Delicious food, tropical beaches and vibrant culture are just a few of the things making travelers flock to Thailand. But there’s something else entirely that’s making the LGBT world community want to pay a visit: acceptance.
In fact, Thailand is considered to be the ‘Gay Capital‘ of Asia. And for good reason! An abundance of tropical beaches, coastal party towns and friendly locals make for the perfect location for LGBT travelers to have the time of their life.
The Land of Smiles has a long-standing reputation for acceptance and tolerance for its gay community, local or foreign.
But, as with many countries that have been built upon a strong religious foundation, it’s important to consider the reality of enjoying gay life in this predominantly Buddhist region.
So, before you visit the Land of Smiles, here’s everything you need to know about LGBT life AND travel in this tropical getaway:
1. ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE LGBT COMMUNITY
As we know, the Thai’s are famed for upholding an attitude of love, friendliness and acceptance. Which is great! It makes for a refreshing change in a continent that is largely dictated by the rules of religion, and the lack of tolerance that can unfortunately follow.
Whilst there’s still a long way to go in terms of LGBT acceptance on a global scale, it’s a breath of fresh air to know that gay travellers can visit Thailand and be safe in the knowledge they will be accepted.
But, as Thailand is a largely religious country, its vital to respect the views upheld by Buddhist teaching and, as such, travellers (both heterosexual and homosexual!) are urged to conduct themselves with an air of discretion, thoughtfulness and consideration.
2. GAY MARRIAGE
Amazing news on the horizon!
Thailand is looking set to legalise gay marriage by the end of 2018, after years of initial proceedings being stalled. This comes largely in response to a petition signed by 60,000 people expressing a need for change. The bill would enable same-sex couples the exact same rights as heterosexual couples, and to live freely as ‘life partners’. Same-sex couples will also be able to adopt, which was previously a luxury only offered to hetero couples.
Whilst this news might not directly affect gay travellers visiting the country, it does reflect a positive change in societal views and is likely to indirectly affect the LGBT travelling community. Thailand will be set to become a top destination for gay marriages in the world.
As with all world-travel, it’s crucial to understand how to stay safe when abroad. This isn’t limited to gay-travellers alone, of course. But to stay savvy and aware of your surroundings is important in a country with such a vast number of travellers.
Luckily, theft is rare in Thailand. Fortunately, so is assault. This being said, however, as with any country it is still a possibility. For the gay community, it’s important to look out for one another and to exercise caution when dealing with strangers.
Being mindful of this advice will reduce an already low-probability of encountering any issues during your visit to the Thai kingdom.
4. GAY-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS
Thailand is packed full of incredible, naturally beautiful and fun LGBT destinations. In fact, it would be difficult to tick off every gay-friendly destination off your bucket list with just one trip to this stunning nation.
Bangkok is largely considered the ‘gayest’ city in Asia, and it’s no surprise with it’s prominent LGBT scene and abundance of bars and pubs. Other top destinations include Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui.
The rural regions of Thailand, however, are less westernised and are therefore more traditional in their ways. With this in mind, don’t expect the LGBT party-scene to be quite so outstanding!
You can find out even more about LGBT life in this stunning tropical paradise at Go Thai Be Free, the ultimate gay travel blog.