Neon Nights & Queer Delights: Your ultimate guide to Gay Taipei!
Gay Taipei is a city of contrasts. Surprisingly good ones at that! From the typical tourist attractions of night markets, temples and hot springs to the sophisticated gay bar, restaurant and cafe scene, the has become Asia’s most gay-friendly and welcoming destination.
Home to more than 3 million people, Taipei City is also known as the San Francisco of the East. Tolerant, open and progressive, the city attracts guys and girls from all over Asia and beyond who want to be themselves without being judged or labelled.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal. Workplace discrimination based on Sexual orientation is banned, and the annual Taiwan Gay Pride attracts more than 50,000 people each year.
Taipei – Asia’s 21st century Gay Capital.
Taipei Gay Neighbourhood Guide
Popular Taipei Gay Neighbourhoods
Taipei’s gay scene is wild and vibrant, a city oasis that never ceases to surprise.
At its heart lies the iconic Red House District, an emblem of LGBTQ+ nightlife and gay capital. Beyond this epicentre, diverse districts unfurl, offering a blend of traditional charm and futuristic experiences to gay travelers.
Add in a few gay cruising, gay beach, gay hot springs, circuit parties and some muscled native Taiwanese guys, and you are set for a holiday to remember.
Getting around Gay Taipei is quick and convenient. The M.R.T. or subway makes getting around the city a breeze. Taxis are available 24 hours a day.
Unless you speak Mandarin, make sure you keep a card of your hotel with its address so you can easily find your way back home after a night of partying, as few drivers speak English.
Red House District – The Epicenter
- Red House is the pulsating heart of gay Taipei. It beats with history, culture, and, of course, vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife.
- Top tip! – Stay at the “Superb” rated Solaria Nisitetsu Hotel, just 500m from the gay bars. It features stylish rooms and a perfect location.
- The venue was initially built as a market in 1908. Its historical architecture contrasts sharply with the buzzing nightlife it now hosts.
- Home to more than 25 gay bars, shops and restaurants, Red House has a bar for everyone, from Karaoke lovers to Leather guys, S&M enthusiasts to Bears and their admirers.
- Most bars have large outdoor terraces perfect for watching the hot guys walk by.
Ximen (Outside Red House)
- Ximen is a kaleidoscope of street art, trendy boutiques, and irresistible street food; a shopper’s paradise.
- Just a 5-minute stroll from the Red House district, it is home to Taiwan’s first and largest pedestrian zone, buzzing with street performers and local vendors.
- Jhongshan is a captivating blend of gay Taipei’s modernity and tradition, seamlessly merging upscale boutiques with historic charm.
- The district thrives as a cultural fusion hotspot with a rich mix of local and expat communities. Its streets resonate with stories, from age-old tea houses to contemporary art spaces.
- Distance from Red House District: A mere 10-minute M.R.T. ride away.
- Must visit: Jhongshan Hall, a historic building that’s witnessed Taipei’s momentous shifts, from political ceremonies to performing arts.
- Zhongshan Dunhua is Taipei’s chic, urban oasis, with upscale boutiques and sophisticated cafes.
- Often dubbed the “Beverly Hills” of Taipei, it melds luxury with a touch of artistic flair.
- Stroll the Dunhua South Road Promenade and enjoy an elegant blend of modern design and verdant tree-lined promenades.
- Distance from Red House District: About a 15-minute M.R.T. journey.
Taipei City Hall Area
- Taipei City Hall area is where old-school governance gets a splash of modern glamour.
- The audacious Taipei 101 stands tall, making a statement, while chic malls and eateries line the historic heart below.
- Distance from Red House District: Roughly a 20-minute MRT ride.
Taipei Gay History
- In the early 1980s, Taiwan began its journey towards LGBTQ acceptance, with Taipei at its forefront.
- Decriminalising consensual same-sex activity by 1997, the city later recognised same-sex relationships for hospital visits and medical decisions in 2008.
- The monumental turning point came in 2019 when Taiwan, led by advocacy from its capital, became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a 2017 Constitutional Court ruling.
- Today, Taipei’s Pride Parade is one of Asia’s largest and most vibrant celebrations of LGBTQ rights and acceptance.
Navigating the Gay Taipei metropolis is relatively simple, thanks to its efficient and extensive transportation network.
From Taipei Airport (Taoyuan International Airport – TPE)
- Airport MRT (Metro Rapid Transit) Route: A1 (Airport Terminal 1) or A12 (Airport Terminal 2) to A21 (Taipei Main Station). Approximately 35-40 minutes. Opt for the express train for a faster journey. They are color-coded in purple.
- Taxi Duration: Around 40-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Tip: Always go with the official airport taxis and ensure they use the meter. It might be pricier, especially during night rates (11 pm – 6 am).
Getting Around the City
Whether you’re hopping on the M.R.T., cycling through local lanes, or hailing a cab, the city is at your fingertips. Here’s a concise guide to help you traverse the city with ease.
Taipei Metro (M.R.T.):
- The backbone of Taipei’s public transportation, the MRT, is clean, punctual, and user-friendly.
- Purchase an ‘EasyCard’ for convenient tap-and-go access and discounted fares.
- Coverage: Extensive routes covering major tourist spots, commercial areas, and even the outskirts.
- Complementing the M.R.T., buses in Taipei are frequent and expansive.
- Most bus stops have digital displays showing estimated arrival times.
- Use the same ‘EasyCard‘ from the MRT to pay for bus rides. Transfers between the MRT and buses within an hour are free!
- Taipei’s public bike-sharing system, YouBike, is perfect for short distances and exploring local neighbourhoods.
- Tip: Rent and return bikes at any YouBike station using an EasyCard or credit card. The first 30 minutes are typically free!
- Taxis are abundant and reasonably priced. They’re convenient during late hours when the MRT and buses are less frequent.
- While most drivers are honest, ensure the meter is on
- Taipei is a pedestrian-friendly city with well-maintained sidewalks and numerous pedestrian zones.
Where to stay in Gay Taipei ?
Taipei offers a diverse range of accommodations and gay hotels to fit every traveler’s needs.
Humble House Taipei – Where the views are anything but humble!
Taipei Gay Hotels & Gay Friendly Options
The Ximen Red House is a historic theatre and a cultural landmark in the Ximending area of Taipei, known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, shopping, and entertainment. It is the heart of the local gay scene and home to some great gay hotel options.
Ximending Area – The Pulse of Taipei’s Gay Scene
Staying in Ximending puts you close to Ximen’s Red House, the heart of Gay Taipei’s youth culture, shopping streets, and street food vendors.
- 4-star: amba Taipei Ximending – Contemporary, playful design with an eco-friendly approach, this hotel captures the youthful spirit of Ximending.
- 3-star: Cho Hotel – A quirky and fun hotel that embraces pop culture, offering a unique stay experience. It’s conveniently located near the Ximen MRT station and the Red House.
Zhonghua Road – A Blend of Old and New
This area provides a balanced stay experience, bridging the vibrant Ximending with the more traditional parts of the city centre.
- 5-star: Palais de Chine Hotel – Combining European grandeur with Taiwanese hospitality, this hotel is a stone’s throw away from the Ximen area.
- 4-star: Riverview Suites Taipei – Offering scenic views of the Tamsui River and easy accessibility to both Ximending and the older parts of Taipei.
Xinyi District – Vibrant and Urban
Dominated by sleek skyscrapers, including the iconic Taipei 101, Xinyi is the go-to destination for high-end shopping, gourmet dining, and world-class entertainment.
Xinyi is roughly 4 kilometres away from the Red House. By Taipei Metro (M.R.T.), it’s a quick 10-15 minute ride from the Ximen station to the Taipei City Hall or Taipei 101/World Trade Center stations in the Xinyi District.
Gay Map of Taipei
Taipei Gay Friendly Restaurants
A smorgasbord of flavours awaits! From local treasures to global treats, gay Taipei is a food-lovers paradise! Expect a fusion of flavours from Chinese to Korean and beyond. Dine like royalty in elite Taipei hotels with world-class chefs or relish authentic Taiwanese bites at bustling street stalls.
RAW Taipei – “a transformative experience” – Book well in advance.
Street Food Must-haves:
- Taipei’s food markets are trustworthy and oh-so-tasty! Don’t miss the iconic beef noodles and mee sua.
- Dare to delight in stinky tofu? It’s an… interesting aroma and flavour adventure!
- With about 20 snack streets, Taipei’s snacking scene is legendary.
- Many night markets serve food until midnight, sometimes later at weekends.
Shilin Night Market? (District: Shilin)
- Taipei’s largest night market is a labyrinth of flavours, offering both traditional and innovative snacks.
- Think crispy pan-fried dumplings, luscious gua bao, Giant Fried Chicken Steak, Stinky Tofu, and Bubble Tea.
Raohe Street Night Market (District: Songshan)
- Famous for its temple gate entrance, Raohe Market is a kaleidoscope of aroma, sound, and taste.
- Try the Pepper Pork Buns, Grilled Mushrooms, and Mochi.
Tonghua Night Market (District: Da’an)
- Less touristy but equally vibrant, Tonghua serves some of Taipei’s most authentic street snacks.
- Must-Try: Iron Egg, Taiwanese Sausages, and Oyster Omelettes.
Huaxi Street Night Market (Wanhua District):
- Fondly called the “Snake Alley”, it’s an adventure of exotic foods and old-world charm.
- Tip: For the brave-hearted, try the snake soup!
Great Breakfast and Brunch Places
- Fuhang Soy Milk – District: Zhongzheng
- Description: It’s not just breakfast; it’s a cultural experience! Locals and tourists queue up for their iconic breakfast dishes. Try their fluffy egg crepes paired with fresh soy milk.
- Rui An Soy Milk – District: Da’an
- A cosy spot renowned for classic Taiwanese breakfast items that radiate warmth and nostalgia. Try their divine duo of thick toast and savoury soy milk.
- The Diner – District: Da’an
- A blend of the West and East, this eatery offers the familiarity of American breakfast with a Taiwanese twist. Thy the Brunch Binge: A fusion menu of American and Taiwanese breakfast delights.
Top Restaurants for a Special Occasion
- RAW – District: Zhongshan
- This avant-garde restaurant fuses the heart of Taiwan with modern culinary techniques. The French menu is a transformative modern take on classic Taiwanese ingredients.
- Le Palais – District: Datong
- Description: An opulent setting with meticulous Cantonese craftsmanship, truly a Michelin-worthy spectacle serving 3-star Cantonese gastronomic brilliance.
- MUME – District: Da’an
- With a name inspired by Taiwan’s national flower, MUME crafts dishes as elegant as blossoms. Experience dishes where European finesse meets Taiwanese treasures served in a sleek industrial setting of glass and polished marble.
Authentic Taiwanese Restaurants
- Yongkang Beef Noodle – District: Da’an
- Description: A local institution serving beef noodle soup for decades, it’s the gold standard of Taiwanese comfort food. Famous for its legendary beef noodle soup.
- Shin Yeh – District: Zhongshan
- Description: A blend of nostalgia and modernity, it offers traditional dishes with a touch of elegance. The restaurant serves Taiwanese cuisine in a contemporary ambience.
Taipei’s Shaved Ice & Bubble Tea
- Craving sweetness? Climb the Ice Mountain dessert, crowned with fruits like mango or strawberry.
- Shaved ice in Taipei isn’t just a dessert—it’s an art form! A fluffy mountain of ice smothered in vibrant toppings ranging from fresh fruits to sweet syrups and beans.
- It’s the city’s answer to summer heat, but it is cherished all year round!
- The best shaved ice is often a balance of textures and flavours. So, mix and match toppings to find your personal frosty favourite!
- Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, pearl milk tea, or tapioca tea, is a popular drink that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It’s a unique beverage that typically combines milk tea with chewy tapioca pearls.
- Smoothie House (Yongkang Street, Da’an District): This popular haunt is known for its fruit-laden ice wonders. Their Mixed Fruit Snowflake Ice with Panna Cotta is a colourful, melt-in-the-mouth experience.
- Chun Shui Tang (Various locations, including Zhongzheng District): The birthplace of bubble tea; they also whip up delightful shaved ice bowls. Don’t miss their Matcha Red Bean Shaved Ice—a mix of earthy matcha and sweet, soft beans.
Editor’s Top Choice
Shopping in Gay Taipei
Spend an afternoon in KaDeWe for some retail therapy.
Taipei Shopping Guide
Think dazzling malls and hip night markets; it’s where Aladdin meets Vogue! With everything from street food to the chicest tees, Taipei is a labyrinth of glam, grub, and glitz.
- Ximending Market: Where cool meets chic! Near Taipei’s gay heart, it’s a mix of funky cafes, fab boutiques, and quite the feast for your eyes.
- Shilin Night Market: Classic, crowded, but oh-so-cool! Dodge the weekend hustle, or dive in and feel the beat. It’s where tradition meets treats – think Taiwanese tidbits from fried chicken to oyster omelettes.
- Districts Galore: In gay Taipei, every district has its drama. Garments? Electronics? Name it, they’ve sectioned it! It’s like a city-sized mall with its own dedicated departments.
- Ximending Shopping District: It’s young, fresh, and electric – an epic nighttime hotspot. From fashion to history, cafes to gay bars, XiMenDing shines all night.
- Taipei 101 Mall and Xinyi District: Swipe that card at Taipei’s poshest precinct! Designer labels, luxe lodgings, and ritzy restaurants. And when the sun sets, those skyscrapers glow, setting the stage for urban adventures.
- Bellavita Mall (Xinyi District): Think luxury, think elegance. A grandeur setting with the crème de la crème of global brands. Tip: Take a moment at their exquisite courtyard garden.
- Guang Hua Digital Plaza (Zhongzheng District): Gadget paradise! Six floors of electronics and tech wonders.
- Wu Fen Pu (Songshan District): Fashion frenzy alert! It’s the city’s largest wholesale market for clothing. Tip: Ideal for bulk shopping and trendy finds.
- Yongkang Street (Da’an District): A haven for the artistically inclined, from handicrafts and unique boutiques to culinary artistry.
- Eslite (Various Districts): Not just a bookstore but a culture emporium. Dive into books, design, music, and more. Visit their 24-hour Songyan store in southern Taipei for a night owl shopping experience!
- Body Formula: Founded in ’04, it’s swim, style, and sizzle in a store. Find them at the iconic Red House or ZhungXiao East Road.
- OTOKO Mens Boutique: Exclusivity alert! Dive into a world of Asian designer labels – think Singapore’s New Urban Male and Hong Kong’s DAIGO dazzle.
- ‘0416X1024: Quirky meets couture. With edgy designs, puns, and cheeky charm, it’s a brand that stands out and shouts – or sometimes whispers cheeky words behind dots.
Gay Taipei Events
Whatever month you visit, Taipei promises to entertain, enthrall, and embrace you in its festivities!
January: Lunar New Year
- The city ushers in the Chinese zodiac with a bang! Firecrackers, dragon dances, and delicious dumplings grace the streets. Don your red attire, and join in the biggest event on the Chinese calendar!
April: Tomb Sweeping Day
- It’s not just about rituals. While Taipei residents honour their ancestors with flowers and offerings, it’s also a time for kite flying, hiking, and enjoying the spring outdoors. A blend of respect and recreation!
June: Dragon Boat Festival
- Watch the Tamsui River come alive! Competitive teams paddle intricately carved boats to the beat of heavy drums, racing in memory of an ancient poet. Tip: Don’t forget to munch on traditional rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves.
October: Taipei Pride
- A burst of rainbow in Taipei! Taiwan Pride is the most colourful event in the city’s calendar, with parades, parties, and a powerful message. Stand tall, walk proud, and embrace love in its myriad forms.
- While not a traditional festival, Taipei knows how to deck its halls! Twinkling lights, festive markets, and even a Winter Wonderland at the Taipei City Hall Square. Immerse yourself in holiday cheer with a Taiwanese twist!
December 31st: New Year’s Eve
- Ready for a spectacle? As the clock winds down, all eyes turn to Taipei 101. The iconic tower lights up with fireworks, making it one of the world’s most Instagrammable NYE celebrations. Count down, look up, and welcome the New Year!
The Iconic Blue and White Hall is a “must-visit”.
Taipei Fun Pass
- Enjoy hassle-free entry to 25 iconic attractions for up to 4 days. Save up to 72% while benefiting from unlimited access entry to Taipei public transport and access to Taipei’s signature experience.
- Book your fun pass in advance.
- Reach for the sky at what was once the world’s tallest building! Dive into luxury shopping at its base and then rocket up to its observatory for sweeping city vistas.
- Tip: Visit just before sunset for daylight, sunset, and nighttime views all in one!
- (Xinyi District, ~15 minutes by MRT from Red House)
- Book your entry tickets in advance and avoid queues.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
- Dive into history at this iconic blue-and-white hall, surrounded by sprawling gardens. Watch the mesmerising guard changing ceremony and marvel at the massive statue of Chiang Kai-shek.
- Tip: Wear comfy shoes! The surrounding park is perfect for leisurely walks.
- (Zhongzheng District, ~10 minutes by MRT):
- Take a guided tour of the majestic halls.
National Palace Museum
- Journey through China’s 5,000-year history via the world’s largest collection of Chinese artefacts. Jade cabbages, intricately carved ivory, and ancient calligraphy await!
- Tip: Opt for an audio guide to highlight must-see pieces if short on time.
- (Shilin District, ~25 minutes by MRT and bus)
- Reserve your entry tickets in advance.
Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail
- Lace up those hiking boots! A short climb rewards you with THE best panoramic view of the city, especially Taipei 101.
- Tip: It gets popular! Aim for an early morning or late afternoon hike to avoid the biggest crowds.
- (Xinyi District, ~20 minutes by MRT)
- Check out the top guided hiking tours.
Shilin Night Market
- The city’s culinary heartbeat! Dive into street food galore, from stinky tofu and bubble tea to fried chicken steak.
- Tip: Go with an empty stomach and cash in hand. There’s a lot to sample!
- (Shilin District, ~20 minutes by MRT)
- Take a private tour of the night markets.
Beitou Hot Springs
- Steam away your stresses in thermal baths nestled amidst lush greenery. Choose from public pools or private spa resorts.
- Tip: Bring a swimsuit and a towel, and remember to hydrate – it gets steamy!
- (Beitou District, ~40 minutes by MRT)
- Book the hot springs and volcano tour along with hotel transfers to and from the National Park.
Maokong Gondola & Tea Plantations
- Hover above Taipei in a crystal-floored gondola, then alight amongst terraced tea plantations. Sip the city’s best oolong tea with views to match!
- Tip: Weekdays are less crowded, and post-rain rides reveal the clearest skies.
- (Wenshan District, ~30 minutes by MRT and gondola)
- Book your tickets on the Maokong Cable Car in advance.
Ready to venture beyond Taipei’s hustle and bustle? Jiufen and the Northeast Coast offer a refreshing escape into tales of the past and nature’s untouched beauty!
- Historic Lanes and Lanterns: Jiufen enchants visitors with its narrow alleys, glowing red lanterns, and hillside teahouses.
- Tip: Wear comfy walking shoes; those steep, winding streets can be a workout! To avoid crowds, consider visiting on weekdays or during off-peak hours.
- And don’t miss savouring local favourites like taro balls!
- (Ruifang District, ~1.5 hours by train and bus from Red House)
- Book a day trip to Jiufen, complete with transfers and a guide.
Northeast Coast Taipei
- Rugged Beauty Meets Serenity: Dive into nature’s embrace with rocky coastal landscapes, lush terraces, and serene temples. Hotspots include Nanya’s peculiar rock formations and Bitou Cape’s panoramic views.
- Tip: Renting a scooter can be a fabulous way to explore the coastline at your own pace.
- But always check the weather – coastal areas can be windy, and sudden rains aren’t uncommon.
- (around Ruifang and Gongliao District, ~1.5-2 hours by train from Red House)
- Check out the top tours along the Northeast Coast.
Spring (March to May):
- Blossoming Beauty: Spring is when Taipei is at its floral best, especially with cherry blossoms painting the city pink. Expect temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).
- Tip: It’s a perfect time for outdoor exploration, but pack an umbrella as occasional showers pop up. Catch the blooms at Yangmingshan National Park in March and April.
Summer (June to August):
- Sunshine and Showers: With temperatures climbing between 25°C and 35°C (77°F to 95°F), Taipei summers are hot and humid. But hey, it’s also mango season! Chill out with some Mango Shaved Ice. It’s delicious!
- Tip: Stay hydrated and always carry water. While the Dragon Boat Festival is a summer highlight, be prepared for the occasional typhoon warning, which can disrupt travel plans.
Autumn (September to November):
- Golden Glamour: Fall sweeps in with cooler temperatures, ranging from 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F), and the city gets draped in hues of gold and red.
- Tip: A prime season for sightseeing, make sure you head to the hills surrounding Taipei for the best fall foliage. Pack layers, as the evenings can get a bit chilly.
Winter (December to February):
- Cool and Crisp: Taipei’s winters are mild, with temperatures hovering between 12°C and 20°C (54°F to 68°F). It rarely snows, but the city has a chilly dampness in the air.
- Tip: Warm up in the Beitou Hot Springs and dress in layers to stay cosy. If you’re in Taipei for the Lunar New Year, the city buzzes with festive energy, parades, and markets.
- It’s not just about rituals. While Taipei residents honour their ancestors with flowers and offerings, it’s also a time for kite flying, hiking, and enjoying the spring outdoors. A blend of respect and recreation!
Recommended Hotels in Taipei By Booking
Book with confidence. Get the best Prices from our partner Booking.com
We have chosen hotels in Taipei that keep you close to all the shops,restaurants & bars
The Okura Prestige
5 Star, Luxury
A heated rooftop pool with sun loungers, panoramic views of Taipei City and modern rooms with free WiFi, it also has sauna zone at its spa, 3 dining options and an in-house bar. All spacious air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a coffee machine, flat-screen TV and minibar. Rooms include a seating area and en suite bathrooms that come with a hairdryer, bathtub and free toiletries.
5 Star, Readers Choice
With stunning views of Taipei 101 and Taipei City from floor-to-ceiling windows, all stylish rooms feature signature beddings, seating area with sofa or day bed, flat-screen TV, audio system and interior decorations inspired by local elements. The en suite bathroom include a bathtub and branded toiletries. Gym features modern fitness equipment with iPod docking stations and LCD displays
4 Star, Great Value
Newly renovated in 2019, the well-designed guest rooms are fitted with a comfortable mattress with soft sheet, as well as a flat-screen TV, personal safe and electric kettle. The private bathroom has shower facilities, free toiletries and hairdryer. For guests’ convenience, luggage storage space is available. Guests can also make use of the 24-hour computer corner there.
Ximen Airline Hotel
3 Star, Location
the stylish Ximen Sky Line Hotel offers modern air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. This design hotel features an airplane theme, and is only 15 minutes’ walk from Taipei Main Rail Station. Rooms at Airline Inn are equipped with a flat-screen TV, minibar and personal safe. Private bathrooms all come with a shower and hairdryer. Luggage storage are provided at the 24-hour front desk.
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