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Hoi An, Vietnam
Photograph: Shutterstock/Vietnam Travel

6 LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations in the Asia Pacific region

Travel with ease at these inclusive, queer-friendly destinations in the Asia Pacific

Written by
Vianne Chia

Travelling is a stressful experience for everyone, but especially so for tourists that identify as part of the LGBTQ community. For them, destinations may not be safe or inclusive – some countries have strict laws and may not be the most accommodating to queer tourists. If you’re an LGBTQ tourist and you’re looking for safe, inclusive destinations with vibrant queer communities, here’s your guide to the best LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the Asia Pacific region, based on the results of a survey by

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LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations

Taipei, Taiwan

You can’t go wrong with Taipei, the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage. Visit one of their world-famous night markets (Shilin Night Market is a popular choice) for amazing street food, the iconic Taipei 101 building for great views, Huashan 1914 Creative Park for art, or the charming Jiufen town for a glimpse into historical Taiwan. For a truly queer experience, however, head to the vibrant Ximending district, reputed to be the gay hub of Taipei – you’ll find a plethora of LGBTQ+ owned food establishments, bars, clubs and cafes there. And, if you happen to visit in October, you might be able to catch the annual Taipei Pride Parade.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

For a tropical escape replete with mountain landscapes, abundant farmland, and great food, head to Chiang Mai in Thailand. You’ll hardly feel out of place – the queer community in Chiang Mai is well-established and thriving, buoyed by the recent legal recognition of same-sex couples in Thailand. Explore attractions like the bustling Kalare Night Bazaar and tranquil rice paddy fields, before ending the day with a cabaret performance at Ram Bar, a gay nightclub.


Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is a beautiful city that retains much of Japan’s historical, old-world charm with its cobblestone streets, scenic gardens, tranquil temples, and traditional teahouses. And it’s becoming increasingly inclusive too – Japan recently recognised gay couples in the form of a partnership system. Tourists love visiting the Kiyomizu-dera temple (and the neighbouring Higashiyama district for some shopping afterwards), the Arashiyama bamboo forest, the iconic red torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha, and the Nishiki Market. For an authentic Japanese experience, stay at a ryokan guesthouse or machiya townhouse, find the time to soak in an onsen (hot spring), and attend a traditional tea ceremony at one of Kyoto’s many teahouses.


Known for its safety, food, diversity, and greenery, Singapore is an easy bet if you’re looking for a relaxing and unproblematic city experience. Furthermore, Singapore’s status as an inclusive, queer-friendly city was recently boosted with the repeal of a law criminalising gay sex. Try wallet-friendly local dishes at hawker centres, visit iconic tourist attractions like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, relax at one of Sentosa’s beaches, and head to heritage neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru and Joo Chiat. If your visit coincides with Pride Month in June, make sure to attend the Pink Dot, Singapore’s annual LGBTQ pride event.


Hoi An, Vietnam

Queer tourists are warmly welcomed in Hoi An, a city known for its hospitality. You can’t miss the historic Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its eclectic mix of architectural styles – ranging from Japanese-style bridges and Chinese shophouses to French colonial buildings – that reflect its history as a trading port. Then, go for a boat ride along the Thu Bon River, or have a relaxing day at the beach (Cua Dai beach is a popular choice).

Sydney, Australia

For amazing beaches, great weather, and a cosmopolitan city culture, head to Sydney. LGBTQ tourists love Sydney – it’s reputed to be one of the most inclusive, queer-friendly cities in the world. In March and February, the city hosts the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the largest LGBTQ festival in the world. Other than popular attractions like Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll also want to make time for the lively Darlinghurst area, a famously queer neighbourhood (especially Oxford Street – it’s home to a large number of gay clubs, cafes, shops, and businesses).

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