Gay Travel Asia
Gay Travel Asia Gay Travel Asia

臺北台湾

Taipei

Taiwan

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Introduction

Taipei is one of the top gay destinations in Asia. The city itself is actually not that pretty so it might not be love at first sight. But once you have spent a weekend in Taipei, you will be hooked and will surely come back, believe us. Fun partying at G-Star, crazy shopping in Ximen Ding and chill out in one of the hot springs in Beitou are just some of our favourite activities in Taipei. If Bangkok is a little too touristy and Tokyo a little to foreign, maybe Taipei will turn out to be your favourite gay city in Asia. And do you want to know the best secret of Taipei? Taiwan! It’s a surprisingly fun island with mountains, beaches and most of all, friendly people. And because it’s a very liberal society, there are lots of sisters! So while Taipei doesn’t have the sparkling temples of Thailand or the latest fashion of Korea, it’s a really fun place to visit.

Getting there

Most Asian airlines fly to Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport (TPE), including low-cost airlines. Or why don’t you try Taiwan’s EVA Air or China Airlines? They serve many cities across Asia as well as Europe, America and Australia. And EVA Air has even painted some aircraft in Hello Kitty colours. It’s really cute. And yes, very gay.

There is a second international airport in Taipei called Songshan Airport (TSA). While it’s much closer to Taipei, it doesn’t actually serve many flights. But if you are coming from Japan, Korea or China, you might want to check if there are flights from your city. Also if you plan to fly domestically in Taiwan, for instance to the lovely Penghu Islands, you will need to use Songshan Airport.

Most visitors will arrive at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport (TPE). It’s located about 30km west of Taipei. It’s a fairly big airport but immigration is quite efficient so there won't be any long queues when you arrive. Just make sure you have completed the immigration form that the cute flight attendant has given you on board. Customs officials usually won’t stop you so it’s OK to bring your dildos and poppers if this what you need for a fun weekend. There is an airport rail link under construction, however until this is finished in 2013 you have essentially two options to get into town. First, take a taxi. It’s about NT$ 1,000 to Ximen Ding and the ride will take about 45 minutes. Second, take one of the frequent buses on the ground floor. It costs about NT$ 120 and will take just over an hour to Taipei Station. However, the bus will make a few stops before ending at Taipei Station so depending on where your hotel it, you may want to get off earlier. There are other bus lines besides going to Taipei Station, however, there is a convenient taxi stand at Taipei Station and also several subway lines so it’s probably a good idea to head there first.

If you arrive at Songshan Airport (TSA), the airport is connected to the city’s subway system. Use the Songshan Airport Station on the brown line (Wenshan-Neihu Line). Or just take a taxi if you are travelling with other sisters.

Getting around

The subway, called “Taipei Metro” or just MRT, is a convenient way of getting around town. There are about ten different lines but you will probably only use the blue and red lines. Trains operate from about 06:00 on the morning until midnight. So it won’t be an option for going home after clubbing. Fares are about NT$ 25 for a single trip within the city center, increasing to about NT$ 65 if you are heading to the suburbs. Day cards are about NT$ 200 and you can also get the EasyCard for NT$ 500 which deducts the fare from the store value on your card.

Taxis are the most flexible way to get around Taipei and they are not too expensive. They are usually yellow and readily available unless it’s raining. Taxi drivers are mostly honest and they will turn on the meter. It’s NT$ 70 for the first 1.65km and NT$ 5 for each additional 350m. There is a surcharge of NT$ 20 from 23:00 to 06:00 but you don’t have to tip. Most drivers do not speak English so make sure you know how to pronounce your destination in Chinese or have it written down in Chinese.

When to go

Taipei is surrounded by mountains. As the city sits in this bowl that traps the heat, it can get uncomfortably hot in summer. 37°C in July/August are not uncommon. The coldest months are December/January with daytime temperatures at about 18-20°C, dropping to 12-15°C at night. It never snows in Taipei so sadly no gay snowball fights. However, it rains quite a bit. Particularly from June to September. So don’t forget to bring your pink umbrella is you plan to visit in summer.

There are quite a few festivals and events happening around the year. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is quite active in promoting them so check their website at www.taiwan.net.tw. The lantern festival around Chinese New Year is quite romantic. For less romance and more party visit during the Taiwan Pride weekend which is held annually in late October.

What to see

National Palace Museum

The world's largest and finest collection of Chinese art

Taipei 101

One of the world’s tallest building amidst great shopping centers

Ximen Ding

Student hangout, trendy fashion and quirky little restaurants

Beitou Hot Springs

Relax one afternoon in one of Beitou’s hot spring day spas

Maokong Gondola

Take this cable car up the mountain for some great views

Stay connected

Most hotels, guest houses and serviced apartments have WiFi, usually free. Getting a local SIM card as a visitor can be a bit tricky. It’s easiest at the airport. FET (Far East Telecom) will give you a prepaid SIM but you need to show two forms of identification. So bring your ID card or driver’s license together with your passport. They have normal SIMs as well as micro SIMs. Rates are fairly cheap.

Gay life

You can’t get married but apart from that there are few things that you can’t do. Most Taiwanese are proud of the freedoms they enjoy compared to citizens from Mainland China. That’s why Taiwan’s society is quite liberal and actively fights discrimination of minorities. So most Taiwanese sisters are openly gay, at least at work/school and among their friends. So holding hands or kissing in public are perfectly all right.

 



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