OutUK correspondent Robin Newbold continues his guide to what he believes
is the gayest capital in the Far East.
It may be a long way from London's Park Lane but the opening of the renowned COMO Metropolitan
Hotel in Bangkok's business district a few months ago has only enhanced the city's
And with it comes the Met Bar, which from the venue's
sleek exterior to the minimalist innards radiates that X-factor which makes for all great
bars - an encyclopaedic drinks menu, cute staff (clad in uniforms by designer Yohji Yamamoto)
and sexy clientele. Strictly members' only but if you look sassy and smart chances are
they like to say yes.
Minimalist chic, the Metropolitan in Bangkok.
Courtesy Metropolitan Hotels.
But if you exhaust the culture and the temples and the sophistication, then you could
always head to a go-go bar if you really must. There are any number off Surawong Road,
though the best we've been reliably informed is probably Jupiter next to the Surawongse
Hotel. Expect strapping Laotian farm hands looking to make it in the big city, or at
least that's what they'll tell you, in broken English …
Bangkok wouldn't be Bangkok without its saunas, there are zillions of them providing
anything from just being a place to chill and escape the infamous traffic to those
offering "special massage".
Yes, you've probably heard all about Babylon, the greatest
gay sauna in the world. But though Chakran (near Aree Skytrain station) might be a little
more difficult to get to, it's even better and even more opulent. Both places have a
swimming pool, great restaurants and individual cabins for those, er, more steamy moments.
"Mr Sexy Swim Suit" contest, which has (thankfully) become an annual event at Bangkok Pride.
Courtesy Telephone Pub.
Thailand's reputation obviously goes before it in terms of food and there are simply
thousands of restaurants, Thais love to eat 24/7. We'll just concentrate on the gay -
or gay-friendly - places to narrow things down.
For a long, lazy brunch to stare dreamily into your new friend's eyes, try Crepes & Co
in Sukhumvit - mouthwatering crepes of all shapes and sizes with a variety of fillings,
from Thai to Moroccan. There's a pleasant garden if you want to go al fresco.
If it's hot and spicy you're looking for, Fork & Cork by Sphinx is another Bangkok institution on
Silom Soi 4 and deservedly so, because it offers great Thai food (locals love eating
here) at very reasonable prices: think £20 for a complete blow out for two, including
wine. Service is friendly but discreet and it's handy that the kitchen serves till
1am as most city eateries, aside from the open-all-hours food stalls, close at 10pm.
Eat Me, great name(!), just off of leafy Convent Road is also a favourite with Bangkok's
gay community. Spread over three floors, and often featuring exhibition art hanging on the
walls, this classy restaurant offers fusion food at hotel prices with a very anti-hotel intimacy.
A stone's throw from the city's gay bars, somewhere to lay your head in comfort and no
little style is the aforementioned famous Metropolitan Bangkok. It may have been stylised to
within an inch of its life but all the accoutrements you'll ever need for that great gay
stay in Thailand are here.
Two lovers with a view of Bangkok. Photo: Ranta Images
This includes a very attractive swimming pool by which to admire your
fellow guests and a soothing spa to ease body, mind and spirit. The uber cool staff
are also unlikely to raise an eyebrow if you bring a "guest" up to admire your room.
Upscale prices for Thailand but with rooms just over a hundred pounds a night it's good value for
one of the city's best hotels.|
A more budget choice but no less stylish in its own inimitable way is Babylon Barracks,
part of the renowned Babylon Sauna. At less than £20 per night, which includes a free
daily pass to the sauna, it must rank as one of the city's best stays. The rooms are
airy and bright but basic with no TVs, though guests often make their own entertainment.
One bugbear is the lack of en suite bathrooms but this is the kind of place where everyone
mucks in together.
OutUK's hotel partners Bookings
also have a large range of hotels bookable online at special discount prices.
Robin Newbold is a Bangkok-based writer whose debut gay novel Vacuum-Packed is available from
and can be ordered from all good bookshops.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Babylon Sauna: 34 Soi Nantha, Sathorn Soi 1 (02-679 7984)
Balcony: 86-88 Silom Soi 4 (02-235 5891)
Chakran: Soi Aree 4, Phahon Yothin Soi 7 (02-279 1359)
Crepes & Co: 18/1 Sukhumvit Soi 12 (02-251 2895)
DJ Station: Silom Soi 2 (02-266 4029)
Eat Me: 1/6 Soi Pipat 2, Convent Road (02-238 0931)
Jupiter Club: 31/1-33 Surawong Road (02-237 4050)
Metropolitan Bangkok: 27 South Sathorn Road (02-625 3333)
Fork & Cork by Sphinx: Silom Soi 4 (02-234 7249)
Telephone Pub: 114/11-13 Silom Soi 4 (02-234 3279)
Revised December 2019.