Guide To Chiang Mai Gay Scene
Chiang Mai Introduction
Chiang Mai is often referred to as the rose of the North, a tranquil city rich in history and culture. It is many people's favorite city in Thailand and Chiang Mai is a great city for gay people, with many openly gay Thais living happily in a uniquely relaxed, friendly and cultural environment surrounded by peaceful mountains and jungle landscapes. It is also home to a large ex-pat community of mainly retirees from all around the world, a high percentage of whom are gay. Chiangmai is a popular tourist destination too, particularly in the winter when the dry warm climate makes Chieng Mai a veritable paradise for several months.
Thai Gay Scene
The "gay scene" in Chiang Mai, for most Thais, barely exists in the western context. For Thai people, gay is more normal; there is less need for specific "gay bars". Thai gays happily go out with their friends, gay, straight, male, female or transgender (ladyboys or katoey) to places all over town. Though there are some favourite late night haunts , such as the new gay clubs G-Star Vintage and See Man Pub as well as the established large mixed discos like, Warm up, Monkey Club, Tawan Deang, Sign-in (ex Mandalay) and Infinity.
Gay Scene for Foreigners
An almost separate gay scene has grown up to cater for foreigners. This social scene revolves around a few bars and restaurants where gay foreigners meet up to socialise at the bar or enjoy dinner. It is very laid back; most of the venues are small relaxing local style bars, often outdoors and great for meeting people. But, Chiang Mai seems to have a very large concentration of hot, sexy young gay Thais, many of whom come here to study and are keen to meet foreigners.
Commercial Gay Scene
The commercial gay sex scene in Chiang Mai is smaller than hedonistic cities like Bangkok or Pattaya. It is dominated by numerous "boy massage" shops, but also boasts four Go-Go bars (better described as host bars with shows - with a lot of nudity), some late night Karaoke bars and a few tourist bars with freelance hustlers. These places are more Thai orientated than elsewhere, but there is still plenty of fun to be had.
Gay areas of Chiang Mai
The gay venues are spread out geographically; the map below gives an overview of the city and different areas.
The main focal point for gay venues has become the Chang Phuek area to the north of the city around Santitham. All of the go-go bars and the major karaoke bars are located in this area, as well as most of the gay accommodation options and plenty of bars cafés and restaurants where gays socialise. Chang Pueak is also home to Chiang Mai's number one Gay Club G-Star vintage, whilst the other favourite late night club See Man Pub is in the adjacent Nimmanheminda area.
Nimmanahaeminda Road and its many side streets is Chiang Mai's trendy neighbourhood, packed with many chic cafés, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and luxury apartments. Whilst there are a few gay venues here , it is a cosmopolitan area where gay people can feel comfortable anywhere.
The main tourist areas are around Thapae Gate and the Night Bazaar which is packed with hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants catering for tourists. A few years ago the Night Bazaar was a thriving hub of gay life with more than fifteen small outdoor beer bars which attracted many visitors to stay in the hotels there. Now only a couple of bars remain in different locations are left and many more visitors choose to stay in the gay accommodation around Santitham in Chang Pueak district.
The gay scene in Chiang Mai is always changing and information on the internet is often out of date so, to help gay visitors, we have included an up to date guide to most of the gay venues in Chiang Mai. We do our best to update it regularly. If you know of any new venues, or information that is incorrect, please let us know. Please follow the links in the side menu to different categories of venue or service. Enjoy Gay Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai still has many small quaint narrow streets or Sois and many gay places can be hard to find so we also provide maps to make navigation easier. The Radchada Gay Guide to Chiangmai includes a fully interactive Gay Map showing the location of all key venues Click here to view. (courtesy of Google Maps, which now includes Street View for Chiengmai) Many of the venues listed in our guide also have individual pop up location maps.
Visit our Downloads Page to download our quick reference list with venue addresses in Thai you can show to your driver. We also provide an A-Z Listing of Chiang Mai's venues (including places that have closed), so you can easily find the details if you know the name.
Something which differentiates Chiang Mai's commercial scene, from other cities like Bangkok and Pattaya, is that many of the male sex workers here are not Thai but come either from Burma or the various hill tribe ethnicities of Northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is close to the border with Myanmar and many of the guys here are of Burmese origin, often ethnic Shan, or Tai Yai refugees from the Shan State. This gives a fine choice between the classically beautiful Northern Thai boys, and the slightly more masculine and muscular looking Shan. Many of the handsome young men you will meet in Chiangmai's host bars are Shan.
Important warning and advice
It is a crime to have sex with someone under 18 in Thailand
upon returning home child sex offenders can be prosecuted under extraterritorial laws
Thailand is well known for its commercial sex workers, both male and female. For years this has been a major lure for many visitors. Whilst there are many who have strong opinions on the moral aspects of Thailand’s sex industry one cannot deny its existence and, rightly or wrongly, it forms a significant part of the gay entertainment and nightlife. The aim of this website is to provide useful information about all aspects of gay life in Chiang Mai, so that our readers can make informed choices about where they go and what they do here. This does not imply we condone the sex industry; equally we seek not to pass judgement on those involved in it. See this website’s terms and conditions of use for more information
Please be aware that prostitution is illegal in Thailand in accordance with the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, B.E. 2539 (1996) This article is for information purposes only, it is not an incitement to commit illegal acts and readers are responsible for their own actions. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use for this website. Please also note that, in Thailand, the penalties for foreigners having sex with someone under the age of eighteen are severe.