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27 Mar 2001

chance met at chakran

Reminiscent of a Mediterranean pleasure resort, Bangkok's newest gay sauna helps you turn up the heat!

Chak-ran. A Thai word denoting strength, potency and virility. A young warrior armed and ready to do battle. A superbly created haven where one can indulge in earthly pleasures.

Top: Wooden walkways lead down to the pool with little snooze nooks on the way.
Middle: Your first glimpse of Chakran.
Bottom: Peep into the Heart-to-Heart area.
Walking into Chakran, one gets the feeling of having stepped into a Moroccan villa. From the fine grained wood panelling to gigantic vases and soft billowing drapes, the entire sauna seems to bear an atmosphere of relaxed hedonism. "Cosy" was the word used by one of the guests. And cosy it is. Maybe it's the soft mood lighting and the wooden dcor that creates the warm and intimate atmosphere. Or maybe it's the friendly welcoming smiles of the staff. Whatever it is, you can't help but chill out and feel at peace when you walk in. Or "until the action starts" the same guest told me with a wicked grin.

Despite having been open for less than a month, Chakran already attracts over 350 guests a day on weekends. More than likely, this will soon grow as more and more people come to sample its many delights. But for now, everything is still wonderfully relaxed.

As with most saunas, guests can walk and lounge about in towels or sarongs (loose wraparound patterned in native designs). One can take one's ease listening to the gentle fall of water beside the pool, dine on the excellent creations in the restaurant, or sip drinks on the wooden walkways and balconies overlooking the water. One good thing about Chakran is that it has signs directing guests to the various facilities. "I like being able to find the gym or steamroom easily; I hate wandering around looking lost" mentioned a first-time visitor. Another commented on the inviting, cushion-strewn alcoves where one can recline like an ancient queen (figuratively speaking) or even curl up for a little nap.

But make no mistake about it. Chakran is designed to allow guests' to satisfy their one basic hunger. The sauna has two entrances for easy access into its steamy shrouded depths. Right outside it, benches line the walls where guests can view the people entering the sauna or watch the more daring slip nakedly into the open-air Jacuzzi. On the third floor, the video room comes with a small enclosed private area to the rear, as well as rows of cubicles behind the screen, all complete with glory holes. This area can apparently can get quite busy on weekend nights. Everyone wants to be the star of their own show.

Eventually, of course, everyone gravitates towards the sensual centre of Chakran, the whimsically named "Heart-to-heart" rooms. While most saunas have one large maze-like area for cruising and private activities, Chakran offers a multi-level sprawl of rooms and dark corners. More "arena" then maze, there is a central open area (complete with artificial lily pool) where "combatants" can size up the other guests and offer a challenge to cross swords in the privacy of the rooms. Or even in the open, for that matter. From 8pm each day, guests who wish to enter the section have to do so in the raw, sans towel, padding and inhibitions. Some patrons tell us that the action gets quite hot, both in and outside the private rooms. People have always insisted that Asians, especially Thais, can be quite shy about exposing themselves or fooling around in public. Not here apparently. Maybe there's something about Chakran that helps people shed their timidity. The free flow of alcoholic refreshments served right in the cruising area itself could also have something to do with it.

Walking back out into the cool night air, watching the familiar dance of desire as guests seek a tryst or four, one feels a lazy satiation fill one's being. A welcome break, this writer feels, from the frenzied meat-market feeling you sometimes get in other saunas. The pace of desire is sensual, rather than carnal. More intimate. Or it could just be the good lighting. You'll have to judge for yourself with your own chance encounters in Chakran.

Chakran is located at 32 Soi Ari 4, off Phaholyothin 7. Take the Skytrain to
Ari Station.


Exclusively for Fridæ members!
50Bht off entry fee!

Thailand

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