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TRAVEL ASIA – GAY DISTRICTS IN ASIA


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

Cambodia - Siem Reap gay scene

Homosexuality is not illegal in Cambodia and general population attitude is rather accepting particularly foreign LGBT travellers. Siem Reap is very safe town for all travellers including LGBT travellers. There is no particular gay district in Siem Reap and most of clubs and bars are located around Pub Street and French quarter. Most of gay owned hotels and guest houses are located close to the centre of the town.

Japan - Tokyo - gay bars and hotels

Shinjuku Ni-chōme, Tokyo, Japan

In a first in conservative Japan, openly gay candidate Taiga Ishikawa recently won a seat in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward Assembly. In feverish Shinjuku Ni-chōme – the most prominent yaoi zone in the metropolis – the news barely reverberated above the disco din.

Korea - gay sauna

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.


Thailand - Bangkok - Gay -Telephone-Bar

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.


Thailand - Patong - Phuket - gay - Zag-Club-21

Patong, Phuket, Thailand

Patong’s breezy acceptance of the most libertine vices is platitude by now but a fact nonetheless. With that, the Paradise Complex is strictly for the queers.

Vietnam - Hanoi - gay sauna02

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.


Taiwan - Taipei - gay bars

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.


Manila - gay hotels and bars - Post-Pride-March-Party

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.


 Singapore - Gay Bar-hopping at Tanjong Pagar

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.

1 Comment on TRAVEL ASIA – GAY DISTRICTS IN ASIA

  1. Great post!
    Stunningly beautiful boy!
    Finn

    Liked by 1 person

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