Gay Tbilisi – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Tbilisi - The Nomadic Boys

That Soviet hangover, so prevalent amongst gay bars and clubs across East Europe and Russia: your entry based solely on a bouncer’s snap decision as to whether you’re cool or hip enough to enter inside.

Yet in Tbilisi, it’s also a way the club bouncers and promoters monitor who comes inside in order to prevent any violent homophobic clashes happening.

Face control aside, we completely fell in love with Tbilisi, as do most travellers who visit, both gay and straight. This is a city with a crumbling, yet super picturesque old town – Instagram opportunities abound on every other street corner. There is an evolving queer scene with a super active LGBTQ community, growing massively in confidence by the minute! Tbilisi’s also super cheap, making it a popular base with many expats, digital nomads and property developers looking for the next big “up and coming” investment base in East Europe.

We came to gay Tbilisi to celebrate my birthday and quickly fell in love. This is a city you will want to return to, and for good reason. We know we will! 

We’ve put together our gay guide to Tbilisi based on our first-hand experience and embellished with other nuggets of information passed on to us by gay locals we met along the way.

Is Tbilisi gay friendly?

Compared to Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam, not really, no! But compared to the rest of Georgia and most other places in East Europe, we say a big ‘hell yeah!’ It’s all a matter of perspective of course. As a country, Georgia is renowned for being quite homophobic, largely because of the strong influence of the extremely conservative (and backwards!) Orthodox Church.

However, as a gay couple in Tbilisi, we were surprised by how more liberal and progressive the city is in comparison to the rest of the country. There is not only a growing queer scene here (including the largest gay club in the Caucasus), an annual Pride event, but thanks to the rise in tourism, more and more hotels are embracing LGBTQ travellers.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

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 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 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.

Barcelona Gay Saunas – The Nomadic Boys

Being one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, it’s no surprise that there is such a huge variety of gay bathhouses to choose from in Barcelona.

The fascination with hot, steaming rooms dates back to the bathhouses which could be found all around Europe in medieval times. Back then, people would go to saunas to bathe, socialise and unwind. At one stage, they even began to believe saunas held magical powers. With that idea put out into the universe, the Church quickly turned around and said a big hell-no to sauna use, which led to the closure of many bathhouses across Europe.

Over the past century, saunas have grown more popular than ever, particularly within the gay community…what could be sexier than a boiling room, filled with steam and naked guys just hanging out? They’ve become an important staple of the LGBTQ community, a safe haven where you can come for action and to explore your sexuality or simply just to chill.

The gay scene of Barcelona in “Gaixample” (pronounced “gay-shample”) is vast, brimming with many queer hangouts and of course, plenty of gay saunas. Why they are so popular here is mainly a result of the intense recession the country has faced over the past decade. This led to high unemployment rates, particularly among young guys, who as a result of this have had to live with their parents to save money, making it hard to bring back a date (or two!). Hence the rise in demand for gay saunas across the city.

In this guide, we’ve put together the 6 best gay saunas in Barcelona to check out where you can connect with locals, bears, otters, twinks or whatever and whoever takes your fancy!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

Gay Panama City – The Nomadic Boys

gay Panama City - Nomadic Boys

Panama City is often nicknamed The Dubai of Latin America because of its immense economic growth in recent years and impressive dense skyline. But unlike Dubai, this mighty Latin American metropolis has a far more welcoming gay life, in a country where although culturally conservative, is pushing towards civil union equality for gay couples.

Most will associate Panama City with the famous canal, which is a reason alone to visit. The city is also the gateway to some gorgeous tropical beaches within Panama, like San Blas and further afield – Bocas del Toro.

We stayed in Panama City for a week and found it to be a lot of fun, full of things to do, plenty of trendy bars, but most importantly, we left with a thirst to return. This is our gay guide to Panama City following our experience here during our big Latin America trip.

Gay Panama City

Panama a very conservative Catholic country, with a strong influence from Opus Dei. As such, the gay scene in the country is pretty underground in quite dodgy neighbourhoods, with places frequently closing down/changing. When we visited, there were no gay bars and only one official gay club (see below) in Panama City.

Warning: when going out to a gay club in Panama City, doormen are very strict and will only admit you if you have your original ID, preferably your passport. Most LGBTQ locals we met preferred to have private parties, or attend one of the the monthly gay rooftop parties hosted at venues like the Hard Rock Hotel.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Panama City Travel Resources