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

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

Barcelona Gay Restaurants – The Nomadic Boys

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan and exciting city, with a vibrant gay scene. We love coming here to party, celebrate Barcelona Pride, relax and stuff our faces! With such a great mix of people and culture, it makes sense that Barcelona also has a thriving foodie scene.

The unique blend of Spanish, Catalan and Meditteranean cuisine, along with Barcelona’s seaside location, make this a wonderful spot for a gastronomic holiday. You will get to try the freshest seafood, the most delicious tapas and many other types of food from all over the world.

The main gay area of Barcelona can be found in Eixample (often nicknamed ‘Gaixample’), with many fabulous gay hangouts to check out. A word of warning, most restaurants in Barcelona are closed on Sunday, but we’ve included the best ones that still serve food on the day of the Lord (a day when we’re usually nursing a heavy hangover and craving a bit fat greasy burger…!)

During our visits to Barcelona, we’ve managed to experience lots of excellent gay owned restaurants, as well as those with a mostly gay clientele, which serve up the most delicious dishes. These are our favourite gay or gay friendly restaurants which we tried and loved in Barcelona.

Restaurante D’Divine

Restaurante D’Divine has been going strong for around 13 years and is the best place to come to watch a drag show with your meal. Whilst the menu is a bit limited, the cocktails are delicious and the shows, hilarious!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

Queer Ashland and Southern Oregon

Central Point Sunset

In September, we drove up to Southern Oregon to visit some dear friends who live in Central Point – a little town just north of Medford. We spent a few days up there, and visited their town, a little bit of Medford, and the towns of Jacksonville and Ashland.

Read moreQueer Ashland and Southern Oregon

The Perfect Italian Afternoon in San Francisco’s North Beach

Acquolina - North Beach

We’ve been to North beach in San Francisco a number of times, but I always complain about how it’s only restaurants and coffee shops – no other real parts of Italian culture seem to be represented.

Well, that’s changed, and for the better. If you’re an Italianofile like Mark and I, there’s now an Italian bookstore in the heart of North beach, chock-full of Italian language books.

Read moreThe Perfect Italian Afternoon in San Francisco’s North Beach

Queer Albuquerque

queer Albuquerque

We’re just back from the GRL (GayRomLit) con in Albuquerque – part of my “other” life as a queer writer.

We explored downtown and Old Town, and thought we’d share some of our favorite things about each. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in the heart of the “new” downtown. Albuquerque is clean and quiet – at least in October. We were both surprised by the paucity of public art – there are very few murals or public statues and sculptures here.

Read moreQueer Albuquerque

Gay Friendly Montreal Restaurants – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Montreal Restaurants - The Nomadic Boys

Our chips-loving Frenchman Seby was dying to try the famous poutine when we visited Montreal. And he wasn’t disappointed. After a night out exploring the gay scene of Montreal, this gravy-cheese-curd-fries concoction is the perfect hangover food your body needs!

Read moreGay Friendly Montreal Restaurants – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Taipei’s a Foodie Paradise – Mic.com

gay taipei - crab - pixabay

If your idea of vacation planning is obsessively researching every restaurant, bar, coffee shop and food stand, gay Taipei, Taiwan, belongs on your bucket list. Taiwan’s sprawling capital city is home to 2.7 million residents and what feels like just as many must-visit spots for food and drink.

The island has a contentious history, with bouts of Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese presence or rule, and Taipei’s rich culinary landscape includes nods to its diverse colonial past as well as the traditions of the indigenous population: fresh Japanese seafood at DOZO Izakaya Bar, superstar soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, fine-dining French exports like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, unbelievable street food like stinky tofu, innovative cocktails from the R&D Cocktail Lab, German beer halls like Buckskin Beerhouse, scenic tea houses atop Maokong mountain — and that barely scratches the surface.

There’s never been a better time to visit. In the first Michelin Guide Taipei, the city had 20 restaurants receive stars, with restaurants ranging from the three-star Le Palais, famous for its expertly executed Cantonese fare, to the one-star Taiwanese-meets-Nordic hit Mume.

Thirty-six joints made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand category, including 10 street food stalls scattered throughout the Taipei’s famous night markets, where tourists, locals and everyone in between sample piping-hot black pepper buns and pearl milk tea. You’ll also find plenty of excellent shops, hotels and tourist attractions — Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building, is definitely worth braving the crowds for — to fill time between meals.

By Meredith Heil – Full Story at Mic.com

Lost in Translation in Hangzhou – Keep Calm and Wander

Lost in Translation in Hangzhou

“Welcome to the back!” proclaimed an English sign at the front door of a small Chinese restaurant in Hangzhou, a city in China, known for its West Lake. It was here where Marco Polo once sailed, mesmerized by its stunning beauty and declared the place in ancient times as “the most beautiful place in the world.”

Six exhausted backpackers from four countries and I, who all met in a hostel, froze for a moment in silence, as if trying to decipher one of China’s ancient, decrepit signboard. We exchanged quick glances, hoping one had a clue to share. We were pretty sure we were standing at the entrance, not the back, of the restaurant. Almost in unison, we quickly realized what the sign meant was, “Welcome back.” It’s one of those rampant translations gone wrong in Chinglish, a blend of Chinese and English.

With hunger excruciatingly creeping into our stomachs, we gave up looking for another restaurant. We’d been walking all day and we were so hungry we could eat a barrel of dumplings sans chopsticks.

Two ladies behind the reception desk smiled when we came in. One disappeared quickly to call someone from the kitchen. When we were all seated, the other waitress came with a kettle of tea and a vacuum flask of hot water. She carefully poured the hot water and tea alternately with impeccable skill. When she was done, she said something in Chinese and our jaws dropped. We understood not a single word. She looked at each one of our tired faces, hoping a single one of us could make sense of what she just said. Meeting our uncomprehending looks, she smiled sheepishly and left embarrassed.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

China Gay Travel Resources