Gay Group Travel: 12 Days in Thailand
An awe-inspiring place, Thailand has something for everyone. If you’re an adventure junkie, you’ll probably find yourself SCUBA diving with sharks, or taking Muay-Thai kickboxing classes. If the wilder side of life isn’t your cup of tea, don’t despair – between Thai cooking classes, hiking to hidden caves, and the world’s most exotic beaches we’re confident you’ll find more than enough to keep you happy. As one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world, Thailand is an opportunity to feel completely comfortable being yourself while experiencing a whole new side to life.
Thailand has that exotic, mysterious, exciting appeal to it. Just hearing the name “Bangkok” can send shivers down people’s spines, and the allure of the country’s jungles and mysterious culture is mesmerizing. Thailand is the Mecca of adventure, carefree living, and open-mindedness. There are fewer inhibiting rules or Western nonsense here, and the Buddhist zen-like culture makes the country one of the happiest places on earth.
Our 12-day trips have been designed to maximize your experience. Instead of rushing around in a panic trying to visit as many places as possible, we’ve specially chosen four locations that we know you’ll fall in love with. How are we so sure? Well, we’ve spent many years in this country tirelessly testing out beaches, bars, bungalows and a bit of booze just to make sure we can bring you the cream of the crop.
Most travelers will arrive in Bangkok on day one and head to our meeting spot for our 4pm start of our adventure on this day. This time in Bangkok is a great introduction to the incredible country of Thailand. During these couple days, we'll really get to know the city by checking out Bangkok's highlights using local tuk-tuks, boats, and trains. On our second day, we'll take a guided day-trip around the city visiting Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and more. At night we'll head down the street to check out Silom's famous night market and very lively gay scene. Bangkok is world famous for many reasons and never disappoints her visitors.
Day 3 brings us to southern Thailand with a quick 1 hour flight and short 15 minute boat ride to the jaw-dropping cliffs and white sand beaches of Railay. An idyllic paradise surrounded by the perfectly blue waters that have made the Gulf of Thailand famous. Railay offers hidden lagoons and caves for hikers, beaches for sun-worshippers, and plenty of opportunity to eat great food and meet people from all around the world. Stay on land, or jump in the water for some snorkeling, or SCUBA diving fun.
On day 6 we travel just 3 hours overland to the well-known resort and nightlife city of Phuket. It’s here you’ll find opportunities to feed wild monkeys, island hop, or get some sun on the local gay beach by day while socializing with people from all over the planet by night. Phuket is popular day and night and has tonnes of options for both early-risers and late-nighters. Get your shopping done, check out a cabaret show, relax on the beach, take a cooking class, spend the day at the spa... it's beautiful place to unwind... or windup.
Back to Bangkok! We fly one hour from Phuket to Bangkok for your chance to stock up on some new outfits or some souvenirs for your boyfriend/mother/bff. With a city as large as Bangkok we've got lots to explore here before our next couple days of day trips!
We start this day trip by taking a 90 minute ride from Bangkok to the formal capital city of Thailand, Ayutthaya. Here we are hosted by a local Thai guide who will show us the incredible 14th century ruins of this once royal city. Beautifully preserved, these ruins are an amazing showcase of Siam's turbulent history. After our full day of exploring the Ayutthaya area, we head back to into Bangkok for the night.
This is our animal day! We support the ethical treatment and interaction with animals and fully support the works of the Wildlife Friends of Thailand project. We spend a full day at their remote wildlife refuge property, 2.5 hours south of Bangkok feeding, walking and washing elephants, meeting several different species of unique monkeys, bears, and all kinds of exotic creatures! This day will not just allow us the opportunity to get face to face with flying squirrels, jackals, langurs, gibbons, and more, but will also allow us to learn through their stories. We return to Bangkok for our final night together on this night.
It's goodbye-for-now day as the trip comes to an unwanted end in Bangkok. Make one last made dash to MBK mall for some last minute shopping if your flight time allows it, then it's time to pack up your bags and head back home. Don't worry, Thailand will be waiting for ya when you come back! All travelers are welcome to book their flights departing from Thailand at any time on the 12th day.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
BANGKOK: Amara Hotel
The Amara Hotel will quickly feel like a home away from home, right in the middle of Bangkok. Centrally located in the Silom neighbourhood and minutes from the famous Patpong Night Market and Bangkok's gay area, the Amara is a favorite hotel amongst our guests. Featuring a modern design, a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool, exercise facilities and friendly staff.
RAILAY: Bhu Nga Thani
This oceanfront property is set against Railay's limestone cliffs and swaying palms. The gorgeous swimming facility features a pool bar with delicious margaritas, friendly staff and the occasional monkey lounging on your room's patio. Bhu Nga Thani provides the tropical paradise you've been waiting for.
PHUKET: X2 Vibe Patong
Located only a few steps from the beach, X2 Vibe Patong (i.e. formerly known as "The Nap") provides a contemporary facility in the heart of Patong in Phuket. Situated minutes away from the gay area (the Paradise Complex) and Bangla road, you'll find the location of this hotel couldn't be better. Property amenities include a sunny outdoor pool and an exercise facility.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all DETOURS trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
Don’t worry about getting chilly, Thailand is a tropical country and the areas that we travel in are warm day and night. High temperatures of 35C/97F, and lows of 23C/77F can be expected through most of the year. Even if it rains it’s usually in the afternoon, and these unlikely showers are a refreshing cool-down and make a great excuse to try out your favorite rain dance.
95% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist, which makes for a laid-back, friendly country full of good-karma seekers. Great people that love their food, their king, and of course their international visitors, you’ll be hard-pressed not to make local friends during your stay. While you’re there, consider learning a few words their language, “Thai”. (Not “Taiwanese”, by the way – that’s from Taiwan) We recommend starting off with “Sawat-dee-khap” (hello), “Khap koon khap” (thank you), and of course “Hat yoo tee-nai khap” (where’s the beach?)
Thailand is home to some of the most amazing food on the planet, and it's cheap too! Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we encourage you to explore all of the different restaurant options available to you. This way you can eat when you want, where you want, with whomever you want, and spend what you want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots and will be excited to show you all of their favorites in each location, just check with them.
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Thailand is an inexpensive country, meaning even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can just pick it up on the trip for half of what it would have cost back home. Just make sure you’ve got the basics: speedos and sunscreen. Other than that, not too much else matters. We'll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 60 days prior to your trip.
ATM withdrawal fees can really add up, and credit cards aren't always accepted at shops and restaurants here, that's why we suggest grabbing some Thai Baht before you arrive to Thailand (around 10,000 THB is a good amount to start with). Bring your regular ATM card and credit card for additional needs too though. 1000 Thai Baht is worth around $30 USD, so don’t go nuts if your dinner bill costs 200 baht. Relax –that’s about 6 bucks. Your 300 baht, hour-long full body oil massage on the beach? Yeah, that cost less than $10.
Tipping isn’t a native Thai custom, however, it’s become a part of what is expected from Westerners like us. We suggest tipping for services in a similar way as you would in North America; that is, if your dinner bill is 100 baht then we encourage you toss 10-20 baht in on top of that. That extra 30-40 cents is extremely appreciated by the Thai service staff.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach and other hot spots), have air conditioning (you can thank us later), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All of our trip leaders are gay, and all certified leaders must undergo a rigorous training routine that includes deep-fried cricket eating, and impromptu dancing tests. Apart from these vital skills, we require our leaders to know their stuff really, really well. Underneath their fun and quirky facades, our guides are experts about all aspects of Thailand and especially the places we visit. Don’t hesitate to ask them to teach you some Thai or question them about a random statue you might see along the way. Their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and making sure you experience everything you came to Thailand for.
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Thailand will come from the sound of crashing waves, an elephant trumpeting, or perhaps even the odd monkey jumping onto the roof of your bungalow.
For many people, their 12 days in Thailand just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a beach bum in Thailand for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over South-East Asia, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete.
Our Detours groups are run with a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life!
As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll have a tough time finding a more open-minded and accepting country, and most people don’t have any issue at all with homosexuality. That said, the Thai are a modest people, and public displays of affection (whether gay or straight) are generally frowned upon. In respect for their local culture we usually suggest keeping your excitement and affection for your partner to more private locations.
No problem! Don’t worry, our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solos. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another group solo member in a two-bed room, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.
Thailand uses a "type A" and "type B" plug, the same as North America and several other places in the world. The voltage is 220V with 50 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range.
What's included? • All taxes • All land and sea transfers • 2 domestic flights within Thailand • Accommodations for your 12-day Detours experience • All full breakfasts • Group travel within Thailand • Full day Bangkok and temples day tour • Full day visit to local Elephant sanctuary • Full day trip to ancient ruins of Ayutthaya • Welcome dinner and drinks • Knowledgeable and fun Detours leader •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the ones listed above • International Airfare • Optional Gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $600 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1000 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Thailand with approximately 10,000 local Thai Baht.
Randy H. - USA
July 16, 2018
What an amazing adventure! I was very apprehensive about traveling with a group of people that I knew nothing about, in a country that I had never traveled to. But wow, it was an incredible experience, and I am already looking at future trips! Shane is absolutely fantastic and I could not have asked for a better trip! This trip was a perfect mix of fun and relaxation, and I love the flexibility in the schedule for those of us that like a little 'alone time' here and there. This trip surpassed by expectations! Thank you!!
Renan C. - Brazil
November 21, 2017
The trip to Thailand in November'17 was incredible. Miles and Shane are amazing trip leaders and care about the group not to mention the flexible to make sure everyone gets the best experience.
The true meaning of "taken care". I can't wait to join the next trip!
Travis R. - USA
November 18, 2017
Best ever. Miles and Shane are simply the best. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and they exceeded every expectation. I’m traveling Detours again!
Murray C. - Australia
July 16, 2017
A big thankyou to Miles for such an awesome trip to Thailand. We had a great crowd and Miles has happy to run around to make sure we had a stress-free time. He was happen to accomodate our needs and provide an awesome experience. Even when someone had to go to hospital (they had slipped on a step at the pool) Miles was there to make sure that everything went smoothly.
The locations were great and the new itinerary worked like a treat. This was my first gay trip (as I've done mixed trips before) and the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. Thank you again Detours and Miles for an amazing experience.
Eric H. - USA
November 2, 2016
If you're reading these reviews to gauge whether you should book a trip with Detours or not, stop what you are doing and go pay your deposit. Seriously, go do it. It will be the easiest thing you do all year. Then go on your trip and have the time of your life. The Detours team will do everything they can to make your trip as effortless as possible. You will have some planned activities, but for the most part you are free to do what you want. You'll then regroup for dinner, but even that too is flexible. Detours management and trip leaders are passionate about what they do and you will notice it as you plan for your trip and while you are there. This is not a packed tour bus going from tourist attraction to the next. You will be part of a small group with a common bond and will make new friends for life.
If you are considering Thailand and are unsure of traveling to an Asian country for the first time, set that fear aside and go. Thailand is a beautiful country with beautiful people. It is very easy to "get around" Thailand as most people speak at least some English, enough to get through any transaction.
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