There are few things as exciting as getting to take a top of the line, world-class international trip to one of the most incredible tourist destinations in the world. GayTravel.com’s Gay Travel Guru Bryan Kosarek experienced the thrills of travel recently on his incredible trip to Thailand. Throughout his journey to Bangkok (กรุงเทพมหานคร), Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่), and Phuket (ภูเก็ต), the Gay Travel Guru soaked up all Thailand has to offer while scoping out the gay scenes in around these areas for gay travelers everywhere.
After traveling for 27 hours, Bryan arrived in Bangkok and woke up a few hours later to a gorgeous view of downtown- not to mention an open mind and no expectations so as to best experience this beautiful city! His daytime destinations kicked off with the Chattachuk (จตุจักร) Market which is only held on weekends and has over 10,000 vendors selling everything from artwork to puppies. Even the best travelers get lost though: Bryan spent a good five hours accidentally exploring this rich hotspot in the city which is not a bad place to get stuck for an afternoon.
After frolicking with Bangkok’s people, Bryan got a taste of this city’s notorious architecture and history at the local temple and grand palace. A unique aspect of this temple—the Temple of the Tigers—is the incredible opportunity to play with, feed, and bathe tigers ranging from cubs to three years old! After offering the local monks food and sharing breakfast with them, Bryan indulged his inner animal by soaking up this rare chance to interact with tigers up close and personal. Though this experience is truly hard to top, the rest of Bryan’s travels around Bangkok included a boat ride on a long tail boat through the canals of Bangkok to tour the local architecture and floating markets as well as an incredible spa day at the spa recently ranked best spa in all of Asia!
It would be near criminal to visit Bangkok without hitting up the amazing nightlife there- and the Gay Travel Guru definitely did not disappoint! His Bangkok nightlife experience kicked off with a party at Club Ono which is short for “One Night Only”, housed in Bangkok’s gayborhood Snow Cowboy. Bryan also went to the very top of Vertigo Bar which is one of the highest points in Bangkok overlooking the entire city. Finally, the Guru rounded off his Bangkok nightlife extravaganza with the city’s notorious Ping Pong shows, Lady Boy shows, and dancing the nights away in the gay bars around town.
After wrapping up his time in Bangkok, Bryan traveled to his next destination Chiang Mai which is in northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is extremely laid back compared to Bangkok, with less traffic and a very relaxed atmosphere. There, he celebrated Thai New Year at the largest public water fight- and flirt fest- in the world! In addition to this massive celebration for the LGBT community and straight community alike, Bryan got to visit the Chiang Mai elephants. Not only did Bryan’s new elephant friends take him for a ride through the jungle, but they ate and painted pictures together too!
The Gay Travel Guru’s next stop on his Thailand tour was Phuket, a little island in the south of Thailand. There, he stayed in a hotel on a glorious hill with cabanas home to their own pools and an intricate network of stairs wrapping through the trees and jungle. He even got his spectatorship on sitting ringside at a Thai boxing match. The main differences between the three Thai destinations Bryan visited is the size and type of lifestyles practiced in each one. Bangkok, with 10 million people, has a vibrant gay scene with endless bars and clubs. In Phuket there is not much of a gay scene aside from other gay people traveling. According to Bryan, Chiang Mai was the perfect balance with 2 million people and a handful of gay bars where being gay is accepted but not thrown in your face.
In terms of LGBT travel safety, Bryan reports back that he always felt safe in and around the Thai destinations he visited. He believes that the overall Thai culture is accepting of homosexuality even if it is not openly spoken about. To get around in general, our Guru definitely relied on a wide network of public transportation which he assures is accessible and affordable. There was also a wide acceptance of a variety of languages all of which were very easily accommodated by the Thai people and other travelers alike. While Bryan didn’t end up eating any crazy and exotic foods during his travels, he did indulge in the best of authentic Thai food which put a glorious finishing touch to his first official international Gay Travel Guru trip to Thailand!