My Recent visit to Phuket

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Trongpai
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#1 My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby Trongpai » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:05 pm

I just returned from Phuket. I'm aware of the general consensus on Phuket being negative on all the boards so I though a little positive update on the scene might be of interest to someone. I have met gay farangs that live in Phuket but I don't recall any of the boards ever having a regular Phuket resident poster. The BF and I flew Lion Air from Bangkok. Very cheap fares but long lines and slow check-in and boarding.

One of the frequent complaints is the lack of reasonable transportation around the island. I got around that by renting a car. The government and hotels seems to be addressing the taxi mafia problem and offering other options. The taxis have set parking spots. The resort we stayed at http://indochineresorts.com/ had hourly shuttles to central locations in Patong. Several of the resorts/hotels have similar shuttle services. There's also a new bus that goes between some of the beaches. That was an old idea that seems to have been resurrected. I noticed adds for something called a new "Smart Bus" coming soon, not sure what that will be. Mini bus fairs are a set price from the airport and are very reasonable, less that what they were 10 years ago!

Many posters refer to Patong as Phuket ignoring the many other excellent beaches and areas of Phuket. One of the area we explored this trip was old town Phuket. Many of the Portuguese style and old Chinese building have been restored. Quaint guest houses, cafes and restaurants. One old building was turned into a museum tracing the Chinese heritage of the island, the tin mining industry and the politics of Phuket from the late 18 century to present.

The chair and umbrella ban seems to have let up. I noticed them set up on sections of almost every beach. No vendors serving food or drink but you can bring your own. There's restaurants and cafes nearby almost every beach.

The gay scene is still alive and well at the Paradise Complex, Patong. There are 4 gay bars left, one turned into sort of a disco. All have available guys and all are on the very masculine side. All wear jeans with no shirt sometimes, no displays in underwear, speedos or even shorts. Three of the bars have ladyboy cabaret shows. The bars operate late with shows starting at 2300- 2330. The customers are sparse until 2230 or so but after 2330-midnight the soi comes alive and is packed with customers. The crowds are mostly younger gay guys, Asian and Western, perhaps more Asian and few over the age of 60.

The business model for the bars is the same as some in Bangkok like the Fake Club. Coyote dancers that pose and then mingle with the customers on the floor. Lots of drinking, table dancing and loud music.

If the bulked up masculine guy is not your thing then you'll have to resort to social media where I noticed a good number of cute, fem, nelly, and perhaps next door boy types. The other option is BYOB.

If you're over 60 you will not necessarily feel out of place, I did not. The prices were very reasonable with drinks starting at 150 for the bars with a show. I did not inquire about off fees and I have no clue what's the expected "tip"

Phuket as well as other Andaman coastal and island locations are really beautiful and worthy of a visit. I have had some negative experiences in the past in Phuket but based on my recent trip there's nothing negative to report.

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colmx
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#2 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby colmx » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:32 pm

Thanks for the report Trongpai
When you say there are only 4 gay bars left... do you mean 4 gogo bars?
Or have all the beer bars (sundowners, Connect etc) all after disappearing too?

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#3 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby Trongpai » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:27 pm

Yes, go-go's bars. Sundowners and Connect are still there. They may be others too that I did not notice. All the go-go's have outdoor seating as well and they all seem to merge together. ZAG is the name of the largest bar/show bar/gogo disco. My Way has moved across the soi and the original larger location remains vacant.

The next soi over in the direction of the mall had some small cafes and massage shops that appeared gay.

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#4 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby Jun » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:55 am

Thanks for the report.
With 4 gogo bars, boys wearing jeans & all on the very masculine side ?

My last visit was in 2008 & the gay scene certainly doesn't sound interesting enough for me to rush back.

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#5 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby fountainhall » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:38 am

Sounds like Phuket has followed the trend in Bangkok. Like Jun it's a decade since i was last there when I found it extremely boring, and about two decades since I would visit regularly. Then I recall go-go bars like Young Sharks and another up some steps closer to the Paradise Complex which were always fun and where there was a good selection of boys. A few years ago I spent a week in Khao Lak. No gay scene at all but a wonderfully long pristine beach stretching far in each direction and great excursions to the Andaman Islands. I really doubt if I would bother with Phuket now, the more so as I do not have a Thai driving licence, and instead take my own company back to Khao Lak.

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thaiworthy
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#6 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby thaiworthy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:40 am

Trongpai wrote:All have available guys and all are on the very masculine side.

Fabulous report, Trongpai!

If you go to Phuket there is plenty to do, take a tour of Phang Nga Bay, see James Bond Island and Phuket Fantasea. I have only been there twice, but both times very pleasant and fun. And yes, the taxi mafia in full force.

One of the masculine guys for you man-boy buffs I offed at a bar in Paradise Complex in 2007.

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Random photos from my favorite places. This was a real vacation in every aspect. I would love to go again!

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"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." --George Carlin

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#7 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby fountainhall » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:10 am

Whilst I am unlikely to return, I always have some happy memories of earlier visits. I especially liked Nai Harn Beach on the south of the island.

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Always a few local gay guys at the southern end, most of whom were ready for some fun. But you needed transport to get there unless you were staying at the up-market Phuket Yacht Club which morphed into I believe a Mandarin Oriental and is now the Nai Harn. For great views to the south, go up to the lovely (child-free) Mangosteen Resort on a hill off Rawaii Beach. Dinner by their lovely pool was extremely reasonable when we went there but I have no idea what it would cost now.

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Another favourite restaurant was always Baan Rim Pa. Set on a small cliff north of Patong as you are about to enter Kalim Bay (across the road from the original Novotel), this is a Thai restaurant with windows open to a lovely breeze. Kalim Bay suffered badly during the 2004 tsunami - there is one video of a huge wave crashing over the road into a serviced apartment complex. But Baan Rim Pa Patong escaped with little damage because it is set quite high. Lovely atmosphere, gorgeous setting and excellent food. My bf loved it and insisted we return the next evening!

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And for those willing to splash out on fine dining, the restaurant at The Boathouse was always wonderful for dinner, boasting the finest wine collection on the island.

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#8 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby fountainhall » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:18 pm

Phuket gears up to become a gay hub

More evidence about how times change. This was a headline in The Nation on 8 March 2003. It continued -

Phuket has ambitions to become a regional gay tourism and business centre, according to a gay community leader. "Phuket is probably one of the best gay destinations in the world, if you are looking for safety, sun, wonderful sandy beaches, a colourful gay community and a sparkling night life," says gay community president Punsak Saeng-chan.

Punsak calls the Phuket Gay Festival, which began four years ago, "one of the most successful and talked-about gay events in the region", adding that is second in size only to Sydney’s. Last year’s festival generated around Bt30 million from tourism, Punsak says. "The reputation of the Phuket Gay Festival continues to improve every year, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, with its resources, can help make the event more popular worldwide," he says.

Anupap Theerarat, Southern Region director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says the agency has given public-relations support to the event as it views gays as a tourism niche sector. "In past years, the festival has not been in bad taste and has not offended Thai culture and customs," he says. However, Punsak adds that in his view gay bars on Patong Beach’s Soi Paradise might have reached saturation point, as there are already some 25 of them crammed together there.

This was the link but it no longer works - http://www.nationmultimedia.com/page.ne ... 1&id=10249

So Soi Paradise had 25 gay bars and now has 4! The Phuket Gay Pride Festival was second only to Sydney! Unfortunately this month's Festival was cancelled due to poor attendance in recent years.

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Photo from last year's Phuket Gay Pride Week

On that matter, I wonder if anyone has any further information about the revival of the Bangkok Gay Pride March. It was billed for late-November last year and then moved to 2018 because of the King's cremation. Since then I have heard nothing.

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#9 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby thewayhelooks » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:33 am

fountainhall wrote:the Phuket Gay Festival is second in size only to Sydney’s.

Rubbish!

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#10 Re: My Recent visit to Phuket

Postby fountainhall » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:25 am

thewayhelooks wrote:
fountainhall wrote:the Phuket Gay Festival is second in size only to Sydney’s.

Rubbish!

Remember this was a report from early 2003. In that year there were few Gay Pride Parades in Asia. Much smaller-scale events had been held in Bangkok, Manila, Tokyo and Sapporo. The biggest Parades were far away in Sydney and Israel. So the report is accurate. The first Taipei Parade took place later that year, but with only 1,000 attending. Even today, Israel's attendance tops Taipei, but Taipei is closing the gap very quickly.


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