6 gay-friendly destinations you might not have thought of – Kiwi.com

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For queer people, choosing a vacation destination often comes with additional considerations for personal safety. Countries like the US, UK, and Australia might come to mind first when thinking of low-risk places for the LGBTQ+ community. Yet there are several other open-minded, inclusive and friendly places that make great gay travel destinations. Go out, get out and explore the world.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo Pride is the largest festival of its kind in all of South America — Shutterstock

Despite persistent conservative attitudes towards homosexuality on the continent, South Americans hold some of the largest and craziest Gay Pride celebrations on the planet.

São Paulo Pride had its humble beginnings in 1997 with some 2,000 attendees, and has since grown into the biggest and supposedly best event of its kind. Lately, the number of festival visitors has consistently been around five million, making São Paulo an exemplary gay travel destination.

Around the world, Pride is not just a protest for equal rights and acceptance; it is also a time of joyous celebration. Even though the parade itself is the highlight of the festival, many accompanying events take place in the weeks leading up to it, such as concerts, lectures, performances and exhibitions.

Tel Aviv, Israel

A female couple near the beach in Tel Aviv — ShutterstockTel Aviv is one of the most gay-friendly places in the world — Shutterstock

Tel Aviv is known to be one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world and has been proclaimed the gay capital of the Middle East. According to some estimates, 25% of its residents fall into the LGBTQ+ community, which is more than 100,000 people.

The city promotes openness and serves as a haven for many LGBTQ+ people from generally more conservative neighboring countries. Tel Aviv prides itself on showing its support for the community and there are many gay-friendly sites throughout the city.

One such site is the central section of Hilton Beach, marked by rainbow-colored umbrellas. If you’re looking for the maximum experience on your gay vacation, visit the beach during Pride Week in June.

Bangkok, Thailand

View of Bangkok at night — ShutterstockVibrant, energetic and tolerant, Bangkok is an ideal destination for LGBTQ+ partygoers — Shutterstock

From the gay capital of the Middle East to the gay capital of East Asia, Bangkok welcomes LGBTQ+ travelers very warmly.

Thailand is quite famous for accepting non-straight and non-cisgender people; the nation’s relatively liberal attitudes are a nod to its Buddhist heritage. The country decriminalized homosexuality in 1956 – earlier than some other developed countries in the world, and it elected its first transgender MP in 2019.

Head to Silom, the center of Bangkok’s gay scene, brimming with queer-friendly entertainment and nightlife. It’s a seriously diverse, dynamic and exciting place that, for a while, will envelop you in an alternate reality.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Colorful houses in Puerto Vallarta — ShutterstockPretty, Brightly Colored (Pansexual…?) Homes in Downtown Puerto Vallarta — Shutterstock

Throughout its history, Mexico has never enforced strong anti-LGBTQ+ practices or laws. In fact, in the indigenous Zapotec culture, the concept of the third sex has been recognized for generations in multiplexers — people who are designated as male at birth, but who generally present themselves as female.

Fittingly, there are plenty of gay-friendly destinations in the country. Puerto Vallarta, a bustling and picturesque resort town, would be the most notable; The town’s long-standing warm reputation is a reflection of the generally approachable and hospitable attitude of its residents.

The aptly named Zona Romántica is at the very heart of Puerto Vallarta’s gay life. Whether you’re looking for art and culture, a boat trip, or a good old-fashioned night out, this neighborhood has it all. Come as you Are.

Tokyo, Japan

Two women making a heart with their hands — ShutterstockAlthough Japanese society is quite conservative, acceptance of same-sex relationships is growing – Shutterstock

Japan, as a conservative country, does not encourage public displays of affection, no matter who displays them. Nonetheless, Japanese people don’t have a significant history of hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community, and public acceptance is growing, so you’re unlikely to encounter aggressive or confrontational behavior.

Right now, being gay is not something many people in Japan would openly discuss. Fortunately, queer culture has found its way into manga, literary comics. The manga has depicted same-sex relationships since the 1970s, but its popularity really started to explode in the 90s. bara subgenre depicts relationships between males of the same sex, while yuri portrays same-sex relationships.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most international travelers are currently prohibited from entering Japan. But whenever the country opens up again, be sure to start planning a trip to Tokyo. This is the place of the possible – you would be driven to imagine something that you can not do it – but for gay culture, hit up Shinjuku Ni-chōme.

Shinjuku is Tokyo’s noisiest and busiest neighborhood, and its Ni-chōme neighborhood is heaven for queer people. With its countless restaurants, shops, saunas, and not to mention its highest concentration of gay and lesbian bars and clubs in the world, there is something for everyone.


Last, but certainly not least, the tiny island nation of Malta might just be the perfect gay getaway.

Unlike most of the picks on this list, Malta doesn’t have a particularly renowned queer party scene. But what makes it so special is that, for the sixth year in a row, it topped ILGA European Ranking countries by the safety of LGBTQ+ people, by one more landslide.

Among the parameters taken into account to award the first place to Malta, in particular, same-sex marriage is legal and gender-neutral passports have been introduced. Similar to the people of Puerto Vallarta, this level of tolerance of the Maltese can largely be attributed to their generally laid back and welcoming attitude. It’s certainly refreshing to know that whether you’re straight and cisgender or not, the rich history and exotic beauty of this Mediterranean island is completely accessible.

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