in while on a gay Thailand trip. Everyone can enjoy Thailand, regardless of their interests. Here are some of the highlights of my time in Thailand, that definitely deserve a spot on your Thailand itinerary! From sanctuaries in Chiang Rai to ping pong shows in Pattaya, these are some can’t miss stops on your Thailand vacation.
Bangkok is the capital city and the central hub of Thailand. The city never sleeps, and is packed with things to do and places to visit. There are tons of hostels, hotels, night markets, and street food vendors to visit. Whether you’re here for a Bangkok honeymoon or a party atmosphere, you will find what you’re looking for!
- Grand Palace – No, the name is not just a gimmick. The Grand Palace truly is majestic. Aside from the breathtaking architecture and history, the size, relics, and complexes around the vast grounds will need an entire day to fully enjoy.
- Asiatique – Love night markets? Don’t miss Bangkok’s. Here you can see images of Thailand’s history—a little bit of a theme park, a little bit of a warehouse—and everything in between. Food, souvenirs, a puppet theatre, cabaret clubs featuring “ladyboys” are just a few of the charm points at Asiatique. I even did a fish spa while at Asiatique, and tried a bug!
- Floating Markets – You can haggle over the price of fresh coconut milk or spend the afternoon floating through the collection of boats while on a guided boat tour. The most well-known floating markets are Damnoen Saduak, Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, and Tha Kha Market.
- Soi Cowboy Red Light District – Located just beyond Terminal 21, a hopping shopping mall in Bangkok, is Soi Cowboy. The street flourishes with risque bars, scantily clad workers, and gay Thailand go-go bars. All establishments have fixed drink prices and require no entrance fee, so you can enter places without feeling the need to spend money.
Chiang Mai is located in northern Thailand. It is a quieter city than the rest of Thailand, and filled with lush jungles and beautiful temples. I loved visiting Chiang Mai to escape the more touristy areas of Thailand. On your way to Chaing Mai, make sure you stop by Ayutthaya, about 80 km north of Bangkok!
- Chiang Mai Night Market – The Night Bazaar is a place where international crowds come together every weeknight and weekend. The Saturday and Sunday markets, which take place on Wualai Street and Ratchadamnoen Road, respectively, are lively and full of entertainments. And food!
- Elephant Nature Park – First thing’s first: Be sure to go to an ethical elephant sanctuary and do not get tricked into riding an elephant. Many places torture these gentle giants to get them to behave. That is why the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, which is known for ethical practices, is the best place to encounter elephants.
Chiang Rai is located about 2-3 hours east of Chaing Mai. It is known for being home to the world-famous White Temple pictured below. Chiang Rai is a city that doesn’t have many tourists, and is filled with friendly locals and beautiful architecture. If you would like to plan a quieter, more scenic gay Thailand trip, I would suggest spending some time in Chiang Rai!
Don’t forget to stop by Khun Korn Waterfall, the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand!
- White Temple – You might think the White Temple is just any old place of worship; but you’d be wrong. The temple is actually contemporary artwork mixing traditional Buddhist symbolism with murals in reference to pop culture, such as Neo from The Matrix, Hello Kitty, and more.
- The Night Bazaar (also known as Teenager’s Popular Market) – Though a fraction of the size of the bazaar at Chiang Mai, this microcosm of trade is an excellent way to take the sights and sounds of Chiang Rai, grabbing some delicious snack food and cheap beers. The bonus is that this bazaar is for pedestrians only, so walk at your leisure!
- Golden Clock Tower – Brought to you buy the same man who designed the White Temple is the elaborate clock tower. From 7-9 PM every night, the tower comes to life with a light and sound show that astounds.
Phuket is an extremely busy tourist area. While it can be hit or miss for expereince, I found that there was a ton to do here. Luxury hotels, plastic surgery, and spas make a killing in Phuket. I loved visiting Patong Beach, it was like seeing Las Vegas on steroids! A true gay Thailand traveler’s paradise! Check out this list of awesome things to do in Phuket before you go!
- Patong Beach Nightlife – Love raising your glass and dancing until the wee hours of the morning? Patong has hundreds of bars and nightclubs lined up along Soi Bangla, the heart of the bar scene, Rat-U-Thit Road, and Thaweewong Road. Over a hundred establishments are open late. Be sure to stop by Banana Disco, which has been open since 1993.
- Chalong Bay Rum Distillery Tour – Chalong Bay Rum has more than one face. The company does not solely create one of the most popular rum brands in the country, it also organizes an incredible tour. You can partake in an introduction to the facilities before entering the cocktail workshop and bar, where you can learn how to mix your own rum-based beverages then sample them.
- Thai Massages – If you have been dreaming of receiving a Thai massage, Phuket is known for having the best. After all, no where is better to receive the ultimate benefits of a true Thai massage than where the therapy was born! The coast is teeming with spas and salons offering 5-star rated services for budget-friendly prices.
- Toe Sae (Monkey Hill) – Imagine seeing a horde of macaque monkeys on the highest hill in Phuket Town. Yes, not only do you see breathtaking views of this paradise, you get to interact with charming primates. Be sure to go right before the sunsets for a view you won’t forget.
- Attend a Full Moon party – The first Full Moon Party happened in 1985 on a whim. Now, the parties have grown bigger and bring to Haad Rin Town the pulsing beats of music throughout the night. It’s a definite must for your gay Thailand trip! Crowds range from 5,000-30,000 people during every full moon evening. Time your trip right, and join the thousands for a nonstop extravaganza.
- Koh Tao Shark Snorkelling – Koh Tao has the largest concentration of scuba diving schools in Asia. Not only can you become a certified scuba diver for an unbeatable price, you can do things like snorkel with sharks, check out coral reefs, and enjoy the calm waters of Koh Tao.
- Check out Fire Spinning – Also known as “Poi,” fire dancing comes from the Maori people of New Zealand. However, the dance has become a nightly ritual on the southern beaches. Professional fire spinners put on daring displays that will blow your mind. I have done some fire spinning in the past, so I had a blast getting up there with the fire spinners. I only burned myself once!
Experience the Songkran Water Festival
Songkran is basically the Thai New Year. Depending on where you are in Thailand on April 13-15, you will see a variety of customs unique to the region.
But the best part? The water fights! You might want to bring a Super Soaker gun along for the trip.
The purpose of the water fights is to cleanse yourself for the coming new year. When you are running the streets of Thailand, beware!
Everyone partakes in the country and nobody is safe. I got soaked on a tuk tuk by some girl on a motorcycle next to me while driving through Bangkok!
Keep your valuables in a waterproof pack that can be easily purchased at most stands. Or, be even more prepared and grab a waterproof pack for super cheap on Amazon.
I find these packs to be way better quality than the ones in Thailand, and you don’t want to be taking chances with your valuables while you are getting buckets of water thrown at you!
Thailand is a magical country that suits every adventurer’s budget and travel style. Whether you are seeking jungle journeys or beach-side relaxation and drinks, there is something for you to enjoy. The only question is where you are going to go first!
If you are looking for more information and LGBT resources for Thailand, check out Travels of Adam’s Thailand travel guide!