Gay Chiang Mai – like most of Thailand – is very gay-friendly and gay couples traveling here will have no problems relating to their sexual origination.
However, even though Chiang Mai is the second biggest city in Thailand, the gay scene here does not compare to Bangkok, Pattaya or even Phuket. The commercial gay scene (AKA gay for pay) is relatively subdued with only a handful of gay go-go bars or host bars. Of course, the gay scene in Chiang Mai (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) doesn’t revolve around paid sex, and there are enough gay bars here to keep travelers entertained for a few days or longer.
While you as a traveler are unlikely to personally experience any LGBT related issues in Gay Chiang Mai – please we away for the difference between tolerance and acceptance. Local life is still significantly harder for LGBT citizens than their straight counterparts and many experience prejudices or violence in their everyday life. Chiang Mai’s last gay pride was held in 2009 and has since been permanently halted after Red Shirt supporters threatened the parade with violence.
In this case, homophobia won out and the political changes that swept the country – and continue to – had a negative effect on the local LGBT community. Much like that cases in Istanbul, Bucharest, Budapest, and Jakarta, this is incredibly sad news and a poignant reminder to us in the Western world that the fight is far from over for global LGBT equality and acceptance. We can only hope shortly this situation changes, and Chiang Mai Pride once again returns as an important bastion of queer visibility!
Away from the subdued gay scene, Chiang Mai is temple galore, lush forest, peaceful country village, incredible street food and luxe hotels. If you are traveling to Thailand for a gay blowout – this is not the place for you. But if you want a hint of Thai life away from the beach and cities, to slow down and relax and perhaps to enjoy a few casual nights out with your global LGBT family, then Gay Chiang Mai is waiting for you!
Gay Chiang Mai Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Chiang Mai Thailand 2018
In this article we will cover...
Top Attractions in Chiang Mai
Obviously being gay does not define which attractions most of us will want to see in each city and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Chiang Mai during the day! There is so much to do here – but we found our favorite memories were getting lost on quiet backstreets, exploring temples and taking a minute to relax and recharge our batteries after a wild night out! Still – it helps to have some idea what is going on, so here are the most popular attractions in Chiang Mai according to us…
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – Not to be missed on any Chiang Mai intermarry, this world-famous night market takes place at sundown as entire streets are covered in every possible type of good you can imagine. Pick up some fun handicrafts, practice your bargaining skills or just enjoy the delicious street foot and overall atmosphere. Most of the gay bars in Chiang Mai are located around this crazy circus so you can duck into one or the other to avoid the craziness for a few minutes… or longer.
- Doi Inthanon National Park – Spend a day at Doi Inthanon National Park and immerse yourself in northern Thailand’s rich, natural bounty. See the Wachiritharn Waterfall and get incredible panoramic views of the park from the King and Queen’s chedis (Buddhist stupas). Make it to the perch of Thailand’s highest peak, and take in the vast expanse of forest and greenery.
- Doi Suthep-Chiang Mai City Temple Tour – Visit one of Thailand’s most iconic temples, Doi Suthep Sacred Holy Temple/ See the beautiful Bhubing Palace, a royal winter residence built in 1961 and discover the cultural and historical significant Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang temples.
- Black House & White Temple – Make a day trip to see Chiang Rai’s iconic black and white landmarks. See the beautifully eerie and intricate Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, designed by National Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Afterward stop by the Black House, a museum and the home of National Artist Dr. Thawan Duchanee, and see its incredible interiors and bone displays.
- Paraplane Ride – Let loose and take off via paraplane flying approx. 50m above the ground. Don’t miss the sunrise overlooking the gorgeous view of Chiang Mai during this 15-minute ride! All equipment and training will be provided by a skilled instructor and pilot.
- Thai Cooking Class – Experience the rich culture and food of the Akha people, a community that became Thai citizens in the 1900’s. Get a thorough introduction to Northern Thailand’s unique cuisine as you learn to prepare an array of Thai and Akha dishes. Have fun exploring the local market and observe the way of life as you shop for fresh ingredients to create a delicious meal that includes a combination of soups, desserts, appetizers, and more..
- White Water Rafting – Raft down 10 km on Chiang Mai’s beautiful Mae Taeng River. Several whitewater rafting activities will provide you with multi-dimensional training and experience where you can enjoy stunning Chiang Mai’s nature: green valleys, magnificent hills, and exotic fauna. If you are worried, don’t be! Professional coaches guarantee your safety throughout the activity and do all the hard work…
- Five Hill Tribes – Visit five different hill tribe villages in Chiang Mai and get to know their culture and customs. Meet the people from the Ahka, Lisu, Palong, White Karen, and Black Lahu communities. En route, visit the Chiang Dao Caves and Temple
- Gay Songkran – The Thai New Years Festival where the entire country shuts down and turns into one big water fight. An amazing holiday experience to plan around – gay or straight – but us gay boys seem to have a particular fondness for it and most gay venues in Chiang Mai (and Thailand) are packed in anticipation of scantily clad boys running around.
Naturally, a city the size of Chiang Mai has plenty more to explore!
We recommend getting a full guidebook if you are staying for more than a night or two. It probably won’t have any information on Gay Chiang Mai – that’s what we are here for – but it will have useful tips and an exhaustive list of the best attractions across Thailand to assist you on your fabulous adventure!
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Chiang Mai
As a world leader in gay tourism, there are hotels and hostel in Chiang Mai catering for every type of traveler – and it would be unheard of for any hotel or guesthouse to have an issue with a gay couple checking it. Still, everyone likes to be surrounded by like-minded people, and as such a few gay hotels in Chiang Mai have cropped up as the place for gay travelers to stay!
Chiang Mai also has a vast range of accommodation available with everything from five-star luxury hotels to backpacker guest houses or bed and breakfasts at reasonable prices. Or if you are considering having guests over you could consider a private apartment in Chiang Mai (but we like the safety and security of hotels which keep the boy’s ID at reception to ensure your safety). Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic luxury option with a pool to spend the day lying by – Gay Chiang Mai as something for everyone!
- Club One Seven Gay Men Hotel ☆☆☆ – The only true gay hotel in Chiang Mai found on a beautiful old property where many original features have been maintained and respected. Added in the onsite gay sauna, penis-shaped swimming pool, male massage, food and optional cruising. The staff are amiable, speak excellent English and are always happy to give tips on gay life Chiang Mai. The fresh daily breakfast was nice, and the hotel is only about 20 minutes’ ride from the city center but right by the relaxing river. There is also an on-site gym. If you are looking for an easy hook-up or simply to relax with other gay guests this is the place to go – If not, there are much better hotels in town.
- The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai ☆☆☆☆☆ – Set on 24 hectares of gardens, this palatial luxury resort is the stuff dreams are made of. The luxe suites in the Colonial mansion have marble bathrooms and balconies, while there are lavish villas in converted rice barns and Lanna-style buildings complete with teak floors, living and dining rooms. Multiple dining options, two bars by a gorgeous outdoor pool, an opulent spa and even an outdoor shopping center. Since Thailand is so affordable, why not splash out?
- Anantara Chiang Mai Resort ☆☆☆☆☆ – Romantic riverside serenity in the heart of Chiang Mai, this gay-popular luxury hotel is perfect for escaping reality for a few days.. or more. Relax on your balcony daybed, or at the adults-only pool. Delve into local culture with Muay Thai boxing, healing spa therapies and cooking class adventures. Savor afternoon tea on the veranda, Asian flavors in the colonial house, or Peruvian and Indian specialties on a waterfront deck. We also loved the minimalist Asian design, surreal gardens, and hyper-Instagrammable rooms!
- Le Meridien Chiang Mai ☆☆☆☆☆ – An upscale urban resort blending European design with Lanna Thai charm close to the in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and all its gay bars. Experience world-class service, chic guest rooms with views of Doi Suthep mountain or the city, a pampering spa, outdoor swimming pool and four separate dining options. One of the most affordable Le Meridien locations in the world, this is a fabulous splurge option.
- dusitD2 Chiang Mai ☆☆☆☆☆ – An affordable 5-star hotel close to the gay bars in Chiang Mai and a well-known hotspot for gay travelers. Inside expect beautiful décor, an outdoor pool, one of Thailand’s best restaurant and the award-winning Devarana Spa’s. There is also a top-floor gym with panoramic views on the top floor.
- Yaang Come Village Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – A lush resort with modern Thai décor, spa, outdoor pool close to the gay scene of Chiang Mai. Spacious rooms with green views, welcoming staff and a very tranquil vibe conducive to relaxing. The perfect blend of modern and traditional styles.
- The Rodman Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – A comfortable stay in intriguing contemporary design. With only 18 rooms and two suites, guests here always feel like VIPs, and the near-perfect reviews prove it. While the Rodman might lack the big-budget amenities of larger hotels all the staff are really helpful and friendly, the location is phenomenal, and there is free bike hire and a pool to relax by.
- Tamarind Village ☆☆☆☆ – A unique and charming boutique property that nestles in the heart of historic Chiang Mai. Surrounded by ancient temples and quaint shopping streets, it takes its name from the magnificent 200-year-old tamarind tree that shelters the hotel in a shady embrace. Set around a series of garden courtyards, the 41 guest rooms and five suites reflect the rich ethnic diversity of northern Thailand by using fabrics and patterns drawn from various tribes of the region. Intimate, serene and relaxing, Tamarind Village is an oasis of calm and tranquility, the perfect base for exploring Chiang Mai and beyond.
- The Lotus Hotel ☆☆☆ – A fabulous boutique type hotel located in the heart of Gay Chiang Mai. With easy access to different areas of interest in the city and one of the most popular gay meeting points at its onsite bar, what’s not to love? Well known gay hotel in Chiang Mai but open to everyone these days. Simple, cute rooms tastefully decorated with friendly staff who are always ready to help!
- Qi 68 ☆☆☆ – Gay popular boutique guest house in Chiang Mai’s Santitham area. The air-conditioned rooms are spacious, with budget-chic design elements and all come with a flat-screen TV. Each room also has an en-suite bathroom with a rain shower. The owner “Ni” is fantastic, and her place is indeed a gem. Stylish, quiet, comfortable and small…No wonder the gays are on to a good thing!
- Night Bazaar Inn ☆☆☆ – Affordable, relaxed and stylish rooms close to the gay bars of Chiang Mai. The staff here go above and beyond – and yet still offer fabulous prices that entire gay travelers to stay time and time again. There is also delicious food (some of the best we have in Chiang Mai) and a small swimming pool to cool off by!
- S*Trips The Poshtel ☆☆☆ – An exceptional gay-friendly hostel with fabulous dorms and private rooms. Beautifully designed and impeccably kept, if you are traveling solo or just looking to save some coin this is the best place to stay since there is no gay hostel in Chiang Mai. They have a large balcony garden area for chilling and relaxing, multiple spacious living areas and a motorcycle rental shop outside. Even better it is only a 5-minute walk to Night Bazaar and all the gay nightlife of Chiang Mai!
Gay Nightlife in Chiang Mai
For better or worse, Chiang Mai’s gay nightlife is infamous and often intertwined with the commercial sex scene. If you’re a first time visitor’s to Chiang Mai’s gay scene it can be a little overwhelming, so be sure to take care not to get yourself into anything you can’t handle – and always, always ask for photo ID if you are in any doubt as to someone’s age. We recommend hanging around in the gay bars in Chiang Mai and striking up a conversation with an expat who is bound to be hanging round to show you the ropes. Chiang Mai’s Night Market area, in particular, Charoenprathet Alley 6, Charoenprathet Road, and the Kalare shopping plaza are home to the majority of gay bars and a good place to start. Most of the gay go-go bars are located in the Changphuak / Santitham area.
Gay foreigners flock to Chiang Mai in droves – though you can also find wealthy locals or gay Thai boys trying to find a meal ticket. Things are crazy, wild and insanely fun here once you let loose and get used to the risqué environment. When the gay bars of Chiang Mai cool down for the night, that’s when everyone heads to the all-night dance clubs – some of which actively target the gay market. Sadly, we can’t possibly list every single gay venue in Chiang Mai, but we have gathered together the most famous gay bars as well as a few of our personal favorites!
Gay Bars in Chiang Mai Night Market Area
- Secrets Bar – One of the biggest gay bars in Chiang Mai with cute bartenders, and room for everyone…Yes, it gets very busy on the weekends, but there is always space to join in the conversation. The range of beer, wine, and cocktails is as varied and their clientele.
- Ram Bar – Our favorite gay bar in Chiang Mai with funky cocktails, drag shows, go-go dancers and fun special events. Chilled out with air-conditioning and outdoor seating, everyone knows and love Ram Bar! Popular with tourists, the staff were friendly and drinks moderately priced. Try to visit on Friday or Saturday night to get the best experience, but there is always someone to chat with if you pop in other nights of the week.
- Orion Bar – You can’t miss the bright rainbow signs of this popular Chiang Mai gay bar tucked discreetly into a far corner of the Night Bazaar. Laid-back with plenty of cute local boys wanting you to buy them a drink – but if that’s not your thing just chat with the many tourists that drop by.
- Pandee Bar – A fabulous yet simple new gay bar offering cheap drinks and plenty of queer spirit. Found within the Night Bazaar, they serve cheap cocktails, food and a variety of fruit shakes. Friendly owner, intimate vibes yet a very relaxed space.
- 69Bar Night Bazaar – A more modern gay bar with a bright purple entrance and lots of fairy lights. Nice ambiance and plenty of space including a happening dance floor later at night. Daily Happy Hour before 7 pm and a fun selection of whiskey, beer, and cocktails – perfect for people watching in their cute outdoor seating space.
- Station One – A small and very casual gay bar nestled inside the Night Bazaar shopping plaza. Not much to write home about, but there is a pool table if you want to relax over a game and cheap food + drinks. Generally attracts older expat guys.
- Ozeed Bar – Small bar with tables inside the night bazaar with a pool table and super-friendly owner. A beautiful place to relax and meet new friends.
- Jacky Bar – Another friendly bar with a fabulous owner (Jacky), cheap drinks and always a good time. Gets busy later at night. The kind of place everyone is welcome, and you can connect with other travelers and locals easily.
Gay Bars in Changphuak / Santitham area
- Adam’s Apple Club – A popular gay go-go bar in Chiang Mai with premium prices drinks reflecting the premium boys on display. A safe, fun and legal bar with drag queens and cabaret most nights. Gorgeous guys are go-go dancing for you from 9 p.m onwards, and the show starts at 10.30 until around midnight. Adam’s Apple Club does not charge admission, but you must be over twenty to enter.
- Garden Bar @ Lotus Hotel – Offering delicious drinks at reasonable prices in a relaxing atmosphere; this LGBT-popular bar is the perfect place to exchange information with other foreigners and locals about the current gay scene in Chiang Mai. You can sit around the bar, enjoying the company of other patrons, or retreat with a special friend to more intimate seating. Open from 7:00 pm until late this melting pot is a great place to start your night by meeting locals who are eager to meet foreigners or simple to find a group to continue parting together.
- New My Way – A pretty dreadful cabaret and gay go-go bar in Chiang Mai. Not one performer or staff seemed to care at all and just wanted to get everything done as quickly as possible. Very seedy and not at all worth your time.
- HIS Club Bar & Massage – A popular option for male massages in Chiang Mai that has recently re-invented itself as a bar/massage hybrid. Very hit-or-miss but really, the bar is a side-gimmick.
- FreeGuy Club – A popular karaoke bar with go-go shows nightly. Insanely overpriced if you just want to enjoy the music and atmosphere (780 baht for 3 Singa beers) but if you are after local guys, most here are also seeking company.
- Circle Pub – A well-known drag and gay bar in Chiang Mai with two nightly shows. Not at all the worst, we have been to, but seriously: why does every drag bar in Thailand insist on entirely ripping off tourists! A fabulous, erotic show with steamy boys and fun drag queens but again, the drinks are going to be insanely over-priced for whats on offer. Stick with just one small beer and enjoy the show… Unless you are feeling particularly wealthy!
Go-go bars in Chiang Mai are the best-known type of sex venue. Enter, take a set and order a drink. All the boys have numbered briefs to identify them so just let the Mamasan / Madam known if you’re interested in any and she can help call one over for you to chat. If you like don’t like him it’s customary to pay for his drink and a small 100 Baht tip before sending him back, but if you do – just pay a ‘Bar Fine’ or facilitation fee to the bar (normally between 250 – 400 Baht), and in moments later he will appear dressed and ready to leave with you. Everything else beyond this is discussed beforehand and between you and the boy.
Gay- Popular Bars and Dance Clubs in Chiang Mai
- Sound Up – Since there is no gay club in Chiang Mai, the LGBT scene flocks to this Chiang Mai gay institution from the bars. The largest dance venue in town, everyone is welcome, but plenty of queer folk can be found dancing till dawn in this epic space just off the Old Town Square. Huge hot and sweaty crowds, epic DJs, lasers and an amazing sounds system make this the best place to unleash your inner unicorn through dance! Seriously, this place would not be out of place in Las Vegas!
- Good View – A relaxed spot right on the Ping River for enjoying cocktails at sunset or into the night. Wonderful ambiance, live bands on the weekend and delicious Thai / Japanese food.
- THC Rooftop Bar – Sort of Honolulu meets Bangkok this bohemian rooftop bar serves tiki realness and is popular with travelers, especially backpackers who come of the low prices. Enjoy cocktails, Thai food and chill vibes.
- The Pub – Popular with expats (gay and straight), enjoy the warm, friendly atmosphere of a genuine old English pub situated near the heart of Chiang Mai city. As well as a traditional bar, The Pub has a sports bar with pool table, restaurant, café, and garden. This tranquil oasis offers you cool drinks, great beers, good food, coffee and service with a smile.
- Warm Up – Not a gay bar but the hottest place for trendy Thai locals to hang out with live bands, electronic music, and a strict dress standard.
Gay Spa and Male Massage in Chiang Mai
Want to recover after a long night out in the gay bars of Chiang Mai? Thailand is famous for its spas and massages, and Chiang Mai has plenty of places you can try them out – at varying quality and prices.
If all you are concerned about is male massages in Chiang Mai including ‘happy ending service’ then gay men need only to walk into any of the countless boy or male massage shops in Chiang Mai. Once you enter, you will be greeted by a ‘madam,’ asked to sit and buy a drink while you select from the Thai boys to complete your ‘gay massage’ – and whether you would prefer an oil, cream or Thai massage.
You then are shown to a small room, given a clean towel and asked to shower. During your (generally below average) massage the masseur will let you know his services and the cost of a ‘happy ending’ which is usually a tip paid directly to the boy of between 500-1200 Baht. Afterward, you will pay the original agree price for massage and drink downstairs to the madam (usually around 500 – 650 Baht per hour) and head on your merry way.
Please don’t get a male massage with ‘happy ending’ in Chiang Mai confused for a real massage as there is only one thing they do well there (and even that is not guaranteed). We have included Common Massage, Classic House, and Dream House below as they are most famous male massages in Chiang Mai, but if you’re looking for a real massage or luxury spa treatment we have also put our favorite options here too!
- Common Massage – A men for men massage house in Chiang Mai offering a spacious and private setting staffed by attentive (and attractive) masseurs. They offer a variety of massage packages with relaxing cream or oil. The all-male staffs delight in maximizing your sensual pleasure and ensuring that receive exactly what you are after.
- Classic House Massage – A favorite provider of male massages in Chiang Mai with a range of cute, young staff to suit most tastes. One of the best place in Thailand for gay men to go for a thoroughly satisfying massage and delightful experience. Fit out in traditional Thai Lanna style, there are basic, private air-conditioned rooms and an extensive menu of massages and treatments options.
- Diamond House Massage – A modern and luxurious spa for men with package details listed on their Facebook page – with plenty of photos of their sexy masseurs. Centrally located just off Tha Pae road.
- The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre – A palatial sanctuary complete with ornate moldings and sculptures depicting sacred animals or symbolic Buddhist motifs. The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre offers a broad variety of European, Asian and North African relaxation therapies as well as Indian holistic treatments based on Ayurveda, from the Sanskrit meaning ‘science of life.’ There are 11 spacious treatment suites, each with a private bath, steam shower, heated marble scrub table and private relaxation area. On top of this, there is a selection of aqua therapy areas including a hydrotherapy room, Vichy shower, heated scrub table, Hammam, rhassoul and Watsu pool. They are not a gay spa in Chiang Mai, but very gay-friendly and our favorite place to spoil ourselves in a luxurious setting!
- Lila Thai Massage – For something a bit different support this social enterprise lead by the ex-inmate employment and skill development center. Recently released women from jail receive a massage training course from certified massage instructors – and the reviews are fabulous. The goal is to reduce the women conviction rates in Chiang Mai and help to solve the societal problems that perpetuate the situation, for a better community.
- The Nakara Spa – A leading center for the application of Ayurvedic spa treatments for holistic health and relaxation. Ayurveda is a holistic system of healing which was developed among the wise sages of ancient India around 3,500 years ago. It emphasizes establishing and maintaining a balance of the life energies within us, rather than focusing on individual symptoms.
- Rarinjinda Wellness Spa – One of the best massages in Chiang Main offering wellness, good health and luxurious pampering in a spa sanctuary. An urban spa with international treatment rooted in Thai massage and healing traditions. Our favorite treatment is the five-hour long ‘Golden Memories’ experience involving a Guava Foot Polisher, Siamese Herbal Steam, body mask, Jacuzzi therapy and a Shirodhara Treatment. Complete bliss.
- Anantara Spa – A world-class spa offered by the Anantara Resort, a luxury hotel with a breathtaking location on the banks of the Ping River. Guaranteed to be one of the best massage/spa treatments of your life focussing on aromatherapy, Ayurvedic, and reflexology. Go on a magical journey to reach pampering nirvana with their skilled therapists.
Cruising & Gay Saunas in Chiang Mai
While not as popular or developed as the extensive gay sauna scene in Bangkok – there is two gay sauna in Chiang Mai worth visiting for some steamy fun.
If the gay sauna or gay clubs of Chiang Mai don’t give you want you’re looking for then, gay hook-up apps are also a popular way of meeting – although as a foreigner you will generally be expected to host so you might want to consider your own private apartment in Chiang Mai
Another approach we highly recommend it to stay with a gay local in Chiang Mai who can help you navigate the often confusing gay Chiang Mai scene and point you in the right direction!
Prostitution is neither legal or strictly illegal in Thailand and is in part tolerated and regulated. Prostitution is common throughout the country, and rent boys can be found in many gay saunas in Thailand. Given the police attention prostitution and rent boys frequently draw, better to stay away from this entirely and stick with good old fashion ‘free’ sauna fun.
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter please take adequate precautions as sadly Thailand has the highest prevalence of HIV in Asia. No matter what your intentions are in Gay Chiang Mai, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you…
- Club One Seven Sauna – Located on the banks of the Ping River, 1km from the city center, is one of Chiang Mai’s hidden secrets. Part of the popular Club One Seven Sauna gay hotel chain also found in Phuket and Singapore; this is the best gay sauna in Chiang Mai with a penis-shaped outdoor pool, full gym, herbal steam pool and private cabins. Non-guests can make use of the sauna, bar and riverside café from midday to midnight daily, but many gay tourists simply choose to stay here. As with much of Asia, guys in the gay sauna are very shy even at the naked parties and might seem… prudish. Being forward and friendly is key here!
- House of Male – In the heart of Gay Chiang Mai this popular gay sauna is the ideal place to meet local guys or foreign visitors. There is actually no sauna here a steam room, gym, large pool and sun terrace area. Upstairs is the cruising / dark space with private cabins for your enjoyment – most busy on Thursday nights and through the weekend. Originally a paradise, since the original Australian owner passed in 2016 things have declined here and House of Male generally in sad shape – dirty and in need of improvements.
Gay Chiang Mai Map