Remote Lands, the world’s leading ultra-luxe Asia travel designer, has released their top ten must-visit LGBT destinations in Asia along with some useful tips, resources and need-to-know background information for LGBT travelers to utilize when planning a trip. The list highlights recommended activities that celebrate LGBT travel from pride festivals, parades and holiday parties to cultural activities, welcoming attitudes and vibrant nightlife.
“With lively, inclusive LGBT scenes and increasingly accepting attitudes throughout the continent, there has never been a better time for LGBT travelers to vacation in Asia,” said Catherine Heald, Co-Founder and CEO of Remote Lands. “Asia truly has something to offer every traveler – from picturesque beaches, diverse cuisine and adventure to metropolitan capitals brimming with action, culture and entertainment. Remote Lands is happy to be a resource for first-time or returning LGBT travelers to Asia and is able to arrange fully customized itineraries incorporating these destinations and corresponding activities and events.”
View the full destination list below and for more information, visit www.remotelands.com.
From bustling Bangkok to the gorgeous green hills of the north and the pristine beaches of the south, Thailand has a reputation of tolerance when it comes to sexual orientation. Withworld-class resorts, cuisine, hospitality and nightlife, along with cultural, wellness and adventure excursions, LGBT travelers have a wealth of experiences at their fingertips. In Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket, travelers will find bars and nightclubs to suit most tastes.The best time of year for party-goers to visit Thailand is in April when Songkran – the country’s new year celebration – brings with it Bangkok’s circuit parties, closely followed by Phuket Pride, which will take place from April 27 to 30, 2017.
Manila is often cited as Asia’s gay capital and beyond the city’s charm lay beautiful islands, charming villages and fun-filled festivals. With increasingly relaxed attitudes, coupled with warm hospitality, LGBT travelers are drawn more and more to the stunning archipelago. Travelers can explore seaside destinations such as Puerto Princesa in Palawan, home to some of the finest diving destinations in the world, as well as the party island of Boracay. Since June 26, 1994, when it was host to Asia’s first ever Gay Pride march, Manila has been a central destination for LGBT events and celebrations including the Pink Film Festival and the Halloween Black Party – world-famous for its drag shows.
Setting the benchmark for LGBT rights in Asia, Taiwan has a marriage equality bill under government review and teaches tolerance in schools. This progressive attitude, along with tropical and mountainous scenery, world-class shopping and hotels, makes Taiwan one of Asia’s top LGBT holiday destinations. The country’s capital city, Taipei, is home to Asia’s largest annual Pride celebration, taking place on October 29, 2016, and is where the action is most vibrant. Beyond the city are numerous gay-friendly beaches and hot springs for those looking to relax. Apart from Taipei, other LGBT hotspots include Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Tainan.
With gleaming skyscrapers and some of the world’s most cutting-edge business and hospitality, Singapore’s attitude to LGBT lifestyles is catching up to its modern image. Theater and the arts often address LGBT themes and since the government has adopted a “live and let live” stance, Singapore has been able to show its rainbow colors more brightly. In August, Singapore hosts an annual Pride festival, Indignation, a month-long celebration of queer activism and culture that has run since 2005. In June, Singapore gets decked out in hot pink balloons for their LGBT Right Rally, Pink Dot. Most of the action is centered around the Central Business District, with enclaves in Orchard Road and Chinatown. The whole spectrum of the LGBT community will find there is more than enough for them in Singapore, thanks to groups and organizations that run events and pop-up parties, especially for women.
Vietnam is among the most tolerant countries in Asia, never having established any official laws against homosexuality. LGBT travelers experience little hassle and are free to explore the country’s stunning scenery - from the lush rice paddies of Sapa to the beaches lining the long coast. While the LGBT scenes tend to be more discreet, it is easier to find out where the parties and events are in developing centers like historic Danang and beachside Mui Ne, as well as the capital Hanoi, especially during August when Viet Pride allows for a little more outward expression. For night owls, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) is bustling with openly gay bars, discos and saunas mostly centered around in District 1.
Mongolia is a must-visit destination for outward-bound travelers looking for an unforgettable journey and to experience the nomadic lifestyle in the Gobi Desert or on the rolling steppe. For the LGBT adventurer, it is important to note that while there are no remaining laws against homosexuality, it still remains a fairly taboo topic in the more rural areas of Mongolia. In the capital, Ulaanbaatar, the city’s attitudes towards LGBT travelers have relaxed considerably and the local community hosted its first Pride event in 2013 - a week-long affair featuring a film festival and a parade. It was organized by the LGBT Centre, which has helped make way to a new and interesting scene in the capital.
With futuristic cities, historic temples and gardens, rich culture, sensational cuisine and world-class skiing and snowboarding, Japan offers incredibly diverse experiences for travelers. It also boasts an increasingly progressive attitude towards the LGBT community, with its politicians moving towards equal rights and the younger generation in particular pushing back against society’s expectation to keep their orientations and preferences discreet. Visitors looking for the scene will find it in the big cities, notably in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, which boasts the highest density of gay bars in the world. The city holds Tokyo Rainbow Pride annually in May, which gathers a larger crowd each year.
Thanks to activism calling for anti-discrimination laws since the 1990’s, same-sex relationships are now legal in South Korea and people who identify as trans can get gender-reassignment surgery from the age of 20. LGBT travelers drawn to South Korea for its cutting-edge modernity, fascinating history and culture, fabulous cuisine, and shopping and beaches will not be disappointed, nor in big cities feel the need to exercise more than usual discretion. The center of South Korea’s LGBT scene, Seoul has everything from UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the fastest broadband in the world, and most of its gay-friendly nightlife is found around the Itaewon district. The seaside city of Busan, home of the country’s longest beach and oldest hot springs, offers a more laid-back vibe along with a warm and welcoming gay scene and plenty of colorful nightlife in the Busanjin District.
Scenic, historic and beautiful Cambodia is home to ancient ruins, sleepy rural villages, teeming cities and a culture that has not seen the oppression from colonial law or anti-gay religious influence that its neighbors have. With education addressing LGBT and safe sex in a straightforward way, the younger generation is increasingly open, and an emerging, exciting scene is developing. UNESCO World Heritage Centre Siem Reap is set conveniently near to the world famous ruins of Angkor Wat and boasts a number of cabarets, as well as gay-owned cafes and barbershops. Battambang, a picturesque city set on the banks of the Sangkar River is well known not only for its Thai and Italian architecture and the beautiful surrounding countryside, but as something of an LGBT oasis, thanks to especially tolerant and laid-back attitudes. In the capital of Phnom Penh there are plenty of bars and clubs, plus two gay-friendly galleries and Q - Cambodia’s first LGBT magazine. Cambodia Gay Pride takes place over a week in May, with seminars, workshops and a parade featuring a tuk-tuk race.
Hong Kong, the Pearl of the South China Sea, is a cosmopolitan metropolis, encompassing Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury hotels and high-end designer boutiques, as well as scenic retreats for hikers seeking fresh air and stunning views. The city is popular with visitors from all over the world and increasingly draws global members of the LGBT community. Activist groups are well-organized and regularly throw pop-up parties for all niches, as well as large-scale events such as an LGBT film festival, Pink Season in September and a Pride parade in November, which is increasingly attracting an international crowd. They are also bidding to host the 2022 Gay Games, the world’s largest sporting and cultural event specifically for LGBT athletes, artists and musicians.
To find out more about the Remote Lands’ Top Ten LGBT Destinations in Asia or check out itinerary suggestions,visit www.remotelands.com.
About Remote Lands, Inc.
Remote Lands, Inc. creates highly personalized and unique, ultra-luxury holidays throughout Asia. Based in New York and Bangkok, the company specializes in extraordinary experiences that are difficult to arrange and require privileged access to important people and exclusive events, drawing upon Remote Lands’ relationships with remarkable people around Asia. Unparalleled service, creative itineraries and extreme attention to detail are what set Remote Lands apart. For additional information, visit Facebook.com/RemoteLands or on Twitter.com/RemoteLands.
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