Gay Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Kelvin & Mark

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Chiang Mai is known as the cultural capital of Northern Thailand. Famed for its temples, nature, elephant sanctuaries and an exciting local gay scene. We followed Kelvin and Mark of Instagram’s kelv_teoh and tommymark60 who spent a long weekend exploring the best gay things to do in Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai is the largest in Northern Thailand, with nearly one million people in the greater area and is a popular destination. During Thailand’s high season Nov-Feb Chiang Mai has cooler, less humid temperatures than Bangkok. You still need short sand t-shirt during the day but you might be able to walk more than 10 minutes without needing a shower, like you do in Bangkok.

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THINGS TO DO

Elephant Sanctuaries 

Chiang Mai is one the best places in Thailand to get up close with these local giants. Elephant sanctuaries are a hot topic in Thailand. At many parks, riding elephants has rightly fallen out of favor. Across Chiang Mai, there are many elephant sanctuaries that offer different levels of interactions with the elephants. Whichever you choose, make sure to check the online reviews and images online before visiting these camps.

For more advice and background on choosing the most ethical options read this interview with Maria Mossman, founder of non-profit group Action for Elephants UK.

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Gay Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Temples

If there is one thing Chiang Mai is not short of it’s temples. There are over 300 across the city and local area. No trip to Thailand is complete without visiting at least a few temples but it’s also very easy to get temples out. Unless you are super into your temples here are the top three to visit in Northern Thailand.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – the most-visited and most famous temple in Chiang Mai. You can see the temple from all over the city, as it sits on top of Doi Suthep mountain. The steep road up the mountain is part of the fun. If you’re confident on a scooter is a great drive or you can get a local taxi (shared public songtaew for 80 baht for each way).

White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) – this is one of the most popular places to visit in Northern Thailand and one of the most famous temples in the whole country but let’s be clear, it is not near the city. The White Temple is a 3-hour drive, each way, from Chiang Mai and is located in the province of Chiang Rai. The temple is unlike anything else in Thailand, it’s unconventional combining ideas from the artist’s own imagination with traditional Buddhist teachings.

Black House (Baan Dam Museum) – referred to as Black Temple or Black House, is another famous and popular temple located in Chiang Rai. Many day trips tours from Chiang Mai to the White Temple also allow you to visit the Black House. The temple is actually about 40 Northern Thai buildings, each one decorated with animal remains. Expect skins, skulls, horns, bones.

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Gay Bars and Drag Shows

Chiang Mai has two hugely popular drag bars, 6ixcret Bar and Ram Bar. Each with shows 7 nights a week. Both bars are located in the Night Bazaar area and offer a fun but early night out.

Unlike Bangkok, there are no late-night gay clubs in Chiang Mai, most of the action closes down shortly after midnight. After midnight the options are:
SangDee – hip gallery/nightclub, the most LGBT popular option
Spicy and Las Vegas – which are packed with backpackers
Warm Up Cafépopular with the locals and students

Traditional Chiang Mai Food 

The classic Thai dishes are famous worldwide but there is so much more to Thai food than Pad Thai. Within Thailand, Chiang Mai is famous for its own northern cuisine. Be sure not to leave without trying these northern specialties:
Khao Soi – Egg Noodle Curry normally served with chicken or pork
Sai Oua – grilled herb sausage with ground pork, dried chilies, garlic, shallots
Khan Toke – is a range of northern-style side dishes with sticky rice

Try a local street food tour to try all the signature dishes in one evening or if you are feeling fancy check out the award-winning Oxygen Restaurant at X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel, which offers a contemporary tasting menu based on the classic Thai dishes.

Flowers and Gardens 

Instagrammers flock to the city’s botanical gardens and parks to take photos in the fields of flowers. Northern Thailand’s cooler climate allows for a wide variety of plants and flowers to be grown. One of the most popular Instagram locations is the Ban Khun Chang Khian.

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WHERE TO STAY

HOTELS

Having established itself as Thailand’s trendiest city, Chiang Mai has more than its share of stylish luxury hotels. Kelvin and Mark visited two luxurious gay-friendly hotels along the city’s riverside.

We compare the prices form the biggest website and show the cheapest prices. We receive compensation when you click on links but it will never cost you any extra. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

X2 Chiang Mai Riverside

What did you think about the hotel:
Overall the hotel vibes are really stylish. The location is very quiet, perfect for relaxing but the hotel is still near to the gay nightlife, it’s like a 10 minutes taxi ride.

The bed huge super comfy and the bathroom is also huge. The breakfast was really delicious. One the best parts is the General Manager, Mr Ewan, he was so friendly and recommended the best places to visit. Really glad to meet him.

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    sala chiang mai

    What did you think about the hotel:
    Well, we have visited a few sala hotels before and sala always has a great sense when it comes to deco and ambiance. You moment you arrived you can tell this is the taste of sala haha. The design is raw and natural. Spa vibes fill the hotel, so its impossible not to feel relaxed. I love how the corridor was filled with the aromatic diffuser.

    The bed is also extremely comfy I must say that! The room is so light and airy but if you wanted, great design means you can get it pitch black, perfect for afternoon naps. The design of separation in the room is brilliant.

    For the location it’s also close to the city, you can walk or a short taxi. And a huge plus are the two swimming pool. Overall, the staff are extremely helpful and we had a really good stay here.

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      Siam@Siam | Bangkok’s Original Design Hotel

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      HOTELS

      A supremely trendy hotel with edgy decor that takes inspiration from Thai traditions, this is a sure bet for design lovers. It also happens to be located among some of the biggest shopping centers in Thailand, making it the place to stay if you’ve got money to burn during your stay in the capital.

      Why We Love It

      ♥ Stunning contemporary decor
      ♥ Perfect location for shopping, with good transport links to gay nightlife
      ♥ Awesome infinity pool with city views

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        Location

        As the name indicates, the hotel is located in the Siam area of Bangkok. This is the city’s shopping paradise, with the highest concentration of glossy, air-conditioned shopping centers in Bangkok: MBK, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, and Siam Discovery are all within a 10-minute walk of the hotel.

        The area also has smaller, cooler independent shops to discover, as well as more trendy restaurants, cafes, and bars than you’ll know what to do with. It’s not all shopping, eating, and drinking, though: Jim Thompson’s House, a traditional Thai house museum that is a popular city attraction, is a 5-minute walk from Siam@Siam.

        National Stadium BTS SkyTrain station is a few steps from the hotel door. This provides you with a super-easy connection to the gay Bangkok hub of Silom: you can go from your room to DJ Station in less than 15 minutes.

        Style & Design

        Siam@Siam is all about the design, which is colorful and modern while maintaining a distinct Thai feel. No understated, minimalist decor here – everything is dramatic and attention-grabbing, although always tasteful. Expect loud, clashing patterns and textures in the bedrooms, with a trendy industrial feel in the common areas.  

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        Facilities

        The hotel features a gorgeous outdoor infinity pool, with incredible views over Bangkok’s city center. The gym is well above the usual standard: not only does it have a state-of-the art selection of both cardio and weights equipment (including a squat rack, dumbbells, and treadmills), but it looks as good as the rest of the hotel as well. There are two restaurants: a cool and casual spot downstairs, and TAAN the modern Thai rooftop option. TAAN offers a high class menu of Thai local dishes, served in a sophisticated and contemporary fashion. Expect a menu which is not afraid to break the rules.

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        Rooms

        All of the rooms are fairly spacious, and all are gorgeously decorated. Every room features a floor-to-ceiling window with views over the city, with facilities including a fridge, slippers, bathrobe, and king-sized bed.

        The Heritage category comes with higher ceilings and a more Thai-inspired decor, as well as luxury perks like a Nespresso machine, Panpuri toiletries, and a Smart TV you can connect your own devices to. For an additional layer of luxury, go for one of the larger Club Rooms, which come with access to the Exclusive Lounge.

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        SO THAI SPA | Bangkok’s Best Spa Packages

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        Bangkok is wild and it should be! But how to relax after all that fun?

        After the long nights partying, days hitting the malls and Thailand’s incredible tourist sites, it’s time for some real relaxation. This is where So Thai Spa and their signature package treatments come in. Who doesn’t want to be pampered for 4 hours straight?

        It’s the perfect remedy after experiencing Bangkok’s infamous traffic, the humidity, and the city’s non-stop pace. So Thai Spa has two ideally-located branches and everything you need to wind down, including mind-meltingly indulgent packages at extremely affordable prices.

        Why We Love It:

        • Incredible value, especially on the long 4 and 5-hour packages
        • Quality treatment using only the best Thai products and ingredient
        • Impeccable service and wide range of treatments

        Sukhumvit Branch

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        Locations

        There are two So Thai Spa locations in Bangkok: one in Surawong and one in Sukhumvit. The Surawong branch is the most conveniently located for gay visitors, since it is located 20-minutes’ walk from the Silom gayborhood and the heart of Bangkok’s gay nightlife. Chong Nonsi BTS station is just a 10-minute walk away or 15-minutes’ to Sala Deng BTS station.

        The Sukhumvit branch is set in a traditional Thai house, 20 minutes from the heart of Sukhumvit at Asok BTS station. This is an area filled with hotels, hostels, restaurants, and the ever popular Terminal 21 shopping mall.

        Treatments

        Both locations offer a wide range of decadent treatments, all using exclusive Thai products. Some of the more popular options include the foot massage and the aroma oil massage, for which visitors can choose between a range of traditional, evocative scents, with the Thai classic herbs of lemongrass, jasmine, and rice. Traditional Thai massage, Swedish massage, hot stone massage, and four hands massage are also all available, among others. Scrubs are also very popular, and leave your skin feeling silky-soft.

        So Thai Spa also offers several unique treatments, such as the Jet Lag massage, designed to alleviate the symptoms of long-haul flights, or the East Meets West massage, which takes the best from various techniques from around the world.

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        Packages

        So Thai Spa specialize in long, supremely indulgent packages. These can last up to 4 or 5 hours, and usually include a combination of body scrub, body massage, foot massage, scalp massage, and facial, as well as other unique touches like a compression treatment.

        Their most luxurious 5-hour package costs 6,600 THB for a couple (4,400 THB for an individual), which amounts to just over $200 for two people – an absolutely unbeatable price for the amount of pampering you are getting. The most popular treatment is the SO THAI LUXURY, a 4-hour package consisting of a foot massage, gold body scrub, aroma oil massage, herbal ball or spa facial, and head massage – just 5,600 THB ($180) for a couple.

        Of course, several shorter 2-hour packages are available. The most basic, consisting of a foot massage and a Thai traditional massage, costs just 1,400 THB ($45 USD), making it an accessible luxury for even the most cash-strapped of budget travellers. As seen above, several packages have a reduced price per person if you book as a couple.

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        Facilities

        The Surawong branch is based in a modern, recently renovated building, with decor that blends traditional Thai elements with a contemporary feel. It has six large treatment rooms, each with their own private bathroom and shower and all suitable for couples’ treatments.

        The Sukhumvit branch is slightly larger, with a more traditional Thai design and seven treatment rooms. It also has a lovely small swimming pool surrounded by greenery, which you can relax in during hot days. This branch is more popular with families – as the treatment rooms can accommodate up to three people, it is a great place for parents to get treatments with their kids.

        Service

        Both branches offer exceptional service, with attentive and welcoming staff, all of whom speak good English. From the second you enter to the moment you leave, you will be treated with every care and attention. Lovely touches like complimentary bael fruit tea help to make the experience even more special.

        Chat to the team and ask your questions, the So Thai Spa are so incredibly responsive on social media, it’s very easy to book treatments. Just reach out to them via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp for super fast replys. Due to the spas’ popularity, it is best if you reserve your treatment at least 24 hours in advance.

        Sukhumvit Branch
        269 Sukhumvit Soi 31, Klongton-Nua, Wattana Bangkok, 10110

        Open Daily:- 10AM – 10PM
        Phone:- +66 2662 2691
        LINE | WhatsApp:- +66 89 659 6515

        Surawong Branch
        181/16 Thanon Surawong, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak, Bangkok, 10500

        Open Daily:- 10AM – 10PM
        Phone:- +66 211 79 451
        LINE | WhatsApp:- +66 918 154 162

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        Club One Seven | Gay Sauna and Gay Men Only Hotel

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        Club One Seven is Chiang Mai’s most popular gay sauna and the city’s only gay-exclusive hotel. The venue is set in a charming Lanna teak house along the Ping river, it blends traditional Northern Thai charm with excellent facilities and a fun, laid-back ambiance. Read the full hotel review here

        Best ForChiang Mai’s Hottest Sauna
        LocationRiverside Downtown
        Open Hours4 pm – 12 Midnight, Daily
        Review Updated06 Jan. 2020

        3 Reviews – Share Your Opinion!

        Club One Seven | Gay Sauna and Gay Men Only Hotel
        8 / 10 Overall
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        Contact & Directions

        Club One Seven Gay Sauna 

        Website | Facebook | +66 053 274 317

        385/2 Charoenprathet Rd,
        ตำบล ช้างคลาน อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่
        Chiang Mai 50100

        Belmond Napasai Koh Samui | A True Lux Tropical Jungle Getaway

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        HOTELS

        This impeccably designed beach resort has some of the most spectacular scenery on the island and some of the most beautiful luxury villas, all while feeling laid-back and unassuming. Come here to make the most of island life, with everything from scuba diving to language classes on offer.

        Why We Love It

        ♥ Stunning modern villas in a variety of sizes
        ♥ Complete residences with full kitchens available
        ♥ Outstanding range of on-site activities
        ♥ Instagram perfect gay-friendly beach resort

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          Location

          This resort is located in Mae Nam, one of the most peaceful areas in Koh Samui. This small village sits in the north of the island, and has a mix of upmarket hotels like Belmond Napasai and backpacker hostels. It’s a beautiful and laid-back place, but there is no real nightlife to speak of. Chaweng, the main nightlife area of the island, is about half an hour away by taxi.

          The hotel is convenient for island hoppers, since Mae Nam pier is less than a 10-minute drive away. Mae Nam pier is used by popular company Lomprayah Ferry, and has frequent connections to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Donsak pier in Suratthani.

          Style & Design

          Belmond Napasai is a picture-perfect Thai island paradise. The decor in the villas is elegant and modern, but with strong traditional Thai influences. Think glossy wood paneling, warm neutral colors, and cool, pure white villas that emphasize the beauty of the natural surroundings.

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          Facilities

          The resort has direct beachfront access, where you can lounge on a Balinese bed directly overlooking the ocean. The infinity pool also looks towards the sea and almost feels like a direct continuation of the ocean itself. There are two restaurants and a bar, all with an upmarket yet unpretentious ambience.

          Meanwhile, there is a huge variety of activities on offer, from yoga to windsurfing, tennis, Thai boxing, scuba diving, Thai language classes, cooking classes, and more. Tired after a busy day? Head to the spa for rejuvenating massage treatments with natural ingredients.

          Rooms

          Belmond Napasai offers a range of spacious luxury villas, ranging from intimate one-bedroom spaces to large independent residences. There are options for two, four, six, and eight people, so you’ll find something for you no matter the size of your group. The big oceanfront residences (which come with their own private pool) are perfect for large groups.

          All come with huge king-sized beds, standalone baths, private balconies, and gorgeous garden or sea views. The residences, as opposed to the villas, have well-equipped kitchenettes, making them ideal for longer stays.

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          Le Meridien Chiang Mai | Classic European 5-star Luxury with a Thai Twist

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          HOTELS

          Le Meridien Chiang Mai offers classic European 5-star luxury with a Thai twist, with everything you need for a comfortable stay. When you’ve had enough of the fine dining, poolside lounging, and pampering spa treatments, step outside to find yourself in the city’s biggest and most exciting attraction, the buzzing and bustling Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

          Why We Love It

          ♥ Perfect location for the Night Bazaar
          ♥ Peaceful outdoor pool
          ♥ Very good fitness facilities
          ♥ Short walk to 6ixcret Show for drag acts

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            Location

            Le Meridien Chiang Mai is located on the eastern side of the city, a short 15-minute walk from the old city walls and about 5 minutes from the banks of the Ping. There are plenty of interesting bars, restaurants, and shops around to keep you entertained, and the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar takes place just outside every evening.

            Style & Design

            The hotel blends classic French elegance with Thai decorative elements. The colors in the rooms are mostly kept neutral and light, with the occasional pop of deep red, creating a relaxing and contemporary ambiance. Meanwhile, in the common areas, dark leather and wood add a touch of sophistication.

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            Facilities

            Le Meridien Chiang Mai is home to Favola, an award-winning Italian restaurant, but there are also Thai and international dining options available from Latest Recipe’s interactive kitchen. The pool bar is perfect for keeping you topped up as you cool off, and the deli serves up delicious coffee and pastries throughout the day.

            The hotel gym is well above the usual standard, with a wide selection of weight machines as well as cardio equipment and free weights. The outdoor balcony pool is perfect for laps and lounging, featuring a lovely view of the city. There’s a sauna to unwind after your workout, and a state-of-the-art spa to indulge in some pampering.

            Rooms

            Every room at Le Meridien Chiang Mai is furnished with an incredibly plush bed and a comfortable couch, as well as modern marble bathrooms equipped with a separate bath and shower. Upgrade to a Club Level Room or a suite for access to the Club Lounge for exclusive treats and offers. The suites also come with the best views, with large panoramic windows looking onto the city or Doi Suthep Mountain.

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            Club One Seven Gay Hotel Chiang Mai | Best Gay Sauna in Town

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            HOTELS

            Club One Seven is the only gay-exclusive hotel in Chiang Mai, and it also happens to be one of the city’s most popular gay saunas. Set in a charming Lanna teak house along the Ping river, it blends traditional Northern Thai charm with excellent facilities and a fun, laid-back ambiance. Book one of the gorgeous private rooms to stay in style, or mingle with fellow travelers in one of the modern dorms.

            Why We Love It

            ♥ Gay-only accommodation in Chiang Mai
            ♥ On-site popular gay sauna
            ♥ Lovely traditional Thai house
            ♥ Dorms & privates available

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              Location

              Club One Seven Gay Men Hotel Chiang Mai is located along the banks of the Ping river, in a charming and peaceful spot. The Old Town is about a half-hour walk away, but there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops to explore around the hotel. Taxis are easy to get and cheap, so you’ll have no trouble getting around.

              Style & Design

              The hotel is set in a beautiful 130-year-old Lanna teak house, surrounded by tropical greenery. Pleasant terraces and outdoor seating areas dot the complex, complemented with traditional statues and decor. The interiors are simpler but modern and colorful.

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              Facilities

              The hotel is home to a popular sauna, which is frequented by locals as well as hotel guests. The sauna facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a very good gym with a wide range of equipment, dry saunas, private cabins, massage rooms, and the largest herbal steam room in Northern Thailand. There are daily themes and regular parties in the evenings – the Mask parties on the 7th, 17th, and 27th of each month are particularly popular.

              There is an exceptionally pleasant riverside cafe that serves great food, including a tasty cooked breakfast for hotel guests. Since the cafe is open to non-residents during the day, it is a great place to hang out and meet gay locals and travelers.

              Rooms

              Club One Seven Gay Hotel in Chiang Mai offers both shared dorms and private rooms. The dorms are basic but comfortable and never too crowded (as a bonus, regular, non-bunk beds are available).

              The double rooms are more fitting with the overall look of the house, with gorgeous teak decor and furnishings, including elegant four-poster beds with mosquito nets. Amenities include cable TV with various international channels and large walk-in showers. The river view rooms also come with a lovely private riverside terrace.

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