Lesbian Berlin – Our Taste for Life

When it comes to gay-friendly cities in Europe, Berlin tends to top the list every time. Not only is Germany’s capital renowned for its vibrant and open-minded culture, but the gay (and lesbian) scene rivals most cities in Europe. From pulsating gay nightclubs to steamy gay saunas, and wild gay events to gay cruising areas, Berlin is often considered a gay mecca among LGBT+ travellers.  

We recently visited Berlin for the first time during our Winter tour of Europe, and immediately fell in love with the quirky nature of the city. Besides the thriving gay scene, Berlin is one of the most interesting cities we’ve ever encountered. A city oozing hipster culture and creative expression, with a fascinating history to boot, we, like many others, can see ourselves returning time and time again.  

What’s more, another thing that struck us about Berlin is just how damn cool everybody is! Not only measured by their unique, trendsetting style but in their incredibly relaxed attitude. You come as you are in Berlin and nobody blinks an eye. We loved that about the city. A place that welcomes diversity and allows us to be ourselves will always be a winner in our eyes.  

So with all this in mind, we have put together this Gay & Lesbian travel guide to Berlin. Here you’ll find a list of the hottest gay bars and nightclubs; gay-friendly hotels and hostels; infamous gay and lesbian Berlin events; as well as all the top things to do around the city. We will also touch on LGBT* rights and social opinions in Germany, so you are fully prepared.

A 2020 Guide to Gay & Lesbian Berlin

When you consider Berlin’s LGBT+ history, it is no surprise that Schöneberg remains the epicentre of gay culture. It is here, amidst a trendy and developed neighbourhood, that the wealth of gay bars, clubs and shops reside. Not to mention, where the major gay and lesbian events such as LGBT Park Festival and Berlin Gay Pride take place. Schöneberg even hosted Berlins first-ever LGBT+ Christmas market in 2019, which we were fortunate enough to attend!

By Charlotte & Natalie – Full Story at Our Taste for Life

Germany Lesbian Travel Resources

Gay Singapore – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Singapore - The Nomadic Boys

We found Singapore to be an oddity when it comes to LGBTQ rights. On the one hand, there is a large thriving LGBTQ community here, with lots of gay bars, clubs and events taking place throughout the year. On the other hand, homosexuality is illegal (for men only!), punishable with up to 2 years imprisonment!

In reality, the anti-gay law of Singapore is rarely enforced and strong efforts have been (and continue to be) made to get rid of it. We found Singapore to be super gay. Put it this way, when we were hanging out in Kuala Lumpur’s gay scene, the drag queens we met told us that Singapore is one of the places in Asia they aspire to perform in, citing it as one of the continent’s gay meccas…kinda like Dubai is for the Arab world.

We put this down to the country being so affluent, with many big companies having their Asian headquarters here, like Google, Bloomberg, Barclays, and many more. In addition, the Singaporeans are very well educated and affluent (have you SEEN some of the prices in this country?). They’re also a very internationally minded bunch, with English as the official language: it’s estimated that every 2 out of 5 people in Singapore are foreigners.

In this guide to gay Singapore, we explore the LBGTQ rights in more detail, write about our experience travelling here as a gay couple and also set out some of the best gay hotels, bars, clubs, events, and more.

Gay rights in Singapore

Homosexuality is legal for women, illegal for men in Singapore. This is because section 377A of the Penal Code punishes male homosexuality with up to 2 years imprisonment but is silent about female homosexuality.

Attempts have been made to repeal Section 377A, but the government has insisted on keeping it. In June 2019, at the Smart Nation Summit, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated that Singapore would keep Section 377A “for some time”, arguing that:

“Whatever your sexual orientation is, you’re welcome to come and work in Singapore…You know our rules in Singapore. It is the way this society is: we are not like San Francisco, neither are we like some countries in the Middle East. We are something in between, it is the way the society is”!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Montreal – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Montreal - The Nomadic Boys

Montreal has one of the biggest gay villages in the world. It’s literally an entire neighbourhood, officially recognised in city maps and social media tags.

And it’s got balls. Lots and lots of balls!

Seriously – each year, between May-September, Le Village Gai has a large display of around 200,000 pink balls hanging down across the main street, the mile-long Rue Sainte-Catherine. And we are LIVING for it! The atmosphere here is one of the best we’ve experienced from all the different gay scenes we’ve been to around the world. There’s always something going on, with plenty of bars, clubs, after-hours clubs, saunas, strip bars, cafes, and more, to suit everyone.

We visited gay Montreal in the height of summer during the Fierte Pride in August. My god, these guys sure know how to have a good time! We’d happily return in a heartbeat.

Montreal is sexy. Montreal is proud. Montreal is energetic. Montreal is bold. Above all else, Montreal is open, ready and WAITING to embrace you in!

This is our gay guide to Montreal featuring all the best gay hotels, bars, clubs, things to do, and more, to help inspire your trip. Be sure to also watch our vlog about the first-ever Fierte Canada Pride in Montreal.

Is Gay Montreal a friendly city?

Short answer: hell yeah! 

This is definitely one place we felt absolutely comfortable walking the streets holding hands. Put it this way, even at government level there is immense pride in the city’s LGBTQ community – for Montreal Pride, not only the mayor and the Premier of Quebec led the parade, but alongside them was the country’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Lovely Justin also happens to be one of Montreal’s famous residents, who made this beautiful speech about diversity:

“Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world”

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Montreal Gay Travel Resources

Winter in Paris – Washington Blade

Winter in Paris - Bill Malcolm

Winter in Paris is the perfect time to visit.. The crowds are gone. The weather is not as cold as many U.S. cities. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in museums, it doesn’t matter anyway. Plus, Paris has a great gay scene and a gayborhood — The Marais.

Getting There

I snagged a great low fare on Delta Airlines. The service was exceptional and everything was free. Free hot dinner and breakfast, free headsets, free blankets and pillows, free eyeshades and more. Once in Paris, hop on the commuter rail to town, the RER-B then take the Metro to get to your hotel from the Gare du Nord Station.

Where to Stay

I stayed at The Moxy, a new Marriott brand geared for millennials. The rate was very reasonable (it varied by day with one day at just 93 Euros or around $110). It’s located near the Marais in the Bastille District and near no less than three Metro stations. You can walk to many of the major attractions or hop on the subway. Two nearby stores (Franprix) have everything you need including salad bars, hot sandwiches and great selections of wine.

Full Story at the Washington Blade

Paris Gay Travel Resources

Gay Cologne – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Cologne - The Nomadic Boys

Under the constant shadow of the Kölner Dom, Cologne (Köln in German) is a city shrouded in mystique and wonder.

Simply walking through the Old Town is enough to convince you of the wonders Cologne has to offer. With its unique architecture, quaint shops and ancient buildings, it feels like a place from a bygone era. Yet, it is pulsing with so much life and so much modernity that it doesn’t for a second feel like you are stuck in the past.

An artistic city, Cologne is in many ways a cultural hub. With art, literature and music bursting from every street corner, anyone with any creative inclinations would find it hard not to be inspired. It’s also a university town, so expect to see lots of young crowds in their early 20s, wandering around with big eyes filled with dreams and aspirations. This could mainly be due to the amount of caffeine millennials are drinking these days though…

Cologne is vying with the gay scene of Berlin to become the undisputed gay capital of Germany, and for good reason! With gay clubs and bars dotted across the city, LGBTQ folk have such a vivacious and vibrant selection to choose from when going on a night out. Cologne is well known for having the most pubs per person in all of Germany, so one thing is for sure, the locals love a drink! We sure did, as you can see in our Vlog of Cologne:

On top of this, there are so many gay friendly spaces, from restaurants to hotels, plus many queer-centric events held throughout the year. Cologne is also one of the few cities in the world to have a memorial sculpture for LGBTQ victims of the Holocaust. This is our comprehensive travel guide to Cologne, including the best gay bars, clubs, events, hotels to stay in and so much more.

How friendly is gay Cologne?

The people of Cologne are well known for their liberal attitudes, open minds and something called joie de vivre, which basically means ‘joy of life’. To put it simply, the locals are welcoming to all people, as long as they themselves are friendly and laidback. 

There are plenty of LGBTQ events throughout the year, so like it or not, locals are all too aware of the big gay presence that Cologne holds. There is Cologne Pride in June, Carnival in February and to top it all off, the Heavenue Gay Christmas market in December. Plus, with two gay scenes, on either side of the Rhine river, and a young population, there is nothing but acceptance for our homosexual family here! 

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Germany Gay Travel Resources

Gay India – The Nomadic Boys

Gay India - The Nomadic Boys

Touchdown in Delhi, the first thing we see are men walking the streets holding hands…

This is a tradition so deep-rooted in the culture of India: men are very docile around each other, whether straight or gay. It’s not a sexual thing, simply one of those cultural norms that caught our eyes!

India is often a monstrous feat for tourists. It’s so big, so full of culture, so diverse, that it’s impossible to decide where to visit if you’re going for a short trip. Which is why we didn’t just go for a short trip; we went on a month-long journey covering as much as we could from north to south. From cruising along the backwaters of Kerala, taking in the sounds of wild birds and air whistling through the trees, the Ghats of Varanasi, to the fiery food, that would burn the tongue of any ole’ Westerner (where the hottest spice we’re used to is salt!), India sets out to transform your perception of the world.

What called us to gay India in the first place? Was it the Taj Mahal, with its monumental appearance, a marble fortress set against the dazzling blue sky? Perhaps it was the jumbled landscape, with the extremes of sparse open fields lying next to a never-ending jungle, that lies adjacent to a labyrinth of a city filled with delicious smells, ancient temples and busy markets? Or the people: full of colour, sass, lots of head wobbling and plenty of smiles.

Famous for their unwavering hospitality, Indian people welcome tourists with an open embrace. Everywhere we went, we were met with smiling eyes and greetings of warmth. Chatting to merchants in the street we got to hear all sorts of fascinating stories about their local lives. The hustle and bustle, people brushing past you in tight quarters, and avoiding pickpockets were no mean feat but when matched with the gentle and beautiful hearts of the majority of Indians, it’s all so worth it.

All About Gay India

To learn more about all things tourist-y, food-y, and party-gay-centric around India, check out our ultimate gay country guide right here!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

India Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Mumbai – Our Taste for Life

Lesbian Mumbai - Our Taste for Life

Mumbai is an exciting city, bursting with energy, history, art, and awe-inspiring architecture. Previously known as Bombay, the city is the birthplace of Bollywood and home to the countries financial district. It is also famed for having a relaxed cosmopolitan vibe.

But what is it like to be Gay in Mumbai? Is the attitude towards the LGBT+ community as liberal as Mumbai’s reputation suggests? We travelled to Mumbai to find out. We learnt that following the historic 2018 decision to decriminalise homosexuality in India, the gay scene in Mumbai is in fact on the rise.

Truth be told; this was a surprise. In our experience, India was still very socially conservative. We certainly hadn’t heard of any hint of a gay scene in the likes of Jaipur, Varanasi, or even Goa! But with LGBT organisations such as ‘It Gets Better India‘ and the ‘Keshav Suri Foundation‘ continuously fighting for visibility and acceptance, times ARE changing.

As it turns out, Mumbai is indeed a city full of surprises. Asides from the gay scene, she is a paradoxical city. One that gives with one hand and takes with the other. An extreme divide between rich and poor; A city that makes dreams or breaks them; A fast-paced lifestyle that can exhilarate or exhaust. Mumbai is the epitome of crazy/beautiful India, and we loved every intoxicating minute of it.

In this travel guide, we will outline all the best places to go in Mumbai as an LGBT+ traveller. You’ll find a list of gay-friendly hotels and bars and our top tips as an LGBT couple in Mumbai. We will also touch on LGBT+ rights and social opinions in India, to help you prepare for an incredible, and most importantly, a safe, trip of a lifetime.

Lesbian Mumbai & LGBT+ Rights in India

When it comes to LGBT rights in India, the past 20 years have been a long and volatile road. A series of significant wins and disappointing setbacks saw LGBT activists taking one step forward and two steps back again.

By Charlotte & Natalie – Full Story at Our Taste for Life

Mumbai Lesbian Travel Resources

Gay Ubud – The Nomadic Boys

Ubud – the art and cultural heart of Bali. A place synonymous with yoga retreats, rainforests, lush green countryside, and lots of vegan restaurants (seriously it’s a thing – they even have a Vegan Festival here every October!). Our Seby, who is super passionate about pure and wholesome living, was in his element, living his Julia Roberts Eat, Pray, Love fantasy, cycling through those famous rice paddies…

Ubud is a must for gay travellers visiting Bali. Yes, the gay scene of Bali is a lot of fun, but we highly recommend making time for a visit to this cultural gem. It’s tranquil in gay Ubud, giving you the much-needed mental cleanse that you seek.

The only thing we’d say is that Ubud is just that – nature, beauty, tranquillity and culture. Don’t come here expecting mad parties and crazy all-nighters. Save all that for Seminyak.

We’ve put together our complete gay guide to Ubud featuring the best gay friendly hotels, places to eat, go out, events and some of the not-to-miss highlights.

Is Gay Ubud safe for LGBTQ+ travellers?

As with the rest of Bali, we found Ubud to be very welcoming to us as a gay couple. Unlike the rest of Indonesia (which is going backwards in relation to LGBTQ rights), Bali has held fast to its open-minded values. This is because of the island’s strong Hindu heritage, a far more tolerant religion than Islam, particularly towards the LGBTQ community. In addition, thanks to the large international community of digital nomads and expats basing themselves in and around Ubud, there is a more modern and liberal attitude prevalent here.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bali Gay Travel Resources

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