Destinations: When in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand, has been called everything from the Venice of the East to the Capital of Sin, but only recently has it been raising eyebrows as a cosmopolitan destination. The mantra "anything goes," once applied only to the city's naughty nightlife, now extends to everything from shopping and art to hotels and spas. Add a karma-driven culture and relaxed views on sexuality and gender and you have a gay mecca in the making.

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 02 2008 12:00 AM ET

Bangkok,
Thailand, has been called everything from the Venice of the
East to the Capital of Sin, but only recently has it
been raising eyebrows as a cosmopolitan destination.
The mantra "anything goes," once applied only to the
city's naughty nightlife, now extends to everything
from shopping and art to hotels and spas. Add a karma-driven
culture and relaxed views on sexuality and gender and
you have a gay mecca in the making.

While there's no
gay neighborhood per se, two crowded alleys in the area
of Bangrak host the lion's share of happening gay bars and
clubs at night, and during the day the expat-filled
Sukhumvit is where you'll spend most of your time.
This seething metropolis may seem intimidating, but
it's also wonderfully accessible. It's an urban explorer's
paradise.

STREET GUIDE

THE DRINK

The Balcony
86-88 Silom Soi 4; 66-2-235 -5891
BalconyPub.com
One might start a bar crawl along the
tourist-friendly Silom Soi 4 at this publike bar and
restaurant with a top floor where you can survey all
the freewheeling Western tourists and their temporary Thai
boyfriends.

THE GROOVE

DJ Station
Silom Soi 2, Bangrak; 66-2-266-4029
DJ-Station.com
This is the crown jewel of Soi 2. Young Thais
and a handful of Westerners flock to this multilevel
dance club on weekends, especially during festivals
where colorful costumes are de rigueur.

G.O.D.
60/18-21 Silom Soi 2/1, Bangrak; 66-2-632-8033 A
former cabaret, this club's tradition of showmanship lives
on in drag shows and go-go boys (hence the name "Guys
on Display") who dance to progressive house music on
three floors, the top of which is notorious for its
active darkroom.

THE BED

Old Bangkok
Inn 609 Pra Sumen; 66-2-629-1787
OldBangkokInn.com
Eschew the isolated and gargantuan five-star
resorts for the rustic Old Bangkok Inn, located in a
converted teahouse. Situated in the city's historic
center, the inn has a series of calm, green-friendly rooms
filled with Thai and Burmese antiques, native teak, silk and
ceramics.

The
Metropolitan 27 South Sathorn Rd.; 66-2-625-3333
Metropolitan.como.bz/bangkok
Filled with natural colors and plenty of
polished wood surfaces, the design favors calm and
Western minimalism over easy Buddha clichés. Much
like its popular sister locale in London, this is home away
from home for the creative Western jet set. In keeping
with the exclusive vibe, the sultry Met Bar lounge is
for hotel guests only.

Tags: Travel

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