Ilana and Ren walk through fields of bright orange flowers in Mon Jam.

Top 10 queer-friendly activities in Thailand – a guide by newlyweds Ilana and Ren

As a queer couple, with one of us being transgender, dreaming up where we wanted to honeymoon went beyond beautiful nature, incredible cuisine, and distinct culture. We first needed to ensure the location we selected would welcome us as newlyweds with open arms. As amazing Thailand has always been on our dream travel list, we were so happy to learn that “The Land of Smiles” is also safe and welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. Having just returned from spending three weeks in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, we invite you to explore our top 10 favourite queer-friendly activities in Thailand.

Visit the beautiful temples throughout the Kingdom

Queer couple Ilana and Ren outside of the uniquely shaped Wat Sam Phran temple in Khlong Mai, Thailand.
Chasing temples: who can resist a photo-op outside of one of Thailand’s fascinating temples?

There are more than 40,000 temples in Thailand. While we weren’t able to make a dent in that number, we had an unforgettable time visiting the following temples on our honeymoon: Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Sam Phran, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan. Each has its own beautiful architecture, history, and attributes.

Taste the authentic Thai flavours & cuisine

Ilana and Ren at a cooking class in Chiang Mai. Cooking classes are some of the best queer-friendly activities in Thailand.
Stirring up love in the kitchen: indulge in the tantalising world of Thai cuisine with your loved one.

As great admirers of Thai cuisine, getting to taste authentic Thai flavours and dishes was a dream come true for us. With the help of our local guides, we were directed to some incredible local restaurants and learned about region-specific dishes such as Miang Kham and Khao Soi, which we learned how to make in a cooking class with Chef Arm & The Garden restaurant team at Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai.

Explore all of the markets Thailand has to offer

Newlyweds Ilana and Ren exploring the Maeklong Railway Market.
On track for romance: the Maeklong Railway Market is truly a one-of-a-kind experience!

We could spend countless hours exploring markets, listening to live music, admiring the creations of local artists, and, of course, tasting the most amazing street food. Roti with banana and condensed milk as a late-night snack? Yes, please! A few markets that we thoroughly enjoyed include the Sunday night markets in Chiang Mai and Phuket, the Bangkok Flower Market and Floating Market, and the Maeklong Railway Market. The latter is about an hour outside of Bangkok and features vendors along the railway tracks – it was incredible to see how the stalls move their merchandise back as the train slowly approaches, and ensure shoppers are safely out of the way. The floating market was one of our favourite queer-friendly activities in Thailand – enjoying a boat ride while shopping and eating – What could be better?

Visit Thailand’s art villages

Ren enters an art store. Discovering art can be one of the most rewarding queer-friendly activities in Thailand.
The art of living: there are so many unique treasures to uncover in the Land of Smile.

Awesome shops featuring both handmade goods and DIY. Imagine spending an afternoon making charm bracelets while sipping on Thai iced tea. Some of our most cherished souvenirs came from talented artists we met on our visits to art villages throughout Thailand, including The Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang and Baan Kang Wat in Chiang Mai.

Visit the Phi Phi Islands

Iland and Ren explore the Phi Phi Islands with a limestone islet behind them. Visiting these islands is one of their favourite queer-friendly activities in Thailand.
Two hearts, one paradise: the Phi Phi islands are perfect for a romantic escape!

We travelled to Phi Phi islands by boat, enjoying the breathtaking views of limestone cliffs and crystal blue waters on our way. We also saw a few families of monkeys! Phi Phi Don, the largest island, had countless delectable dining options. Before heading back to the boat, we stopped for a restorative massage. 

Travel by longtail boat

The newlyweds posing together on a longtail boat.
Where to next? You decide! Longtail boat rides are a great way to explore Bangkok.

An authentic way to explore, the longtail boat rides were some of our favourite experiences, particularly while we explored Bangkok. Travelling by water was also convenient as it allowed us to miss some of the city traffic.

Take in ocean views in Phuket over dinner and drinks

The newlyweds taking in the ocean views in Phuket – one of their favourite queer-friendly activities in Thailand.
Views worth sharing: Phuket has some of the most unbeatable vistas in Thailand.

There are countless romantic dinner destinations in Phuket where you can catch the perfect view of the sunset whilst enjoying a cocktail (or mocktail). One of our top meals was at the Tree House Restaurant in Kata Noi Beach. 

Venture off the beaten path to Mon Jam

Ilana and Ren walk through fields of bright orange flowers in Mon Jam.
Queer love in full bloom: the flower fields of Mon Jam are simply magical!

Take the path less travelled and explore the flower fields of Mon Jam. On your way up the mountains, engage with the local indigenous community, including the Hmong and Karen tribes. We enjoyed drinking coconut water straight out of a young coconut while admiring the stunning mountain views. On our way back down the mountain we enjoyed the Pong Yaeng Jungle Coaster, as well as a delicious meal at a local cafe called River Rock overlooking a waterfall.

Meet the rescued animals of Elephant Nature Park

Ilana and Ren stand before a small herd of majestic elephants. Elephant interactions are some of the best queer-friendly activities in Thailand.
Closer to nature, close to each other: create lasting memories in the company of everybody’s favourite gentle giants.

While in Chiang Mai, we went an hour outside of the city to visit the renowned Elephant Nature Park, which is a leading elephant and animal rescue and rehabilitation centre, established by the esteemed elephant rights advocate, Saengduean Chailert. During our day at the sanctuary, we learned about each elephant’s rescue story and observed them enjoying feedings, dips in the water, and mud baths for sun protection. We also got to observe other animals on the property, including water buffalos, dogs, cats, horses, goats, and birds.

Indulge in some R&R

The newlyweds doing yoga at Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai.
Find your zen: from yoga retreats to luxurious spas, Thailand offers wellness experiences like no other!

Massage parlours are everywhere in Thailand and we took full advantage – getting a foot massage daily! Then at Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai, we took advantage of the wonderful on-property wellness activities including swimming, yoga, reflexology, sound baths, and spa treatments.

Treat yourself to unparalleled hospitality, luxury, and relaxation whilst you explore these queer-friendly activities in Thailand by opting to stay at one of these incredible LGBTQ+ welcoming hotels and resorts.

To learn more about Ilana and Ren, and to follow their journey, check out their Instagram pages: @ilana.maurer and @baklava_babe