As the rest of Thailand, Pattaya is extremely gay-friendly and has a fairly developed gay scene including gay bars, GoGo bars, show bars with male dancers, transvestite cabaret theatres, gay massage parlours, and many other gay-friendly establishments where gay men from all the globe can enjoy themselves and their sexual orientation in the company of the local boys.
Due to the traditional Buddhist conception that human beings equally consist of masculine and feminine parts, homosexuality in Buddhist Thailand is neither a taboo nor as stigmatized as it is in many Western societies. Homosexuality in Thailand is not just accepted and tolerated - it's a normal feature of everyday life. The ubiquitous sight of gay and (though to a much lesser extent) lesbian couples, and the tolerance displayed by the public, makes it easy for gay visitors to feel at home in Funtown. Even a local gay festival called Pattaya Pride is held on an annual basis.
Pattaya's colourful gay scene is a true paradise for foreign gay tourists. Whereas many elder gay men might find it hard to find a suitable partner in their home country, Pattaya has no shortage of attractive young Thai males. Many boys are employed as "hosts" (i.e. male prostitutes) in the local gay bars and are not only ready to become your special friend for a night or two, but also act as your personal "guide" for the entire duration of your vacation. Many boys might also be seeking a foreign boyfriend. As in "straight" relationships, age difference between partners in gay relationships is fully accepted in Thailand.
Please note, however, that underage sex with boys under 18 is not only strictly prohibited by Thai law, but may also lead to prosecution in your home country. Thailand's age of consent may be 15 but, in the case of prostitution, a higher minimum age of 18 applies. Take care.
Of course, HIV and Aids, as well as other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), are prominent issues and serious threats in Pattaya's LGBT scene. Even though the risk of contracting HIV might not be as high as often reported in the media (no official figures are available for Pattaya specifically) sexually transmitted diseases are unfortunately very common in Pattaya and can easily spoil your holiday for at least a couple of days.
[According to HIV/Aids statistics from 2012, Thailand records about 9,470 new infections every year. Nearly 1.2 million Thais have been infected with HIV since 1984; about 464,414 of them are still alive and living with HIV/Aids. Source: The Nation, Bangkok Post]
Where To Meet Boys? Pattaya Gay Areas
Albeit less developed than the straight bar scene, Pattaya's gay bar scene is similarly organized. There are both conventional beer bars where you can have a drink and chat with the male staff, as well as A-GoGo clubs or show bars, which feature erotic dance and show performances. The only difference from straight bars is that the service staff, the hosts and dancers, are young and attractive males instead of bar girls.
In order to take a boy out of his bar you'll have to pay a so-called bar fine. That is the fee charged by the bar for taking one of the staff out. Remember that you'll still have to pay the boy a kind of "compensation fee" for extra sexual services, or simply the time he is investing in you. Same rules and fees apply as in "straight" bars.
The two most popular gay entertainment areas in South Pattaya are Sunee Plaza/Soi Day-Night (off South Pattaya Road) and the world-famous Boyz Town (Pattayaland Soi 3, off Pattaya 2nd Road) where an abundance of gay bars and GoGo clubs, massage parlours "for men by men", gay-friendly restaurants and related establishments are located. A few gay bars can also be found on Pattayaland Soi 1 and 2. Boyz Town is the indisputable epicentre of Pattaya's gay nightlife. This short and narrow cul-de-sac is packed with A-GoGo and show bars, and if you can't get laid here, you can't get laid anywhere. Boyz Town is more expensive than Sunee Plaza, but you can be sure to find top quality entertainment here. Sunee Plaza, on the other hand, has gained a reputation for younger boys - some well below the minimum age of 18; so to avoid legal consequences, better be careful and ask the boy to show you his ID card before taking him with you, the more so if you haven't met him in a bar but picked him up on the street. If a boy does not have an ID, you better don't take him with you. (By the way: The year of birth in ID cards is based on the Buddhist calendar which is 543 years ahead of our Gregorian calender. For example, the year 1995 corresponds to the year 2538 B.E.) Jomtien Beach has also developed its own popular gay scene, attractive especially for those visitors who prefer a quiet, more laid-back and less "touristy" environment. While Jomtien's own gay beach, Dongtan Beach (north of the police box at the junction of Jomtien Beach Road and Thappraya Road) is a popular daytime meeting point for local boys and Western gays, Jomtien Complex (off Thappraya Road) features a growing number of gay bars and nightclubs, including a popular cabaret show at The Venue.
There are also lots of guys who don't professionally work in Pattaya's sex trade but have regular jobs during the day or just freelance as male prostitutes. Many boys can be found along Pattaya Beach Road in the evening hours (Pattayaland area) or roaming Pattaya's shopping malls during the day. As with female freelance hookers, you are advised to be careful when taking a boy from the street back home. Other than with guys regularly working in bars, it may be difficult to find that same boy again if you should encounter any problems with him, e.g., get robbed during your sleep etc.
(Please also understand that when a Thai guy works in a gay bar, this doesn't necessarily mean he's 100% gay. Lots of boys working in Pattaya's gay bars are actually bisexual and may also have Thai girlfriends, some even wives.)
Pattaya also has a couple of gay discotheques, nightclubs and late-night venues. Gay massage parlours ("massage by men for men") and gay karaoke bars, where many boys meet after their bars have closed for the night, can be found most conveniently in the gay areas of Soi Day-Night and Sunee Plaza.
An ever-increasing number of gay-friendly restaurants can be found all over Pattaya and Jomtien.
Ladyboys & Katoey Shows
Ladyboys (Katoeys) are a transgender phenomenon ubiquitously found all over Thailand. Katoeys are either 100%-males who simply dress as women (transvestites) or cross-gender "she-males" who have been surgically transformed into "women of the 2nd category," at least partially. They can be found both in straight and gay bars, however, most commonly work as freelancers. Ladyboys seem to attract not only gay, but also "straight" or (secretly) bisexual male tourists who either fancy a "special" sexual experience or are simply unaware of what is hidden beneath the sexy "female" looks. Pattaya Ladyboy Scene
Pattaya's two most famous ladyboy shows can be enjoyed at Alcazar and Tiffany Cabaret - both located on the northern section of Pattaya 2nd Road (not far from the Central Festival Center and Big C). Both are neither GoGo bars nor ladyboy pick-up joints; but if you fancy professional Las Vegas-style cabaret shows performed by female impersonation artists, then you surely should not miss these two places.
Tiffany and Alcazar have been in business for more than 20 years and are renowned across the world for their fantastic, professional ladyboy shows. Regular televised beauty pageants are additional attractions for visitors. The entry fee for both cabaret shows is around 500 Baht, with shows starting at about 18h, 19.30h and 21h every evening. For more details, picture galleries or online reservation, you can visit Tiffany's website at www.tiffany-show.co.th (English).
A new place in town for transvestite cabaret shows (opened only in 2013) is the Colosseum Show on Thepprasit Road in South Pattaya. The Venue (Jomtien Complex) also features a popular ladyboy/gay cabaret show every night.
Pattaya's lesbian scene is admittedly less developed and organized than the gay or straight scene. Lesbian Thai girls or "tomboys", however, can be found both in straight and trans-gender venues alike. Lesbian relationships are fully accepted and surprisingly common in Thai society, and many bar girls in Pattaya's straight scene are happy to accompany foreign lesbian visitors.
As the lesbian scene in Thailand, however, is much more discrete than the straight/gay scene, women will have to be more persistent and patient in order to find a like-minded girl. A visit to one of the listed Thai Dating Sites where many lesbian Thai girls are looking for foreign partners, may be of helpful assistance before visiting Thailand.
Pattaya Gay Links: Some Useful Links For Gay Tourists