Gay Taipei City Guide
Planning a trip to Taipei? Then our gay Taipei city guide page is for you
The capital of Taiwan is located at the northern tip of the island. Taipei has an area of about 270 km² and approximately 2.6 million people (around 7 million including the suburbs). It is a 'global city', and the political, economic, and cultural centre of Taiwan.
Taipei has an excellent transport system - with railways, highways, airports, and buses connecting Taipei with all parts of the island. For gay travelers, Taipei is a great place to visit and is considered very safe. It has everything - a large gay scene with world-class parties, plenty of shopping and dining options, hot springs and spas and a good mix of old/new, East/West sightseeing.
Taipei City is divided into 12 districts. Most familiar districts amongst gay travelers include:
- Wanhua 萬華區- Taipei's oldest district of Taipei; home to the 'gay village', The Red House, Ximending and many historic buildings.
- Zhongshan 中山區 - features riverside parks, the Fine Arts Museum and a large nightlife and bar scene, especially for bears.
- Da'an 大安區 - an upmarket commercial area filled with department stores, boutiques and trendy restaurants.
- Xinyi 信義區 - the financial district located adjacent to Da'an; home of the Taipei 101, World Trade Center, major shopping malls and many luxury hotels.
- Songshan 松山區 - home to many financial institutions and firms as well as Raohe Street Night Market - Taipei's oldest famous street market.
- Beitou 北投區 - this suburban district houses the Yangmingshan National Park and is famous for its many hot springs.
Gay Rights in Taiwan
When it comes to LGBT rights, Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in Asia. The government legalised same-sex marriage in 2019 and protections against discrimination in the basis of sexual orientation have been in place since 2003.
Gay travelers can expect to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else and can enjoy a range of hotels and venues that are gay-specific or friendly. The research found that prior to the legal equalising of rights for LGBT+ people in Taiwan, 75% of the population believed LGBT+ individuals should be treated with respect and love.
Taiwan even has a deity dedicated to managing the love lives of gay individuals and has been a figure of Taiwanese folklore since the 17th century.
For further details, please visit our Gay Taiwan Country Guide page
Taipei has a thriving gay scene consisting of Gay Bars, Gay Dance Clubs, Gay Saunas and Gay Massage Spas. There is a concentration of gay businesses in and around The Red House and Ximen area in Wanhua District, although gay venues are spread out in other parts of the city. One of a number of venues found in The Red House is Cafe Dalida, a modern and stylish gay bar that is a popular hangout amongst the city's gay population. The bar boasts nightly live DJs and an impressive outdoor lounge terrace.
Spread over two floors and located close to The Red House, G.Star is one of Taipei's most popular gay dance clubs. Popular amongst the city's younger gay population, the club gets very busy on weekends and hosts a range of live performances and themed nights.
On public bank holidays, there are usually large-scale dance party events that attract huge numbers of visitors from other Asian countries including Hong Kong and Thailand.
Gay Hotels in Taipei
Most gay visitors stay around Ximending or near the Zhongxiao East Road shopping district. There is a large selection of Mid-Range + Budget Hotels in these popular areas. The Westgate Hotel is perfectly located just a 1- minute walk from the Ximen MRT station and some of the city's most popular gay venues. The hotel is furnished and decorated to a modern standard and the guest rooms include luxurious beds, a minibar and rain shower. A range of suites and rooms are available to suit all tastes and needs.
Some of the best Luxury Hotels can be found in the upmarket Xinyi District, home to the Taipei 101 and leading department stores. Just one of the many luxury options available in the city is the W Hotel Taipei. The W offers guests a cutting-edge contemporary stay and has all the features and amenities expected of a 5-star venue including smart toilets in every room. The hotel also boasts a fantastic pool, gym and bar, which are available to guests 24/7.
If you plan to visit Taipei on a big party weekend, it is advisable to book your hotel well in advance as the rooms sell out fast, especially during Taiwan Pride in October - click here to see our list of Gay Taipei Hotels.
Gay saunas in Taipei
Taipei has one of the best gay sauna scenes in Asia, and the impressive selection also features more traditional Taiwanese hot springs, a local attraction amongst gay locals and tourists. Some of the saunas in Taipei are known as Hattenbas- saunas or springs that are usually frequented by a gay demographic. One of these venues is Taipei I/0, a large sauna spread over three floors and boasting an extensive range of facilities. The venue features regular live performances as well as weekly themed nights.
The Huang Chi Spa is a male-only Japanese-style hot spring, and whilst not an exclusively gay venue, it is a popular destination amongst gay travelers. The spa offers a peaceful retreat for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Taipei, with its gentle waterfall and manicured garden.
Gay Massage in Taipei
The majority of the city's gay-focused massage venues can be found in and around The Red House. Massage venues in Taipei generally offer a comfortable and relaxing environment and are staffed by well-trained and knowledgeable masseuses. Weipa Spa is a gay-owned massage service offering a range of massages, spa treatments and aromatherapy by male therapists. The spa offers great value treatment packages that guests can choose from.
Getting to Taipei
The city is served by two airports. The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is the main airport, located about 30 km from the city. There is a transfer service that picks up and drops off passengers at most major hotels and also stops at the Taipei Main Station.
The Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei serves mostly domestic flights. Bus services connecting the airport to nearby cities are available as well. From the airport, there are several ways to get to the city: bus (express and non-express), high-speed rail (which runs every 15 minutes), one-way taxi and pre-arranged sedan.
The MRT from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station is now in operation (since March 2016). The route (53 km) has 24 stations, spanning across Taipei City, New Taipei City and Taoyuan City. The first train from Taipei Main Station to the airport leaves at 6 am and the last train at around 11 pm.
Getting around Taipei
Taipei City has a very clean and safe Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT). It is a driverless elevated system, with the last trains departing at midnight. Eating, drinking and smoking are banned in both stations and trains which are clearly identified in English.
Taipei bus service is very efficient, and all buses display all the information in English which makes it easy for non-Chinese-speaking visitors to get around.
Metered taxis are available 24 hours a day and are extremely plentiful in Taipei. They are the easiest way to get around. Most drivers speak limited English. Tipping is not necessary.
Things to do in Taipei
There are limitless possibilities when it comes to things to do in Taipei. However, the most worthwhile attractions include:
- Enjoy breathtaking views from the second-tallest building in the world at Taipei 101
- Wander up Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail
- Explore the city's history at the National Palace Museum
- Visit the Longshan Temple
- Be immersed in LGBT+ culture at the iconic Red House
- Discover Asia's largest zoo at the Taipei Zoo
- Bathe in the Beitou Hot Springs
When to Visit
Taipei has a semi-tropical climate. Summers are hot and humid with occasional rain, while winters can be quite chilly and often foggy. While the temperature is never too extreme all year, the most pleasant season to visit is the fall. February to April can be damp, and May to October is typhoon season.
For travelers from most countries, there is a 90-day visa-free visit period in which entrance to Taiwan is permitted. However, travelers must have six-month validity on their passports and have no criminal record. There are different rules for individual countries, so check the regulations pertaining to your home country before booking a trip to Taipei.
Credit and debit cards are accepted at most higher-end establishments cash is still very important in Taipei and ATM machines are common and safe to use around the city. Some machines will have a limit on the daily withdrawal amount.
Whilst prices marked on goods in shops tend to be fixed, travelers can expect to barter for goods in wholesale markets. Prices can normally be reduced by 10% or 20%.