Gay Phuket: our guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels, beaches & more

Stefan Arestis

Grab a water gun, head here in mid-April and you have a legit free pass to spray water at any cutie you see walking down the street!

Songkran is the Buddhist New Year festival, which takes place every year from the 13th to 15th April. Around this time, Phuket and Bangkok host some of the biggest gay parties across all of Asia. But the thing to do in Songkran is chuck water at everyone. Seriously – in Buddhism, this symbolises the washing away of bad luck from the previous year. It cleanses you! And oh boy do we gays love a bit of cleansing? Trust us to take this to a whole different level, using it as an excuse to sashay the streets topless (it is, after all, super hot here in April!), chuck water at each other and make it into a massive party!

Phuket continues the festivities right after Songkran when Phuket Pride kicks off. Though to be frank, we found Phuket to be one big gay partyville throughout the entire year. There's an entire area of gayness here in Patong affectionately nicknamed “Paradise Complex”, where all the gay bars and clubs of the island are. Head a few blocks from here and you reach Patong gay beach, full of hot speedo-clad guys posing, tanning, cruising, Instagramming, TikToking…suffice to say, if you're looking for a gay beach holiday in Asia, Phuket's got you covered!

This is our detailed gay guide to Phuket based on our trip here including the best gay hangouts, where to stay covering all budgets, gay spas, things to do and more. Note for LGBTQ travellers heading beyond Phuket, be sure to also check out our bumper gay guide to Thailand.

Get online while you're in Phuket…

by renting a pocket WiFi device. Doing so will give you unlimited internet access on multiple devices, perfect if you're travelling in a group or need to do some work on your laptop. Pocket WiFi also ensures you have a secure and private connection which isn't always the case when using public WiFi hotspots.

Phuket gay area

We loved gay Phuket. It was almost as fun as the gay scene of Bangkok, but right next to the beach!

The main gay strip of Phuket is based in and around the “Paradise Complex” of Patong. This is literally the Phuket gay area, all nicely concentrated within a few pedestrianised streets. More specifically, opposite the Royal Paradise Hotel, just off Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi Road.

The Paradise Complex is packed with bars, cafés, clubs, restaurants, hair salons and travel agents – all catering to the LGBTQ crowd. Most gay boys will spend the day by Patong beach then slowly head over to one of the bars in the Paradise Complex like Boat bar, before finishing up at ZAG club until the early hours. We've set out some of the best bars and clubs below, but Boat and ZAG were the most popular when we were there.

Other practical facts about the Phuket gay area – Patong itself is a beach resort town in the southeastern side of the island. Phuket International Airport is located in the northern tip of the island, around 1 hour's drive from Patong. Patong has two nightlife hotspots – Paradise Complex mentioned above (for us gays) and along Bangla Road, which is more straight orientated.

Patong Paradise Complex is the main gay area of Phuket
Oh just another night at the Paradise Complex in Patong!

Gay beaches in Phuket and Patong

Phuket has no fewer than 35 beaches looking out to the Andaman Sea. Patong beach is where most of the gay guys come to hang out during the day in Phuket. It's the closest one to the Paradise Complex and always busy. However, if you want to go somewhere more chilled and less crowded, check out Karon and Bangtao.

Patong Beach

Patong is the most famous and developed beach on Phuket. It's around 3.5km (2.17 miles) long and has a large gay section in front of “La Flora Resort Patong” where the all the rainbow flags proudly fly in the wind. As it's the closest beach to the gay scene of Paradise Complex (literally a few blocks from it), it's become the most popular gay beach of Phuket where most of the gay guys hang out during the day…we certainly did! Patong beach is also the focal point of Phuket Pride in April.

Karon Beach

Karon is another popular beach for gay travellers in Phuket. It's located around 3km (1.8 miles) south from Patong beach. It has a 5km (3 miles) long stretch of white powder sandy beach, which is what makes it so popular. As it's quite far out, it's not as crowded as Patong. We came here one day to get away from the large Patong crowds, though Karon is still busy enough as it gets its share of crowds from the nearby guesthouses and resorts.

Bangtao (aka Laguna) Beach

Bangtao is where we recommend you go if you want a more remote beach. It's located around 20 minutes drive north from Patong in the direction of the airport. There were noticeably fewer crowds here due to the distance. And unlike Karon beach, there aren't as many resorts around here. The Dream Beach Club is located nearby, which is a popular spot for gay travellers to hang out.

Gay nude beaches in Phuket

As a general rule, nudism is not as prevalent in Phuket as it is in other gay destinations. Public nudity is illegal in Thailand and therefore not socially accepted. As such there are no official gay nude beaches in Phuket. There are a few remote beaches on Phuket where nudism is tolerated, simply because they are so remote that there's no one around to complain. The two main ones are Nui Beach in the south and Mai Khao located just north of the airport. Note: these are more places where women come to sunbathe topless rather than a place where gay congregate to cruise.

Nomadic Boys Stefan and Sebastien posing on one of the many beautiful gay beaches in Phuket
During the day it's speedos and tanning for the Nomadic Boys

Gay men only resorts in Phuket

This is where you decide if you want THAT sort of holiday! What's great about Phuket is that it covers all the options – do you want to stay in a gay hotel (see below) or do you want something with a more intimate setting… If you do, we recommend checking out these all-male clothing-optional resorts in Phuket:

01

Phuket Gay Homestay

Kathu area

Stay at the Phuket Gay Homestay if you want to be looked after and surrounded by other gay men in a quiet part of Phuket

Why we love it


  • Intimate male-only gay home stay
  • Fabulous and super-cute hosts
  • Weekly BBQ and lots of pool parties
  • Excellent gay budget option

This is one of the most popular gay hotels in Phuket. It's strictly men-only, and with just 5 guest rooms available, it's super intimate, especially in the sauna/steam room!!

Jokes aside, we love the Phuket Gay Homestay because it feels like you're staying with your own gay family who will quickly become your lifelong friends.

The owners are Ulf and Boy (don't the Thai have the best names ever?!) who go out of their way to make everyone feel at home. They are what MAKES this place special in our opinion!

The Phuket Gay Homestay is located on Neramit Hill, further inland, around 20 minutes tuk-tuk ride from the Paradise Complex and Patong Beach. This is the only negative if we're being honest. The upside is that the rooms are a lot cheaper here than the other gay hotels, which makes it the perfect choice for solo gay travellers or LGBTQ travellers on a budget. It's also very peaceful here, away from all the noise of Patong. One thing we loved about the location, it's close to one of our favourite Phuket restaurants: Thong Dee (read more about it below).

The hosts are truly amazing! They go all out to make guests feel welcomed, with lots of socials, like a weekly gay BBQ and lots of pool parties, open to non-guests. Some of these parties are quite popular, especially on weekends – it's like the Patong gays come here rather than the other way around! The other perk about staying here is their popular steam room/sauna…we'll leave the rest to your imagination!

02

Aquarius Gay Guesthouse and Sauna

Patong

The Aquarius Gay Guesthouse and Sauna is a gay men-only resort in the heart of Phuket's gay Paradise Complex

Why we love it


  • Men-only gay guesthouse in gay Paradise Complex
  • Around the corner from all the gay bars and clubs!
  • Comfortable and affordable rooms or suites
  • On-site swimming pool, sauna, spa and gym

If you want to be right in the heart of the action, right there in the middle of the Patong Paradise Complex where all the gay boys hang out day and night, then we recommend staying at the Aquarius Gay Guesthouse!

Here you are literally the gay scene!

Aquarius has also become famous in the Phuket gay scene due to its sauna. The Phuket gays come from all over to socialise here and as a guest of the hotel you're allowed to use it for free.

Aquarius caters to different budgets, from the cheaper “room-only” rates to the more fancy spacious suites and even a fancy Jacuzzi Studio – a worthwhile splurge we totally recommend! As well as the infamous sauna, the Aquarius Gays (that's what they called us when we were guests here!) also have access to the swimming pool and rooftop sunbathing area. Just remember to put sun lotion everywhere – Aquarius Gays are NOT shy and can easily be spotted donning bright red burnt buttocks!

Overall, we loved the vibe here. It's a lot bigger than the Phuket Gay Homestay but less personable because of that. We made more friends here, but found it to be a bit pricey for what you get – the reason, of course, is because you're paying for the location. Remember, this is right slap bang in the heart of the Phuket gay scene!

Gay friendly hotels in Phuket

Phuket has many different gay hotels to suit all LBGTQ travellers including luxurious boutiques to budget-friendly guesthouses. The first thing we advise is ascertaining what your priorities are. If you want to be close to the gay beach and the Paradise Complex gay scene, then we suggest booking a hotel in or around this area, like Adonis. If the gay scene is not your priority and you prefer something more akin to a romantic getaway, then we recommend lush hotels like the STAY Wellbeing in Rawai or Impiana Private Villas in Kata Noi. Here's a summary of some of the best gay hotel options in Phuket that we recommend:

01

STAY Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort

Rawai

Stay Wellbeing and Lifestyle Resort in Phuket is a luxurious resort with an incredible gym and lots of ways to keep healthy while on holiday

Why we love it


  • Incredible luxury wellness resort
  • Massive gym: the best hotel gym ever!
  • FRESCA restaurant: the perfect place for dinner
  • Bloody beautiful swimming pool!

The STAY Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort is an incredible place that combines luxury and wellness – for very affordable prices too.

It's a very unique resort that provides multiple ways to take care of your health while you're staying there. GAYS TAKE NOTE: the Stay Fit gym takes up three floors and is widely considered to be one of the best gyms in Asia! Quite honestly, it's definitely the best hotel gym that we've ever come across!

They take fitness serious here with 8 complimentary group classes for guests each day. You can take part in strength-training, yoga and high-intensity interval training classes. It's also possible to book private sessions with one of their (very sexy!) personal trainers. The in-house spa (called Le Spa) has a sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool≤ mineral pool and plenty of massage treatments to choose from.

In terms of dining options, check out FRESCA. It's one of the most highly rated restaurants in Phuket with four different kitchens serving charcoal-grilled dishes, Italian classics, Asian fusion and local fresh seafood. During the day you can order delicious Thai dishes from the Stay Green Cafe. The Cafe also doubles up as a bar later in the day, serving cocktails to enjoy beside the pool. And yes, the pool (or pools!) – it's bloody beautiful, surrounded by lush green gardens. A tropical paradise you'll never want to leave!

02

Adonis Guesthouse

Patong

The Adonis Guesthouse is a lovely budget accommodation choice in the heart of Phuket's gay Paradise Complex

Why we love it


  • Straight-friendly guesthouse
  • Located in the Paradise Complex
  • Clean, spacious and comfortable rooms
  • Cruisy rooftop garden terrace

Not as gay or cruisy as Aquarius, but still gay enough not to compromise your Scene Queen card!

Adonis is a straight-friendly hotel to stay, located in gay Patong Paradise Complex. It's not as plush as Aquarius, minus the pool/sauna, but still an excellent option for budget-conscious travellers.

You can choose to stay in rooms or studios, which are all spacious, clean and comfortable, allowing you to be the perfect party host (wink wink!).

While there's no pool here, Adonis has a rooftop garden terrace which we loved lounging at when not at Patong gay beach. It's covered to provide shade and protect you from any tropical rains. Location-wise, all the gay boys and bars are on your doorstep, but despite this, it's quite peaceful and serene here – even Princess Seby (he's the world's worst light sleeper!) was able to get a decent night's kip here!

As we said, Adonis is best suited to LGBTQ budget travellers, but the plus side (as well as the proximity to the Paradise Complex) is that it doesn't feel cheap here. In other words, it feels more like you're staying in a hotel rather than a hostel. And final tip: make sure you have a meal at the Honeymoon by Kenya restaurant around the corner!

03

CC's Hideaway

Kata Beach

CC's Hideaway is a very gay friendly boutique hotel in Phuket that offers incredible yoga and wellness retreats

Why we love it


  • Beautiful boutique hotel
  • Amazing wellness and yoga retreats available
  • In-house restaurant and bar
  • Free shuttle to nearby attractions

If you love yoga and relaxation as much as I do then I recommend checking out CC's Hideaway. Whilst Seby prefers his scene queen card, I always try and get us to spend a few nights of our holiday in a health and wellness retreat.

CC's Hideaway includes all sorts of activities from yoga (obviously!) to flotation therapy, acupuncture and even surfing (though I'll be honest, we did this more to ogle at the hot surfer dudes!).

CC's Hideaway is located on the hills of Kata overlooking the Andaman Sea. It definitely feels like a little jungle hideaway cut away from all the touristic noise over at Patong! However, they also provide free hourly shuttle buses into town which put my Seby at ease! Gay boy party bunnies be warned: this is not a pumping party spot like Aquarius or Adonis. Far from it! But if you're looking for a relaxing, chilled retreat as a base for your holiday, my pleasure!

All the rooms at CC's are spacious and even feature a private balcony. In terms of in-house bars and dining options, The Sanctuary Bar and Sky Terrace is the perfect spot for a sunset cocktail and the Refuge Restaurant serves delicious Thai food along with a themed weekly buffet. Bonus: Thai cooking class are offered which I recommend trying out!

04

Impiana Private Villas Kata Noi

Kata Beach

One of our favourite gay friendly hotels in Phuket is the Impiana Private Villas boutique resort in Kata Noi

Why we love it


  • Luxury resort with private pool suites and villas
  • Villas with private infinity pools overlooking the sea
  • A private butler service if you book a villa or suite
  • Gym, library and cigar lounge!

One of our favourite luxury gay friendly hotels in Phuket is the Impiana Private Villas boutique resort in Kata Noi. It's stunning!

Although it's located a taxi ride away from the Paradise Complex, it's totally worth it. Here you have your own luxurious secluded private villa perched above the bay of Kata Noi, overlooking the stunning Andaman Sea. Add to that the panoramic sunset views and you've got your ideal wedding location! Impiana is in fact famous for hosting and organising gay weddings.

All the villas at Impiana come with private infinity pools overlooking the sea. This was Seby's favourite thing about it – as well as the bathtubs which are right next to the windows so you can enjoy those sea views. I can guarantee you'll go Insta crazy here posing for your next thirst trap! Everything here is designed to pamper you and make you feel like a celebrity. For example, if you book a villa or a suite, you get your own private butler!

Whilst Impiana may be far from the Patong gay beach, you instead have the more tranquil Kata Noi Beach on your doorstep. Other perks of Impiana we loved is that you can request in-room spa treatments and massages so you never have to leave your little love nest. And if you really want to feel like a boss, head over to their cigar lounge after dinner!

Gay bars in Phuket

The Paradise Complex in Patong is where you'll find all the main gay bars of Phuket. The main thing we'd say about it though is it's no longer the big gay haven it once was. Back in the day, this place was heaving, with over 20 gay bars. Sadly, since the rise in popularity of the gay dating apps, a lot of places here have shut, leaving a small handful. Boat Bar is still the main one, along with a few others, which always attracts a fun crowd.

The other thing we'd say about a gay night out in the Paradise Complex is that most bars don't get going until after 10pm, with some putting on shows both inside and outside on the street to attract customers. These are the best gay bars in the Paradise Complex to check out:

Boat Bar

Boat is our favourite gay bar in the Paradise Complex in Phuket!

Boat bar is our favourite gay bar in Patong. We were here almost every night. It's the most popular place in Paradise Complex to head to start the night. It's open every day, busy almost every night of the week, particularly during holiday periods like Songkran or Xmas/NYE. They have at least 2 cabaret shows taking place every evening – the first at midnight, the second at around 1:30am. Whilst Boat is primarily a bar, it becomes a dancing venue later in the night, going on until around 4am.


My Way

My Way is a fun gay bar in Phuket for watching sexy go-go dancers

My Way used to be one of the best gay cabaret and drag bars in the Paradise Complex, always playing on its Frank Sinatra/New York theme. However, over the years, it's been taken over by ZAG and is now more of the bar extension of this club. It has a large outdoor terrace which is fun for people watching earlier in the evening, also a good spot to watch the outdoor muscly GoGo dancers entertaining the crowds.


Aquarius Guesthouse bar

The bar, sauna and restaurant at Aquarius guesthouse are a popular spot for gay guys to start their evening in Phuket's gay Paradise Complex

During the day, the bar/restaurant of Aquarius is a popular gay hangout. As most of the main gay bars in Paradise Complex don't really get busy until around 10pm, most head here beforehand, usually to get a bite to eat and to use their infamous sauna! Best time to come here to eat and play is in the afternoon, around 5-8pm – ie when the Patong beach boys start to head back to shower/get ready for a gay night out!


James Dean Bar

James Dean is good gay bar in the Paradise Complex for people watching

James Dean is one of the more unassuming gay bars in the Paradise Complex located just by the entrance. It's another bar that is part of a guesthouse, but smaller than Aquarius. It's a strategic spot to sit outside for people watching (ahem – cruising!) and to watch the Paradise Complex entertainers. We also recommend coming here on weekend evenings when all the other bars are heaving and you want a more chilled place to hang out.


Gay clubs in Phuket

As we said for the gay bars, the Paradise Complex is a fraction of what it was back in its heyday before the gay apps became so popular. You'd be hard-pressed to find many gay clubs beyond ZAG here. Boat Bar does become a dancing venue later in the night, otherwise, the main gay club in Phuket to check out is ZAG:

ZAG Club

As the main gay club in Phuket, the ZAG crowd almost feels like one big gay family! It's the same guys who you saw earlier on the beach, cruising at Boat bar and now heading here to dance the night away. That's what it felt like for us when we were here. ZAG is a male-only club, complete with a shower on stage so you can help lather up the GoGo dancers, and a darkroom upstairs. ZAG has some of the funniest themed nights we've ever come across, like “Topless Tuesday” where you get 50% off your drinks if you stay topless all night long, and “Farang Fridays” when foreigners get 50% off. As well as the GoGo dancers, ZAG also has cabaret performances and drag shows happening through the night.

ZAG gay club in Phuket Patong Paradise Complex
A very BOY-sterous night out at ZAG!

Gay massages and spas in Phuket

Getting a massage in Thailand has a lot of seedy “happy ending” connotations. However, there are a handful of gay massages in Phuket that are clean, welcome gay travellers, and where you can feel safe, without being pressured into doing anything you're not comfortable with:

Aquarius Guesthouse & Sauna

Aquarius prides itself on being the only male sauna in Phuket. It's attached to the guesthouse, located right in the heart of the Paradise Complex. It includes a steam room, Jacuzzi, fitness centre, rooftop terrace, saunas and a team of handsome highly qualified (licensed!) masseurs. Best time to come here to play is around 5-8pm when the Patong beach boys are looking for a play to hangout before taking over the Paradise Complex later in the evening.

Aqua Spa at Avista Hideaway

Aqua Spa is more of a classy and luxurious special treat we recommend for gay couples. It's around 10 minutes drive south from the Paradise Complex, part of the dazzling Avista Hideaway Resort. As well as the different treatments they offer, we loved the infinity pond to relax in afterwards – views from here are stunning! It's expensive but as we said, this is the perfect gift to spoil your loved one, definitely worth it!

Seby in the Aquarius gay sauna in Phuket
It's always sauna o'clock in Phuket!!

Gay Pride in Phuket

Phuket comes alive during the big holidays, particularly Xmas/NYE when the Bangkok party boys head here for beach fun, and again during the Buddhist Songkran new year festivities in mid-April. However, the mama of all gay parties in Phuket is just after Songkran in late April – Phuket Pride!

Phuket Pride has a range of events from art shows, charity auctions, concerts, a large parade and of course, lots of parties. It started out in 1999 and has been taking place each year with the exception of 2018 and 2020. It attracts tens of thousands of gay boys from all around the world, making it one of the most popular gay pride events of Asia.

Sexy guys at Phuket Pride every April
Some of the hot guys on the streets of Patong for Phuket Pride

Gay restaurants in Phuket

If you're looking for gay gay gay, pick any restaurant in the Paradise Complex!

Otherwise, Phuket has several really good restaurants to check out. Sadly, being so touristic, there is also a lot of tourist traps with low-quality food. We've set out some of our favourites right here which we guarantee will leave you satisfied:

Honeymoon Thai Restaurant by Kenya

Honeymoon Thai restaurant serves delicious Thai dishes and fresh seafood in the heart of Phuket's gay neighbourhood

Honeymoon Thai Restaurant by Kenya is located inside the Paradise Complex, so by default, it always attracts a very gay crowd. It's a fabulous place to come when you want a Pad Thai fix! They also serve some mouthwatering seafood here, including their signature dish the (massive!) grilled seafood basket. We love all the pretty plants and flowers everywhere in the restaurant, as well as how friendly all the staff are, particularly the owner, Kenya. As well as all the delicious food (trust us, you'll be back!) they also serve excellent cocktails.


Roma Ristorante & Pizzeria Da Mauro

For excellent pizza, pasta and other Italian treats in Phuket, head to Ristorante Roma de Mauro on Patong Beach

Roma Ristorante & Pizzeria Da Mauro (yeah it's a bit of a mouthful!) is our favourite restaurant in Patong for pizza and other Italian yumminess. It's located close to Patong Beach which makes it a good place to come for lunch or an early dinner after sunbathing all day. As well as their fantastic pizzas (we recommend the seafood one!) you can have scrumptious pasta, steak and other tasty Italian treats like prosciutto with melon slices. Chef Mauro has been serving pizza in Phuket for over 20 years. It's always packed here which just goes to show how good the food is!


Loy Lom Bar & Grill

Loy Lom is THE place to go on Phuket for amazing steak and seafood

Loy Lom is easily the best restaurant in Phuket in our opinion. It's usually rated the #1 restaurant of Patong on Tripadvisor! It's located around 10 mins drive from the Paradise Complex. The journey is worth it simply for the spectacular unspoilt views of Tri Trang beach. The menu focuses on Australian Wagyu beef, Kobe beef and seafood – veggies and vegans: sorry, skip this one! But if you like your meat and seafood, then you'll love Loy Lom as everything is cooked to perfection. We had some divine bacon-wrapped Tiger prawns followed by a surf and turf steak with half a lobster! They also have an extensive cocktail menu to enjoy alongside your meal.


Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie

Thong Dee is the best restaurant in Kathu, Phuket and they do amazing Sunday roasts!

Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Phuket and the number one restaurant in Kathu according to TripAdvisor. It's around 25 minutes drive east from the Paradise Complex into the mainland of the island, but totally worth it for a top fine dining experience. They serve both European and Thai cuisine, with the most popular Sunday roast on the entire island! We love their hearty meals, with classic favourites like lamb stew, Swedish meatballs, lasagne and different types of Stroganoff. The service is always exceptional, plus they have an extensive drinks menu to pair with your meal.


Top things to do in Phuket

Beaches, diving, remote islands and even a giant Buddha… Whilst most LGBTQ travellers will head to Phuket as a gay beach party destination, we've set out a few other activities we enjoyed here which we think you should make time for during your trip:

See the Big Buddha

Visiting Phuket's Big Buddha statue is a must, if only for the views of the island once you're there

Phuket's Big Buddha statue, also known as The Great Buddha of Phuket, is the third-tallest statue in Thailand at 45 metres (148ft) high. On a clear day, you can see it all the way from Patong beach! Coming here to marvel at the statue also means you can see spectacular 360-degree views of the island. It's also very peaceful. The statue of Buddha sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata. You can visit the Big Buddha as part of a Phuket highlights tour, which also includes stops at other famous sights on the island, like the Chalong Temple and Phuket Old Town.


Visit James Bond Island

Visiting James Bond Island (made famous by appearing in The Man with the Golden Gun) is a must-do for gay travellers to Phuket

Travellers to Phuket almost invariably find themselves joining an excursion to visit James Bond Island, which was made famous in the film The Man With the Golden Gun. Christopher Lee played the villain Scaramanga, who had a hideout on the Thai island of Khao Phing Kan and the tiny island beside it called Khao Ta Pu. Together, these two islands are known as “James Bond Island” but it's not one of those places where the hype exceeds the reality. Kayaking through the limestone formations surrounding this area is an amazing experience and one we definitely recommend for film fans or just lovers of nature.


Do some island hopping

There are lots of stunning islands near Phuket that you can explore on an island-hopping tour

James Bond Island isn't the only famous and stunning island you can visit from Phuket! It's just a short boat trip away to the glorious Phi Phi islands, as well as lots of other beautiful sights in the Andaman Sea. We recommend joining an island-hopping boat tour for a day so that you can see some of the unspoilt magic of Thailand's most beautiful islands. Stops include Maya Bay, made famous by the 2000 Leo DiCaprio movie The Beach, as well as corals reefs where you can go snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters. You can sunbathe on white-sand beaches or go trekking in the jungle and look for monkeys!


Learn how to scuba dive

Phuket has some of the most incredible scuba diving, make sure you try it while you're there

We love scuba diving and have been diving in some of the most beautiful parts of Asia during our travels. Phuket is an excellent destination for those who like to dive as you can easily get to stunning spots all around the Andaman Sea. There are also lots of dive schools if you've never scuba dived before and want to learn! The waters around Phuket are ideal for first-timers because the waves are usually flat, it's not too deep and it's full of healthy coral reefs. You might be lucky enough to spot turtles, manta rays, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and even massive whale sharks! And that's not even mentioning all the colourful fish…


Go kayaking

Kayaking is a fun way to explore the islands around Phuket and get a workout in at the same time!

If you prefer to be above the waves rather than under them, then you can also kayak among the beautiful islands surrounding Phuket. Using a kayak means you can often get into hidden secret spots like internal lagoons and sea caves which you wouldn't be able to access on a larger boat. Not to mention, kayaking is a great upper-body workout! This full-day kayaking tour takes you to the Ao Phang Nga National Park, where you will have ample time to kayak among the towering rocks of Khao Phing Kan, explore beaches, swim or snorkel and enjoy a fresh Thai buffet lunch.


Plan your trip to Phuket

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Phuket. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: You can get to Phuket from other parts of Thailand by bus, train or ferry, although the easiest (and quickest) way is by flying into Phuket International Airport. This is the second-busiest airport in Thailand (after Bangkok's) and you can get direct flights to Phuket from many nearby countries. It's often very cheap if you're flying from within Thailand as well. Once you've arrived, the airport is quite a distance out of Phuket proper (and there's only taxis or buses available), so we recommend organising a private airport transfer ahead of time. That way you don't need to worry about anything except getting ready to have fun!


Visa requirements: Thailand offers visa-free travel to a lot of countries for stays of up to 30 days. Make sure you check your personal visa requirements before you book your travel to Phuket to see if your nationality is exempt and how to get a visa if not.


Getting around: Public transport can be an adventure in Thailand, and the island of Phuket is no exception. You can get around using public buses, songthaews, tuk-tuks, taxis, hiring scooters or motorbikes and even ferries. Check out this guide for more info on navigating transport on Phuket.


Power Plugs: There are actually quite a few different power plug/socket types used in Thailand, so your best bet when travelling to Phuket is to bring a universal power adaptor with you. That way you can still charge your devices no matter which particular socket type you may come across.


Travel insurance: We never travel without the reassurance of having travel insurance, and recommend all travellers do the same. Even in safe destinations like Phuket, you just never know when something will happen out of your control, from missed flights to lost luggage or even illness. We always use World Nomads Travel Insurance as they provide comprehensive cover and an easy-to-use online system for when you do need to make a claim.


Safety and Security: Even with travel insurance, it's possible that during your time in Phuket you may find yourself in a situation where you need immediate help. We use Close Circle's “virtual bodyguard” app when we're travelling as they provide everything from advice to evacuation in times of distress. Everything can be done on your phone so you can get help at just the touch of a button. Read more about Close Circle in our post about staying safe while travelling.


Vaccinations: All travellers to Phuket should make sure they're up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox. Most travellers should also be vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid. Some travellers may also need vaccinations for hepatitis B, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever and rabies, depending on what you'll be doing. Check the CDC website for the most up to date info before you head to Thailand and talk to your doctor as well.


Currency: The currency used in Phuket (and the rest of Thailand, of course) is called the Thai Baht. The currency code is THB and the symbol is written as ฿. Currently, $1 USD is worth about ฿31.87, €1 converts to around ฿34.66 and £1 is worth about ฿41.18.


Tipping culture: Thailand is not a country with a strong tipping culture so you won't ever be expected to tip while visiting Phuket or other parts of the country. If you feel like you received really good service you can always round up to the nearest note as a tip. Check out this guide for more detailed information on when you should or shouldn't tip in Thailand.


Internet access: Most hotels, bars, restaurants and the like will have free WiFi available in Phuket, but if you know you will need reliable connection then we recommend renting a pocket WiFi device while you're there.


Accommodation: There are many more wonderful places to stay on Phuket beyond what we've mentioned in this guide. We recommend looking for accommodation options on Booking.com because they have lots of choices for the best prices. Many listings offer free cancellation if needed, and the online customer support is available 24/7.


Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun things to do in Phuket as well, check out GetYourGuide. They have a wide range of activities for all styles and interests, with a very easy-to-use booking system. Their online customer support is also available 24/7 and is very good.


When to visit: Phuket is a hot and enjoyable destination pretty much all the time, except during monsoon season between May and October. November to February is the most popular time, so it's also the most crowded and expensive. March to May are the hottest months, but April during Songkran is also a very fun time on Phuket.


Gay map of Phuket

Here's a map of Phuket which includes all the gay bars, clubs, hotels and sightseeing highlights we've mentioned in this post:

Our gay map of Phuket featuring the best gay resorts, hotels, bars, clubs and more!

For more inspiration:

Like this post? Pin it

Our gay travel guide to Thailand's island of Phuket Pinterest pin

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. This will never cost you extra and in many cases you receive a special discount. We appreciate your support!

Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

14 thoughts on “Gay Phuket: our guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels, beaches & more”

  1. Hi guys. We often check out your site for info. I think your guide to patong could do with updating though. We Just had a week here in high season and found the gay area almost deserted. The only club with any shows is Zag and whilst you state it’s men only at least half the customers were straight women. The shows finish at midnight when the last few customers leave. The whole street is packing up at midnight, not coming to life. So I think they’re has been some fundamental change in licensing or attitudes recently as it’s become one of the quietest, most “vanilla” gay scenes that we’ve ever encountered! I was here about 20 years ago and it was packed with go go boys and “numbered” hosts. Whilst that’s not everyone’s cup of tea it added a particular atmosphere which is now completely missing. Just thought your readers would maybe appreciate our experience as an update.

    Reply
    • Hi Andy we were also just there and see what you mean, however, Zag is still a cool hangout cause their music dancy and poppy 🙂 Boat bar is also worth checking out – kinda like the DJ Station of Phuket. Though agree about the influx of straight female customers – I wonder if it’s because it’s high season?

      Reply
      • Hi Stefan thanks for your reply. As a footnote we carried on to Bangkok where the gay area was even quieter than Patong. We found one bar that had a Short drag show at times but apart from that it was very quiet in the street which was really surprising bearing in mind January should be high season. (By the way, this was just before the onset of coronavirus so I don’t think that had any bearing on how quiet the gay neighbourhood was). So for any of your readers looking for a wild gay scene I don’t think anywhere in Thailand offers that any more based on our experience. That apart, it’s an amazing country with some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met and stunning beaches.

        Reply
  2. Patong is a blast guys. Kinda gritty on one level but fun too. I liken it a wee bit to a nice version of Mos Eisley, of Star Wars fame. We are often spotted at Jungceylon grabbing dinner and a movie, walking around the mall for indoor cardio when it gets too hot and humid. Super review as always 😉

    Ryan

    Reply

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