Gay Malta – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Malta - The Nomadic Boys

“You want to go to a gay bar in Malta? Pick any one you come across and you’ll be just fine!”
So said our Maltese gay friends when we asked them about the gay scene. But we get their point. When it comes to gay friendliness, Malta is killing it! This tiny island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is frequently named as one of the most gay friendly countries in the world and we can totally see why!

What used to be one of the most religious places in Europe (for example, up until 2013, divorce was illegal in Malta!) the country did a 180-degree turn to pass some of the most LGBTQ progressive laws in the world, quickly becoming THE gay haven in the Mediterranean region.

We visited Malta as part of a trip with Teletext Holidays to discover the gay scene and what makes it so appealing to LGBTQ travellers. We left with a strong thirst to return and see more. The people are open-minded, super friendly (Maltese guys – heLLO!), the queer community is very visible and even though it’s such a small nation of just 400,000 people, it still has a vibrant gay scene to check out.

We’ve put together all our findings in this gay guide to Malta as we explored the country from Valletta to Mdina, Gozo to Camino and Dingli to Xlendi.

Gay Rights in Malta

They are extremely progressive!

…or to quote the United Nation’s Equality and Non-Discrimination team:

“Malta has become the gold standard of LGBTQI reforms – a beacon of human rights for LGBTIQ issues!”

This says a lot for a country where up until 2013, divorce was illegal. This gives you an idea of just how Catholic and religious Malta used to be. It all began in 2013 when the progressive centre-left Labour Party came to power and prioritised gay-friendly policies led by the proactive Minister for Equality, Helena Dalli. They began by passing a full range of anti-discrimination laws, recognised civil unions and also passed adoption laws within their first year in power.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Malta 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 Life in Vietnam – The Nomadic Boys

Vietnam is one of our favourite places we visited as a gay couple travelling in Asia. From delicious foods to fantastic sites like Ha Long Bay, you’re spoilt rotten in terms of a destination rich with culture. Vietnam also has a more liberal attitude towards homosexuality, with large thriving LGBTQ communities in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the capital in Saigon.

We found Vietnam to be one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia. Locals were extremely friendly and welcoming to us, and getting a double bed was never an issue for us anywhere. However, Vietnam still has quite a way to go with regards to its LGBTQ laws, lacking any for anti-discrimination or for recognising same-sex couples. We met up with our buddy Quan in Saigon who gave us his perspective of what gay life in Vietnam is really like for LGBTQ locals in this interview.

Hello Quan, where are you from and what do you do?

Hi Stef and Seby.

Report this ad

My name is Quan Nguyen and I am 34 years old. I am a web designer living and working in Saigon.

Originally, I am from “Can Tho” in the Mekong Delta, but in my teenage years, my family moved to Saigon.

I come from a Catholic family, which surprises most people because everyone assumes all Vietnamese are Buddhist. Catholicism is one of the many influences in Vietnam from the French.

Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

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

Gay Beirut – The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still a crime. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best (albeit quite underground) gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.

We visited gay Beirut from Cyprus to celebrate Stefan’s birthday over a long weekend and absolutely loved the food, the people and of course the many gay parties. This is our gay guide to Beirut featuring the best gay bars and clubs, events, gay friendly hotels and best things to do.

Gay Rights in Lebanon

Lebanon doesn’t have the best track record with regards to LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal, there are no anti-discrimination laws, there is absolutely zero recognition of same-sex partnerships and the LGBTQ community are banned from openly serving in the Lebanese army.

On the plus side, proactive steps are being taken by judges and some politicians to decriminalise homosexuality and it was declassified as an illness in 2013. In addition, the right to change legal gender was introduced in 2016. From our experience travelling in the Middle East, Lebanon definitely ranks as one of the most gay friendly Arab countries, but remember, this is an extremely conservative region of the world when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Middle East Gay Travel Resources

Medellin Gay Hotels – The Nomadic Boys

Medellin is Colombia’s second city. What used to be the capital of a billion-dollar cocaine industry has now transformed into an exciting, super modern and buzzing gay friendly metropolis.

The Paisas (the nickname of people from Medellin) often compete with the Rolos (the nickname given to the people from Bogota) as to who is better. A common joke is that Medellin has the best weather (the “City of Eternal Spring”) and unlike Bogota, has managed to build a successful public transport system – honestly, mention that to them and it will spark a whoooole long conversation about it!

In terms of the gay scene, however, Bogota wins for us hands down simply because of the incredible super club, Theatron! The gay scene of Medellin is just as vibrant to explore, of course, particularly around El Poblado, where the majority of the city’s best nightlife can be found.

We spent almost a year living in Medellin and during that period we were fortunate enough to try out various different places to stay. We’ve put together our 6 best gay friendly hotels in Medellin for gay travellers, where you can feel confident you’ll be welcomed as a queer traveller and won’t have any problems getting a double bed.

Where to base yourself in Medellin

The majority of the best gay bars and clubs of Medellin can be found in and around El Poblado. This was definitely one of our favourite parts of Medellin as you’re close to the main gay bars as well as to the city’s best restaurants. The majority of the best luxury hotel brands are in Poblado, but the downside is that it is not cheap: this is one of the most expensive parts of the city!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Medellin Gay Travel Resources

Gay Tokyo – The Nomadic Boys

Tokyo ranks as one of our legit favourite destinations ever! It’s clean, extremely safe, the people just impeccable, foodgasms galore and a fantastic gay scene with over 300 gay bars in Shinjuku’s Ni-Chōme district!

Put it this way, Tokyo is so fabulous, even the gorgeous Queer Eye Fab Five team made it over here (not to mention the 2020 Olympic Games!).

We’ve visited Tokyo several times over the past few years and experienced the best Tokyo’s gay scene has to offer. We’ve put together our LGBTQ travel guide to Tokyo based on our first-hand experience to help you have a fabulous holiday there.

How safe is Tokyo for gay travellers?

Short answer, extremely safe! Whether you’re straight or gay, Japan is one of the safest places on the planet: crime is low, people are extremely respectful, particularly towards foreigners visiting. At no stage did we ever feel unsafe in Tokyo.

As a gay couple travelling in Tokyo, we repeat, we felt just as safe. Whilst Japanese society is very conservative towards LGBTQ rights, they are extremely respectful towards foreigners and Japanese people will do their absolute best to make you feel welcome. Getting a double bed was never an issue in any of the places we stayed in Tokyo, whether a local guesthouse or a hotel.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Amazon Gay Traveling – The Nomadic Boys

Seby took one look at the dark green colour of the Amazon River, turned to Stefan and declared:

“I am NOT swimming in there Stefan. I will NOT become piranha fish food!”

Stefan got his way in the end and managed to persuade Seb to jump in, to the joy of the staff on board the Anakonda cruise who found our bickering (and Seb’s irrational fears) highly amusing.

Irrational fears? Contrary to popular belief, swimming in the Amazon River can be quite safe. Our guides knew the spots where tourists like us could swim safely and conquer their Piranha-phobia. Piranhas are not aggressive or territorial, but more like scavengers. They will not go anywhere near you.

Despite this, Sebastien lasted a whole 7 seconds in the Amazon River before he jumped straight back into our boat…

Piranha-phobias aside, there are many options for gay travellers to explore the Amazon jungle in South America, whether as part of a gay group tour, on a luxurious cruise along the Amazon river or staying in a jungle lodge. This is our guide summarising each of these based on our first-hand experience travelling in Ecuador and Peru as a gay couple.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Ecuador Gay Travel Resources

Peru Gay Travel Resources

Gay Varanasi, India – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Varanasi, India - The Nomadic Boys

Varanasi: a city where you see every facet of life before your very eyes! From intense worshipping by pilgrims along the River Ganges to open-casket funerals along the ghats, it’s full of life going on everywhere you look!

Read moreGay Varanasi, India – The Nomadic Boys

Best Spain Gay Pride Events – The Nomadic Boys

Best Spain Gay Pride Events - The Nomadic Boys

Shirtless men dancing on floats. Drag queens lip-syncing for their lives. Friends running through the streets with faces smeared in glitter and dressed in rainbow colours!

Pride is as much a party as it is a protest. Often used to highlight issues where LGBTQ citizens are not granted the same rights as their straight peers, such as blood donation, the existence of conversion therapy, or loose discrimination laws, the Pride march is a fantastic way to get society to listen up, and address the issues at hand.

Read moreBest Spain Gay Pride Events – The Nomadic Boys