Where to Go? How to Go? What to Miss Out? Damn Decisions!
A few months ago on a cold, wet and windy day down under, I had the winter blues. As the temperature had plummeted, swimming pools, amusement parks and other attractions were shut down until spring. The mood was bleak and there was nothing I could do about it.
Soon I got talking to my mate Ben and he quickly suggested we organise a gay holiday to brighten my spirits. Being Australians, Asia was the obvious destination – but where? The sun drenched beaches of Bali and those gorgeous brown-skinned bodies? Perhaps China and all the gay guys we’ve read about who’d welcome us with more than open arms?
Tempting though these destinations were, the more we thought, the more we realised Thailand had to take up the main part of the holiday. I lived there for 10 years and Ben had been there many times before and loved it – and it is after all very much the centre of the region. So we promptly started the planning process. Immediately I perked up (naughty!) and we got down to the detailed business of planning our holiday to gay Asia.
After mentioning the idea to fiends, we soon decided we’d make up a party of four: Ben and his Taiwanese boyfriend, Devon, plus me and my Hong Kong ex-boyfriend Bradley with whom I was still on extremely friendly terms. I had obviously hoped my current boyfriend Ajay could join us, but unfortunately he has exams and then has to travel home overseas for a few months. I’ll do a holiday with Ajay another time.
Although we had not yet finalized where we would go, we started by checking the usual flight websites like Web Jet, Skyscanner, Expedia and Zuji. Ben also contacted a lady at Flight Centre whom he had used a few times previously. As is often the case, travel agents can still get better deals than the web search engines.
In less than a day his friend had come back with a basic package using Malaysia Airlines. The clincher was this included options for several side trips and, as is often the case with multi-sector itineraries, was indeed cheaper than the prices we could find anywhere else. So having anchored Bangkok as the core of the itinerary, our first decision was a quick stopover in Kuala Lumpur.
By now a stop in Taipei had become important so that Ben could finally meet Devon’s family and, if everything went well, ask his parents for their blessing on their gay marriage. Finally, although I had been to the Cambodian border many times, I had never ventured further into the country. So a side trip from Bangkok was inserted to give us the opportunity of experiencing the wonders of the temples at Angkor Wat and, of course, sampling Siem Reap’s nightlife. To help achieve both objectives we organised a gay tour guide with invaluable help from Siam Roads.
So this is how our trip eventually turned out
- Australia/Kuala Lumpur – 1 night stopover in KL
- KL/Bangkok – 2 nights in Bangkok followed by 4 nights in Pattaya and Jomtien
- Bangkok/Siem Reap – where we’ll spend 4 nights
- Siem Reap/Bangkok – another 5 nights back in gay civilization
- Bangkok/Taipei - 4 nights in Taiwan’s capital city
- Taipei/KL/Australia – hopefully exhilarated and exhausted!
A 21-day gay adventure with plenty of gay time to be enjoyed.
Are you ready to go?
Most of us travel from time to time and the more we do, the more blasé we tend to become. It’s therefore so easy to forget some of the must-check items until we arrive at the airport or our destination and only then discover we’ve left them back at home! I don’t travel as much as I’d like but I do draw up a list, not only of must-dos but also of the basic clothes and other personal items I’ll need. A list also ensures I have a quick check in my hand every time I pack up at the end of each stop and leave nothing behind. With tropical climates it’s never necessary to take too much clothing because you can always buy items like T-shirts, sandals, floppy hats and suntan lotion after you arrive. First, though, run a double-check as your plans are being made, on this basic must-do list –
- Your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your return to your home country
- The names on your flight bookings must conform to the names on your passports (including middle names)
- You check on any visas you’ll need and obtain them in plenty of time before departure
- You have organized travel insurance. Don’t be tempted to skip this. Medical treatment in Asia can be expensive
- Your frequent flyer numbers, seating and meal requests have been submitted to the airline
- If you will be withdrawing from your home bank and/or using a credit card, make sure they know your detailed itinerary. It can save a lot of hassle!
- Will you be organizing international roaming for your mobile phone? If so, check on charges beforehand. If you plan to pick up local SIM cards at each destination, find out approximate costs and where is easiest to purchase them
- Check sites like Smart Traveller and your own government’s website to find out about any government warnings about the countries on your itinerary. If you will be in one country for a long time, should you register your details after arrival?
For our first short overnight stop, we will hit KL’s vibrant but somewhat discreet gay scene. On our list are the longest running but recently renovated gay Blue Boy Disco, iBlue Bar, Elysium Bar and more recently opened Geytherin Pub. Hopefully KL’s notorious traffic will not hold us up too much and allow us to check out some of the hot tanned Malaysian guys who, we’ve been told, are talented in more ways than one!
In Bangkok we’ll hit the usual gay haunts – Silom Soi 4 with its many gay bars and restaurants, further up in Soi 2 with its late night bars and famous disco DJ Station, and of course Suriwong’s Soi Twilight with its go-go bars and many street level beer bars. We are considering a trip to Saphan Khwai to see what’s changed there, although from what we hear it’s a shadow of its former self. For fun, a visit to the Penis Shrine is a must. And we are sure our visit to the sex mecca of the Land of Smiles, Pattaya and the new gay Jomtien venues, will be unforgettable.
Last stop will be Taiwan. Taipei is said to be one of gay Asia’s best-kept secrets with some of its best looking guys. Plenty of gay bars to visit and I’m sure the gay apps will get a good working out as I certainly plan to hook up with a few fabulous Taiwanese guys. The only disappointment is that we must leave before the annual Gay Pride Parade held this year on Saturday 29 October. Well, you can’t have everything, I suppose!
Read More: Related Gay Asia Adventure Articles
What Gay Asia Destinations have you been to? Please post your comments below