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Thai Islands: Off-The-Beaten Path For Queer Travellers

Recharge your mind, body and soul in a queer-friendly setting…

Mental, physical and spiritual rejuvenation is what we all need in these challenging times; when international borders reopen, head out to the Thailand islands of Koh Samet and Koh Phangan to recharge your mind, body and soul in a spectacular and queer-friendly setting.

Koh Sametis an island named for the tree that grows in abundance along its white sanded shores. If you want to travel like a local in Thailand, it is the place to go. A favourite spot for tourists and locals alike, Koh Samet is the perfect place to explore when you are ready to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. It’s located close to Thailand’s capital, so you can leave the city in the morning and be enjoying cocktails by noon.

With dozens of waterfront resorts such as luxurious Paradee and Ao Prao, bungalows and even beachside camping, you will be sure to find something that fits your lifestyle and budget.

While the entire island as well as Thailand itself is queer friendly, Sai Kaew beach is the place to go if you are looking to vacation with the community. Join a game of beach volleyball and work up an appetite, then visit seafront restaurants and enjoy dinner on the beach. Sunbathe on the beach, or beat the heat and nap in a shaded hammock during the day before strolling to the Silver Sand Bar, an open-air venue and dance floor at the nearby Silver Sand Hotel. The Silver Sand attracts tourists and locals alike, and is especially popular on weekends.

Looking for more parties and adventure? Why not visit the world-famous Koh Phangan, known for its monthly full-moon parties. Gay travellers from around the world head to the crescent-shaped Haad Rin Beach to join a crowd numbering in the tens of thousands each month. The white sand beaches, lit by thousands of lanterns, become your dance floor, with music of every genre playing well into the night.

Not there during the full moon? No problem. While all of Koh Phangan’s beaches are welcoming to LGBTQ+ communities, three stand out in popularity: Bottle Beach, Haad Yao Beach and Salad Beach. Bottle Beach is more secluded and is a favourite with backpackers. If you are looking for a laid-back vibe, it is the place for you. Looking for an outstanding outdoor experience? Haad Yao is known in Koh Phangan as the perfect spot due to its natural beauty, warm waters and pristine beach. Snorkel at the coral reef or visit one of the dive schools and try your hand at scuba diving! There is also snorkelling to be had at Salad Beach, a hidden gem that’s tucked away into its own bay, surrounded by lush green cliffs, and bordered by mountains and sparkling turquoise seas. Once you are done exploring Koh Phangan during the day, head to lesbian-owned bar and bistro L’Alcove at Hingkong Beach. At L’Alcove, you can take in the sunset while sipping cocktails, and then enjoy an impressive fire show and live music.

If you are looking for a place to stay, the island offers a diverse array of accommodations for every type of budget. The affordable For You Guesthouse, a gay-managed B&B, offers affordable rooms upstairs and a laid-back bar downstairs with a range of cocktails; they are known for their crepes and burgers. At the other end of the scale is the luxurious Anantara Rasananda Villas, a place for romance and well-being where true indulgences are influenced by the local culture and the intimate beach location.

Whether you visit these islands for the duration of your stay in Thailand or just make it one stop on your tour, the waterfalls, jungle and natural beaches are not to be missed. Recharge your mind, body and soul in this tropical paradise, and return rejuvenated and refreshed.

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