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A gay August in Chiang Mai

August- She’s in parties

August has arrived with party time. After two days of Buddhist holidays there were two events on 1st August. At Bird of Paradise Bar and Restaurant, Khun Bird was celebrating the grand opening of his newly refurbished venue. It certainly looks the business now.

Khun Bird at Bird of Paradise
Khun Bird at Bird of Paradise

If you haven’t been to Bird of Paradise yet it is well worth a visit. Located in Chang Puek district not far from Chiang Mai University this is a fun restaurant with a friendly mix of foreigners and local customers. Bird is a welcoming host who knows how to run a good business and makes sure his guests are taken care of.

Another event was at Soho Bar where Shauna and Krathai were celebrating four years in charge. You can see the pictures online at city news.

For details of more parties in August check out the Chiang Mai Gay Events Calendar.

Bar News

Well, despite hoping to bring some good news about the bar scene the last month has, sadly, not been so positive, with Secrets bar announcing they had sold up and would no longer be operating as a gay bar at the current location. At the same time their immediate neighbour CU bar has been closed for most of July so its unknown what they will do.

K. Wat and K. Sam from Ram Bar
K. Wat and K. Sam from Ram Bar

This follows on from bad news in previous months that Ram Bar and Radchada Garden Café have closed, and public announcements from Shauna at Soho bar that business is not good and survival is hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, other old favourites like the Garden Bar at Lotus Hotel are still surviving but are much less busy than they once were.

However, there is good news to come as we understand K. Wat from Ram bar has been working to prepare a new venue and we are awaiting some announcement soon about when that will open. At the same time, Secrets have promised they will be back within the next couple of months back in the Night Bazaar area.

The Night Bazaar Renaissance

For many years, the night bazaar area was the throbbing heart of the gay scene for foreigners visiting Chiang Mai and enjoyed a progressive development from the über sleazy, Snake Pit, the fun queens at Peak, Sleaze Alley and then the final more cosmopolitan incarnation of Secrets and CU Bar before they moved to their location on the moat. You can read more about the history of the Night Bazaar bars here.

A smiling Khun Mai at Orion Bar
A smiling Khun Mai at Orion Bar

In the last year or so, the Night Bazaar has seen a rejuvenation of its fortunes driven by a new crop of bars run buy entrepreneurial younger gay Thais. These have opened in the more main stream tourist areas of the Night Bazaar, away from the older hidden away gay ghetto concept of yesteryear. As a result, they attract a more mixed crowd, something which is perhaps becoming essential for the survival of a modern style gay bar.

Longest running is Orion Bar, based in the Galae Night Bazaar complex, across Chang Klan road form the old bar areas. Surrounded by tourist restaurant, massage shops, and souvenir stalls, Orion Bar, run by the ever smiling and sociable Khun Mai has been attracting a good crowd. Nearby, Ice Bar, naturally run by the fun loving if somewhat impetuous Khun Ice, is another alternative in a similar vein.

Khun Jeep at Ozeed Bar
Khun Jeep at Ozeed Bar

The original Night bazaar Building, between Le Meridien and D2 Hotels was once packed with several floors of handicraft shops, not to mention the long defunct Snake Pit down in its bowels. Now it seems history is repeating itself. With the old shops largely deserted, the bars are moving back in and, particularly the rear part of the building (off Thapae Soi 1) is turning into a beer bar entertainment centre.

It is here towards the rear of the second floor that Khun Jeep has opened Ozeed Bar, a gay bar to provide an alternative to the surrounding straight venues. Again, the ambiance is decidedly mixed, though it is unlikely anyone would mistake Khun Jeep for a straight boy! Nearby also in the Night Bazaar building, another bar that is quite gay friendly is Station One.

In the old days, the one thing that many elder gay foreigners visiting Thailand were looking for was quite in your face and readily available. Now, in these bars with a more mixed clientele, and changing social norms the scene is more discreet. Willing night-time companions are still available but visitors may need to ask the bar staff for advice.

With the new Ram Bar rumoured to be located in the Night Bazaar area, and Secrets Bar promising to open a new venue their too the Night Bazaar once again is becoming a focal point for gay visitors to Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai Gay Go Go

If you don’t want to be so discreet, one thing that is still popular in Chiang Mai is the Go-Go bars with their sexy shows and masculine Tai Yai hosts waiting to meet you. Best known and still most popular is the long running Adam’s Apple Club with many handsome boy dancers and an entertaining show. Adam’s Apple will be having a special party night show with the theme “Gentlemen’s Night” on Friday 14th August.

Show Boys at Adam's Apple Club
Show Boys at Adam’s Apple Club

For more information on Go-go bars and gay for pay venues in Chiang Mai check out our guide to go-go and karaoke bars.

New – Common Massage

More good news was the July opening of a new massage shop in the Santitham area close to most gay hotel and accommodation. Common Massage, ideally located on Hussadisawee Road, offers a full range of massage services in clean newly renovated premises. Read more about Common Massage and their handsome masseurs here.

Sexy boys providing a sensual service at Common Massage
Sexy boys providing a sensual service at Common Massage

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