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High Season Bar Update

The social drinking scene for gay tourists and foreigners.

The cool season is definitely with us in Chiang Mai and, as the beautiful weather arrives, that usually means high season. This year so far there seem to be maybe less visitors around than last year, but there is still news to report from the bar scene.

Bar Scene Overview

There are a number of gay bars in Chiang Mai where foreigners congregate for a social drink. Although far fewer than in year’s past there are still some fun places for a night out. The clientele is mainly older foreigners, both retired ex-pats living in Chiang Mai and tourists. The ex-pat population swells during high season as many winter birders come here for a few months to enjoy the fabulous cool Chiang Mai weather.

In some of the beer bars you will find younger free lance hustlers hanging around to entertain the customers. Note, these bar boys are mainly from the hill tribes, Burma or Laos, rather than Thai. Chiang Mai also has a more formal commercial sex scene involving go-go bars, karaoke bars and massage parlours. Check back in the near future for a current update on the commercial gay scene.

Gay Bar Scene in Down town Chiang Mai

This year has seen quite a change in the downtown gay bar scene with the closing down of the old night bazaar bars, which have moved to a new location, and the opening of some new places. The result is the bars are now spread around over a wider area with less of a focus on one particular location.

Secrets Bar

An old favourite continues to be Secrets Bar, which is doing well in its new larger and smarter location on the moat. It now has a much bigger bar, with plenty of room for customers to sit, along with ample tables and extra space for the pool table. Secrets bar is located at Somphet Gold Place (see Secrets Bar location map). Also, nearby is CU bar. Both bars are frequented by freelancers; in Secrets bar you can also watch the boys playing pool.

Secrets bar, the new smarter and bigger location
Secrets bar, the new smarter and bigger location

Ram Bar

Another bar well worth visiting is Ram bar, located on the river a little North of the downtown area. With ultra-friendly owner Wat and his equally obliging staff, Ram Bar lives up to its billing as the friendliest gay bar in Chiang Mai. Ram bar is a fun place to go if you want a social evening, though be aware it is not really a money boy bar. However, as its location is right next door to River House massage, other options are available for customers who fancy a rub and tug, or just a relaxing massage. The adjacent restaurant, The Edge, is closed for the time being. Sadly, they have been less than successful since opening a year ago. We don’t have news of what any future plans may be.

Wat and the guys looking forward to serve you at Ram Bar.
Wat and the friendly guys at Ram Bar looking forward to serve you

Night Bazaar Area

Orion bar, gay owned since last year, is in another area of the Night Bazaar at the Kalare Night Bazaar centre. It is quite popular, but with a slightly more mixed crowd as it attracts straight tourists as well as the gay crowd. Newly opened nearby to Orion Bar is the gay owned Mango Bar, time will tell how gay the clientele is. Meanwhile, there are some new bars in the upper floors of the old Night Bazaar building with some gay staff, but it is not clear how gay the clientele will be. Check this website for further news reports.

Gay Massage Bars in Chiang Mai

333 M Club
333 M Club

Several massage shops also have bars as part of the proposition. In the tourist area 2 Brothers is in a good location off Loi Kroh Road and has a pool table plus plenty of massage boys. South of the centre, One 2 Come has had a change of ownership and is now called Top to Toe and still has a beer garden. In Chiang Mai land, 333 M Club is both a bar and massage shop that has opened this year.

Chang Puek and Santitham.

Chang Puek district is still home to most of Chiang Mai’s commercial gay nightlife including all the go-go bars, karaoke bars as well as most of the gay accommodation options, several gay owned restaurants and super club G-Star vintage.

Soho Bar

Soho Ten Year Anniversary - see more pictures on
Soho Ten Year Anniversary – see more pictures on

Soho Bar, now one of Chiang Mai’s oldest gay bars, has just celebrated its ten year anniversary. See the party pictures here, with some of the previous owners present too.

Located on Huay Kaew Rd, Soho has food available and guesthouse rooms too. With no hustlers and a classy, laid back atmosphere, Soho has long established itself as the social meeting place for Chiang Mai’s gay ex-pat retirees. Wednesday nights are popular for their Cheese and Wine promotion with Jazz music.

Radchada Garden Café

Radchada Garden Café has one of the best, and certainly gayest Pizzas in town as well as some excitable gay staff. Radchada is located in a beautiful Lanna style teakwood palace, a type of building that is rapidly disappearing in Chiang Mai. Radchada has a special promotion for 30% off all Pizzas on Monday night which is well attended.

Traditional Lanna Style Teakwood Mansion at Radchada Garden Café
Traditional Lanna Style Teakwood Mansion at Radchada Garden Café

Other bars

For other bars with food in Santitham, Sabbai Dee Santitham offers Thai food and has live music on a Saturday night. The recently re-opened Metro Bar, downstairs from Adam’s Apple, is open all day and has a selection of light food and snacks. The staff are extremely friendly and prices very modest, especially considering this is one of the smartest gay bars in Chiang Mai. Across the road, the Garden Bar at Lotus Hotel has a menu of Western, Thai and Lebanese food. The bar is still a good place to chat with other hotel guests before going to see the show at Adam’s Apple, though it doesn’t have as many regular ex-pat customers as it used too. Up the Road, Spirit House is still closed; Steve, the owner has been concentrating on a resort project out of town.

For something with a more Thai feel check out R&A bar in Santitham plaza, a large condo and entertainment complex in the center of Santitham. Owner Run is a former manager at Soho Bar, speaks good English and is very foreigner friendly. R&A is not a money boy bar and the customer base is largely Thai with many friendly gay guys.

Gay Clubbing scene update

Handsome selection of Coyote Boys at See Man Pub
Both of Chiang Mai’s big gay clubs, G-Star Vintage and See Man Pub continue to do well and are popular with the young, very gay student crowd, especially at weekends. These are good places to go with friend’s if you like late and loud, hanging with the crowd. However, they are not such attractive choices for older lone farangs, unless you know people there and speak some Thai. Whilst these are not money boy bars, you can make new friends if you are discreet; collecting phone numbers for a future date is the way to go.

The new hip and trendy non-gay bars

The new malls

A big change in Chiang Mai since last high season is the opening of the Maya lifestyle mall and Think Park as well as the continued growth of bars, restaurants and coffee shops in the Nimmanahaeminda area. The roof top area at Maya is now open and has a number of trendy bars, and some great views over the city. The mall also has plenty of places to eat in the daytime and evening. More is also available across the road at Think Park, with yet more bars and restaurants, or further along Huay Kaew Road at the Harbour Mall.
[caption id="attachment_6827" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall

Nimmanahaeminda Road Area

The sois of Nimmanahaeminda are packed with places to go, as well as some fun night clubs such as Warm Up, Tawan Deang, Monkey Club and infinity. Too many to mention here but great places to go and explore. Take a Tuk Tuk to Nimmanhaeminda and then wander the sois on foot to see what takes your fancy. Although none of the bars are specifically gay, there are no shortage of gay patrons, both foreign and Thai and these types of venues can be good places to meet gay This who aren’t money boys.

The Pub

Last but not least, gay friendly Chiang Mai Icon, The Pub, continues to be popular with the gay Ex-pat crowd for a late afternoon or early evening Sunday Roast. The Pub also has a brand new beer garden and outside bar with some draught German beers to compliment the Olde World English Pub indoors. Located next o both Maya and Think Park the locations of their bungalows makes the Pub an excellent accommodation option too.

Sunday Lunch at the Pub with a mixture of foreigners and fun boys
Sunday Lunch at the Pub with a mixture of foreigners and fun boys

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