What’s the gayest thing to do in Bangkok? Go and spend a few hours at Babylon Sauna and Spa, Bangkok’s (perhaps the world’s) most luxurious gay sauna. We first visited Babylon some 20 years ago when it opened and it has been powering along ever since. It is certainly a favourite with westerners but also offers many opportunities to meet Thais and men from all over Asia.
It is a huge complex and the entry cost is around 250 THB, depending of the time of the week. Opening times are from 10:30am to a surprisingly early close at 10:30pm. Babylon is much more a day to early evening sauna/spa where people spend a few hours rather than a quick drop in. The most popular times are between 6pm and 9pm.
Once changed with a towel loosely fitted, make a booking for a massage at the spa. When busy there is usually up to a one hour wait. There are various massage packages available: from 1 – 3 hours of relaxing traditional Thai or oil massage. The male masseurs take delight in maximising sensual pleasure but our tip is to ask them not to apply full pressure during the massage as it can be very strenuous and uncomfortable, particularly if it is your first time.
The next stop is the outside pool downstairs which is the hub of the sauna. Here there is no nude swimming due to neighbours in nearby high rise towers but the pool garden, with its luxuriant foliage, is a perfect place to relax, recline on the sun lounges, have a drink and meet new friends. There is an excellent, well equipped gym next to the pool where you can have a workout, if that’s your thing.
Babylon is built on several levels so there are plenty of places to explore. Inside the sauna’s labyrinth you will discover two wet saunas more or less side by side, a communal Jacuzzi behind the wet sauna, two dry saunas, several very dark, dark rooms that are filled with hot steamy bodies, dozens of cabinets for play and plenty of wandering spaces on multi levels. There is also a central courtyard that offers a bar and is often a meeting place to take a break from the steam. On Saturday’s they have jazz nights and, on special occasions like New Year, live bands help with the celebrations. Babylon often has special parties like the Songkran Foam party to celebrate national festivities and at these times the sauna is packed.
There are two restaurants, one for lighter meals and the second on the ground floor. where somewhat incongruously, guys sit down in towels for a semi formal lunch or dinner. When we were there the candles were lit and the restaurant was filled with guys in white towels enjoying dinner and a bottle of wine. Let’s call it ‘casual attire’.
Babylon is not only a sauna but an excellent place to stay. Centrally located only a ten minute taxi ride from the Silom Soi 4 gay area, Babylon has a range of accommodation options from standard barrack rooms through to rooms like the exotic “Botticelli House Suites” which exude 1920’s Colonial Thai architecture. It is surrounded by delightful gardens which are purpose built with a bar and sun lounges as a place to totally unwind. All rooms are clean, large and well furnished and breakfast is included.
For a relaxing gay day out in Bangkok, or a short stay while transiting through this fabulous city, Babylon is a gem and it closes just in time to make it back to Silom Soi 4 for a few drinks to end the night with your new mates.
See our other tips about how to make the most of your time in glorious gay Bangkok.