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.

Let’s explore gay districts in Asia frequented by gay travelers. 


Siem Reap – Cambodia

 
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. 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 center of the town.
 

 

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.
 
 

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. Si Lom’s Soi 2 and Soi 4 emerge as the city’s flamboyant, chaotic chieftains of gay nightlife.

When it comes to gay-friendly destinations in Asia, Bangkok often tops the list every time.  Not only famed for its vibrant and uninhibited gay scene, but for its liberal and accepting attitude towards the LGBT+ community.

When travelling in South East Asia, it is inevitable that you’ll find yourself in Bangkok at some point.  It’s one of the biggest international hubs in the region, which is a great excuse to stop off and see what gay Bangkok has to offer.

While you will find sprinkles of the gay scene all over the city, the main gay district is in Silom. The road “Silom Soi 4″ is where you can find an abundance of gay bars, and a few blocks away on Silom Soi 2 there are various gay clubs such as DJ Station.  The city also has its fair share of go-go bars, if that’s what you’re in to!

You will find the gay scene to be busy, regardless of what day of the week it is.  Gay Bangkok never sleeps!  When YOU need to sleep, however, gay-friendly hotels in Bangkok include W Bangkok, So Sofitel Bangkok, and I-Residence Silom.

Other than that, things you should check out while in Bangkok include The Grand Palace, The Aeroplane Graveyard, Koh San Road, and Chatuchak Market.

 


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. If you are gay and planning to travel to Thailand then Patong is very good choice. 
 

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. Certainly the district gay traveler should visit. 


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. Taiwan is very easy and very safe to travel for gay travelers – single or couples. Warmly recommended. 


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. If you travel to Asia then Singapore is very hard to avoid. Most of gay people that travel around South East Asia spend at least several hours at famous Singapore airport. We suggest taking a break and spending several days in this city-state. If you travel through the region, Singapore would offer welcome break. 


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.

 
 

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