Gay Bali – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Bali - The Nomadic Boys

“The Island of the Gods!” And in our humble opinion: “The Island of the Gays”!

Bali is the quintessential tropical island getaway high up on most travellers’ bucket lists, particularly amongst those of us inspired by the Julia Roberts movie, “Eat Pray Love”. Surprisingly, Bali is also a popular gay haven in Asia: remember this is part of Indonesia, a country which has over the years become increasingly more homophobic.

Gay Bali stands strong in the face of this rising tide of hatred towards our LGBTQ community in Indonesia thanks to its unique Hindu heritage and the diverse international community across the island.

For LGBTQ travellers, Bali offers a tropical paradise, gorgeous beaches, world-class restaurants, plenty of welcoming gay hotels and an entire strip of lively gay hangouts in Seminyak. We’ve put all of this right here in our lengthy gay travel guide to Bali based on our first-hand experience.

Why is gay Bali so gay friendly?

Before visiting Bali, we were wondering how such a gay haven can possibly exist in a country like Indonesia, where the Islamic government has been working ruthlessly to oppress its LGBTQ community. Over the years, more anti-LGBTQ laws are being passed in Indonesia. Whilst homosexuality wasn’t historically illegal in this former Dutch colony, the government has been ruthlessly trying to introduce laws that effectively criminalise consensual same-sex.

Despite what’s happening on the mainland, Bali continues to thrive, largely unaffected. Unlike the rest of the country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, Bali is mainly Hindu – a religion which is more tolerant of our LGBTQ family! In addition, Bali is also very touristy, with a vast international community living/working here all year round. As a result, a gay scene has been able to thrive here for many years, along with several gay/male-only hotels.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bali Gay Travel Resources

Barcelona Gay Bars – The Nomadic Boys

Having been the birthplace of the LGBTQ movement in Spain, Barcelona is a hot favourite for gay travellers moving across Europe. It has a rich history, fabulous sights, a gorgeous beach and a super hot nightlife at all the Barcelona gay bars.

There is so much variety across the city for when you’re hitting the town. You don’t even need to be the biggest party animal. You can be fairly chilled and still find a comfy corner to spend the evening. Bear in mind, the Spanish do things quite late, so if you’re planning an evening out and about, be sure to factor in an afternoon dolly nap siesta!

This is our comprehensive guide to the best gay bars in Barcelona, which you can see there are plenty to choose from!

Where is the gay neighbourhood of Barcelona?

Tucked into the centre of the Eixample district is the glowing “Gaixample” (pronounced gay-sham-ple) gay neighbourhood of Barcelona. This is where most of the gay bars of Barcelona can be found. The area is more specifically defined as being between Carrer de Balmes, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Carrer del Comte d’Urgell and Carrer d’Aragó.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

Gay Chisinau, Moldova – The Nomadic Boys

When it comes to gay destinations, let’s just say gay Chisinau isn’t one that’s going to be at the top of LGBTQ travellers’ bucket list. This is one place where LGBTQ rights are sadly lagging behind the rest of Europe, sort of what you’d expect from an East European former Soviet country.

Chisinau is the capital of Moldova, one of the poorest and undiscovered countries of East Europe. Whilst the city itself is nothing much to write home about, it’s the ideal base for trips around the country, particularly for nearby wineries. It’s also a handy base for tours to the stunning Orheiul Vechi Monastery and the fascinating breakaway state of Transnistria.

Chisinau is itself a city with lots of bland Soviet-style buildings. There is no gay scene here nor any obvious queer bars/clubs. In relation to tourist sites, there are a few green spots worth checking out, in particular, the Lacul Valea Morilor. Also, the central park around the Stefan cel Mare statue always has something going on. But be warned, this is quite a strange city: whilst we felt totally safe here, it feels eerie at night due to the lack of street lighting. In the evening when it gets dark, Chisinau feels like some weird ghost town and we often had to use our iPhone torchlight to light our way!

In this gay guide to Chisinau, we’ve set out the best gay-friendly hotels to stay, gay friendly places to go out, restaurants, things to do and more. Be sure to check out our detailed Moldova gay country guide for more inspiration.

Is Gay Chisinau safe for gay travellers?

Look, let’s call a spade a spade; this is as Eastern European as you’re gonna get. LGBTQ life is still very much in the dark ages here, not helped by the strong Russian influence in daily life (Russian, along with Romanian remain the official languages of Moldova). Moldova is a very Orthodox country where most people are extremely religious and socially conservative. They even have a ban in place on same-sex marriage. This is not to say it’s unsafe for LGBTQ travellers. We felt absolutely fine here, but we did avoid PDAs and didn’t publicise our sexuality or relationship.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Bucharest – The Nomadic Boys

Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is one of Europe’s hidden gems. It’s a fantastic city to explore – safe, with a rich history, many excellent bars, restaurants, a bustling Old Town and even a (small) gay scene. This is a big deal for an Eastern European country like Romania where LGBTQ rights are sadly lagging behind the rest of Europe.

Bucharest is also very inexpensive compared to other European capitals, and easy to reach with all major budget airlines across Europe. Score!

We used Bucharest as our base to explore Romania – a stunning country, with some impressive mountain scenery in Transylvania in the north and even a beach in the Black Sea at Constantia in the south. Bucharest is located right in the middle of the country with the best connections to all other parts of Romania. It’s also a super fun place to go out, whether in the vibrant nightlife of the Old Town of gay Bucharest or to one of the many gay and gay friendly places we set out in this guide.

This is our comprehensive gay guide to Bucharest from our personal experience and recommendations from friends with our favourite gay friendly hotels to stay, the gay bars/clubs, events, things to do and more.

Is Gay Bucharest Safe for LGBTQ Travelers?

Romania is generally not regarded as a gay-friendly country, but that is changing! As with much of East Europe, homosexuality is a massive taboo in society, which can get you into a lot of trouble if you shout out loud about it. On the plus side, however, as part of its ascension to the EU in 2007, Romania was forced to adopt an array of anti-discrimination laws, particularly in relation to hate crime and hate speech. Laws to recognise civil unions are being discussed and the right to change legal gender was introduced as far back as 1996. And thankfully, in a 2018 referendum, Romanians voted against banning same-sex marriage!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Saigon – The Nomadic Boys

“Guys, just follow my lead and slowly cross the road with me: the cars and motorbikes will just weave their way around you…”

…so said our friend Quan who showed us how to navigate the crazy traffic of the streets of Saigon. Honestly, you’ve not been to Saigon until you’ve tried to cross over one of the main roads or taken a scooter ride through the busy jungle of moving vehicles; it’s something you won’t forget in a hurry!

Saigon is a lot of fun. It’s busy, frenetic, has super feisty locals, manic traffic and delicious street food. The gay scene is also pretty good, with a large LGBTQ community of both expats and locals.

This is one place we quickly fell in love with and know you will too! It’s definitely a must for LGBTQ travellers visiting South East Asia and we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive gay travel guide right here.

What’s the difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City?

So we hear you asking, what’s the actual difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City? Is it the same place?

Short answer – yes! The city has actually gone by many different names in its long and complicated history, reflecting different groups that have controlled it through the years. It was named “Gia Din” until the French conquest of the 1860s, when it was named Sài Gòn – and westernized to be “Saigon”. After the ‘Fall of Saigon‘ at the end of the Vietnam war, the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in honour of the late North Vietnamese president, Mr Ho Chi Minh.

Nowadays the name Saigon is still used to refer to the city centre around District 1, while Ho Chi Minh City generally means the entire modern city with all its districts. But don’t be surprised to still find places (especially hotels) named after Saigon as people often use the names interchangeably.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Saigon Gay Travel Resources

Gay Beirut – The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still a crime. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best (albeit quite underground) gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.

We visited gay Beirut from Cyprus to celebrate Stefan’s birthday over a long weekend and absolutely loved the food, the people and of course the many gay parties. This is our gay guide to Beirut featuring the best gay bars and clubs, events, gay friendly hotels and best things to do.

Gay Rights in Lebanon

Lebanon doesn’t have the best track record with regards to LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal, there are no anti-discrimination laws, there is absolutely zero recognition of same-sex partnerships and the LGBTQ community are banned from openly serving in the Lebanese army.

On the plus side, proactive steps are being taken by judges and some politicians to decriminalise homosexuality and it was declassified as an illness in 2013. In addition, the right to change legal gender was introduced in 2016. From our experience travelling in the Middle East, Lebanon definitely ranks as one of the most gay friendly Arab countries, but remember, this is an extremely conservative region of the world when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Middle East Gay Travel Resources

Gay Sitges – The Nomadic Boys

New York City may have Fire Island, but Barcelona has Sitges!

Sitges is a charming gay seaside town located around 40km (25miles) south from Barcelona. It has many antique shops, bespoke coffee shops, tapas bars and lots of queer hangouts. Located in the Catalonian region, it’s a delicious mix of the refreshing sea air, coastal scenery and local spirit, with modernist touches.

Did we also mention that Sitges is all about beaches, beaches and more beaches?! The town has gay beaches, nude beaches, gay AND nude beaches aplenty! For such a small town (population is less than 30,000) Sitges not only has a large LGBTQ community living here, it receives thousands of gay tourists each year. This is one of many reasons why we rate it as one of our top destinations in Europe. Whether you come here for your holiday or visit as part of a day trip from Barcelona, Sitges is one gay mecca you cannot miss!

This is our comprehensive gay travel guide of Sitges – a place we think is easily one of the most gay friendly travel destinations in the world.

So just how gay is Sitges?

Sitges is leading the pack in terms of its attitudes towards the LGBTQ community. Whilst Spain is already one of the gayest countries in the world, being one of the first places in the world to legalise same-sex marriage back in 2005, Sitges manages to stand out ahead of other cities for many unique reasons.

Not only does Sitges have a huge gay scene, but the locals are also extremely gay-friendly. Although…they don’t really have much of a choice: every year they get a pink invasion with thousands of LGBTQ travellers descending on the city during the summer months, especially during Pride in June and the Bear Week in September.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Sitges Gay Travel Resources

Medellin Gay Bars – The Nomadic Boys

Whilst Bogota in Colombia is home to the largest gay club in South America, Medellin is notorious for having the most beautiful guys…the famous hot singer, Maluma, is a Paisa boy…just sayin’…

The people from Medellin and the area around it are nicknamed “Paisas”.

Mmm mmm! Gimme some of that sweet Maluma sugar any day of the week
They are a proud and fun bunch who live in a city notorious for having an “eternal spring” weather throughout the year. As such, it makes it a popular base for digital nomads and startups. We based ourselves in Medellin for almost a year because of this.

Medellin also has a fun gay scene to explore. Whilst it’s not as big as the Chapinero gay scene of Bogota, there are still plenty of awesome Medellin gay bars to check out, which we’ve summarised in this article. For more, be sure to check out our comprehensive gay guide to Medellin.

Where are the Medellin Gay Bars?

The majority of the gay bars of Medellin are located in the “El Poblado” area. This is the touristic beating heart of Medellin, where the city’s best hotels, restaurants and nightlife can be found. It’s a lot of fun here. There’s always an electric and young vibe, particularly at weekends. The Paisas love to party and will quickly embrace you.

Outside of El Poblado, there are gay bars dotted around in other neighbourhoods of Medellin, particularly in the downtown “Candelaria” area and the more residential “Laureles”, which is where we based ourselves.

Theotron, the Ultimate Gay Club – The Nomadic Boys

Theotron, the Ultimate Gay Club - The Nomadic Boys

5,000 Colombian gay boys partying away in the same club? What’s not to love…!

Theatron makes theatre out of a clubbing experience. From the castle-like architecture to the epic dancefloor production, Theatron grabs its patrons by the throat and thrusts them into an experience they’ll never forget. It’s where all the gay folk of Bogota end their Saturday evening and serves as the ultimate finale to a night out.

Read moreTheotron, the Ultimate Gay Club – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Bogota – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Bogota - The Nomadic Boys

Ever been to a club with 5,000 other gay boys with 13 rooms spread across 5 floors?

Neither had we until we went to the huge Theatron gay club in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota. The gay scene here is all about this infamous mega-club, which is the largest in Latin America. It’s like no other place we’ve ever been to and is certainly the largest gay club we’ve visited.

Read moreGay Bogota – The Nomadic Boys