My Personal Gay Guide
"Paradise in Patong"
Continually under construction (with your help!)
reflecting some of the wonderful places I managed to visit during my stay, and whilst I had visited Patong Beach before in the high season (April), I started writing this guide after a 5 week stay in the low season during late August and September 1998, without the bustle of thousands of tourists. Since then I have been back already many times and each time I try to add some more info which I hope will be of help to others.
This year I also managed to
spend a short while in Bangkok thanks to a very nice (and very
cute!!) guy that invited me to stay with him in his house in the
center of the city.
Although I will only be able to give a very brief idea of some of the naughty places (and some of the beautiful sites) that I visited I hope that this will be of help to others who would like to visit this amazing city.
Use the link at the bottom of the page to checkout my new Bangkok section.
(at the moment I'm still working on the Gay Guide section)
For those of you who have visited my page before you will notice that I have now updated much of the information after returning again in September 2000.
Although this "Personal Gay Guide"
attempts to give my own personal views of my visits to the
Paradise Center, another very professional guide offering a lot
more information is available here "On Line" using the
I would also like to thank gayphuket.com for the many fine photo's that I have used trying to give you an impression of some of the excellent establishments that they represent.
I hope that for those of you who have never visited Patong Beach before that this will give you an idea of what it has to offer and for those of you who are "hooked" and returning to this wonderful land it will offer some extra information.
First a small insight into Thailand ...............
The Thai's are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality to strangers and rightly proud of their country with it's high mountains, fertile valleys, beautiful beaches, exotic islands, historic culture, more than 32,000 monasteries and 200,00 monks!
A quarter of Thailand is covered by monsoon forest or rainforest, and the country has an incredible array of fruit trees, bamboo and tropical hardwoods. There are more than 850 species of birds and dwindling numbers of tigers, leopards, elephants and Asiatic black bears. There are 66 national parks and 32 wildlife sanctuaries, covering 11% of the country.
and of course
Thousands of Very Beautiful Boys!
Thailand used to be known as Siam until the early 1940s, however the present day Thailand which is similar in size to France (530,000 square km.) with a length (North to South) of about 1900 km. is one of the most vibrant cultures in Asia.
Beautiful People with a smile that says more than a thousand words who welcome you with open arms!
The weather can be divided into three "seasons", Hot (March to June), Rainy (July to October) and "Cool!" and Dry (November to February). In 1997 I visited Phuket during April, May and it certainly was very hot.Last year (1998) so as you will read in the next pages I took my holiday during the "Low" season from late August until begin October (The rainy season) and it was Fantastic! It did rain, but certainly not every day, and usually only for an hour or so and an hour later you couldn't see that a drop had fallen. One early morning however I woke to a tropical downpour which was a real tourist attraction for me and I set off with my camera packed in a large condom that I just happened to have in my wallet! The amazing thing was that nobody seemed to make a problem of the weather and just continued on with their everyday tasks, and even the very popular mopeds drove on without so much as a splutter!
Most of Thailand is Very Humid but the temperature can drop to 13 degrees during the night in the north in the cool season. Many guide books recommend visiting Thailand between November and February, during this time it rains the least and is not so hot. For a "quiet" yet vibrant visit the best months are said to be June and September with not so many tourists.
The population of Thailand is about 53 million (nothing to do with me!!) but has recently slowed down due to a nationwide family planning campaign, and if you visit the largest city Bangkok you will think that most of them have made their home in the city! Bangkok (pop. aprox. 6 million) is a huge vibrant city with what seems to be one of the worst pollution problems I have seen, due mainly to far too many cars and the temperature. Everywhere you look they are constructing new roads, many one above the other! which only helps to add to the chaos.
However for such a huge city,
Bangkok "lives" without
being offensive, Taxi's and cars
speed (or stand still) along the huge network of roads in the
city; blowing their horns and yet without aggravation.
From what I have seen Bangkok doesn't sleep, or if it does then it went to bed later than I did! It has some of the most Wonderful Open Air Teras Restaurants offering a huge variety of Native and International Dishes, (served with a smiling face!).
During 1997 I was fortunate to have visited Patong Beach during the Songkhran Festival (12-14 April). The weather that day was like the boys! super hot! .....but fortunately the locals help out when the temperature rises by throwing water over everyone they see! (clothed or not!).
Phuket ( It's Amazing !!!!! )
Dubbed the 'Pearl of the South' by the tourist industry, Phuket is Thailand's largest island and lies in the Andaman Sea off the country's south-western coast. The island is connected to the Thai mainland by a bridge, but has retained a distinct culture fused from Chinese and Portuguese influences combining with the culture of the chao name, the indigenous sea-faring people.
Religion: 95% Buddhism, 4% Muslim
The island's terrain varies from rocky beaches and long, broad sweeps of sand to limestone cliffs and forested hills. It has good beaches, tropical vegetation and a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, but its ambiance and ecology are under pressure from extensive and irresponsible development. The main resorts include Patong, Karon and Kata, but beautiful beaches are scattered all around the island. Roads radiate from Phuket Town, in the south-east of the island, making it a good base for exploring.
The island's interior has rice paddies, plantations of rubber and cashew nut, cacao, pineapple and coconut, as well as Phuket's last slice of rainforest.
About 35% of the island's population are Thai Muslims.
There are plenty of flights to Phuket from Bangkok. First-class air-conditioned buses take about 14 hours to reach the island from the capital. Local transport includes songthaews, which run to many of the island's beaches, and Tuk Tuks. Motorcycles and jeeps can also be hired by the day. (A law passed in 1996 makes it compulsory to wear helmets, so be sure to get one from the company that rented you the motorcycle - the fine can be up to 500 baht if you fail to comply.)
Thai food is pungent and spicy, seasoned with loads of garlic and chilies and a mix of lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander. Galanga root, basil, ground peanuts, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk are other common additions. Fish sauce or shrimp paste are mainstays of Thai dishes, and of course rice is eaten with most meals. Main dishes include hot and sour fish ragout, green and red curries, various soups and noodle dishes. Thai food is served with a variety of condiments and dipping sauces. Snacks and appetizers include fried peanuts, chicken, chopped ginger, peppers and slices of lime. There is an incredible variety of fruit available, either fresh or juiced. Sugar-cane juice and, for something stronger, rice whisky are favorite local tipples.
The earliest civilization in Thailand is believed to have been that of the Mons in central Thailand, who brought a Buddhist culture from the Indian subcontinent. In the 12th century, this met a Khmer culture moving from the east, the Sumatran-based Srivijaya culture moving north, and citizens of the Thai state of Nan Chao, in what is now southern China, migrating south. Thai princes created the first Siamese capital in Sukhothai, and later centers in Chiang Mai and, notably, Ayuthaya.
The Burmese invaded Siam (present day Thailand) in both the 16th and 18th centuries, capturing Chiang Mai and destroying Ayuthaya. The Thai's expelled the Burmese and moved their capital to Thonburi. In 1782, the current Chakri dynasty was founded by King Rama I and the capital was moved across the river to Bangkok.
In the 19th century, Siam remained independent by deftly playing off one European power against another. In 1932, a peaceful coup converted the country into a constitutional monarchy, and in 1939 Siam became Thailand.
During WW II, the Thai government allowed Japanese troops to occupy Thailand.
After the war, Thailand was dominated by the military and experienced more than twenty coups and countercoups interspersed with short-lived experiments with democracy. Democratic elections in 1979 were followed by a long period of stability and prosperity as power shifted from the military to the business elite.
In February 1991, a military coup ousted the Chatichai government, but bloody demonstrations in May 1992 led to the reinstatement of a civilian government with Chuan Leekpai at the helm. This coalition government collapsed in May 1995 over a land-reform scandal; replacement Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa had corruption-quashing high on his agenda but resigned in September 1996 after persistent allegations that he plagiarised his university thesis and falsified identification papers. Many Thai's do not believe his replacement, ex-general Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will be any more successful in his avowed aim to quash corruption and to get the economy moving.
Monarchy and religion are the two sacred things in Thailand. Thai's are tolerant of most kinds of behavior as long as it doesn't insult one of these. Buddhism is the dominant religion, and orange-robed monks and gold, marble and stone Buddha's are common sights. The prevalent form of Buddhism practiced is the Theravada school, which emphasizes the potential of the individual to attain nirvana without the aid of saints or gurus.
The country code for Thailand is 66 and the code for Phuket is 76 (076 if calling from within Thailand but out of the Phuket area). Some establishments also have E-mail addresses.
Police . 191 ..Tourist Police . 195 ...Fire . 199 . Ambulance . (02) 2522171
Country Code = 66 . . Bangkok = 02 .....Chiang Mai = 053 ... Pattaya = 038 ... Phuket = 076
Banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, and many "Change centers" stay open longer (ask at your hotel) but be careful because it can be difficult to change money in the weekend, and some of them close for lunch ! (Take your passport). I also noticed that my credit card (Eurocard) was not as widely accepted as Visacard so do be careful when you are wanting to use it!
All of Thailand is in one
time zone, 7 hours ahead of GMT, 14 hours ahead of Eastern
Standard Time and 11 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Just added in November 2000 some impressions of my short but very interesting stay in Bangkok before I set off south to Phuket. Just follow the link below to the Palaces of the King and enjoy Bangkok as I did !!
Neil November 2000