Taipei in Color
1. Why do you think Taipei Gay Pride is worth going? Are photos like reality?
It definitely is. Taipei Gay Pride 2019 was my very first gay pride experience in Asia and also Taiwan’s first pride since its legalization of same-sex marriage. I have always admired and enjoyed how progressive Taiwanese society is. To experience the pride, where not only LGBTQIA people but the entire city march and celebrate together, is something far beyond my expectations. There is a beautiful essence behind the event that cannot be captured in photos.
2. It’s a four-day event, what do you recommend as the ideal length to go for?
I only participated on the weekends, and I regretted it, as I later found out there was a remarkable amount of interesting events being held across town. I would recommend extending your stay over the period of 4-5 days so that you can fully enjoy the amazing range of festivities Taipei pride and Taipei city have to offer.
3. Did you join the parade? How does Taipei Pride Parade compare to Tel Aviv Pride or Amsterdam Pride?
Of course, I wouldn’t miss joining the parade by any chance! In comparison to Madrid/Amsterdam Pride, the parade in Taipei, just like everything else in the city, was very safe and very well-organized. The revelers were much tamer in Taipei. I do wish they block the roads along the route, just like in Europe, so that the attendees can enjoy the parade without making stops at every crossroad. With that being said, the vibe of the Taipei pride 2019 was similar to my experience in other cities. It’s a place where LGBT communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.
4. Are there any day-time events or street parties during the pride that worth going to?
With its cheap taxis and fantastic public transportation system, Taipei is such a perfect city to just stroll around all day. I love going to museums in Taipei (check out the National Palace Museum for one of the largest collections of Chinese arts and artifacts in the world). I like exploring foods at night markets and satisfy my hunger for the rest of the night. On pride day, walking around Taipei Rainbow Market could be a great option to ignite your festive mood. I would also recommend attending the Taipei International Rainbow Family Seminar, where stories of international rainbow families and cross-border issues, assisted reproduction, adoption rights, and related legal issues are shared and discussed.
5. Did you stay in Taipei gayborhood? If you went back, would you stay in the same area?
I stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Xinyi. It was such a convenient area not only because it was the starting point of the parade, but also because of its proximity to many department stores and restaurants. With that said, it was quite a distance from where all the local shops, clubs/bars were, so next time I might try staying around Ximending, or somewhere more central.
6. Any advice for a Taipei Gay Pride virgin?
I would like to remind all the pride-goers not to forget the true purpose of pride events. Pride is a protest and a party, but it is never only about partying. So make sure you gain knowledge about the community for your self-awareness in order to help raise awareness amongst others. Be inclusive of everyone, and support local LGBT organizations and movements. During pride, don’t forget to bring water and maybe a light jacket because it gets chilly in the evening. The best views? They are all around you in the parade!
7. Describe Taipei Gay Pride in 3 words?
Positive, empowering, and collective
8. Be real, would you go back?
Yes, without a second thought.
More than a Party
1. What makes Taipei Gay Pride worth attending?
The entire city lights up during pride, and I don’t mean just the LGBT community – it feels like everyone else in the city is excited to celebrate too. The energy in the Ximen district (Taipei’s gaybourhood) will give you happy tingles. Make sure you go see the huge rainbow crossing there. There are pride flags and ornaments all over the city that give you a homely yet grand sense of community. It’s so lovely that the city supports pride in such an open way. It’s definitely worth the hype. You’ll also find yourself bumping into your social media and party/travel friends constantly around the city.
2. It’s a four-day event, what’s your recommend ideal length to go for?
I would recommend you go for at least 5 days. Yes, I did go to the four-day pride event which is relentless and unadulterated partying but there’s so much to do and see in addition to the main event. You will love the Grand Hotel (including having yum-cha there), National Palace Museum (with beautiful jade art pieces), Taipei 101 and all the night markets. If you are a fan of Ghibli, I would recommend going to Jioufen which is a town about 1 hour outside of the city – it was the town that inspired Spirited Away.
3. Did you join the parade? How does it compare to other pride?
Yes! I joined the parade!! It is so so grand and fun! There are approximately 80,000 people from around the world and everyone is walking together from one end of the city to the other. Everyone is so friendly. Expect a lot of rainbow paraphernalia, hugs and kisses, giant and exuberant costumes, and more hotties and cuties than you can handle.
4. What were day-time events or street parties during the pride that one shouldn’t miss?
The W Hotel always has something on – they had an LGBT food and art fair last year which I loved. You could spend the day walking the Ximen area as there are many interesting stores and stalls near the Red House (Taipei gay village) and it turns into a drinking garden type of area in the evening. When it starts to get dark, I would recommend Abrazo which was a central drinking hub for everyone. If you like K-pop, you might like G-star, and if you like something grittier, Commander D could be the place for you.
5. Did you stay in Taipei gayborhood? If you went back, would you stay there again?
I stayed at the W Hotel on the east side of the city. It was about 15 minutes from the gayborhood which in my opinion is quite close. I loved the area as it was between a mall and the hills by Taipei 101 so you get a nice blend of nature and city. Would definitely stay there again.
6. What advice do you have for Taipei Gay Pride Virgins out there?
Instead of taking photos from inside Taipei 101, there is a nice lookout at a place called Elephant Trail where you can get great photos of the city and Taipei 101. My tip for Taipei Pride Virgins would be to go to places like bars and clubs where you can really meet locals because that is my favorite part of Taipei pride – the people, and you can make lifelong friends. The official after parties are fun, but personally, I find the unofficial after-parties even funner and freer.
7. Is there anything else in the city that are worth a visit during the pride?
I did quite a bit of shopping. There are many cool boutique stores. I also went to the night market which has the best street food and some interesting novelty stores.
8. Your best 3 words to describe Taipei Gay Pride
Charming City + Guys
9. What would you say, will you go back again then?
Yes. When everything opens back up, it is one of the first places I will go back to. My friends and I have already been planning it.
Pride for All
1. Why do you think Taipei has the best pride in Asia? What’s it really like?
It really depends on the perspective of the person attending. In Asia, Taipei’s gay pride is the most unencumbered, welcoming, and honest celebration. It is not weighed down by the oppression of the government. But it is also not just fun and dance parties as many who celebrate it understand the struggle and hard work it took to allow everyone to celebrate so openly. Gay pride is still a political statement for many. And there is something for everyone. What makes Taipei Pride worth attending is the camaraderie of celebration regardless of which queer tribe or subculture you identify with.
2. How long were you there for?
We typically go for a long weekend for the event. If you only have the weekend then that’s OK because there is plenty to do all weekend long. But if you have the time, spending more than four days in and around Taipei is just as ideal. Taiwan is known for its pristine nature and relaxing natural springs. After a few days of partying it’s not a bad idea to retreat to the hot springs just outside of the city center. The bath culture is similar to that found in Japan and Korea but the best part about Taiwan is there are fewer taboos around westerners and tattoos.
3. Tell us, how different Taipei Gay Pride compare to other pride?
Westerners will appreciate the sight of scantily clothed muscle boys on floats. But they will be surprised to see the floats are more grassroots focused. Though there are more and more corporate sponsors popping up you don’t get the barrage of company floats rainbow washing the parade with messages of inclusion and corporate social responsibility. But even more unique is that on-lookers are encouraged to walk with the parade. The streets are usually cleared of traffic but not cordoned off by barriers. At some point the entire crowd marches with the floats, gathering more participants along the route. On top of that, the parade has sometimes taken simultaneous routes throughout the city, spreading love to all.
The parade(s) end outside the Presidential Palace, where participants congregate to hear speeches and people watch. Many break off at this point to return to their respective domiciles, usually to prepare for the evening’s festivities.
4. Obviously, you won’t be doing just the pride thing, what else that worth doing?
The neighborhood Ximending serves as the unofficial gay headquarters during pride. A great place to hang out is the Red House, a public square which houses several gay bars. The bars all have outdoor seating, and the vibe is very inclusive and friendly.
Outside of pride-related activities, Taipei is home to scores of other fun adventures for newbies and seasoned travelers alike. Hike up Elephant Mountain for stunning views of Taipei 101. Rent a bike to explore the neighborhoods with more ease. Even take a day trip to Jiufen, a seaside village with some of the best street food and views in the region.
5. Stay in Taipei gayborhood, what should party boys out there know?
When we have wanted to be more centrally located, we stay in Ximending. There are plenty of affordable hotels and Airbnbs in the neighborhood. Last time we were there, we splurged with a few friends from Hong Kong and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in the Songshan neighborhood. The rooms were premium, and the pool was quiet and private. For more of a party scene, people like to stay at the W.
6. There must be plenty of Taipei Gay Pride Virgins, what advice do you have for them?
It really depends on your scene. There are plenty of big circuit parties and those are easy to find. But we tend to focus on more of the underground and local scenes. There are plenty of options for most people. But unlike pride events in the west, the parties and events don’t get as raunchy and subversive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a lot of fun to have. Last year, we went to a glorious drag show at the Red House which included performances from Aja and our dear Kimchi.
7. Is it true Taipei has one of the best gay saunas in the world?
We didn’t visit any gay saunas but heard there are a few good ones. But it is definitely worth going to the hot springs on the outskirts, in a neighborhood called Beitou, of the city if you have time. For a great massage in town, check out the Royal Spa.
8. Let’s see your best 3 words for Taipei Gay Pride
Colorful, Inclusive, Triumphant
9. Two guys above said they would do it again, what about you two?
Absolutely! Taipei is full of warm, friendly, and welcoming people. Unlike other major Asian cities, it has less of a hustle and bustle mentality. The food is amazing and usually not too expensive. And the best of all Taiwanese guys are some of the most attractive from the region.