Gay Life in Thailand – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Life in Thailand - The Nomadic Boys

“Guys you’ve been to so many countries in the world, you must have a favourite?”

Oh, we sure do! There are of course many places we’d go back to in a heartbeat, but if we had to pick just one – Thailand!

Thailand has it all, amazing beaches, a rich cultural fabric to discover, delicious food and most of all, it is very gay friendly! Bangkok, in particular, has a fantastic gay scene – in our opinion, one of the best in the world. Whilst Thailand has positioned itself to become one of Asia’s leading destinations for LGBTQ travellers, we wanted to learn more about what gay life in Thailand is really like from a local’s perspective.

We met cutie photographer, Saroj, in Bangkok, who gave us his perspective of what gay life in Thailand is really like and what it was like growing up gay there. Read his story right here:

Sawasdee krap Saroj, Please Introduce Yourself:

Hi guys, my name is Saroj Kunatanad. My friends call me “Ark”. I am 33 years old, born and raised in Bangkok. I grew up in Bobea, which is in the old town area of Bangkok, near Chinatown and the infamous Khao San Road.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Bangkok Gay Tours – The Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Tours - The Nomadic Boys

Aaah, Bangkok… this crazy, chaotic city can certainly overwhelm you with all the traffic and people but we keep on coming back for more! There’s just something so intoxicating about this messy, gritty yet absolutely incredible city…

Thailand is one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia, so it’s not surprising that its capital, Bangkok, has a fabulous gay scene. We’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring the gay bars and clubs in Bangkok, but sometimes you really just want someone in the know to show you around.

Luckily we’ve found these fabulous gay tours with local LGBTQ guides in case you’re feeling a bit nervous about venturing into the maze of streets and venues by yourself. They each offer something different, so whether you’re looking to party with drag queens or relax in the best gay saunas, you’ll find something to love.

Bangkok Gay Tours – Nightlife

This gay nightlife tour takes you on a whirlwind journey through Bangkok’s best gay bars and clubs. You’ll feel like you’ve followed the white rabbit down into the Wonderland that is Bangkok’s gay scene, so it’s appropriate that the first stop of the evening is at the White Rabbit Bar!

This cafe/lounge bar is a lovely spot for dining during the day, but let’s be honest, you’re joining this gay tour for something a bit more exciting than food, right? Luckily the tour includes a shot at each of the venues and of course you’ll be able to purchase more drinks for yourself if you feel like it. We suggest the “rabbit passion” cocktail to keep you going all night long (wink, wink)!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bangkok Gay Travel Resources

Gay Koh Lip – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Koh Lip - The Nomadic Boys

Koh Lipe is the best island in Thailand!

There, we officially declared it. The secret’s out…

We’ve been visiting Thailand for over a decade, trying out many islands along the way, but each time we keep circling back to Koh Lipe.

Why?

Koh Lipe still has those crystal clear tropical waters you associate with Thailand – surrounded by healthy coral. So you can literally wake up, go to the beach, put your head in the water and see Nemo swimming about around you! It was like this when we first visited many years ago and has remained this way on our recent visit.

We used to think the same about Phuket, Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi, but over time they quickly became built up, super touristy and overcrowded. Not gay Koh Lipe! We put this down to the fact that it’s quite remote and rather complicated to reach: first, you need to fly to Hat Yai airport in South Thailand, then drive over to Pak Bara port (around 2 hours) to then take a 2-hour speedboat to Koh Lipe…Let’s just say this is enough to put off the large crowds of packaged tourists.

Don’t get us wrong. Koh Lipe is developed enough to have plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars and shops, but it’s a controlled growth, helped by the fact that it is part of the group of Tarutao National Marine Park islands. We’ve put together our love for Lipe in this detailed gay guide to include the best gay friendly resorts, bars, practical tips and more.

How Friendly is Gay Koh Lipe?

Koh Lipe is very gay friendly! We met many more other gay travellers here than we did on most of the other Thai islands, plus the Thai locals are super friendly and accepting. Even if they don’t approve, unlike other places in the world, they would never outwardly express this in front of you.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Miami Beach Pride’s Biggest Events – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Miami Beach Pride's Biggest Events - The Nomadic Boys

“Miami Beach Pride is one of the biggest and best gay events in South Florida which you will not want to miss!”

While Miami Beach Pride may not be one of the biggest pride events in the world, it’s certainly one of the most exciting and unique…how many Pride events do you know that take place along a beach?

My partner Teraj is a Miami native so, naturally, we have visited this vibrant city many times over the past few years. In particular, we love going to Miami Beach Pride and always attend in full glitter and rainbow paraphernalia! In this guest post, I’ve set out why we love it so much, from all the many special events, social mixers and must-attend parties.

Here’s my rundown of the most anticipated parties during Miami Beach Gay Pride.

Official Miami Beach Pride Pool Party

Nothing says “Miami” quite like a pool, a few cocktails and of course, lots of hot guys! Miami Beach Pride gets this spot on with the official Pride Pool Party. What I love about it the most is that they always feature amazing international DJs every year, like DJ Ralphi Rosario, Dan Slater and Dani Brasil. This is where you want to see and be seen (especially if you enjoy watching hotties in skimpy bathing suits)!

General admission is usually only around $40. For a bit more, you can also get a VIP access, which includes an open bar with a private terrace. 

You will naturally find us in the VIP area getting our dose of Vitamin D and soaking up all those yummy cocktails!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Miami Beach Gay Travel Resources

Pocket WiFi in Taiwan – The Nomadic Boys

Pocket WiFi in Taiwan - The Nomadic Boys

We love Instagramming during our trips, especially Stefan, especially in Taiwan…look, I’ll be honest, it does start to grate on me when trying to enjoy a romantic cocktail together with a beautiful sunset backdrop, yet he’s on his phone posting about it on social media…

…but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your man happy right?

So, when arriving in a new place, the first thing we HAVE to do (to prevent the infamous Stefan tantrums breaking out)is to make sure he has a way of staying online at all times. We normally buy a new local SIM card, but recently, whilst travelling through Taiwan, we’ve found that investing in pocket WiFi devices is much better.

For starters, it means your phone can still be locked to your home contract, whereas SIM cards require you to have an unlocked phone. It can also work out cheaper as data is unlimited (compared to SIM card data packages), and it means you can connect all your devices to it, so if you’re travelling as a group, everyone can stay connected.

We used a pocket WiFi device during our trip to Taiwan and it was a godsend! Prior to ordering it, we researched all the many different pocket WiFi options, which we summarise in this article so it can help you figure out which one is best for you.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Nice – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Nice - The Nomadic Boys

With sunshine all year round, you can’t go wrong with choosing a trip to Nice. This is one of France’s top french cities. Its seaside location is a massive pull for tourists, and its sprawling, albeit surprisingly modern city, is truly breathtaking!

We always feel drawn towards Nice. Sure, Paris is nice, but there’s something particularly magical about Nice. Perhaps it’s the beach location? Or the clash of Mediterranean and Italian influences that intertwine with its culture? Or the winding streets that lead you by old buildings, bespoke restaurants and fascinating landmarks. Maybe also ’cause it’s so surprisingly gay? Whatever it is, we just can’t get enough! As far back as the 1700s, rich folk from all over Europe came here for their holiday. It was their relaxing getaway…and now, we’re also claiming it for us!!

The food, in particular, is noteworthy. We know the French love their food, but Nice is on a whole other level. They have the whole southern hospitality thing down. Seb and I could literally sense that the chefs in each restaurant pored over every aching detail of the dishes they prepared for us. The hard work really shows!

This is our gay travel guide to Nice including the best gay bars, clubs, events, hotels and more.

Pro tip: news for 2020 travel to Nice…

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Nice Gay Travel Resources

The Best Barcelona Gay Hotels – The Nomadic Boys

The Best Barcelona Gay Hotels - The Nomadic Boys

Sassy, cosmopolitan, super cool and sooo gay!

That sums up just why we love Barcelona so much and why we keep returning every year for more! Regardless of how long you plan to visit, how much ground you hope to cover, and the kind of vibe you want to be around, Barcelona is filled with multiple options for gay travellers. We’ve always found the perfect place to suit our needs – whether we were just craving a short city break or a full-on romantic reenactment of our honeymoon.

There are plenty of choices for those willing to paint the town green (with those dollah dollah bills y’all), or who need to keep a tight grip on those purse strings. Either way, Barcelona is a calling you…so it is your duty to answer!

We’ve rounded up our picks of the coolest Barcelona gay hotels in this guide, so you will have all the info you need to book your own perfect fabulous stay.

Barcelona Gay Hotels – Where to Base Yourself

Situated in the Eixample district, the main gay area is nicknamed, Gaixample (pronounced: gay-sham-pleh). Here you can find tons of LGBTQ bars, clubs, cafés, restaurants and shops to explore. It’s an entire gay village that we get all to ourselves! Who will be the Queen of the village? That’s a hard question as there are tons of candidates vying for the spot…but obviously, it’s us! If you want to be walking distance to the most hip-and-happening gay hangouts, as well as the main tourist sights of Barcelona, then this is where we recommend you base yourself. Read more in our gay travel guide to Barcelona as well as our guide to the city’s best gay bars.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

Dubai Gay Life – The Nomadic Boys

Dubai Gay Life - The Nomadic Boys

“How dare you promote travel to countries where being gay is illegal Nomadic Boys, you should be ASHAMED!”

…is the typical comment we receive on social media each time one of our posts about gay Dubai, gay Abu Dhabi or gay Iran gets shared. But before you judge, remember that whilst a country has anti-gay laws, that same country still has an LGBTQ community who you risk turning your back on, right when they need you the most.

We have always been adamant that just because a country has spurious LGBTQ laws, this should not prevent us from visiting. We instead believe that it is far more productive to get out there and be a visible and positive representation of our community to show to that society that we are not some freak perversion that needs to be persecuted. Doing this is going to do so much more for the local LGBTQ community’s struggle for visibility against an oppressive government, than boycotting them is going to achieve.

Dubai Gay Life

But look, we get it! We also used to feel this way. After all, the United Arab Emirates is no different than its Middle Eastern neighbours when it comes to LGBTQ rights. In short, there are none. Being gay here is a crime, full stop! Officially it’s punishable by imprisonment, deportation, a fine, and worse, death. Whether or not these are strictly enforced, the very existence of these laws is so insulting that it simply serves to conjure up natural feelings of intense hatred within us – “how can such a government be so loathsome of us that it wants to eradicate and kill us? How dare they?!”

Yet we disagree that boycotting them is the solution. That is what these oppressive governments want us to do: ignore and turn our backs on them so they can continue crushing any LGBTQ visibility and pretend we don’t exist! Instead, from our travels in countries with anti-gay laws, we’ve learnt that the more productive way forward is to get out there and support gay friendly businesses in that country as much as we can and use our platform to give a voice to the local LGBTQ community.

Therefore, for this article, we are super proud that our buddy, Zayed, was happy for us to interview him about what gay life is like in Dubai and what it’s like growing up gay in the UAE. Zayed has however asked that he is anonymous in this interview using ‘Zayed’ as his alias.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

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

Georgia Gay Life – The Nomadic Boys

Georgia Gay Life - The Nomadic Boys

“Georgian dance is based on masculinity. There is no room for weakness in Georgian dance!”
So begins the captivating 2019 gay movie “And Then We Danced”, based on the love affair between Merab and Irakli – dancers training at the National Georgian Ensemble in Tbilisi. Whilst the movie is about the challenges of dealing with homosexuality in a conservative society, at its premiere in downtown Tbilisi in November 2019, violent protests were taking place outside by far-right and religious groups. Thankfully the police kept the peace. But what a huge step forward for an ex-Soviet country, where not too long ago, being gay got you thrown into prison!

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, Georgia has pushed ahead with progressive laws as it has tried to ally itself more and more with the EU. This has included laws to protect its LGBTQ community, like legalising homosexuality in 2000, and an array of anti-discrimination laws from 2006 onwards. Yet, society remains very conservative. So much so that in 2018, the government passed a constitutional ban on gay marriages.

To put things into perspective, in a survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre in 2015/2016 about the acceptance of homosexuality in East Europe, Georgia ranked as one of the least tolerant, with a whopping 93% of the people polled saying homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

About Georgia Gay Life

We absolutely loved Georgia. It’s a stunning country with mountains, beaches, delicious foods, wines and a rich cultural heritage to discover. We were excited to experience all of this and we were not disappointed.

We were also fully aware of the country’s “struggle” (to put it mildly!) with LGBTQ rights before going. We knew we had to be cautious about PDAs. But we never had problems finding gay friendly hotels and even discovered lots of gay hangouts, including the famous Bassiani. The people we met were only ever super sweet and welcoming, and we loved them! But this is from our perspective as a gay couple travelling in Georgia. We wanted to get an idea of what things are really like from a local, so we got our friend Giorgi from Tbilisi to tell us more in this interview about Georgia gay life.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys