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19 Jul 2010

Taipei: A rising star for gay travelers

With a recent wave of gay Asian tourists flocking to Taipei for holiday, the city is being dubbed the San Francisco of Asia, and the government might do well to take notice.

Excerpted from the Taipei Times Jul 11, 2010:

When Justin Li, a bank worker in Taipei, attended Club Jump’s annual Christmas Eve bash a couple of years back, he was stunned by what he heard through the cacophony of music and gay male partygoers.

“Whether I was at the bar for a drink or lining up to use the washroom, all I could hear was people speaking English.” Gazing at the sprawling dance floor and its undulating sweaty bodies, he realized Taipei’s gay scene was in the midst of significant change. 

Since the second half of the last decade, Taipei’s gay community has witnessed an influx of gay tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia descending upon it for holiday, elevating the city’s status from the gay capital of Taiwan to a top gay destination for all of Asia. 

While no official numbers exist, a recent survey by Fridae, an online gay media and services company, reveals a growing interest in Taipei among regional gay travelers.

According to unpublished data from its 2010 Asia Internet MSM (men who have sex with men) Sex Survey of almost 15,000 gay men, 9 percent had traveled to Taiwan in the past six months alone.

“Taiwan is increasingly a destination of choice for the discerning gay traveler because of its profile as a progressive society which embraces diversity,” says Fridae CEO Stuart Koe (古志耀). “News about Taiwan’s gay-friendly government and policies has been reported widely by Fridae and other international media, and the Internet has contributed to an increased awareness of the vibrancy of Taiwan’s gay community amongst affluent gay travelers in the region.”

Looking to bank on Taipei’s heightening popularity, the Australian company Formosa Travel and Holiday has released a 20-page Taipei Gay and Lesbian Travel Guide on the Internet, extolling the nightlife scene, gay-friendly accommodations and top citywide tourist sites.

“Taipei is a rising star for gay and lesbian travel,” says general manager Michael Lee. “A lot of gay people in Australia don’t know about Taipei. They would rather go to London or Europe. We are the only travel company in the country which has put out a gay and lesbian travel guide to Taipei and since its release in February, we have received well over 100 inquiries.”


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-07-19 19:15  
oh! I just L O V E Taipei and the whole Taiwan
2. 2010-07-19 20:18  
I love Taipei, but I went for the great food, history and interesting things to see ( well interesting to me as a westerner), as well as the hot guys of course, but I can say the same for Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and many others places have visited.
Wow, I never knew I was a "discerning gay traveler" whatever the hell that is.
3. 2010-07-19 20:44  
When i just travel around and went back to my home country, Taiwan sometimes, taipei people only dance lady Gaga in gay club, no any better music demanded. and the food is never great. people never nice, we just talk about politics. and, summer will heat you to death. i enjoy my life in Korea and Northerneast China now.- i guess the editor is demanding Taiwanese men, but u just miss all wrong part. - from a Taiwanese that never into going back Taiwan.
4. 2010-07-19 23:39  
If there is any improvement in the gay scene in Taiwan, it certainly hasn't come from the heterosexual component of this island.
All of the progress, if anything substantial, has come from the glbt community themselves.
Now that the economy has languished for so long partly owing to dirty het politics, the hets have eyed the pink money and thought maybe it's good to bring more customers in to boost tourism and save the country's economy. Without sharing with their homo countrymen preferably.
So dear glbt brothers and sisters, when you visit this island, try to spend your money at glbt venues more.
All the money gone to the government and het venues will be in their purse and never return to the local glbt community, not to mention you, darling.
Comment edited on 2010-07-21 23:00:45
5. 2010-07-20 00:38  
I returned back to Taiwan after being away for 12 years and loved it. I've forgotten how genuinely warm people are in Taiwan. Sure there maybe an undercurrent of traditional value signals but for Asia, Taiwan impressed. I could see myself living there except for the heat but that's no fault of the people. Go!
6. 2010-07-20 02:54  
Too bad, Tapei (and Taiwan) is not yet a rising star for people living with HIV or AIDS... We are still barred from visiting, living and working there... Even China main land has lifted those discriminations. What are you waiting for??? PS: I have a lot of Taiwanese friends in Paris and in other places and I am just waiting for the time I can visit Taiwan! Cheers!
7. 2010-07-20 02:54  
Too bad, Tapei (and Taiwan) is not yet a rising star for people living with HIV or AIDS... We are still barred from visiting, living and working there... Even China main land has lifted those discriminations. What are you waiting for??? PS: I have a lot of Taiwanese friends in Paris and in other places and I am just waiting for the time I can visit Taiwan! Cheers!
8. 2010-07-20 16:54  
i lived and worked in taipei, kaohsiung for 4 years... very disappointing place, people care about nothing but money... my former boss even owes me money for 2 months of teaching english... i will never go back to taiwan :(
9. 2010-07-20 18:21  
YES! Definitely TAIPEI...i just so in LOVE with this city...i went there twice in 2009... Such a lovely city to be compares to Hong Kong...Generally the public is well receiving the presents of Gay communities.

The Red House is the heaven and is happening every nights.

I wish i can plan the next trip soon...
Comment edited on 2010-07-20 18:22:01
10. 2010-07-21 16:27  
Lovely Taiwan ,lovelky people. Long may it retain its own coutry identity ,despite the unwarranted claims of China. It is such a different country,with a more polite and sophisticated population. Sexy guys too .
11. 2010-07-21 17:27  
I can't wait to go later this year!
12. 2010-07-24 15:11  
I like Taipei too. I have been celebrating New Year in Taipei almost every year now. Taipei is the place where I feel alive and happy when I am travelling. But I still miss my home if I stay there too long. I guess nothing is better than one's own home. When I said home, I mean the place where I work and live now, a space where I can walk around naked too. he he he he he he he
Comment #13 was deleted by its author on 2010-07-24 15:12
14. 2010-09-14 01:35  
I agree with #4 uranusvenus- it's all abt the money. :-)

Taipei- great city with great food,, happening places, night markets
(you MUST sample Shih-Lin), friendly people, gorgeous girls, interesting fusion of Aboriginal + Chinese heritage, art & civilisation,etc....what's not to like? Well, I was initially drawn to this beautiful, exotic island-paradise that's Taiwan/Formosa...and in many ways that reputation is justified. Sadly, however, it's not without its dark sides...as some posters above mentioned, and then some...
I do not wish to repeat them.

My conclusion : Taipei/Taiwan is a great place to visit...bt do go in with yr eyes wide open ...and see the so-called 'gay ' industry for what they really are - cash cows keeping the economy afloat in times of 'crisis' till recovery, after which they can do away with all that
"I-love-gays-they-are-so-cute" pretence. Pardon me if I offended anyone, bt I've traveled & lived in Taiwn, so here's just sharing my experience.
15. 2010-11-08 01:06  
I love Taipei. Saunas, guys, food - mmmm... :-) it's a great place to visit.
16. 2010-11-28 16:44  
I love reading articles and comments on gay travel. Sadly the last one published on Fridae was 2008-09-23. I wish either the articles themselves or comments from readers could recommend places to stay, restaurants to eat at, clubs, bars, gyms and saunas to visit.

17. 2010-12-17 13:21  
One of my favourite countries. And definitely worth getting out of Taipei and visiting the rest of the iisland. Plenty of locals keen to meet GWMs all over the country! A friendly and welcoming country on the whole.
18. 2011-05-05 22:57  
hi you all here
i am working for travel agent in Hai Phong city,Viet Nam where there is well-known Cat Ba island near Ha Long.If you all care ,you can send your booking to me at levanthanh@dulichrongviet.vn
19. 2011-07-23 23:19  
I always enjoy my visits to Taipei. I really want to be there for the Gay Pride Parade later in the year, but absolutely no-one can tell me the date - and there is nothing at all on the internet. Assuming it is the end of October, low cost flights and hotel rooms will soon start to get booked up, and so delaying on an announcement about the date will make it more expensive and more difficult for guys from other countries to attend.

Please. please, please - it will be great if fridae can follow this up, or anyone from Taiwan can post the date/s. Thanks so much.
20. 2011-08-30 14:07  
Wow I wish i will go to This place so much ..
21. 2011-09-29 15:51  
taipei is simply amazing...

going back there again this year!

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