Here are some of the best places in Asia to visit where it’s legal to be LGBT+
It is illegal to display any form of same-sex relations in several destinations and in extreme cases you could be arrested or sentenced to death. If you are part of the LGBT community, it is critical for you to be wary of such destinations when making travel plans. Ending up in a foreign jail doesn’t sound so pleasant. If your next holiday wish is around Asia, then you are in luck. There are several LGBT-friendly zones where you can enjoy the best vacay with your partner. Find the list below:
When Japan comes to mind, a traditional religious country flashes through my brain. Despite being a robust spiritual state under Shintoism, they don’t oppose any form of gay sexual activity. If asked, I would even say they commend it. A recent poll indicated that 54% of the citizens believe that people should be free to associate with whoever they want to sexually. Maybe the people are so open-minded because their forefathers practised it. In fact, in the 11th-century men would take other male lovers and sign brotherhood contracts for exclusivity. With the belief rooted in so deep, it is safe to conclude that Japan has been safe for the LGBT community for a while. It’s only a matter of time before political parties rise to create supportive laws.
Being gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual is fully allowed in Cambodia. Everyone is permitted to have whichever sexual orientation and any sexual activity is permitted as long as both parties are consenting adults. They even have a traditional Khmer culture, which, tends to support gay people within the community. The culture recognises the male and female as equals under the term, (kteuy), and, also has a provision for a third gender in between (the Thai katoey).
In the year 2004, King Sihanouk publicly announced that he was impressed with same-sex marriages in San Francisco and would be willing to replicate the same laws in his country. Since then, several gay pride walks have been peacefully held. You can visit Cambodia almost any time of the year as the weather is nearly always perfect. However, we have to warn you that you may not want to leave this little heaven.
Before the year 2001, homosexuality was listed under types of mental illnesses in China. The LGBT community has similar legal rights as of other people with different sexual orientations. They are only allowed to practice any sexual activities in private as are the other people.
Similar to Japan, China has traces of homosexuality dating centuries back. In 1840, many emperors were believed to have had sexual relationships with the same-sex partners. This was way before the Western influence. The gay scene in China today is growing tremendously, with clubs, bars and saunas opening every other day. This is one excellent vacation stop to put on your bucket list.
Bali in Indonesia
As much as Indonesia is predominantly a strict Muslim region, Bali does not comply with the rules of the state. Bali feels like an entirely different state. The people there are free-spirited as they embrace all types of people regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, class, age or race.
Perhaps, being a top destination spot with tourists from every part of the world has forced the people there to embrace this new culture.
There are a bunch of gay clubs, the landscapes are breath-taking, the ocean is beautiful, and it is one of the best most affordable destinations in the world. A Bali vacation is always a good idea.
Phuket in Thailand
If you are gay and you are planning a vacation with your partner, you probably want a destination where no one will bat an eyelid if you hold hands. Phuket is the place for you. The rest of Thailand, however, is not so gay-friendly, there have been instances where gay tourists have been victims of assault from residents. In Asia most states are like this; part LGBT-friendly, part LGBT-hostile.
In Phuket, you will be completely safe. There is also an infamous Bangla Road, where gay pride walks, gay parties, and sex shows are popular. Make this your next holiday stop and you will not regret it.
Manila in the Philippines
Manila is completely LGBT-friendly. The most surprising thing is that the Philippines state is entirely religious. It is a traditional Catholic state, but we are lucky this doesn’t translate into oppression. The people there are very open-minded, I would say.
They accept people for who they are without being judgmental. The place is also very affordable, the flights, hotels, restaurants, and activities. In addition to all this, the scenery is spectacular, food exquisitely mouth-watering and it has an abundance of things to do.
We can’t leave out the most recent country in Asia to ban sexual discrimination against sexual orientation. Taiwan despite its political controversies with China claiming it as its own, is the safest place for the LGBT community. They have a Taiwan gay pride, which is held annually in October and tourists from all over the world attend. Last year alone, it had over 120,000 event attendants. This is one of the most liberal countries in Asia with an overflow of activities for the LGBT community. Now you can start packing!
The other Asian countries that are taking great steps towards accepting the LGBT community are Vietnam, South Korea, Nepal and Israel among others. We hope soon more and more states adopt the same attitude towards LGBT+ people.
You should steer clear off Bangladesh where same-sex sexual activities are punishable by life imprisonment. Bhutan and Pakistan also criminalise same-sex sexual relationships. The worst is the Maldives where a guilty individual could be punished by death. Now you know where to go when planning your next vacay. May you and your partner have the best vacation!
Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.