10 Facts About Malaysia – The Nomadic Boys

Malaysia - The Nomadic Boys

Malaysians are obsessed with food. And we totally get it – the entire country is a non-stop feast of delicious food. There are legit 5 meal times in Malaysia – breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper.

Beyond the foodie paradise that is Malaysia, we discovered a lot about this magnificent and super diverse country during our 3-month trip here as a gay couple. But the one uniting thing about all Malaysians is their immense pride in their food! Every Malaysian has strong opinions about where to find the best laksa or from which city you can find the tastiest rendang!

A word of warning to our fellow LGBTQ travellers – it is illegal to be gay in Malaysia. It is an Islamic influenced country, so homosexuality is very much taboo. Therefore it goes without saying you should avoid any acts of activism or public displays of affection here. But having said that, despite the awful anti-gay law, there is a fabulous large LGBTQ community throughout the country, especially in Kuala Lumpur, with a small and underground gay scene. We made a lot of local gay friends throughout Malaysia who we love dearly. It is through their eyes we discovered the gay scene of the country and also the more unique facets of Malaysian culture, which forms the backbone of this article.

These are our 10 interesting facts about Malaysia:

Malaysians Are Obsessed With Food

As foodies, this is one of our favourite interesting facts about Malaysia. Everywhere across the country you’ll find hawker stalls selling a range of delicious freshly made foods like laksa, Indian inspired roti canai, the national dish: nasi lemak, and so much more. The entire country is a haven for foodies, particularly Penang which is a melting pot for Indian, Chinese and Southeast influences.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Malaysia Gay Travel Resources

Gay Life in Indonesia – Nomadic Boys

Gay Life in Indonesia - Nomadic Boys

“OMG you two: careful you don’t get caned for being gay!”

A rather extreme reaction by some of our friends when we told them we’re going to Indonesia, but one we understand.

On the one hand, when it comes to LGBTQ rights in Indonesia, there are none. The government heavily panders to religious extremists and in the ultra-conservative province of Aceh, homosexuality is punishable with up to 100 public lashes with a rattan cane, which also applies to foreigners!

Yet, on the other hand, this is (officially!) a secular country with no anti-gay laws in place (outside of places like Aceh), it has the right to change legal gender (with judicial approval) and don’t forget, this is the home to one of the LGBTQ hotspots in Asia: Bali!

That’s right, this small island in Southeast Indonesia is not only a pink haven in this very conservative country but also a popular gay holiday destination in Asia. When we visited Bali, we met local boy Joko who now lives and works in Bali. Originally from Java Island, Joko moved to Bali for a better life. In this interview about gay life in Indonesia, he tells us more about what it was like for him growing up and the gay scene of Bali. However, Joko has requested that he is kept anonymous for security, much like our article with Kaluu about gay Sri Lanka.

Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Indonesia Gay Travel Resources

Arab Street – The Most Colorful Street in Singapore? – Keep Calm and Wander

Arab Street Singapore - Keep Calm and Wander

Is Arab street the most colorful neighborhood in Singapore? For me, I think it is. I went there once during my trip – and boy – the street is as colorful as the rainbow!

It brought me back to the times I was in the souqs (markets) in Marrakech, Fez, Jeddah, Cairo, Beirut, and Istanbul.

Well, this street is not exactly what it’s like in the Middle East, but there are familiar scenes and things that reminded of getting lost in the souqs.

Arab Street in Singapore is just a tiny neighborhood. In fact, if you go in there just for your Instagram photos, thirty minutes will be enough. That, of course, if you are that kind of traveler who came for the colorful shots and not for the destination.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Sunrise at Bali’s Mount Batur

Mount Batur at Sunrise - Keep Calm and Wander

My adventurous trek to Mt Batur volcano to watch the sunrise was all worth it! 

“Sunrise trek to Mount Batur? Why not? Ok, sign me in!” Those were the words I uttered when a tour agent asked if I’d be interested. Of course, I paid the tour right away without qualms. You see – I love a mountain climb. I always do. At my age right now (I’m not really that old hag yet), I know, I’d be slower than I used to be.

For me, it’s all about proper breathing when trekking/climbing/hiking a mountain. And of course – keeping a distance from the person you are following with. I find that if I hike closer behind someone, I’m pressured/forced to keep up – and I won’t enjoy the journey anymore. So, I want to be the last one in a group.

Mount Batur Volcano Trek Tour

Based in Ubud, I was picked up at my accommodation at 2:15 AM. Then, they served us a pre-breakfast food: banana pancakes and coffee/tea. Right after that, we’re off to the base of Mt. Batur. When we arrived there, two guides met us (a group of 9) and briefed us about safety. They then each gave us a small flashlight for the trek.

At 3:40, we started our trek in the darkness. Under the star-filled skies, the adventurous climb was off to a good start.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Bali Gay Travel Resources

Malaysia’s Petronas Towers – Keep Calm and Wander

Malaysia's Petronas Towers

The Petronas Towers are identical towers that are synonymous to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. They’re the most iconic skyscrapers and architectural wonders in the city’s skyline. No visit in KL without a glimpse of these silver-colored twins.

The first time I saw them eons ago, I thought they resembled a rocket, ready to launch in space. 😉

Standing at 1,483 feet, the towers have 88 habitable floors. They are finished off with a pyramid-like structure topped with a thin steel spire.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Malaysia Gay Travel Resources

The Colors of Singapore’s Little India – Keep Calm and Wander

Singapore's Little India - Keep Calm and Wander

The colors of Singapore’s Little India are as vibrant as its culture. No, I’m not talking about the colors of turmeric powder spices, but the whole neighborhood. It is alive with cultural excitement from its murals to its historical and colorful houses.

And of course, the shopping scene here is one of a kind. However, we were not tempted to buy a thing. Not that we were stingy – it’s just that our closets still have clothes with price tags. Nope, we are definitely not hoarders. We are just waiting for the right time to wear those clothes.

In Singapore’s Little India, you will find not just cultural but also religious heritage. You’ll find Hindu temples, a mosque, and Buddhist temples.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Prambanan Temple – Keep Calm and Wander

Prambanan Temple - Keep Calm and Wander

Is Prambanan Temple the world’s most graceful and most beautiful Hindu Temple? That’s the tagline that you see and read in tourism brochures in Yogyakarta, but without a question mark. Is it really? Ok, I’ve been to India where there’s a huge Hindu population and I visited some of the temples there – and I’d say that, yes, Prambanan Temple deserves that title.

At first glance, the architectural design made think of the Angkor Wat of Cambodia. 

While they might look the same, it is important to know that Prambanan is a Hindu temple while Angkor Wat is a Buddhist temple.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

India Gay Travel Resources

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon – Keep Calm and Wander

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon - Keep Calm and Wander

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is pure bliss in the morning. Its serenity and the murmuring whispers of prayers are calming to the soul. At least that’s how I felt because I arrived there at 4:15 in the morning – earlier than most Buddhist worshippers. And way too earlier than most tourists, too. I highly recommend that you go early in the morning, for an obvious reason: it’s not crowded.

Your visit to Myanmar’s capital city won’t be entirely complete without getting a glimpse of this golden pagoda. 

Shwedagon is the most iconic landmark of the country that used to called Burma under British rule.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Myanmar Gay Travel Resources

Gay Maldives – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Maldives - The Nomadic Boys

The Maldives is a stunning country, which we’ve always dreamed of visiting. Oh, those gorgeous idyllic tropical islands with their white sandy beaches… Few places on our planet rival the natural beauty of the Maldives!

We spent 2 weeks holidaying in the Maldives, which included plenty of beach fun, enjoying the beautiful crystal clear water, snorkelling and scuba diving. However, before visiting, we were concerned about our safety, as this is a Muslim country with severe Sharia Law in place, complete with very nasty anti-gay laws!

Although the situation for LGBTQ locals is not great, fortunately for gay tourists, the economy of the Maldives relies so heavily on tourism that as a gay tourist, they won’t dare touch you, particularly when staying at the large privately owned resort islands. So much so that gay honeymoons in the Maldives are becoming increasingly popular. Which then naturally begs the question we always get asked and criticised for:

But Nomadic Boys…how dare you encourage us to spend our Pink Dollars in a country that wants to get rid of us?”

At the end of the day, whether you choose to visit is a personal decision. We’re not here to show that the Maldives is in any way a pink haven LGBTQ destination we should flock to! Clearly it is not! We are simply stating what our firsthand experience was travelling in the Maldives as a gay couple.

Above all else, we think that going there and supporting gay friendly / gay-owned businesses will be far more productive to effect positive change than just boycotting the country altogether! We explore this argument in more detail in this article, which we also hope provides you with inspiration to visit this unique Asian country, as well as equipping you with the full advice you need to have a safe and trouble-free trip!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Maldives Gay Travel Resources

Gay Thailand – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Gay Thailand - The Nomadic Boys

“You’ve been to so many places in the world guys, you must have a favourite?”
We sure do! Can you guess what it is?

Hint…it’s a country with gorgeous beaches, mouth-watering food, a rich cultural heritage, plenty of adventure activities, warm-hearted welcoming people, largely inexpensive, and a fantastic gay scene in its capital…

…it’s Thailand!

That’s right, the “Land of Smiles“ is one place we are always happy to come back to. It was one of the first places we ever came to in Asia many moons ago, and it’s one place we always strive to visit again and again, every single year! From the Circuit parties during Songkran to the fantastic street-party feel during New Years, we love love LOVE Thailand!

Thailand is a destination that offers so much to LGBTQ travellers. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to gayThailand setting out the best gay scenes across the country, the best queer events to look out for, lots of inspiration for best activities to do here and other practical information for LGBTQ travellers.

Here we go!

LGBTQ Rights in Gay Thailand

Overall, Thailand has progressive LGBTQ laws in places, easily making it one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia in our humble opinion. For example, homosexuality was legalised in 1956 then declassified as an illness in 2002. Furthermore, comprehensive anti-discrimination laws were introduced in 2015, the LGBT community have been allowed to serve openly in the military since 2005, and civil union laws are on the verge of being introduced.

In relation to the transgender community, the right to change legal gender is in the process of being introduced as well, but despite the lack of comprehensive laws about this, Thailand remains a haven for the transgender community in Asia. All the transgender men and women we met during our travels in Asia strived to come to Bangkok for a better life and to have the best surgeries. You can read more about this in our interview with our transgender female friend Regina from the Philippines.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources