The Hornet Guide to Gay Taipei
With its highest court recently ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Taiwan is the first Asian territory to welcome marriage equality. Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, has long had a strong LGBTQ base, as well as a thriving gay nightlife. Known for its welcoming and warm culture, visitors come to Taipei to learn about Chinese history, explore its natural beauty, and experience its hospitality.
Taipei’s infrastructure is very modern, so getting around the city is easy. From national monuments to contemporary architecture, there’s plenty of sightseeing in this “new old city.” For the foodies, Taipei offers authentic Taiwanese dishes and the delicious street food of vendors. If you’re looking to shop, you’ll discover local trinkets and designer fashions all over the city.
Taipei is also becoming one of Asia’s most popular gay travel destinations. With many gay establishments centered around the Red House district, Taipei’s gayborhood, it’s the perfect area to enjoy some gay Taipei fun.
National Monuments and Museums
The city has stunning historic monuments and grand museums for visitors to explore. National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a must-visit monument in the city. This memorial site, surrounded by a park, honors Chiang Kai-shek, former president of the Republic of China. The Memorial Hall has a museum that documents his life and career. It also documents the Republic of China era and Chinese history.
The National Museum of History is another great place to learn about Chinese history. The museum was established in a Japanese-style building near the Taipei Botanical Garden in 1955. It has gone through several renovations throughout the years, but it continues to preserve its five-floor traditional Chinese Ming and Qing palace style for visitors. The museum consists of ancient relics, artifacts and bronze works from various Chinese dynasties. If you love to learn about culture and history, this place is worth a visit.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) also offers a great cultural experience, inside its historic red brick building. You’ll discover modern and contemporary art, as MOCA regularly hosts special installations by Asian artists, from Japan to Taiwan. It also has special panels set up throughout the month for art aficionados to exchange ideas about media, culture and art.
Gay Taipei Nightlife
The Red House District, in the heart of Taipei, is the perfect place for bar-hopping. Your first stop is Cafe Dalida, one of the original gay bars here that’s very popular among locals and tourists. This bar has a great outdoor patio space, decorated with tropical plants, a great spot to socialize with friends and enjoy some people-watching. Don’t forget to try Cafe Dalida’s famous cucumber mojitos, which are especially tasty on a hot and humid summer night.
Another favorite local hangout around the Red House District is G Paradise. This café-style bar welcomes everyone to hang out. You’ll find an extensive drink menu that includes more than alcohol; this bar serves delicious fruity soda drinks and locally made apple ciders for non-drinkers.
For the leather crowd, Commander 41, the self-proclaimed OG leather & fetish bar in the neighborhood, offers its patrons an intimate environment to socialize. The bar hosts different themed nights throughout the month. Bondage Sunday draws a great crowd, with live demonstrations taught by experts in front of the audience. If you have a foot fetish, don’t miss the party that takes place on the first Thursday of each month, all for guys who get turned on by feet.
Other gay bars around Taipei are also worthy of a visit. Goldfish is a hip spot in Linsen Road. With its modern décor (golden goldfish statues on the wall) and an open oval-shaped bar, it’s known for great service and stiff drinks. Goldfish is a lively spot to meet new people, and you’ll watch music videos on a giant TV screen.
Funky Club is a local pub that attracts a younger crowd. Located in the Zhongzheng District, it’s a popular spot for those getting together after work. Funky Club has a great happy hour menu, plus tasty appetizers. The bar doesn’t have DJs spinning music, so you can chat freely.
Taipei has become a hub for amazing circuit parties throughout Asia. If you want to hear the latest tribal or EDM beats, G*Star Club regularly hosts big parties for the music-loving crowd. If you’re a K-Pop fan, the same club plays popular Asian artists, like HYOYEON, for the home crowd.
Places to Relax in Gay Taipei
Guys in Taipei regularly visit saunas or massage parlors to relax and socialize. Aniki Wow, a modern sauna facility, has state-of-the-art equipment, including a gym and steam bath. This sauna also hosts special events throughout the week, from foam parties to blackout events. Here you’ll find a different kind of gay Taipei experience, with hot guys cruising around in the buff.
In Touch Spa specializes in spa services for men. At this tranquil and clean space, you can expect body massages, body scrubs and wraps from its experts. In Touch also offers outcall services, so you can get pampered in the privacy of your hotel room.
Royal Spa is popular for its massive selection of 30 natural oils used for traditional Chinese oil massage. This spa also offers comprehensive services like acupressure. If you prefer privacy, Royal Spa has private pools for you to enjoy.
Where to Stay in Gay Taipei
W Hotel Taipei, set in the cosmopolitan district of Xinyi, is conveniently located near the city center. This friendly hotel is modern in its architecture and interior design, plus each room has a stunning view of the city. The hotel also offers great amenities, like its 10th-floor outdoor pool, spa and gym. With these great features, W Hotel is one of the city’s poshest places to stay.
If you want something different, try themed hotel Airline Inn (a three-minute walk from Ximending District, a shopper’s paradise) for a unique experience. This airplane-themed hotel offers a reasonable rate (about $60 per night) to stay, and has all the essential amenities like free wifi services for its guests.
Amba Taipei Zhongshan is a boutique hotel in the Zhongshan district, one of Taipei’s most historic neighborhoods. This eco-friendly hotel combines the modern with century-old European architecture. You can easily walk to hip restaurants and design shops in this area. You’re also within walking distance of cultural attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art and SPOT-Taipei Film House.
The ideal time to visit Taipei is at the end of October for its annual Pride celebration. Not only is the weather great during this time of year, but you also get to celebrate the monumental event with locals and a ton of other tourists in this ever-changing city.
Featured image by Portra via iStock