At the same time dazzlingly modern and beautifully traditional, Taipei is one of the most visited cities in Asia. Home to over 7 million inhabitants, the city is the political, economic and cultural heart of Taiwan.
For visitors, Taipei offers an exciting blend of east meets west and old meets new. The city is a safe and welcoming place to visit as an LGBT traveler, and is considered by many the gay capital of Asia. It is host to the continent’s largest Pride celebration, which welcomes over 80,000 people every October, and has some very progressive LGBT politics for Asian standards. Overall, Taipei has a much more prominent and outspoken gay community than anything you see in neighboring China.
In fact, many see Taiwan, and Taipei in general, as a sort of democratic, liberal version of China. Both countries share a lot of their history and culture, but Taiwan has passionately fought to have an independent identity and is self-governed.
The Red House and surrounding streets form Taipei’s gay village. The area is great for gay bar hopping and also includes some gay saunas, shops, and cafes. The Red house is in Ximending neighborhood of Wanhua district, Taipei’s oldest area.
Gay Taipei has a great collection of gay saunas and spas, in which you are almost guaranteed some action. However, over the past few years, a number of Taipei’s biggest gay saunas have close down.
Most gay travelers opt to stay in central Taipei, near to Ximending and the Zhongxiao East Road shopping area. The area has a great selection of hotels to fit a range of budgets and tastes.
If visiting Taipei for a gay festival or Pride weekend make sure to book well in advance, perhaps a few months ahead. Those popular gay-friendly hotels get booked up early for these events.
Taipei is seen by some as the capital of gay rights in Asia, combining an exciting gay nightlife and community and a progressive approach to LGBT rights. Taiwan as a country is home to Asia’s most progressive legal protections for LGBT residents, with same-sex marriage legal. The law came into effect on 24 May 2019 and 526 same-sex couples got married on the first day they were legally allowed to do so.
Gay Taipei is home to a vibrant nightlife, although a number of the largest gay clubs have closed in recent years. Nonetheless, the gay party and sauna scenes are still going strong, and hold up their own against big Asian gay hubs like Bangkok and Tokyo. The city hosts Asia’s largest Pride celebration, taking place annually in October with nearly 80,000 supporters. On a day-to-day basis, it is common to see gay couples holding hands, but not kissing. This is more an indication of the country’s general attitude towards public displays of affection than a result of homophobia.
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