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An American Tourist: Taipei

Taipei is the capital city in the island nation of Taiwan. The gay scene in this country is growing rapidly with multiple venues springing up all around the city. Of the scattering of clubs the city has to offer, some cater to gays all the time and others on certain days of the week.

One area in particular has a huge variety of bars and shops with great music.

In the Ximending district, there’s a big octagonal red brick theater, now called the Red House. Behind here sits a large secluded plaza that is all gay! The ground level surrounding the plaza has a great selection of bars with large patios and drink specials for days. All the patios run together, which makes it feel like one big massive gay party when things are busy. Without the noise from passing traffic or the city- being able to come here for conversation almost feels like an oasis in an often overcrowded day.

The second floor surrounding the massive plaza hosts an assortment of stores selling some of the cutest underwear and shirts I have ever seen as well as an abundance of toys and accessories- all of which are the last thing you’d expect from a place under Chinese rule.

Another thing that sticks out is the fact that a good portion of the city’s population speaks passable English (even if only the young ones are willing to admit it). Although Mandarin is the primary language I had no problem making my way around. People here are far more friendly and personable than the ones I’d heard about in stories from other people.

Just outside Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall, I found a tiny gay pub called The Source where I had an easy conversation with the owner. I was then invited to play pool for shots. I was really surprised by what happened next.

At this time, the owner reached over and turned the stereo system to “Country Hits, 2000”. Being from the south I knew just about every song, much to my host’s delight. After we finished our game I continued to drink on the house for the remainder of the night.

If you’re into saunas the Rainbow sauna is definitely worth checking out. The name says it all- it’s a rainbow clad bathhouse on Chengdu Road- just one of several in the city.

Taipei actually has just about everything you could want in gay life abroad.

Joey is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, a prior Marine, and a triathlete. Originally from Illinois, he moved to San Diego in 2004 and fell in love. He writes for pleasure while traveling the world and continuing his education. He believes that experience is the spice of life and tries to find new things to see, do, and write about everywhere he goes.