TravelQ: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hi, I’m Meg. I’m a travel blogger who just spent the last year in Asia. I’m going to be bringing to you a selection of my favorite cities from around the world in a monthly column for dapperQ’s TravelQ.

Most visitors spend their time in Thailand visiting Bangkok or the Southern Islands. I chose to spend my time in the hills of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is Thailand’s northern cultural center. It’s the home to the Kingdom of Lanna and preserves the ancient Lanna temples around the city. Visitors stay inside the moat of the old city and enjoy hundreds of entertainment options.

Bamboo Jungle

Doi Suthep

elephant herd



Chiang Mai FAQ

Is it safe for LGBTQs?

Visitors know Thailand as one of the most accepting places in the world for LGBTQ tourists. Tourist see images of Thai Kathoey (or third gender) performers all over the world. There are hundreds of businesses catering to LGBT people. Travelers walk the streets without fear of harassment. The same friendliness is not always extended to Thai LGBT people.

What is the queer scene like?

Thai terms for identity don’t have an exact match in English. In Thailand, marketers use the word “lesbian” in porn. Many queer women prefer the terms Tom and Dee. Dee translates to being femme. The term Tom can sometimes mean a masculine lesbian or it can also mean a transman. Tom culture is unique to Thailand. Several well-known Toms have appeared in Thai movies and have large fan bases on social media. Check out this documentary that explores Thailand’s tom culture. There are bars and clubs for queer people, but many of them cater to gay men. LGBT tourists are generally accepted in Thai culture so visitors will not have an issue getting a drink in a straight bar.

Where can I meet other queer people?

If you are into the club scene, Monkey Club and Infinity are all popular for mixed straight and LGBT crowds.

Are drugs legal?

Despite the open availability, drugs are not legal in Thailand. Drug laws are selectively enforced and have harsh penalties for foreigners. Thailand has a reputation for being the land of never ending parties. You can buy just about anything for the right price, but there are hefty consequences if you end up on the wrong side of an official.

A common scam in Thailand is for a foreigner to buy psychedelic mushrooms or marijuana from a bartender. Then the bartender calls someone who may or may not be a police officer. The police officer charges a hefty fine and then gives the drugs back to the bartender. The bartender then sells the drugs to the next unsuspecting tourist.

Opium Farm

Curry and Rice

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