Just 15km north of Koh Samui lies Koh Phangan, famous for monthly Full Moon Party that draws up to 30,000 visitors from all over the globe. But there is so much more to gay Koh Phangan. From picturesque beaches with stunning views of the Gulf of Thailand and the surrounding islands, to tropical jungle forests that are home to an array of exotic animal and plant life, Koh Phangan is far more than a party destination.
In recent years, along with the monthly party crowd, Koh Phangan has also been drawing a fast-growing number of gay travelers who are more ecologically minded. Declared a part of an organic island movement, Koh Phangan is steadily becoming a green ecological paradise with respect being the driving motto that feeds the balance on the island.
Thong Sala is the main town, with everything from gay owned/friendly restaurants and bars, gay resorts, and even a small gay beach within easy distance. Smaller, respectful, more intimate parties and live music events cater to those who aren’t into the heavy “party party” scene.
In terms of public tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality, Thailand is one of the most welcoming countries across Asia. As with many countries, acceptance of LGBT individuals is more widespread in urban areas, such as Bangkok.
As a whole, Thai people value discretion and non-confrontation, so no one should give you any hassle for being seen together. That said, public displays of affection – both straight and gay – are frowned upon.
Male and female same-sex activity is legal in Thailand however gay marriage is not legal yet. Bangkok Post reports that “…while Thailand is viewed as a tourist haven for same-sex couples, the reality for locals is that the law, and often public sentiment, is not so liberal.” LGBT residents of Thailand and Bangkok are not offered equal legal protections offered to non-LGBT (straight) people.
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