Gay Siem Reap – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Siem Reap - The Nomadic Boys

Angkor Wat is the reason why most people visit Siem Reap. This ancient UNESCO listed religious complex dates back to the 1100s and is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s a massive circuit of really impressive temples in the middle of a jungle where nature has taken over. The Ta Prohm Temple is the most recognisable thanks to Angelina Jolie sashaying her way through it as that famous video game movie character back in 2001, earning it the nickname the “Tomb Raider Temple”.

Siem Reap is the base for visiting Angkor Wat. We stayed here for 1 week to allow us ample time to explore the magnificent temples as well as spend some time discovering the city and the gay hangouts. It’s super touristic, international with plenty of restaurants, hotels and even a small and fun gay scene based around the aptly named Pub Street.

In our gay travel guide to Siem Reap, we set out practical tips for LGBTQ travellers based on our experience, including the most gay friendly hotels to stay, bar/clubs to check out, inspiration for things to do including Angkor Wat, and more.

Siem Reap Gay Area

Siem Reap doesn’t have a defined gay neighborhood. Instead, the main gay hangouts and hotels are spaced out in and around the city centre. We always started our evening in the touristic area called “Pub Street” because this is where the best restaurants can be found (as well as all the souvenir shops and markets for us to top up our Lara Croft inspired outfits)… In terms of gay bars/clubs in Siem Reap, there are 3 to check out. The most central are Barcode and the Miss Wong Cocktail Bar both located in and around the Pub Street area. Further afield, around 15 minutes walk southeast from Pub Street is DreamBoys.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Cambodia Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Thailand – Our Taste for Life

Lesbian Thailand - Our Taste for Life

When it comes to LGBT-friendly destinations in Asia, Thailand tends to top the list every time. We’ve spent a lot of time travelling through Thailand over the years. And we’ve always been grateful for their tolerant and open-minded attitude towards to the LGBTQ+ community. As not only can we feel free to be ourselves without fear of discrimination, but there’s a thriving gay scene both in Bangkok and other locations across the country. Combine that with sun, sea, sand, and adventure, gay and lesbian Thailand has a lot to offer.

Thailand’s fabulous gay scene aside, the ‘land of smiles’ is a stunning and diverse country. On the one hand, you have pristine beaches, sweeping jungles, and exciting cities. On the other, jaw-dropping temples, fascinating culture, and mouth-watering cuisine. Not to mention the beloved Thai people, who are always there to welcome you with a smile and a “sa-wa-dee-ka/krab”.

With something to offer everybody, Thailand is a dream destination that should be on everybody’s bucket list. And this guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to have an unforgettable time. I’ve listed all of the hottest gay bars and nightclubs; gay-friendly hotels and hostels; the best LGBT+ centred events; as well as all the top places to visit around the country. We will also touch on LGBT+ rights and social opinions in Thailand, so you come fully prepared.

So let’s get to it. Here’s our amazing and comprehensive guide to gay & lesbian Thailand.

LGBT+ Rights in Lesbian Thailand

Thailand has some of the most progressive LGBT laws in all of Asia. Same-sex relations got decriminalised in 1956, which is earlier than many countries in Europe even. It’s also one of the only Asian countries to have implemented anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ+ community. Meaning that it’s illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in employment, housing, and the military.

That said, it’s still uncertain if the 2019 bill to legalise same-sex marriage will be approved. There is a general consensus, however, that this will pass, making Thailand the second country in Asia (after Taiwan) to recognise same-sex marriage. If this turns out to be the case, there’s also plans to allow same-sex married couples the right to adopt.

Full Story at Our Taste for Life

Lesbian Thailand Travel Resources

Singapore’s Floral Fantasy – Keep Calm and Wander

Singapore's Floral Fantasy - Keep Calm and Wander

The Floral Fantasy at the Gardens by the Bay is just one of the tourist attractions inside Singapore’s most-visited destination. It’s not cheap to get in though, so I can understand that many visitors would skip it. There were only a few when I visited it, so my photos turned out great! 😀 

But was it worth going inside? Well, if you are into flowers and instagrammable photos – then you are in a perfect place!

With more than 3,000 species of plants, I actually expected the place to be quite big. Perhaps, it will only take a minute from the entrance to the exit door without looking at the flowers. The whole time I was there, I finished in thirty minutes, including the 4D video ride, showing the various places to explore inside the Gardens by the Bay.

Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Gay Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - The Nomadic Boys

Kool-krazy-kat-Kota-Kinabalu, the capital and gateway of Malaysia’s Sabah region on Borneo island. This is the city where treks up to Borneo’s highest mountain (Mount Kinabalu) begin, the tropical waters of the Gaya islands are right on your doorstep, lots of different magnificent experiences can be found, and, the coolest nickname ever for a city: KK!

Whilst most travellers will skip out KK, using it just as a transport hub to enter/leave Sabah, we think you should spend a few nights here. We visited KK during our trip around Malaysia and loved it. It’s a relaxed, modern place that offers so much. It also has a large LGBTQ community and sometimes even a gay bar – ie it closes/reopens a lot (more on this below)!

We’ve put together all our findings from our trip in and around gay Kota Kinabalu in this article. We’ve included important practical safety tips for LGBTQ travellers, gay friendly hotels we tried/loved, queer friendly hangouts and some of our favourite things to do which we hope inspires you.

Is Kota Kinabalu safe for gay travellers?

On the whole, yes, but as long as you’re careful to avoid PDAs. Malaysia is not on par with some of the places in the Middle East, but it’s obviously no Bangkok here!

In relation to progressive LGBTQ rights in Malaysia, there are none at all. There is even a horrible archaic anti-gay law which carries with it a 20-year imprisonment as well as caning, fines and/or deportation! The reality is that the anti-gay law of Malaysia is rarely ever enforced, particularly against foreigners. However, this gives you an idea of how society regards homosexuality and therefore why it’s best to avoid PDAs.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

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