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The ultimate gay travel guide to Singapore

The ultimate gay travel guide to Singapore

Singapore seems to be another one of many very homophobic Asian countries. We could theoretically get 2 years imprisonment for any gayness, even after the anti gay legislation set out in Section 377A of the Penal Code (a hangover from the colonial days) was vigorously reviewed in 2007.

An attempt was made in 2014 to challenge Section 377A, but like in India, the Supreme Court of Singapore unfortunately upheld them. This was not the only scary law still in place. On arrival, our immigration card warned us in big bold capital red letters of the death penalty for drug traffickers.

The Singaporean immigration landing card

The immigration card on arrival at Singapore airport with death penalty for drug traffickers in large bold red letters

Yet, travelling through Southeast Asia this past year, we noticed Singapore seemed to be one of the popular gay destinations.

After visiting this tiny island state in early August 2015, we can see why. The Singaporeans are very well educated and affluent (have you SEEN some of the prices in this country?). They’re also a very internationally focused bunch, with English as the official language; it’s estimated that every 2 out of 5 people in Singapore are foreigners.

Change is of course very slow. The only LGBT laws in places are the right to change your legal gender and since 2003, openly gay men are allowed to serve in the army (conscription is 2 years in Singapore).

The Singaporean navy in action

The Singaporean navy hard at work – a very homoerotic wet dream don’t you think?

So whilst on the outside Singapore seems very conservative, it’s in fact one of the gay meccas in Asia. It has had an annual gay pride parade every August since 2005 called IndigNation. And the strong financial presence from companies like Google, led to the creation of a non-profit movement called Pink Dot SG to establish another pride like parade every May since 2009:

The Pink Dot SG sponsors

The high profile sponsors for Pink Dot SG events

We had a great time in Singapore as a gay couple. Our only problem was having to limit our stay to just 3 days due to the high pressures on our budget (it’s not the cheapest destination!)

Nomadic Boys at Hotel Jen rooftop pool

Making the most of our 3 days in Singapore at the excellent rooftop pool at Hotel Jen

GAY BARS IN SINGAPORE

The area around Chinatown is where the majority of the bars and clubs are based. These were our favourites:

1. Tantric Bar & May Wang’s Café

Tantric Bar is the most popular gay bar in Singapore in Chinatown at 78 Neil Road and gets particularly busy on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s got a great courtyard which also gets crowded (in a nice way).

It attracts a variety of gays from all over the world – including their fans (hens nights).

Sebastien at Tantric Bar Singapore

Sebastien stealing a ring from one of the hen party groups at Tantric Bar

2. Dorothy’s

Dorothy’s (formerly Backstage) is another gay gem in the Chinatown area at 13A Trengganu Street. Alcohol in Singapore is very expensive, so we advise taking advantage of any drinks promotions and happy hours where ever possible.

Dorothy’s has an all you can drink evening for SG$50 (£23/$36) on Friday and Saturday evenings. We enjoyed perhaps one too many Singapore Slings at Dorothy’s…

Singapore Sling heaven at Dorothy gay bar

Enjoying one two many Singapore Slings at Dorothy’s gay bar in Chinatown

GAY CLUBS IN SINGAPORE

1. Taboo club

Taboo Club at 65/67/67A Neil Street is just across the road from Tantric and the club where most people go to after a few drinks. Doors open from 10pm and entry was SG$50 (£23/$36) when we were there in August 2015.

It has some great themed nights like FLIRT Fridays and Tutti Frutti Nite.

Taboo gay club in Singapore

Taboo gay club in Chinatown area of Singapore

2. Hyperise at 1-Altitude

Hypertainment are a team that organise gay dance parties at different venues in Singapore city. Their flagship party is Hyperise at 1-Altitude at One Raffles Place with an amazing 360 degrees view of the city. It’s also one of the highest rooftop bars in the world at 282m (925ft).

Stefan Halliwell getting ready to party in Singapore

Stefan channelling Geri Halliwell ready for a night out at Tutti Frutti Nite at Taboo club in Singapore

GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS IN SINGAPORE

Singapore is incredibly expensive for accommodation options and if you can’t stand to stay in a hostel dorm, budget for upwards of SG$88 (£40/$63) a night for a half decent room. Most budget travellers come for a few days for a weekend splurge.

The awesome pool area of Hotel Jen

Nomadic Boys enjoying the pool area of Hotel Jen in Singapore

HOTEL JEN ORCHARDGATEWAY   Book online

  • Trendy and gay friendly hotel in the heart of Singapore with a gym, an infinity pool, and amazing views.
  • Weekly pool parties.
  • Prices start from SG$247 (£114 / $175) a night.

LOTUS HOSTEL   Book online

  • A great mid-range option for Singapore with private rooms from SG $88 (£40/$63) a night.
The Hotel Jen pool with view of Singapore

Sebastien in the awesome Hotel Jen pool with view of Singapore

ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SINGAPORE

Well if you’re not here on business or in transit, Singapore is great for shopping, especially if you’re looking to replace that (ahem!) broken Go Pro camera of yours…

Nonetheless, there’s also much more to do then just shop…

1. The Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is like the London Eye: a giant Ferris wheel with pods moving around at 0.24m per second (0.76km/h).

The view from our Singapore Flyer pod

The view below from our Singapore Flyer

At its highest point it reaches 165 metres, which is like 31 male giraffes stacked on top of each other (the average height of a giraffe is 5.3 metres).

So you can imagine the incredible views you’d get of the skyline, particularly if you go after sunset and see it at night.

The night skyline of Singapore from the Singapore Flyer

The beautiful evening view of the Singapore city skyline from our pod in the Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer costs S$53 (£25/$38) for adults (over 13 years old) and S$21 (£10/$15) for children (3-12 years old) and you can book in advance on their website.

2. The Marina Bay area

There is an excellent 3.5km waterfront promenade linking all the main attractions of the Marina Bay area, including the Merlion fountain (lion’s head from a fish body), the Marina Bay Sands resort (which looks like a giant ship at the top) and the lotus shaped AirScience Museum:

View of Marina Bay Sands Merlion and lotus AirScience museum

View of the Marina Bay Sands (ship like building) Merlion with fish body and lotus shaped AirScience museum

3. The National Orchid Garden

The National Orchid Garden is rated as the #1 thing to do in Singapore according to Tripadvisor. It’s a bit far from the MRT but it’s a peaceful place to get away from the big city as well as being educational. It has some stunning wow factor orchids making the trip worthwhile.

Sebastien at the Singapore National Orchid Garden

Sebastien admiring the beautiful orchids at the Singapore National Orchid Garden

So is Singapore gay friendly? We say yes. Although the legal system may say otherwise, we found it to be very gay and welcoming to us.

Is Singapore gay friendly? We say it is!

The Nomadic Boys enjoying a fun gay night out in Singapore

Check out Erika Travel’s post for a more indepth guide to Singapore’s ethnic neighbourhoods.

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34 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed my time there. The men are just so hot. The young people very body-conscious. And that melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, etc makes for some really beautiful people. Besides the armed forces, the schools and universities seem to put a high emphasis on physical fitness and sport. I attended a day of dragon boat races on the river and the guys everywhere in their little spandex outfits was almost too much for me. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ha ha niiiiice! Got any pics to share? 🙂

      Reply
  2. Going to Singapore tomorrow. Can’t wait Eeeeeee! I approve of you sitting on a massive sofa that looks like a pineapple cut in half.

    Reply
    • Ha ha ha thanks Alice! Have a great time there xxx

      Reply
  3. It’s great to hear Singapore is changing for the better and there are more and more options for gay couples. I wish my home country, Poland was going in the same direction, but I think we will have to wait for many years for such a change 🙁

    Reply
    • Only a matter of time until Poland has to fall in line with EU law. It’s taken/taking the Mediterranean countries long enough to do so…!

      Reply
  4. Wooohoo! Singapore is awesome!!! Loads of cool places to visit and things to do-but we do agree with you. It is SUPER expensive!

    Reply
    • Right? 🙂

      Reply
  5. Glad you had a great time regardless of what’s in print. Haven’t been to Singapore for 15 years and I see so many changes! And the two of you look so cute in that pool lounge area!

    Reply
    • Awww thanks Carol 🙂

      Reply
  6. The views in Singapore are amazing. Plenty of things to do!

    The outdated legal system will eventually go away!

    Reply
    • Hopefully! Thanks Hugo.

      Reply
  7. Their fans, hen parties! hahaah. Love it. I’ve only ever spent a couple of days in Singapore myself, I kind of wish I’d gone to the Orchid garden now, I love Orchids. Hotel Jen looks gorgeous 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Tara 🙂

      Reply
  8. Love that little sofa thing yall are sitting on. I am glad yall had so much fun even though they aren’t very budget friendly.

    Reply
    • Thanks Holly 🙂

      Reply
  9. we are going in april and have booked a double room, i can see that you had a twin room what would you reccomend?

    Reply
    • We didn’t have a twin room? What gave you that idea? We had a lovely big comfortable double bed 🙂

      Reply
      • we are going in april and have booked a double room, i can see that you had a twin room what would you reccomend?

        sorry i thought you did, the pic of the bed on jen hotel looked like a twin, so it will be ok having a double

        Reply
        • You’ll be just fine 🙂

          Reply
  10. Looks like you guys lived it up in SIngapore (per usual). You gys seem to excel at partying and pool lounging 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Brianna 🙂

      Reply
  11. I’m glad that despite what is on paper in Singapore, you two still felt very welcome. It looks like you really made the most of your short stay there. We didn’t get a chance to visit Singapore while we were in S.E. Asia but would like to visit one day.

    Reply
    • Thanks

      Reply
  12. That’s too bad the laws haven’t officially changed, but glad Singapore is still a welcoming destination! I would love to visit–looks like a fun country. The Hotel Jen pool looks amazing! I would love to lounge there for an afternoon!!

    Reply
    • 🙂

      Reply
  13. Great guide to gau friendliness in Singapore! I have a couple of gay friends who are considering going here in 2016 so I will definitely send them this link. All the best for 2016!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Antonette 🙂

      Reply
  14. The Happy Snail Hostel you mention above are gay friendly? I am not too sure but something for sure this hostel is ageism, ableism and racism !! Below are what they mention on their booking website!
    *For safety reasons, we do not accept children below age of 10 years or seniors above the age of 50. *We do not accept online bookings from India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message Brendan. We couldn’t find reference to the racism aspect but definitely get it’s not a kiddy friendly place. Did you find a good budget alternative you’d recommend please?

      Reply
      • There are many good hostel around Chinatown price from SGD15/ 20 per night to SGD30, depending on the day and season weekend more expensive, you can even get one from SGH 12 p/n near the to litte India ! Have a look few hostel and hotel booking website on Internet and compare their price and read their guess reviews but sometime I hate it when the bad review of the hostel is not going to stay on their booking website too long! Have to be careful I met one with bed bugs! Travel many place and that is my first time encountered one with beg bags!

        Lastly I hope u can remove the name of that hostel u recommend on yr webpage, very obviously they not welcome everyone !
        The above two of their policies I was cut it from Hostels.com but on their own booking website their have more policy under the hostel rules, like they also not accept patients of SGH nor visitors who are visiting patients of SGH( Singapore general hospital) below are was I cut from their webpage
        ( Date: 27th March 2016)
        * Kindly note that we
        – DO NOT accept locals/PRs/long term students/foreigners with work permits as we are registered as a backpackers hostel
        – DO accept medical students who are on internship/elective with SGH/NUH
        – For safety reasons, kindly note that we have a strict no children below age of 10 years and seniors above the age of 50 policy
        – Due to hostel limitations, we do not accept online bookings from India/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka/Pakistan/Cuba/Iran/Syria/Sudan/North Korea. Any bookings made will be cancelled and deposits will NOT be refunded

        —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        Message below here just for u don’t need to post to public
        I understand u don’t want to make yr webpage too hateful so you cut some of my early message and I ok with that , have a look on Google and type Reggae Mansian+ racism and you can read many bad reference of them, they are on Englsih and Chinese newspapers, also on yahoo news and few local and international forum. the minister of tourism said will that a look on this case but after many years this place didn’t close down and they still survive till today and what more sarcasm they even awards by KL Mayor and Tripadvisor for the excellent service! Can’t believe this is the ugly side of the world!

        Reply
        • Hi Brendan thanks so much for all this information. We’ve removed Happy Snail – although we didn’t have this experience there, we certainly don’t want to be supporting such a hateful organisation. We’re researching decent budget gay friendly accommodations to insert as an alternative, so if you do come across any, do please let us know.

          Reply
  15. WTF??? You are encouraging Western Gays to visit a repressive uptight homophobic country that has torture as a major part of it’s judicial system!That is a very irresponsible thing to do. This place deserves our scorn, not our tourist money

    Reply
    • Hi Ogre, absolutely! We think this is so important. Surely going over there and supporting gay local business and the LGBT communities is going to be far more productive then arrogantly turning your back on them – not THAT is far far more irresponsible to your LGBT sistas out there no?!!!

      Reply

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