I was not sure what I was expecting when we arrived in Taipei as I’ve never been there before but I was excited about visiting a new location and one of Asia’s most gay friendly destinations.
We arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at midnight and by the time we got to the Hsuanmei Boutique Hotel it was 2am. Feeling a bit tired we headed up to our rooms. As soon as I walked in, I was impressed! Very high quality furniture, with lighting, TV, heating, cooling etc. controlled by a convenient panel next to the bed. The bathroom was even more impressive!! It’s equipped with a massage shower with turbo jets to blast every part of your body and a huge hot tub jacuzzi spa.
I wasn’t feeling tired anymore. My friends called me as they were hungry, so we went to 711 and got some microwave munchies. But my plan was to get home a.s.a.p. and get into the jacuzzi. I fired it up, with bubbles turned up on full-bore, moonlight lighting on and jumped in. It was hotel room heaven! A gay writer friend, Callum McLeod, suggested and recommended this hotel to me and I’m glad that he did. I really enjoyed my stay there. It was extremely comfortable, luxurious and includes a nice buffet breakfast with a lovely selection of Asian and European food.
The first day I slept in till 3pm. I eventually got active after the turbo shower massaged my body for thirty minutes with relaxing hot water. I got very aroused and hard with the water blasting my dick and ass. A little ticklish but enjoyable. By this time I just wanted to get outside and see what Taipei has to offer. The first thing that I noticed was the streets are so clean, open and wide. There is no rubbish or litter anywhere. The city is extremely well organised and everything runs like clockwork. There are shrines and small temples scattered through the city where people go to take time out, reflect and pray.
For the next two nights we did what we came here for… and that was to spend time at the Red House gay entertainment complex checking out and meeting local Taiwanese gay guys. When we arrived at around 8pm it was quiet but it definitely picks up as the night goes on. I counted at least twenty gay bars. There are probably more as some are hidden away. There are also restaurants, retail shops and adult gay shops. There is a bar for everyone. Most are your normal gay type bars but some are more specialised and have a theme such as bears, leather, S&M and drag queens. We spent most of our time drinking in the large outdoor terraces as it’s ideal for watching hot guys walk by.
Forbidden is a lovely quaint adult gay shop conveniently located as you enter the gay area. They sell everything from sex toys to sexy underwear. It’s the perfect shop for getting your boyfriend a gay-related gift.
Red House and surrounding Ximen is the premier gay red light district of Taipei. However there are other gay venues dotted around the city at Zhongshan, Dunhua and Taipei City Hall.
If you need somewhere close by to have gay sex instead of going back to your hotel, then don’t worry; short-term hotels are abundant. They cost about $NT 300 (about $US 10) for a three-hour stay. Just look for the signs similar to the one below. Massage bars are abundant as well. A lot are open 24 hours and have guys on staff. Prices are about double of that of Bangkok.
Another night we had an interesting visit to Bear Junkies gay tearoom where government officials had set up an AIDs booth and were doing free HIV testing. I took advantage of it. It’s simple pick of the finger and a wait of five minutes to see if a secondary line appears on the test strip (click the thumbnail on the left to see how it works). It’s an anxious five-minute wait but no second line appeared, so I was all clear. They also test for syphilis which was negative as well. They give you a free gift pack which includes a HIV ribbon bath towel, soap, shampoo, condoms and a massive one litre bottle of lube as a thank-you gesture for taking the test. The government official told me that in the past anyone testing positive had to be immediately reported to the health department and if it was a foreigner he would be open to deportation. Things have thankfully changed and it’s now totally anonymous and not a reason for deportation anymore.
Pokemon and gay apps are the “in thing” at the moment. Every time I opened Grindr and Hornet there were massages waiting from guys wanting to meet up. It was also evident to me that many of the guys are into older foreigners. If you’re into Pokemon then Taipei is perfect. Wherever I went in the city I observed groups of people gathering trying to catch a Pokemon.
Getting around Taipei is quick and convenient. Most people commute using the MRT subway or walk or ride a bike or catch a taxi. English is not widely spoken by taxi drivers, so make sure you keep a card from your hotel with its address on it so that you can get home. Similarly get the hotel staff to write the name in Chinese of any destinations you plan to visit by taxi.
Taipei is a city of contrasts. It has shopping malls, night markets, temples, hot springs, a vibrant club scene, bars, sophisticated hotels, fine restaurants, cafes and street food. There is truly something for everyone. We did lots of sightseeing, all the usual stuff like Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola.
The food selection is vast, delicious and convenient. We had everything from fine dining to cafe meals and from fast food to street food. I loved the street food as it’s tasty, quick and easy to eat on the go. If the outlet has a massive line up customers out front then the food quality is good and worth lining up for. Surprisingly you get to the head of the queue fairly quickly as the staff are so organised and efficient at taking orders and getting the food out.
Taipei is home to three million people and is known as the San Francisco of the East. It’s tolerant, open and progressive. People mind their own business and aren’t pushing things on you which was a welcome change from Bangkok. Everyone can be themselves without being judged or labelled. Same-sex sexual activity is legal and it is believed gay marriage is poised to become legal. Workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned and the annual gay pride parade attracts more than 80,000 people each year, making Taipei one of Asia’s most gay friendly destinations.
The main reason we added Taiwan to the itinerary was because of my friend from Australia. Ben has a Taiwanese boyfriend, Devon. They wanted to travel down south so that Ben could meet Devon’s family and, if everything went well, ask his parents for their blessing on their gay marriage. As it turned out the parents are very old fashioned and Devon was reluctant and maybe a little scared to tell them. Instead he told them that Ben was his professor from uni LOL and they were on a holiday in Taiwan together. Everything was accepted but mums being mums I’m sure she knows that her son is gay and he’s in a relationship with his uni professor. 🙂 .