Phuket is one of the top destinations in the world for gay and lesbian travellers. Thai culture is more accepting and open than most, which allows visitors to feel at home regardless of sexual orientation.
In fact, you will find ladyboys (katoeys – transvestites and transsexuals) and toms with their dees (masculine lesbians with their girlfriends) are not even given a second glance by Thais as they go about their daily business. For gay and lesbian tourists, Phuket is possibly the best place on earth to visit.
For those who prefer to holiday in a gay-specific area, you will definitely find what you are looking for in Patong, around the Royal Paradise Complex. There are plenty of gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses, as well as clubs, massage parlours, go go bars, discos, restaurants and small bars where you can meet other gays and lesbians.
Some of the most popular clubs and bars include: Bingo, Boat Bar, Heaven Bar, J&B Bar, My Way, Passport, Spartacus, Tang Mo, Tarzan Bar, and Young Shark Bar. A good budget accommodation choice is the Swedish-owned Connect Guesthouse, which is somewhat of a nexus for the international gay community.
Patong can be quite seedy at night. Those looking for a less in-your-face holiday will also find many quiet, gay-friendly bars and restaurants, though there are few establishments catering specifically to lesbians. Couples might be happier staying outside of Patong.
Away from the hurly burly is Hiranyikara Spa – ‘a spa with men in mind’ – in Kathu, in the middle of the island. A fairly upmarket place, it also holds functions from time to time and is able to organise parties.
Patong has, in past years, hosted the Phuket Gay Pride Festival in February. There is a web page for this which holds details of future events in the gay Phuket calendar.