To chronicle LGBT travel as a scribe in the medium is a tricky enterprise, at best. On the one hand, one wonders if the term “gay travel” will ever dovetail with “travel”. On the other, it seems quite natural for every subculture in the strata of human society to bond together in very specific ways and, indeed, in very specific places.
The abysmal record of LGBT enfranchisement in many parts of the world suggests, however, that the genesis of these “very specific places” is, too often, akin to a de facto ghettoization. Unlike pride-swollen ‘hoods like San Francisco’s Castro or Sydney’s Darlinghurst, in other words, antediluvian criminal codes in parts of Asia frequently beget illicit gay nightlife shtetls. To put it another way, the concept of a Big Gay Ice Cream truck is still anathema. All in good time, I suppose.
But until a country like Indonesia, for example, adopts the Yogyakarta Principles (on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), LGBT tourists can openly find solace and compatible company on the continent.
Siem Reap – Cambodia
Shinjuku Ni-chÅme, Tokyo, Japan
Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea
Rigid, steely social mores in South Korea censor homosexuality from public life but pockets of resistance prevail in Seoul’s Shinchon and Jongno districts. Still, tourists and expats may find Itaewon’s “Homo Hill” more hospitable.
Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, Thailand
Southeast Asia is brazenly paradoxical in matters of sexual identity and expression and nowhere is this more manifest than in Bangkok, where Si Lom’s Soi 2 and Soi 4 emerge as the city’s flamboyant, chaotic chieftains of gay nightlife.
Patong, Phuket, Thailand
Dong Da, Hanoi, Vietnam
Dong (yes, Dong) Da is the heart of the LGBT scene in Hanoi and area of choice for a massage and sauna fix.
Ximending, Wanhua District, Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan Pride is big, by any measure, and proves that rainbow power is alive and well in Taipei every September/October. The rest of the year, the city’s 228 Peace Memorial Park and Ximending pedestrian zone have a discernible queer inflection.
Malate, Manila, Philippines
The fetishisation of effete, pretty Pinoys borders on bloodsport, which makes the intersection of Maria Orosa and Julio Nakpil in Metro Manila a mecca of global gay subculture.
Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore
Singapore is far from a model of LGBT tolerance but improvement is on the horizon. For now, Tanjong Pagar in the CBD is the city-state’s salient LGBT enclave.
Based on my personal travelling experience, I am free to say that South East Asia is one of the most gay friendly destinations in the world.
The original article was published by Hotel Club Blog with exception of Siem Reap review.