Earlier this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand invited me to come visit the country and create our first ever Asian guide for GayCities. In addition I wrote about my experience for Queerty, National Geographic and BBC Travel.
The following travelogue retraces highlights from my final day there.
We returned to Bangkok for one last night. But before catching our flights back to California, New York, London and Toronto, we personally with the Tourism Authority in Bangkok (above) to personally thank them for their hospitality.
That night we stayed at the chic Le Meridien, located a couple of blocks from Bangkok’s gay strip.
But our job was not done quiet yet. We made one last hotel site tour of The Siam, which was still under construction when we visited. We even had to wear a hard hat! Branded as “the first urban resort in Bangkok,” The Siam has a real rock star quality going for it. Though it may be hard to picture this luxury resort as a family-owned business, The Siam was conceived by the Sukosol family, the Royal Tenenbaums of Thailand.
Bejeweled and eccentric, matriarch Kamala Sokosol lives next door to the biggest gay bathhouse in Bangkok and has donated over $1 million to charity. If she’s the Liza Minelli of Thailand, then her daughter Marisa is the Barbra Streisand, the vocal prodigy and recording artist.
Brother Kriss Sukosol is one of Thailand’s biggest rock stars, who also happened to have nabbed the country’s equivalent of an Oscar in 2006. His brother Sukie, however, is considered the Renaissance man of the family. He founded the biggest record label in Asia then sold it to Sony. Since then he has written an inspirational book, produced and starred in his own reality show and found a following as a street photographer.
The Sukosol children have put together their precocious talents, not to mention mom’s several millions, to bring to life the modern and edgy Siam.
Remember those iconic Jim Thompson homes? Well, The Siam designers have incorporated four authentic Jim Thompson houses in the urban resorts. Two of the houses have been remodeled into guest accommodations and two of the houses have been converted into the onsite restaurant overlooking the river.
On our last night, we were invited to the private residence of the general manager of The Siam. There we had a first taste of what the chef of The Siam had in store for the restaurant. At that soiree, I got to meet the designer of the original bed supperclubs and the promoter who managed to bring Lady Gaga to Bangkok.