Singapore’s LGBTQ+ history is rich—like many of the city’s businesspeople!—and its current scene burgeons with some of the best gay clubs, and European-style saunas. Sex acts between males remain illegal, however, and PDA (public displays of affection) between men might draw hostile staring or similar unwanted attention. Sex acts between females are legal, and women’s PDA is generally overlooked. Don’t despair—warm welcomes abound in Chinatown’s cafés and gastropubs on Neil Road. Crowds’ genders and national origins are mixed, and the mixed drinks are spectacular. For what it’s worth (a lot!), you can sample the original Singapore Sling at Raffles Singapore. Head east to Bugis, a historically Malay neighborhood. Singapore’s indigenous Malays have long recognized and celebrated mak nyah as a distinct transfeminine identity. Today, Victoria Street and Rochor Road are lined with some of the best gay bars in Singapore!
Singapore has an excellent quality of life, although the city-state can be more expensive than its neighbors. For cheap and tasty eats, visit a hawker centre, a Singaporean outdoor food court, for local specialties like chilli crab or Hainanese chicken rice. Head to Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay, and Marina Bay for upscale versions. VIsit the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for its observation deck, from the ending scene to Crazy Rich Asians. For just as Instagram-worthy—views, ride the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel. SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit) runs NightRider bus services from 11:30 pm to 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and the nights before public holidays.
You could escape Singapore’s heat with upscale shopping on Orchard Road or at Marina Bay Sands, but across from Marina Bay Sands are the Gardens by the Bay. Admire the futuristic Supertrees and two sprawling greenhouses. The Singapore Botanic Gardens near Orchard Road are a must-see for the National Orchid Garden and swans. Sentosa Island’s Tanjong Beach, popular with gay men, has white sands perfect for volleyball. In the summer, join Pink Dot SG’s LGBTQ+ advocacy event at Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park. As a country, Singapore might be conservative. As a southeast Asian tourist destination? To use a typically quirky Singlish phrase: die die must try (awesome)!
The city has more than just the best gay bars in Singapore and offers so much to any LGBTQ+ traveler that wants to try a splash of Asian travel in Singapore!