Pride Month: Hot spots in Asia for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies

Thailand has just passed its marriage equality bill, giving the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies much to celebrate this Pride Month. While progress is staggered throughout the region, Asia is still full of queer hot spot to explore. Abby Li and David Ho give you recommendations on where to go

Hong Kong

Photo credit: Instagram @voguinghk

The 1997 Wong Kar-wai movie Happy Together starring Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung has earned Hong Kong a special place in Asia’s queer circle. This bustling city has a vibrant community with long-standing hangouts like FLM and Time bar. Besides the Gay Games that took place here last year, there are also queer event organizers and platforms like Plastic, Haus of Circuit, and Out In HK to keep things fresh and spicy with a regular range of events.

Photo credit: Plastic Shanghai

Voguing is a distinctly queer art form that rose from the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1960’s, where dancers with model-inspired dance moves that match different competing categories. It’s best known in the mainstream through Madonna’s classic hit “Vogue” and shows like Pose, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Legendary. Voguing has found popularity in Hong Kong as well. Shanghai-based Plastic has teamed up with Hong Kong voguing #legend Kenken for an upcoming ball on 29 June. If you are curious to see (or even compete), do swing by.

What: Come As You Are Ball
When: 29 June, 10pm-4am
Where: The Trilogy, 26/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger St, Central

Photo credit: Instagram

Eaton Hong Kong is also hosting Eclipsed Bodies, Embraced Pride, a month-long queer art and culture program. Challenge preconceived norms and expand your experiences through various art and cultural languages, including film screenings, workshops, parties, and exhibitions, all the way from 31 May to 12 August.

What: Eclipsed Bodies, Embraced Pride program
When: 31 May to 12 Aug
Where: Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan

Bangkok, Thailand

Photo: Instagram @bangkokpride.official

Thailand has just passed the marriage equality bill, becoming the first Southeast Asian country to pass such a law. It is also in a bid to host World Pride in 2030. Bangkok has already long been a haven for queer travellers and we expect its stock to continue rising. This year’s pride celebration kicked off with a parade attended by the Prime Minister of Thailand, followed by tons of parties, workshops and drag shows in the city of angels.

The Silom Soi 4 area is the queer party area. Balcony Bar is one of the longstanding establishments of this street, with an abundance of food and drink options. Make friends here and go with the flow to be whisked off for an exciting night at other shows and clubs in the area.

What: The Balcony Bar
Where: 84-88 Silom 4 Alley, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand

Taipei, Taiwan

Photo credit: Instagram @taiwanlgbtpride

Taipei has gained fame for being one of the most queer friendly destinations for a reason. Not only was same-sex marriage legalized five years ago, but discrimination against sexual orientation and gender characteristics is also prohibited in the education and employment sectors. Although the annual Taiwan Pride is on the last Saturday of October, this friendly city offers a plethora of options to ensure that your summer visit will be a memorable one.

You know it’s the most progressive city in Asia for human rights when pride is not just a celebration, but an everyday part of life. The gay and lesbian section at Eslite, Taiwan’s biggest bookstore chain, should stock enough queer literature. But if that is not enough, find your reads at Gingin store, the first queer-focused bookshop.

This recommendation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic Ximen area, where you can find two of the most visited rainbow landmarks in front of Ximending and City Hall. Take a trip to The Red House open area for some drinks, performances, and fresh air in this hot summer. If you’re overwhelmed by the dozens of queer-friendly bars in the area, we recommend Café Dalida as it is known as the birthplace of drag queens in Taipei.

What: Café Dalida
Where: No. 51, Lane 10, Chengdu Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

If you are looking to do something more outdoorsy, Out in Taiwan on Facebook also serves as a platform for those looking to connect with others over wholesome activities.


Photo: Instagram @pinkdotsg

Singapore is known for being conservative, given its reputation for strict laws and heavy fines. However the island nation has made progress in recent years, culminating in the repeal of an archaic colonial law that criminalized consensual sex between men in 2022. The Lion City celebrates pride with the annual Pink Dot SG gathering. Though the event has now been restricted to residents, it has spawned sister events in various cities around the world, including Hong Kong. 

While Singapore has long had a thriving queer scene, it has really grown over the years with drag shows, pop-up parties, its own ball culture, and a number of watering holes. Our recommendation is the long-standing institution that is Tantric Bar. Situated in the gaybourhood of Tanjong Pagar, Tantric is now spread across two conjoined heritage houses. If you are ready for a drink that packs a stronger punch, try out their signature Blue Spin. 

What: Tantric Bar & May Wong Café
Where: 80 Neil Road, Singapore 088842

If you are seeking something without alcohol, check out Out in SG, the sister group of Out in HK. It is a volunteer run platform on Facebook with a range of sporting activities for the active queer folks.

Seoul, South Korea

Photo: Instagram @sqpexe

Unfortunately, South Korea is undoubtedly on the conservative end when it comes to discussions of equality and inclusivity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized by South Korean laws, and there is no legal protection against discrimination and prejudice. The repressive social atmosphere indeed calls for more activists and pride events. The 25th anniversary of the country’s pride parade gathered supporters in Seoul on 1 June, despite authorities denying access to the city plaza. The capital city has even more to offer with a wide range of open cultural events. From 27 May to 18 June, film screenings, dialogues, and merchandise can be easily found at The Seoul Queer Culture Festival.

Though the existing pride celebration is still within the local community, travellers can still find upscale queer bars in popular areas such as Itaewon. Our pick for you is the foreigner-friendly bar, Why Not? It is located at the heart of Itaewon, also known as “homo hill”. The modern interior and high ceiling indoors make for a fresh experience for a night out on the town.

What: Why Not?
Where: 10, Usadan-ro 12-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal is a hidden gem with a surprisingly long history of tolerance and acceptance, with same-sex intercourse decriminalised in 2007. Same-sex marriage was officially recognized in Nepal in 2023, and the Supreme Court issued an interim order enabling the registration of same-sex marriages in 2024.

As one of the more liberal places in Asia for LGBTQIA+ rights, you can expect a lively queer scene, especially in the capital city of Kathmandu. Every second Saturday of June, Nepal’s Pride Day is celebrated with parades through the capital in the name of equality and demarginalization.

When it comes to hangout spots in Kathmandu, Pink Tiffany comes to mind. It is the first queer-friendly bar owned by Meghna Lama, a transgender activist in Nepal. Featured in a short 2017 documentary that shares the same name, Pink Tiffany is not only a go-to if you are looking for a mix of good food and good vibes, but also a safe place for queer folks and allies.

What: Pink Tiffany 
Where: Thamel, Sathghumti Kathmandu, Nepal 44600

Also see: Diving into the queer legacy of The Little Mermaid

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