Gay Penang – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Penang - The Nomadic Boys

Penang is one big fat foodie paradise in Southeast Asia. Honestly, we were blown away by the many culinary prizes available here…Asam Laksa, Wanton Noodles, Hokkien Prawn Noodles, Char Koay Teow…Penang is one place we’d definitely rush back to just for the food!

Penang is also famous for its street art murals, particularly in the UNESCO listed cutesy colonial-era capital, George Town. And the biggest surprise of all, despite being a small island of less than 2 million, in a country where homosexuality is a crime(!), there is even a gay scene!

We visited Penang as part of our big trip around Malaysia and totally fell in love. We were told by both Malaysians and fellow travellers that Penang is a not-to-miss highlight of the country and oh boy were they right! We ended up extending our trip in Penang from a few days to two full weeks. Based on our firsthand experience, we’ve put together our gay guide to Penang setting out the best gay friendly hotels, hangouts, foodie tips, and more.

Is Penang safe for gay travellers?

For the most part, yes…as long as you’re careful and avoid any PDAsIt’s not as bad as the Middle East here, but it certainly ain’t no Barcelona, Bangkok or gay Berlin!!

There is a large LGBTQ community in Penang, both locals and foreigners, living and working quite openly. Penang is after all a touristic hub with a large international population, so people are more likely to be diverse, tolerant and open-minded here compared to other parts of the country.

Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Malaysia Gay Travel Resources

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 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

Gay Phuket – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Gay Phuket - The Nomadic Boys

Grab a water gun, head here in mid-April and you have a legit free pass to spray water at any cutie you see walking down the street!

Songkran is the Buddhist New Year festival, which takes place every year from the 13th to 15th April. Around this time, Phuket and Bangkok host some of the biggest gay parties across all of Asia. But the thing to do in Songkran is chuck water at everyone. Seriously – in Buddhism, this symbolises the washing away of bad luck from the previous year. It cleanses you! And oh boy do we gays love a bit of cleansing? Trust us to take this to a whole different level, using it as an excuse to sashay the streets topless (it is, after all, super hot here in April!), chuck water at each other and make it into a massive party!

Phuket continues the festivities right after Songkran when Phuket Pride kicks off. Though to be frank, we found Phuket to be one big gay partyville throughout the entire year. There’s an entire area of gayness here in Patong affectionately nicknamed “Paradise Complex”, where all the gay bars and clubs of the island are. Head a few blocks from here and you reach Patong gay beach, full of hot speedo-clad guys posing, tanning, cruising, Instagramming, TikToking…suffice to say, if you’re looking for a gay beach holiday in Asia, Phuket’s got you covered!

This is our detailed gay guide to Phuket based on our trip here including the best gay hangouts, where to stay covering all budgets, gay spas, things to do and more. Note for LGBTQ travellers heading beyond Phuket, be sure to also check out our bumper gay guide to Thailand.

Gay Phuket

We loved gay Phuket. It was almost as fun as the gay scene of Bangkok, but right next to the beach!

The main gay strip of Phuket is based in and around the “Paradise Complex” of Patong. This is literally the Phuket gay area, all nicely concentrated within a few pedestrianised streets. More specifically, opposite the Royal Paradise Hotel, just off Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi Road.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Thailand Travel Resources

Lesbian India – Once Upon a Journey

Lesbian India - Once Upon a Journey

The most common question we get asked as a travel couple is ‘what’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to’? Many are surprised when they learn that it’s India. They automatically assume it would be tough to travel as a lesbian couple in India, and they wouldn’t be far wrong. But honestly, it’s no more challenging than being a solo female traveler or two female friends. You see, to be a lesbian in India is still very much a taboo. Probably even more so than being a gay male. The issue with female travel in India isn’t our sexuality; it’s our gender.

Nevertheless, we still regard India as one of the most exciting countries we’ve ever visited. Everything from the food and the people, to the culture and the sights, create one of the most unique travel experiences one can ever encounter. At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that it’s probably not a trip for everybody. Female and lesbian travel in India requires patience, tolerance, and one hell of an open mind.

Taking all this into consideration, this blog aims to provide all the information you need to prepare for an unforgettable, but most importantly, a safe, trip in India. We touch on LGBT rights in India, the best lesbian-friendly places to visit, as well as all of our travel tips and advice for female travelers. Continue ready for the ultimate travel guide to lesbian India.

LGBT Rights in India

Unsurprisingly, the situation surrounding gay rights in India has always been a controversial subject. The past 20 years, in particular, have been a volatile road in the battle for equal rights and decriminalization. Various notable wins followed by frustrating setbacks saw LGBT activists taking one step forward and another back again.

Remarkably, 2018 saw a ruling made by the supreme court to decriminalize homosexuality. And with it, came an extension to anti-discrimination laws to include the LGBT community. In a socially conservative country such as India, this was not only a landmark decision. But an indication of hope for LGBT+ people all over the world.

By Maartje and Roxanne – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

India Lesbian Travel Resources

Gay Taipei – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Taipei - The Nomadic Boys

When we heard that Hung is a common Taiwanese surname, we knew that this was a country worth visiting!

The capital city of Taipei threw us for a fabulously gay loop. We had heard that it was, by Asian standards, a liberal and tolerant place, but we had no idea just how much the city loves its gay. Within minutes of descending onto the gay scene, we were doused in glitter and dancing under disco lights to the likes of Cher and Dolly Parton. The gay scene in Ximen is damn impressive! There’s an entire area around the Red House with tons of gay bars to check out.

The city of Taipei is also full of rich culture, from the ancient temples that dot the city skyline, to the stunning architecture of tower blocks like the famous Taipei 101. In this gay guide to Taipei, we’ve put together our experience from this incredible city, including our favourite gay bars (there are loads!), clubs, gay hotels, events, things to do, and loads more!

How friendly is Gay Taipei?

Very gay friendly! We rate Taiwan as not only the most gay friendly place in Asia, but one of the most gay friendly places in the world. Unlike the rest of Asia, Taiwan is miles ahead of everyone with its LGBTQ rights: in 2019 it was the first (and to date, only!) country in Asia to legalise gay marriage. Taiwan is a beacon of hope for LGBTQ rights in Asia that we hope the rest of the continent will follow asap!

Part of the reason why Taiwan is so far ahead of its neighbours is due to the era of Marshal Law, which occurred between 1949-1987. Known as the White Terror, it saw the Taiwanese experience many restrictions in their freedom of expression with around 200,000 people imprisoned or killed. So, when this tragic period ended, the Taiwanese were eager to push for change and embrace democracy, which they’ve been doing so beautifully ever since!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Tokyo Gay Tours – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Tokyo Gay Tours - The Nomadic Boys

An urban jungle of intense energy, electric colours and lights. Yet it all flows together in an impressive orderly manner, absolutely nothing out of place.

This is Tokyo. It’s absolutely mad, like nothing you’ll ever experience! A frenetic city of almost 15 million people, yet somehow doesn’t ever feel crowded – unless you take the metro at rush hour…try this just once to experience it, but otherwise, to be avoided!

Every time we visit Tokyo it always feels like a culture shock and we love it! It gives us everything we want no matter how many times we visit. And as a bonus, it has a terrific gay scene with over 300 gay bars crammed in the tiny Shinjuku Ni-Chome district. We recommend checking out our detailed gay guide to Tokyo for more about this.

Whether you’ve been to Tokyo before or this is your first time, there are a variety of excellent Tokyo gay tours you can join to explore the best the city has to offer from experiencing the Shinjkuku gay scene with a local LGBTQ guide or learning about the city’s history with an LGBTQ focus. We’ve put together some of the best gay tours in Tokyo for LGBTQ travellers to check out right here.

Gay Night Tour of Tokyo

To experience Tokyo’s gay nightlife through the eyes of gay locals, we recommend joining this excellent tour of the gay scene. Remember above when we said there are over 300 gay bars? We weren’t kidding! The majority of Tokyo’s gay bars are tiny spaces all packed together in the Shinjuku Ni-Chome district. The one downside of this is that a handful of these small gay bars do not welcome foreigners and may even refuse you entry if you’re not local or know someone local to take you. Therefore having a gay local showing you the gay scene of Tokyo is the perfect way to get you into such bars as well as steering you through this wacky minefield of Tokyo queerness!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Little Known Facts About Vietnam – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG: Little Known Facts About Vietnam - The Nomadic Boys

“Guys, take my hand, stay together and slowly cross the road. Just don’t stop or go back. Walk with confidence and all the traffic will work around you. Trust me it’s super safe!”

“Are you f*g kidding me?” I said to Stefan…

Yet our friend Quan was right. The chaotic and seemingly neverending traffic of Saigon and Hanoi all seem to work together in this sort of messy ‘union’. It’s overwhelming for first-timers. I can tell you I was terrified out of my skin at the prospect of crossing the streets of Saigon when we first touched down Vietnam. But you quickly realise it’s absolutely fine…like our friend Quan told us, start walking slowly, but with purpose, and all the traffic just negotiates its way around you!

Crazy traffic aside, we loved Vietnam. As a gay couple, we loved how welcoming we were made to feel at the hotels we stayed in. There’s even a large LGBTQ community in the large main cities with a handful of queer hangouts to check out. As foodies, we couldn’t be happier. Vietnam is one massive culinary adventure, from the rich “pho” broths of Saigon to the yummy “cao lau” noodle dishes of Hoi An and the delectable tiramisu-like “egg coffees” of Hanoi. We pretty much ate our way from the bottom all the way to the tip of this unique S-shaped country in Southeast Asia. We recommend reading more about this in our blog post about our favourite traditional foods of Vietnam.

The gay scene and tasty prizes aside, Vietnam also has a rich cultural heritage, with its first independent monarchy dating back to 900 AD, a period of French colonialism from 1850-1945 and a subsequent period of division when the North and South became divided into two opposing rival states. Since reunification in 1976, Vietnam has evolved into a crazy, fascinating and above all else, thrilling destination in Asia. We loved it and would zip back in a heartbeat!

Here’s a flavour of precisely why we fell in love with Vietnam set out as our 10 interesting facts which we learnt about it during our big trip.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

Gay Xi’an – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Xi’an - The Nomadic Boys

Emperor Qin Shi Huang was one pretty remarkable Diva in Ancient China! Not only did he declare himself as the first Emperor of a unified China back in 221 BC, he also created an entire tomb of terracotta sculptures depicting his massive army who would protect him in his afterlife.

This was no mean feat. Old Qin Shi’s posthumous army consisted of 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. And it’s pretty damn impressive to behold!

We came to Xi’an expecting to be wowed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s famous Terracotta Warrior sculptures – and bloody hell, we sure were! But unbeknownst to us, we were also blown away by the delicious street food in the Muslim Quarter as well as the city’s small, but lively gay scene.

Most will only come to Xi’an expecting to stay for just a few days to see the Terracotta Army then leave. But we recommend hanging around a few days longer. This is a city with an extraordinary history that dates back over 3,000 years, back to when it was called “Chang’an” – one of the four great ancient capitals of China and the starting point of the famous Silk Road trade network. A few days just doesn’t do it justice – trust us, you’ll thank us!

This is our detailed gay guide to Xi’an’s bars, clubs, hotels and some invaluable inspiration for LGBTQ travellers. All the information in this guide is based on our first-hand experience travelling here as a gay couple coupled with notes from gay locals we met during our trip who continue to help us keep our guide up-to-date.

Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

China Gay Travel Resources