Mention Thailand to gay friends overseas and the majority will answer with just one word – Pattaya. This small seaside city about 100 miles southeast of Bangkok seems to have everything the gay traveller would wish for – sun, sand and sea, plenty of gay accommodations, go-go bars and other gay bars galore. Throw in the occasional sauna and massage parlor, a galaxy of gorgeous guys from all over Thailand. What more could anyone wish for?
At one time, Pattaya was known for sultry beaches and beautiful water. Some 50 years ago, it was just a tiny fishing village nestling in the Gulf of Thailand, unknown even to most Thais. Then came the Vietnam War and with it America’s need for bases near the Vietnam, Cambodian and Laotian borders. Enter Pattaya, soon to become one of its largest air bases.
It also became something else: the R&R home for the hundreds of thousands of GIs whose short leave required somewhere relatively close by. With so many young men wandering around, savvy entrepreneurs quickly realized this rapidly growing market of thirsty and horny soldiers would pay handsomely to have their various appetites satisfied. The result was the development of an ever-growing stream of bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants that would transform the sleepy village into one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world!
Whilst the war has been over for 40 years, Pattaya’s reputation as a holiday destination had been well and truly made. This was where you came quite literally to ‘have a good time’ at a very modest price. Soon the gay market was being catered to and Pattaya became the place for gay guys looking to spend their days basking on the beach and their nights looking for love.
Nowadays, Pattaya still has its beach, although the sand is no longer pristine and the water distinctly ‘muddy’. Yet, most gays avoid the main beach, preferring instead to gather at the Dongtan gay section of Jomtien Beach, a short Baht Bus ride away from South Pattaya (Pattaya Tai). Get off at the Police Box just before the bus turns left along the main section of Jomtien beach. You, though, will turn right and walk until you come to the Avalon Beach Resort, one of several beach resorts on your right (if you have reached the gay-friendly Rabbit Resort, then you’ve certainly gone too far). At the end of the Avalon property, move across to the beach. Here you will find the main gay section.
You can rent a deck chair for a modest fee. Your attendant will also provide drinks and simple meals if you wish. Once settled, a host of beach vendors will walk past offering everything from ice creams to freshly cut fruit, tasty appetisers, all manner of massage services, tacky tourist items galore – and some of the latest pirate versions of gay DVDs.
As you look around, you’ll notice a lot of Russians and East Europeans, and increasingly some Chinese, Koreans and other Asians. Whereas Pattaya used to be distinctly a destination for western and Australian visitors, Thailand’s tourism demographics are changing rapidly, as evidenced by those enjoying the charms of Pattaya.
When the weather is warm and sunny, there is no better place to relax and simply watch the world go by than Dongtan Beach. The late afternoon will see a host of young Thai guys come out to swim, play volleyball or simply cruise around. Don’t be surprised if you see many of them in the bars later in the evening! For that no doubt will be your destination after you have scrubbed off your sun lotion and admired the tan you are beginning to acquire.
Pattaya has three distinct gay areas, two relatively close to each other. The odd one out is Jomtien not far from that police box. Here most of the gay venues are in Jomtien Complex and include bars, shops, cafes, restaurants and one of the saunas.
Pattayaland Sois 1, 2 and 3 just off Second Road have several well-known gay bars and go-go bars, with the ‘L’-shaped Soi 3 being exclusively gay and often referred to as ‘Boyztown’. Backtracking, about 15 minutes to the southeast you find another cluster of exclusively gay establishments in Sunee Plaza, with its mix of go-go bars, beer bars with hosts and small restaurants. Generally the dancers and hosts here seem to be younger than elsewhere and until quite recently Sunee had a reputation for employing underage guys. But it is still important to ask the young man of your dreams for his ID card to be sure he is at least 18 years old. If not, then you could be in for a bundle of trouble.
The etiquette in bars is virtually the same everywhere. If you like a dancer or a host, have the mamasan ask him over for a drink. Then, if you find the chemistry starts to click, you can ‘off’ him for what’s called a bar fine – usually in the Bt. 300 – Bt. 400 range. You can then take him to your hotel or a short-time room for an evening of pleasure. Remember, though, that he still requires a tip, and this will be larger for an overnight stay. For newcomers, the amount to tip is always a concern. So, check on our forum for the suggested minimums. And please remember always to treat your chosen companion with respect.
Be sure to check out the Bars and Clubs section of our Pattaya City Guide for the latest information on all the best places you might wish to visit.
With so many handsome guys around, cruising continues to thrive in Pattaya. Look around in shopping malls, on the beach or even just walking on the street. Smile at anyone you like and make sure your gaydar is working. If he smiles back, who knows what might happen? It’s important to remember, however, that you must always take precautions. Unlike in bars where the mamasans have some control over their employees, that gorgeous guy you meet on the street may turn out not to be so nice when he gets back to your hotel. Always place your valuables in the in-room safe or with the reception desk, and never leave any tempting item on a desk.
We all know that some of the best-looking Thai girls are really boys. Many of those girls you see walking by the beach may also be ladyboys. If you like your men with boobs on top, Pattaya has clubs catering to your desires. This, gentlemen, is ‘chicks with dicks’ heaven! And if boys being gals is your thing, check out the two main ladyboy shows, the Alcazar and Tiffany’s where the production quality of the shows as well as the dancers will amaze you. Tiffany, on Second Road, is said to feature the biggest breasted boys in Thailand!
Whilst on the subject, the ‘bottom’ line is that Pattaya is a great place for tops and bottoms alike. Many T-shirts in Pattaya have a wholly appropriate slogan: “Good Boys go to Heaven; Bad Boys go to Pattaya!” But then, let’s be honest; Pattaya can be a bit of heaven for both good boys and bad boys!
We can’t wait to see you there along with all the other boys on the beach!
cc: 2012 GayThailand.com
Gay Thailand is the Information Center for Gay Thailand, Gay Pattaya, Gay Bangkok, Gay Chiang Mai, Gay Phuket, Gay Hua Hin, Gay Samui and Sunee Plaza.
*Note: Remember that this article was written at a certain place and time. Things in Thailand change often and the only way to see up to date information is to check out our City Guide Section for each city. Keeping up with the City Guide section and monitoring the Message Boards will keep you to date with the latest information about Gay Thailand | Gay Pattaya | Gay Bangkok | Gay Chiang Mai | Gay Phuket | Sunee Plaza | Gay HuaHin