A large and sprawling city, Kuala Lumpur is often described as a cultural melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, combined with Islamic religion. While gay Kuala Lumpur may not be a gay Asian capital like Bangkok or Tokyo, that is not to say the city doesn’t have a gay side. As KL has become more international, a small gay scene has built up, despite the fact that homosexuality remains illegal.
Gay Kuala Lumpur has a handful of gay bars and clubs, with the biggest nights held at straight bars and clubs hosting gay-friendly nights. There is also a large number of professional fun gay saunas and gyms in Gay Kuala Lumpur. If the gay nightlife scene leaves you wanting more, there are plenty of other reasons to visit, including some of the world’s cheapest 5-star hotels, great shopping, even better food and, stunning natural wonders only an hour outside the city.
We’ll be honest: gay nightlife in Kuala Lumpur has nothing on some Asian cities like but there is still a scene. Weeknights are quiet, but come weekends there’s plenty action. For gay bars in KL check out Blue Bar and iBLUE Bar.
Kuala Lumpur has a surprisingly large and active gay sauna scene. Or, it is perhaps not surprising at all, given the conservative approach to homosexuality that the country still maintains. Gay men in Kuala Lumpur rely greatly on saunas to meet other men for both cruising and conversation, so you are likely to meet a few locals during most trips to the sauna.
Kuala Lumpur is in the top 10 most visited cities in the world, which has created a great choice of hotels at surprisingly good prices, especially for luxury options. A 5-star hotel can cost about RM250 (about $65) a night, and prices can become even lower during weekdays and low season.
Stay within KL’s Golden Triangle to make the most of your visit, as this places you conveniently close to most tourist attractions, as well as a few of the gay nightlife venues. The most popular area is KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center), next to the iconic Petronas Towers.
A conservative Muslim country, Malaysia has an anti-sodomy law that dates back to its British Colony days. This is accompanied by several other anti-LGBT laws, including a law forbidding cross-dressing (and thus transgender identities) and one banning any media containing gay characters in a positive light. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, and other rights like gay marriage are an unlikely prospect.
In day-to-day life, this manifests itself in a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Homosexuality is begrudgingly tolerated by most of society, as long as it is remains confined to the country’s few gay spaces, all of which can be found in KL. The sodomy laws are highly unlikely to be enforced, particularly on foreigners, so while you are not in danger of being arrested or visibly discriminated against, discretion is important. Public displays of affection, straight or gay, are best avoided entirely.
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