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Top LGBTQ+ Friendly places to travel in Asia

Discover our top tips for LGBTQ+ friendly travel in Asia



Operations & Marketing Exec
Published on

05 Jun 2024

Pride ladies heart Thailand

Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent, and as such it is extremely diverse in cultures, languages, and histories. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Thailand, each region offers a unique blend of traditions and modernity. Despite historical conservatism in some regions, there's a growing wave of acceptance and recognition for LGBTQ+ communities across many Asian destinations. Cities like Bangkok, Tokyo, and Manila have become beacons of progress, hosting vibrant pride events, and fostering inclusive environments. This blog aims to highlight these LGBTQ+ friendly places, offering insights into where travellers can experience both the rich cultural heritage of Asia and a welcoming atmosphere. Join us as we explore the top destinations that embrace diversity and celebrate love in all its forms.

1. Thailand

Thailand is often referred to as the "Land of Smiles" and is renowned for its warm hospitality, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. In addition to these attractions, Thailand has emerged as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in Asia, offering a welcoming environment for travellers from all walks of life.

Two people at Thailand pride
Celebrating pride in Thailand

Thailand's reputation as a tolerant and accepting country is well-earned, even though same-sex marriage is not yet legal, although it is very close to being made legal (the bill is passing through the upper house of Thai Parliament this month, and is expected to pass by mid-June). The country has made significant strides in promoting LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. There are anti-discrimination laws in place, and the Thai government has shown increasing support for LGBTQ+ initiatives. The local population, influenced by the nation's Buddhist ethos of tolerance and compassion, generally holds a positive attitude toward LGBTQ+ individuals.

Bangkok: The Heart of LGBTQ+ Culture

Bangkok nights
Night in Bangkok

Bangkok, the bustling capital, is the epicentre of LGBTQ+ culture in Thailand. The city is home to Silom Soi 4 and Soi Twilight, two famous LGBTQ+ districts that come alive at night with vibrant bars, clubs, and cabarets. These areas offer a safe and inclusive environment where LGBTQ+ travellers can freely express themselves and connect with others.

One of the must-visit events in Bangkok is the annual Bangkok Pride Parade, which celebrates diversity and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. The parade, along with various other LGBTQ+ events throughout the year, highlights the city's commitment to inclusion and acceptance.

Chiang Mai: A Tranquil Retreat

Lavender field in Chiang Mai Thailand
Lavender fields in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, known for its serene temples and lush landscapes, also boasts a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ travellers. The city's annual LGBTQ+ festival, Chiang Mai Pride, is a testament to the growing acceptance and celebration of diversity in this northern Thai city. Visitors can explore inclusive bars, cafes, and cultural sites, all while enjoying the tranquility and beauty that Chiang Mai has to offer.

Phuket and Pattaya: Beach Paradise

Phuket night markets Thailand
Night markets in phuket

For those seeking sun and sea, Phuket and Pattaya are top choices. Both destinations are popular among LGBTQ+ travellers for their stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and inclusive resorts. Patong Beach in Phuket and Jomtien Beach in Pattaya are particularly known for their LGBTQ+ friendly scenes, offering a range of activities from beach parties to water sports.

Cultural Attractions

Beyond the nightlife and festivals, Thailand offers a plethora of cultural attractions that appeal to all travellers. Magnificent temples like Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew, the bustling floating markets, and the delectable street food scenes provide a rich cultural experience. LGBTQ+ travellers can immerse themselves in Thai culture while feeling safe and welcomed.

Thailand beach
Beach in Thailand
Songkran Festival Thailand
Songkran festival Thailand

Thailand's blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and inclusive atmosphere makes it an ideal destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. Whether you're exploring the vibrant streets of Bangkok, relaxing in the peaceful retreats of Chiang Mai, or enjoying the beaches of Phuket and Pattaya, Thailand offers a diverse and welcoming environment for all. The country's progress in LGBTQ+ acceptance, coupled with its inherent hospitality, ensures that every traveller can experience the best of what Thailand has to offer.

Check out our Thailand trips ideas here or talk to us about planning your own tailor-made LGBTQ+ friendly itinerary.

Travel tips

  • Thailand is very welcoming to LGBTQ+ tourists but does not necessarily support its own LGBTQ+ citizens with the same enthusiasm. Be mindful of this whilst travelling as LGBTQ+.
  • Thai people are generally conservative and are not inclined to touch strangers - this includes shaking hands. Instead a polite bow is the preferred greeting.

Pride Events

2. Japan

Shibuya crossing drone shot Tokyo Japan min
Shibuya Crossing Tokyo

Japan, a country where ancient traditions coexist with cutting-edge modernity, is increasingly recognised as an LGBT+ friendly destination. With its rich cultural heritage, vibrant cities, and growing acceptance of diversity, Japan offers LGBT+ travellers a unique and welcoming experience.

While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Japan, there have been significant strides in recognising and supporting the LGBT+ community. Several municipalities, including Tokyo's Shibuya and Setagaya wards, have introduced partnership certificates for same-sex couples, providing them with some rights similar to married heterosexual couples. Public support for LGBT+ rights is also increasing, with younger generations showing a particularly open-minded attitude.

Tokyo: A Hub for LGBT+ Culture

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Japan
Tokyo Rainbow Pride Org at Pride 7 Summit in Tokyo

Tokyo, the bustling capital, is at the forefront of LGBT+ culture in Japan. The Shinjuku Ni-chome district is the heart of the LGBT+ scene, renowned for its vibrant nightlife with an array of bars, clubs, and cafes catering to the community. This area is not only a hub for socialising but also a safe space for LGBT+ individuals to freely express themselves.

A highlight of the year is the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade, a week-long event culminating in a colourful and joyous celebration of diversity. This event attracts tens of thousands of participants and supporters, showcasing Tokyo's commitment to inclusion and acceptance.

Osaka and Kyoto: Cultural History

First Pride in Osaka 2006 balloons rainbow Japan
Osaka's first Pride parade in 2006

Osaka, Japan's third-largest city, is known for its friendly and open atmosphere. The city boasts a lively LGBT+ scene, particularly in the Doyama district, where numerous bars and clubs welcome travellers. Osaka also hosts the Kansai Queer Film Festival, which celebrates LGBT+ cinema and promotes understanding through film.

Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden Kyoto Japan min
Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto

Kyoto, famous for its historical temples and serene gardens, also embraces LGBT+ travellers. The city offers a more relaxed and culturally immersive experience, with a growing number of LGBT+ friendly establishments. Visitors can explore ancient shrines, traditional tea houses, and beautiful landscapes while feeling welcomed and respected.

Cultural Attractions

Sensoji Temple Asakusa Tokyo Japan
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Japan's cultural attractions are a major draw for travellers. From the historic temples and shrines of Kyoto to the modern architectural marvels of Tokyo, there's something for everyone. Iconic sites like the Tokyo Skytree, Mount Fuji, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park offer profound experiences that connect visitors with Japan's rich history and culture.

Sunset cruise in Kyoto with sakura Japan min
Sakura in Kyoto

LGBT+ travellers can also enjoy unique Japanese experiences such as onsen (hot springs) in regions like Hakone and Beppu, and traditional ryokan (inn) stays, which provide a glimpse into Japan's hospitality and heritage. Additionally, the cherry blossom season in spring and the autumn foliage offer breathtaking natural beauty, making any visit memorable.

Japan's blend of tradition, modernity, and growing acceptance makes it an ideal destination for LGBT+ travellers. Whether exploring the dynamic streets of Tokyo, the historic sites of Kyoto, or the lively districts of Osaka, LGBT+ visitors will find a welcoming and inclusive environment. With its rich cultural offerings, diverse experiences, and a commitment to fostering diversity, Japan stands out as a premier destination for travellers seeking both adventure and acceptance.

Check out our Japan trips ideas here or talk to us about planning your own tailor-made LGBTQ+ friendly itinerary.

Shinkansen Tokyo Japan
The world-famous shinkansen (bullet train)
Japanese women in Kimono Kyoto Japan
Women in kimonos in Kyoto

Travel Tips

  • Head to Shinjuku-Chome in Tokyo for the world's densest cluster of gay bars - but do your research first, as some bars will only allow locals in.
  • PDAs of any kind are considered inappropriate in Japan (regardless of orientation) so try to refrain, especially if you are headed outside of major cities.

Pride events

3. Philippines

Snorkelling in Dagat Bohol P Hilippines
Snorkelling in Dagat Bohol

The Philippines, a Southeast Asian archipelago nation, is known for its stunning beaches, friendly locals, and vibrant culture. While the Philippines remains a predominantly Catholic country, there is a growing openness and acceptance towards the LGBT+ community, particularly in major cities like Manila, Cebu, and Boracay.

The Philippines has no laws against homosexuality, and there is a growing movement for LGBT+ rights. Same-sex marriage is not yet legal, but several anti-discrimination bills are pending in the legislature. While social attitudes can vary across the islands, major cities tend to be more progressive.


Metro Manila Pride women with flag
Metro Manila Pride 2019 (C) Pandekate Wikimedia Commons

Manila, the capital, boasts a growing LGBT+ scene, particularly in the vibrant districts of Malate and Makati. These areas offer a variety of LGBT+ friendly bars, clubs, and restaurants. The annual Metro Manila Pride March, held in June, is a vibrant celebration of diversity and a testament to the growing LGBT+ rights movement in the Philippines.

Cebu, El Nido, and Boracay

White beach Boracay Philippines
White beach, Boracay

A trip to the Philippines is incomplete with some beach time. For this, we suggest heading to Cebu, El Nido (found in Palawan) and Boracay. These destinations are quite heavily touristed and thus welcoming of all types of travellers. There is no shortage of LGBTQ+ travellers to these areas across the high season, and plenty of e

Cultural Attractions

Chocolate Hills Bohol Philippines
Chocolate hills of Bohol

Beyond the LGBT+ scene, the Philippines offers a wealth of cultural attractions for all travellers. Explore the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila, visit the breathtaking Chocolate Hills in Bohol, or relax on the pristine beaches of Boracay and Palawan. Immerse yourself in Filipino cuisine, known for its unique blend of indigenous, Malay, Spanish, and American influences.

El Nido different angle Palawan Philippines
El Nido at Palawan

The Philippines offers a variety of unique experiences for LGBT+ travellers. Take a jeepney ride, a vibrantly decorated public transportation icon, or explore the rice terraces of Banaue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the adventurous, scuba diving and snorkelling in the coral reefs are popular activities.

The Philippines are an amazing destination for all kinds of travel, from a relaxing getaway to an exciting adventure honeymoon. As a less-touristed destination than Thailand, it can make for a more relaxing holiday for those less-inclined to bar-hopping and nightlife.

Check out our Philippines trips ideas here or talk to us about planning your own tailor-made LGBTQ+ friendly itinerary.

Travel tips

  • While the Philippines is becoming more LGBT+ friendly, it's still advisable to dress modestly, particularly outside major cities.
  • Public displays of affection may not be widely accepted everywhere.

Pride Events

4. Vietnam

Flowers on Yen River with Rowing Boat Vietnam
Flowers on Yen River

Vietnam, with its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, is emerging as an attractive destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. The country's growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, combined with its unique attractions and hospitable people, ensures a memorable and inclusive experience for all visitors.

Hoi An Walking Market Vietnam
Hoi An Walking Market in Vietnam

Vietnam has made significant progress in LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Same-sex relationships have been decriminalized since 2000. While same-sex marriage is not currently recognized, public attitudes, particularly among the younger generation, are increasingly supportive. The country is home to active LGBTQ+ advocacy groups that work towards equality and visibility.


Pride in Hanoi 2016 Vietnam
Viet Pride in Hanoi 2016

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, offers a growing and vibrant LGBTQ+ scene. The city is home to several LGBTQ+ friendly bars and cafes, particularly in areas like Phao Dong Thien Quang or the Old Quarter, providing safe spaces for socializing and community building. Hanoi's annual Viet Pride event is a highlight, featuring parades, film screenings, and cultural performances that celebrate diversity and promote LGBTQ+ rights.

Hoan Kiem lake Hanoi Vietnam
Hoan Kiem lake Hanoi

Hanoi also boasts numerous cultural attractions, including the historic Old Quarter, the serene Hoan Kiem Lake, and the impressive Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Visitors can enjoy a blend of traditional Vietnamese culture and modern urban life in this dynamic city.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City night skyline Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City at night

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam and a hub for LGBTQ+ culture. The city's vibrant LGBTQ+ community is centred around District 1, where travellers will find a variety of inclusive bars, clubs, and cafes. Events like Viet Pride Saigon and the LGBTQ+ film festival are key highlights, drawing large crowds and fostering a sense of community.

Vinh Nghiem Temple Ho Chi Minh Vietnam
Vihn Nghiem Temple in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City also offers an array of attractions, from the historic Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum to the bustling Ben Thanh Market. The city's dynamic nightlife, delicious street food, and rich history make it a must-visit destination.

Cultural and Natural Attractions

Ha Long Bay boat Vietnam
Ha Long Bay

Vietnam is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Ha Long Bay, with its emerald waters and limestone islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for cruises and kayaking. In the north, the terraced rice fields of Sapa provide breathtaking views and opportunities for trekking and cultural exchanges with ethnic minority communities.

Vietnam lanterns
Lanterns in Vietnam

The country's festivals, including Tet (Lunar New Year) and Mid-Autumn Festival, offer exciting celebrations and a glimpse into Vietnamese traditions and customs. Enrich your understanding of Vietnamese culture by participating in a cooking class, or learning about the intricate art of water puppetry. Explore the bustling stalls of a local market overflowing with colorful crafts and delicious food.

Travel Tips

  • Dress modestly: While Vietnam is becoming more progressive, dressing modestly, particularly outside major cities, is still recommended.
  • Respectful PDA: Public displays of affection may not be widely accepted everywhere. Be mindful of local customs.
  • LGBT+ friendly accommodation: Talk to us about hotels and neighbourhoods that are known for being LGBT+ friendly to ensure a comfortable stay.

Check out our Vietnam trips ideas here or talk to us about planning your own tailor-made LGBTQ+ friendly itinerary.

Pride events

Honourable mentions

Taiwan: Taiwan is the first (and currently only) country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage! A thriving LGBTQ+ culture and definitely an up-and-coming travel destination.

Bhutan: A primarily Buddhist country with a relaxed attitude towards "foreign" homosexuality. Visitors are unlikely to face any kind of discrimination and are free to enjoy the majesty of the Himalayas as they wish.

Hong Kong: A small destination, but one with a growing LGBTQ+ community that supports an increasing number of gay bars and other queer-friendly restaurants and shops.

Asia offers a diverse array of experiences for LGBTQ+ travellers. Each destination provides a unique blend of cultural richness, modern amenities, and growing acceptance, ensuring a memorable and inclusive journey. Whether you’re exploring bustling cities, relaxing on pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in local traditions, these countries warmly welcome LGBT visitors.

The progress made in LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance across Asia is commendable, but there is still work to be done. Continued support for LGBTQ+ rights is crucial to fostering inclusive societies where everyone can travel and live openly and authentically. By visiting these destinations and supporting local LGBTQ+ communities, you can contribute to positive change and promote further progress in the region.

References and Additional Resources

LGBTQ+ Organizations:

Pride 365 cert logo
Pride 365
  • Pride365 advocates for support of LGBTQ+ communities and other minority groups every day of the year, not just during pride.

If you’re interested in visiting any of these destinations, speak to one of our country experts today to start planning your LGBTQ+ friendly holiday!

Speak to an Asia specialist today.

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