Gay Singapore 2019: our guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels & activities

Stefan Arestis

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.

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After visiting this tiny island state on a three weeks holiday, 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 quite slow with some positive LGBTQ laws like the right to change your legal gender (in place since 2003) and the fact that like gay life in Russia, openly gay men are allowed to serve in the army (conscription is 2 years in Singapore). Also, a court recently allowed a gay Singaporean man to adopt a child he fathered through a surrogate.

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 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   Check prices now

  • 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   Check prices now

  • 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

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

BEST THINGS 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) which you can book here.

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.

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

36 thoughts on “Gay Singapore 2019: our guide to the best gay bars, clubs, hotels & activities”

  1. 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

    • 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?!!!

  2. 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.

    • 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?

      • 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!

        • 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.

  3. 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!!

  4. 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!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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 🙁

    • 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…!

  9. 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. 🙂

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