From hip bars and clubs to saunas and massage places
From hip bars and clubs to saunas and massage places
- By KKday
- | Jun 12, 2019
Taiwan recently made headlines for being the first Asian territory to legalize same-sex marriage. But even before this historic legislation, the self-governed island has already been ahead of its neighbors in terms of tolerance and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and has long been an exciting queer destination. Here are some of the hottest LGBT-friendly places to check out in Taiwan.
The LGBT nightlife scene in Taiwan is hot and happening. In Taipei, the iconic Red House beats as the heart and soul of the queer community. Located in vibrant Ximending, it is where you will find a chain of gay bars and cafes that don’t just cater to the local crowd but to foreigners as well.
One of the busiest gay dance clubs in Taipei, G*Star is frequented by the younger local gay crowd. It is known for holding themed nights and crazy parties. They also have karaoke rooms on the second floor, if you feel like singing your lungs out. B1F, 23 Long Jiang Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan, 10492. Sun–Sat 10pm–5am
Taboo is perhaps the most popular club in Taipei for lesbians. The vibe is electric and youthful, as reflected by its generally young patrons. The club features a dance floor with a live DJ. If you’re coming during their themed party nights, dress up—it’s not just fun, it also entitles you to a discount. B1/F, No.90, Section 2, Jianguo North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Wed–Thu 9pm–2am, Fri–Sat 10pm–4am, Sun 9pm–2am
For those who are not into blasting music and busting out some moves on the dance floor, Cafe Dalida offers a more chill hangout spot, where you can freely mingle with guests sans the ear-splitting noise that drowns out conversations. They have an impressive cocktail menu (you’ll love their mojito), but what you’ll love most is the look of the bar. The candle-lit seating area has a canopy of hanging ornamental plants and lanterns. Cafe Dalida also has a great outdoor terrace that’s perfect for people-watching. No. 51, Lane 10, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Sun–Thu 7pm–3am, Fri–Sat 6pm–4am
On the other hand, Kaohsiung’s and Taichung’s LGBT scene is much smaller compared to Taipei’s but no less solid.
Ask the gay community in Kaohsiung about night clubs, and they would most certainly mention Hi-Bar. It’s the city’s main gay bar and night club, where almost all the awesome LGBT events happen. 228 Nanhua Road, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Sun–Sat 9pm–4am
This Mediterranean taverna in Northern Kaohsiung is super gay-friendly. When you arrive, you will be greeted by a huge rainbow umbrella right at the facade. The vibe of the restaurant is rather chill, which is great if you just want to sit down for delicious food with good company. Their salads, tapas, and main courses are not to be missed, so are their drinks. 1823 Jiuru 4th Road, Gushan, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Tue–Thu 5pm–10pm, Fri 5pm–12am, Sat 11.30am–12am, Sun 11.30am–10.30pm. Closed on Mondays
Taichung’s most famous gay bar and nightclub, Plaza welcomes everyone who loves to party. They also have scheduled cabaret shows. 12F, 135 Green River West Street, Central District, Taichung City, Taiwan. Sun–Thu 9pm–4am, Fri–Sat 9pm–5am
Inspired by the energetic gay scene in Britain, owner Marco decided to open his own bar and restaurant to spark a more visible LGBTQ culture in laid-back Taichung. The menu of Kudos features local fare with a twist. Their take on the quintessential Taiwanese beef noodle soup is even named after Brighton, one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. No. 14, Jingcheng 5th Street, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan. Wed–Thu 9pm–2am, Fri–Sun 9pm–4am
Massage and Saunas
After unleashing your wild side in the clubs, strip down for a rejuvenating spa treatment or sauna experience. If you’re into self-pampering, then you’ll be happy to know that Taiwan boasts a great selection of gay massage spas and saunas for you to relax and let out some steam… literally.
The Royal Spa
Get the royal treatment at The Royal Spa, which is dubbed the biggest all-male spa in Asia. They offer a wide range of massages including Thai, Chinese, acupressure, and more. Needless to say, this world-class mens spa has a highly-trained lineup of masseurs, who can be booked through their official website. 60 NeiJiang St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Mon–Sun 12pm–12am
Sauna Taipei I/O
This up and coming sauna and cruise club features a hattenba concept. They don’t just offer state-of-the-art facilities (like TV lounge, gym, KTV room, and more), but also hold live shows with weekly themed events like Fundoshi night and Japanese bondage. Free condoms available. 49 Shuangcheng St, Ln 12, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Sun–Thu 12am–11.30pm, Fri 12pm–1am, Sat 24/7
Soi 13in Sauna
Reopened in 2017, Soi 13in Sauna was originally known as Rainbow Sauna. It is one of the first and original gay saunas in the city that now features modern facilities including a locker room, hot tub, steam room and lounge—among many others. 13 Minsheng E Rd, Sec 1, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. Open 24/7
Arts and Culture
Immerse yourself in the queer side of Taiwan’s robust arts and culture scene, which ushered in the progress of the country’s acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Its claim to fame is being the first bookstore dedicated to the Chinese gay community. It ignited discussion on homosexuality and now stands proudly as one of the earliest establishments that helped shape Taiwan’s gay culture. When you visit, you might chance upon a promotional event aimed towards the LGBT community, like a book signing, a public forum, or a film promo. 1F, No. 8, Alley 8, Lane 210, Section 3, Roosevelt Road, Taipei City, Taiwan. Wed–Mon 1.30pm–9.30pm. Closed on Tuesdays
Walk into the Witch House and you will instantly notice its quirky interiors that scream feminism and sex positivity. Pen Yu-Jin, who calls herself “Big Witch”, founded the cafe in 1996. Through the years, the cafe has hosted and seen the early beginnings of notable Taiwanese singers and bands like Cheer Chen, Sandee Chan, Deserts Chang, and Sodagreen. It is now known as the “cradle of indie musicians” in Taiwan. No. 7, Lane 56, Section 3, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Sun–Wed 10am–11pm. Thu–Sat 10am–12pm
Right next to the Witch House is Fembooks, known as the first feminist bookstore catering to the Chinese community. Members of Taiwan’s first women’s activist group movement opened the store in 1994 to sell books by, about, and for women. No. 7, Lane 56, Section 3, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Tue–Sun 11am–9pm. Closed on Mondays
228 Peace Memorial Park
The 228 Peace Memorial Park is among Taiwan’s most famous gay spots. Once known as the Taipei New Park, it served as the major setting of Taiwan’s first groundbreaking gay novel Crystal Boys by Pai Hsien-yung. The story is set in the ‘80s and tells the coming-of-age tale of a young gay man, whose journey towards belongingness begins when he comes across a group of gay youth at the Taipei New Park. Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan
A version of this article first appeard on KKday.