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. 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.
Love it or loathe it, Bangkok is a huge, crowded, polluted city with some rather terrible traffic congestion problems. But on the positive side it's exciting, edgy and cosmopolitan, with wonderful tourist attractions, spectacular shopping plazas, a great gay scene and fabulous food. Obviously in a metropolis like Bangkok there are loads more places to try and we have only skimmed the surface here. New places are opening all the time and you’re never far from great food, a relaxing massage and every style of shopping. One thing remains a constant, the wonderful welcome and superb hospitality you will experience in this sometimes frantic but always friendly city of smiles.
‘Sawadee Ka’, welcome to Blue Elephant Restaurant Phuket. From the moment we arrived at this grand, one hundred and five year old, former Governor’s mansion we were extremely impressed. The exquisite Sino-Portuguese building is beautifully lit and set in spacious grounds. The fashionable Blue Bar is the entry point to the restaurant. This elegant space with a classic black and white tiled floor is lit in shades of blue with two elephant statues gracing either end of the bar. If you arrive early for dinner this is a the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail.
The gay section of Patong Beach is directly in front of hotel La Flora Resort Patong or near the orange beach watch tower with the rainbow flag beside it. This is the place to be during the day with lots of gay men in their recently purchased swimwear filling the beach in high season. The sun lounges have unfortunately gone but beach umbrellas can be hired for 100BHT or you can buy your own for about 250BHT from the local market stalls.
Banzaan Market is one of our first stops when we arrive at Patong Beach on the island of Phuket in Thailand. The food stalls are brimming with fresh vegetables, exotic tropical fruits and the best assortment of fish and shell fish you will see anywhere in the world. This covered market is set on two levels, is clean and modern and has an escalator running to the second floor. All the better for getting your selection of succulent seafood hastily up to the cooking area to be prepared to exactly your taste.
Close your eyes and visualise your ideal beach setting. Do you picture sapphire and turquoise water lapping onto white powdery shores, a green belt of coconut palms lining the edge of the beach and disappearing into a lush jungle background? Perhaps boats are bobbing in sequence to the slow, rhythmic pace of this island utopia. You may think this is just a fantasy but in Railay Bay this is reality. It is simply radiant.