Seven Gay Wonders of the World 2018: Bangkok

by Lawrence Ferber

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday December 31, 2017

Silom district, Bangkok, Thailand
Silom district, Bangkok, Thailand  (Source:Lawrence Ferber)

EDGE returns with our fourth annual "Seven Gay Wonders of the World" - our yearly where-to-go-next guide for all those with serious wanderlust. For 2018, we've ditched calorie-counting and workouts for pure indulgence.

Bangkok saw Michelin Guide debut its first Bangkok edition in December to much fanfare. 2017's prestigious Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is topped by Gaggan, while Nahm, widely considered the world's most outstanding, refined Thai restaurant, holds the #5 position, and in 2018, Bangkok will host the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (May 30-June 1).

Yet the sun-kissed, vibrant Southeast Asia metropolis has long been regarded a favorite destination of foodies - its fiery street hawker food alone is manna from heaven -- and, equally, LGBT travelers. The landscape is quickly changing and pushing into the 21st Century with sleek new hotels, "lifestyle malls," and traffic-less subway and elevated skytrain systems, plus the iconic temples, Buddhas, and Chao Phraya river.

Today, queer gastrotourists will also discover a surprising mix of traditional and inventive organic fare, plus design-forward restaurants, craft coffee and beer spots, and gay-owned favorites like Michelin-starred (and shockingly inexpensive) Somtum Der, right in the heart of gay nightlife district Silom. Now get ready to pack... your stomach!

(Source: Baan Ice)

Go South!

Southern Thai food has yet to break out internationally -- in part due to several key ingredients' scarcity outside the region --so dig into some of the country's most delicious and fiery dishes at cutely designed Baan Ice and homier Khua Kling & Pak Sod.

The latter a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient, try their sataw pad goong (shrimp with garlicky, pungent sataw beans), moo tod kamin (addictive tamarind fried pork), bai leang pad kai (a stir-fried toothsome leafy green, pak liang), and for those with high chili tolerance, the tongue-numbingly spicy diced pork khua kling.

Meruto  (Source: Lawrence Ferber)

Turning Japanese

Bangkok is home to a robust Japanese expat population, largely concentrated in the trendy Thonglor and Ekkamai districts, and as a result, you'll find incredible Japanese food, bars, and even a hot spring (the all-male all nude wet section is especially popular with handsome gay men come evening), Yunomori.

Michelin-starred Ginza Sushi Ichi is straight out of Tokyo, while Meruto is unique for its Thai sushi chef's innovative creations, like a signature "meruto-don" with tuna, truffle, uni, and Thai lime.

Ramen fan? Osaka chain Ramen Kio is a must for its succulent, tender chashu pork and a Thai-Japanese fusion Tom Yam ramen packed with perfumed herbs, spice, and prawns.

Teens of Thailand gin bar
Teens of Thailand gin bar  (Source: Lawrence Ferber)

Farm to Table Thai

A growing wave of chefs embraces organic farm to table ethos with both ancient and nouveau Thai recipes. Holding a place on 2017's Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list, Bo.lan is refined yet homey, while sister venue Err takes a tapas approach with shareable plates like coconut-smoked Chiang Rai curry sausage and chicken gizzard salad. 80/20 combines strong Thai flavors and French technique: try the Isan lamb tartare with green sauce and crumbled crickets.

Gin To Win
Aussie Ashley Sutton designed Bangkok's coolest bars and nightclubs in Bangkok (including Maggie Choo's, where you can see hysterically funny drag talent Pagina Heals on Sunday nights) and his latest opening, Iron Balls Gin Parlour, spotlights Sutton's own small batch, locally distilled pineapple and coconut-based gin. Bring a bottle home!

(Source: Out BKK)


Time your trip to these events for an even gayer ol' time:

G Circuit -- Be ready to dance for three days at Thailand's biggest circuit party weekend, held during Thailand's jubilant and wet New Year celebration, Songkran. April 13-15, 2018.

OUT in BKK -- 2017 saw Bangkok's first LGBT Pride celebration after an 11-year absence, so be sure to check OUT in BKK for details on 2018!

G-Spot Entertainment throws Bangkok's best, most entertaining gay parties, including Wednesdays' Queen Victoria Cabaret Closet and Sunday Gay Nights at Maggie Choo's, and New Year Weekend's White Party.

Lawrence Ferber's travel and arts journalism has appeared in Passport Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, New York Post, and other publications. Based in NYC, he is also co-writer of the 2010 gay romcom BearCity and authored its 2013 novelization.