Taiwan: The Best Destination For LGBT Travelers In Asia

Are you curious about why Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage? Do you want to hang out with your friends in a totally gay-friendly destination? If you want to say yes to these questions, come visiting Taiwan and get ready to be surprised by how gay Taiwan is! It’s totally fine if you are not familiar with Taiwan, below are the reasons why Taiwan should be your next destination!


1. Gay-Friendly Environment

The gaybourhood of Ximending is the place you can’t miss. You can find many gay bars around the Red House (西門紅樓). Enjoy hot spring or sauna to melt away your stress of travel and urban living. Staying at the first gay accommodation “Gs Gay Hotel” in Taiwan can be an interesting experience as well. This hotel is within 10 mins walking from Raohe night market. If you are interested in praying for soul mates, you can pay visit to “Wei-Ming Temple (Rabbit Temple),” where the deity has watched over homosexuals for centuries. People in Taiwan can feel safe not only in entertainment space, but also in workplace. Discrimination based on sex orientation in workplace is banned by Taiwanese government.

Gay bar in Taipei: Café Dalida

Add: No. 51, Ln. 10, Chengdu Rd., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City
Tel: +886 2 2370 7833
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 19:00-03:00 / Friday to Saturday 18:00-04:00


♦ ABRAZO Bistro

Add: No. 198, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City
Tel: +886 2 2731 8282
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday 11:30-02:00 / Friday and Saturday 11:30-04:00 / Closed on Monday


Kawayu SPA & Sauna

Website: http://www.kawayu-spa.com.tw/m/home.php?Lang=en
Add: No. 10, Lane 300, Xing-Yi Road, Beitou District, Taipei
Tel: +886 2 2874 7979
Opening hours: 06:00-01:00 AM (April to October) / 06:00-03:00 AM (November to March)


Gs Gay Hotel

Website: http://www.gshome.co/
Add: No. 322, Sec. 5, Nanjing E. Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei City
Tel: +886 2 2766 1116


Wei-Ming Temple (Rabbit Temple)

Add: 8F, No. 50, Jinan Road, Zhonghe District, New Taipei City
Tel: +886 2 2242 1197
Opening hours: 13:00-21:00 PM (Closed on Tuesday)
* Tips for visiting Wei-Ming Temple: bring unpacked food or cosmetics as offerings to the deity “Da Ya.(大爺)” Do not call the deity “god of rabbit.”


2. Taiwan legalizes same-sex marriage

Although Taiwan has a large gay community, the issue of same-sex marriage is a longtime struggle. In 2017, the Constitutional court ruled that the existing law stating marriage should between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. Two years later, lawmakers finally pass the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019. Almost 2,000 couples recorded same-sex marriages from May to the end of August, 2019.


3. Taiwan LGBT Pride

Taiwan LGBT Pride is the biggest pride parade in Asia. The first Taiwan Pride parade was held in 2003 with only one thousand participants. More than 200,000 massive crowd participated in 2019’s Taiwan LGBT Pride to celebrate the country’s victory in legalizing same-sex marriage. Come join Taiwan Pride parade on the last Saturday in October each year to cheer madly for gender equality! In 2020, Taiwan LGBT Pride will be held on 31 October. As it is one of the biggest parades in Taiwan, do remember to book your hotel in Taipei in advance and prepare some rainbow-themed accessories to decorate yourself 🙂
Website: https://www.taiwanpride.lgbt/eng


4. Taipei LGBT Private Walking Tour

If you would like to learn more about the history, struggles and achievements of LGBT community in Taiwan, come join our Taipei LGBT Private Walking Tour!
Website: https://www.klook.com/activity/15062-lgbt-private-walking-tour-taipei/
The tour is available from 13:00-16:00 PM, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Meeting point: NTU Hospital MRT station exit 1


Recommended Itinerary for Trekking Lovers (8D7N Taiwan Itinerary)

Travelers are usually surprised by a fact: Taiwan has a total of 268 mountains thar are over 3,000 meters! In fact, over 50% of Taiwan is mountainous, so the island is a heaven for mountaineers! From low-altitude and flat trails to the highest mountain in northeast Asia, Jade Mountain (Yushan), no matter on which level you are, you will find a trail that delights you.

Last December, we organized a trekking trip for a lovely couple, Tracy and Chua. This was not the first time for Tracy and Chua to visit Taiwan, but most of their previous trips were for business or just based in Taipei. They hoped to explore the rest of Taiwan this time. Tracy is a BIG fan of National Geographic. She requested to have full-day trekking on the trails with nice scenery and also wanted to visit the beautiful tea plantation. Since they didn’t like place that were too touristy and crowded, they looked for trails that were a little bit off the beaten path. 

We adjusted the plan several times not only to make sure this 8D7N Taiwan itinerary was what Tracy wanted but also to minimize the time we spend on traffic. After the discussion, we finalized a plan fulfilling every aspect of their wish. The trekking routes we recommended cover high mountain grasslands, forests and gorges. The highlights include:

Tashan Trail at Alishan 【Duration: 5-6 hours (out-and-back)】

“Without climbing Tashan, one does not know the magnificence of Alishan (Ali Mountain).” The trail passes by a Taiwan cypress forest. And from the overpass visitors can see the Zhushan Line train winding by. The end of the trail is the summit of Tashan from where one can see the entire Ali Mountain Forest Recreation Area, the peaks of Jade Mountain and the ridge of the Central Mountain Range in the distance, and possibly a sea of constantly changing clouds.

Shuishan Trail at Alishan【Duration:1 hour (out-and-back)】

This is a new secret spot that travelers usually neglect. Walking on the trail is like entering a time tunnel in the forest, for you get to walk along the old Alishan Forest Railway and meet the thousand-year-old divine trees at the end of the trail.

Tea picking experience at tea plantation and tea ceremony in the bamboo forest【Duration: 2 hours】

Alishan is renowned for its high mountain tea; therefore, simply tasting the tea in a tea farm or factory is not enough. We would like to bring you to enjoy the tea ceremony in the peaceful bamboo forest! It is the best way to embrace the nature and relax your mind. After that, you will be taken to the tea terraces to learn how to pick the tea leaves.

Hiking above Cloud: Hehuan Main Peak and East Peak【Duration: Main Peak 2 hours (out-and-back) / East Peak: 2 hours (out-and-back)】

Despite its altitude of more than 3,000 meters, Mt. Hehuan has a road that goes right across it, forming a convenient access. The scenery changes with the seasons: blossoming wild flowers in spring, lush green in summer, bleak in autumn, and spread of snow in winter. Jade mountain rhododendrons prosper along the Hehuan East Peak Trail. In May and June, a sea of fuchsia blossoms makes the mountain colorful.

Zhuilu Old Road【Duration: 3-5 hours (out-and-back)】

Zhuilu Old Trail is one of the best trails at Taroko Gorge that you can’t miss. Not only are you able to see the magnificent cliff, but also to explore the historic path that tells the story of the early days when Taiwan was under the control of Japan.

Stay One Night at Choo Art Villa

Choo Are Villa is an ecological villa with only four rooms. In order not to damage the centuries-old tree, the designer integrated the trees into the building, giving the villa a unique interior view.

The Rough Schedule:

Day 1: Arrival / Transfer to Miaoli / Stay in Miaoli
Day 2: Head for Alishan / Half-day trekking at Alishan / Stay at Alishan
Day 3: Half-day trekking at Alishan / Tea picking experience and tea ceremony in the bamboo forest / Stay at Sun Moon Lake
Day 4: Trekking at Mt. Hehuan / Stay at Taroko Gorge
Day 5: Full-day trekking at Taroko Gorge / Stay at Taroko Gorge
Day 6: Half-day trekking at Taroko Gorge / Stay at Yilan
Day 7: Enjoy Hot Spring / Half free day on Taipei / Stay in Taipei
Day 8: Departure

Tracy and Chua’s Feedback:

Reliable, well-planned, thoughtful. All you can ask for in a customised visit, in terms of catering for what we wanted. They listened and delivered. Clint was our guide and made everything a Breeze and very enjoyable. Bonus were the many pictures he took for us!

Tracy and Chua were satisfied with the trip and hoped to conquer, Jade Mountain, Taiwan’s highest mountain as soon as possible. Tracy also mentioned that maybe next time she will ask her parents to come together. They can do some general sightseeing and walking tour while Tracy and her husband go trekking!

John Muir, an American author and environmental philosopher, once said: “the mountains are calling and I must go.” As Taiwan announces 2020 as the Year of the Mountain, we invite travelers who love mountain and trekking to explore the beauty of mountain with us!


Is Indigenous Tribe the Same as What You Imagine? The Best Way to Learn about the Indigenous Culture in Taiwan

As there are 16 officially recognized indigenous groups in Taiwan, indigenous culture is one of the most charming highlights of Taiwan. Many travelers wish to visit a “REAL” indigenous/aboriginal village and get cultural experience there. But what is a REAL indigenous village like? Is it the same as the one you imagine? Today we would like to give you a guideline about how to get the best indigenous cultural experiences in Taiwan.

What does a REAL Taiwanese indigenous tribe look like?

Most of the indigenous tribes are close to green mountains or sapphire blue ocean. They are all good places to enjoy rich natural beauty. Although in Chinese, we still call the indigenous communities “tribes (Chinese: 部落 bù luò) ”, they don’t really look like the primitive villages in the cartoon – The Flintstones (中譯:摩登原始人/石頭族樂園). They are just like other normal villages that composed with modern bungalows. The biggest difference is that most of the residents there are local indigenous people.

The tribe you may imagine v.s. the real tribe

Many tribes are decorated with indigenous painting, patterns or sculptures that show their different characteristics.

Some of them still preserve one or two traditional assembly center in the community, such as Tsao people’s Kuba (邵族的會所,庫巴) or Peinan people’s Takuvan and Balaguan (卑南族的會所,達古範和巴拉冠), where they hold traditional ceremonies on particular festivals.

Peinan people’s assembly center, Takuvan (卑南族的少年聚會所,達古範)

Taiwan does have a few more primitive aboriginal tribes, such as the Smangus tribe (司馬庫斯) in Hsinchu or the Vedai tribe (霧台) in Pingtung. These tribes are usually located in distant or inaccessible mountains, so if you would like to explore these beaten places, you must spend more time on traffic.

What is the best way to get and experience indigenous culture?

Travelers may hope to get authentic indigenous cultural immersion by just visiting and browsing a tribe. However, the special rituals or events are only performed during traditional ceremonies or festivals. Beyond these times, most indigenous people live like us: work during the daytime and enjoy family time at night. You will get the feel of the real tribal life only if you stay with the tribe for a couple of weeks. This may be an option for long-day travelers with more time on their hands, but less suitable for travelers who only have s short trip in Taiwan.

Travelers make mochi with local indigenous people.

Therefore, the best way to get and experience indigenous culture is participating in the indigenous cultural tours designed by the local indigenous people or organizations. The trips come with various lengths. The shortest one could be finished within half a day while the longer one could be 1 to 5 days. You will have a taste of the essence of the indigenous culture, including exploring the tribe to know the hidden stories, understanding how they survive in the mountains or by the ocean, learning to make indigenous crafts, enjoying tasty indigenous meals with local families, and staying overnight in family-run guesthouses.

Will the indigenous tour be too touristy?

If you just visit replicated indigenous houses and greeted with poor indigenous singing and dance show, we will say it is really touristy and can’t express the cultural spirit to the travelers. To make sure our clients get the authentic adventure, the tours and activities we recommend are all held in the tribe. You will experience their living areas in person and learn the traditional wisdom about how to live by taking advantage of the local materials. These activities are also designed and led by local people according to their real life experience. The tribe could also be run permanently and keep their culture alive this way.

The indigenous experience we recommend:

After having a rough idea about the indigenous tours, you might be interested in an indigenous cultural immersion. Here are some experiences that we recommend:

Cidal Hunter School in Hualien (Amis People) 吉籟獵人學校

Cidal Hunter School was established by local Amis people not only to preserve their traditions and knowledge, but to pass them on to the younger generation. However, as more and more travelers expressed their interests in learning about traditional culture and lifestyles, the school started to develop a series of cultural and ecotourism activities, such as learning how to start a fire, create a container for holding water from natural plant materials, and hunting shrimp and crab.

Luan Shan Forest Museum in Taitung (Bunun People) 鸞山森林博物館

Photo Credit: East Rift Valley National Area

It used to be a tribal site remains and was turned into an open-air forest museum like a scene from the film Avatar. Museum director Aliman and his tribal friends have been systematically protecting the forests, especially the precious giant Banyan trees. They hold environment protection and culture reconstruction educational activities, cross-tribal events, tribal stays, outdoor spiritual workshops and ecological tours, so as to connect more with the public and bring their attention to forest conservation.

Kbanun Tribe in Yilan (Atayal People) 樂水部落

Kbanun Tribe is also called the forgotten tribe. BY spending a day with this remaining native tribes, you will learn to make souvenirs with unique leaves, cook sticky rice using bamboo, hunt in the mountains, practice archery and make fresh mochi balls with your hands!  

If I don’t have time to partivipate in an indigenous tour, what can I do?

1. Visit to a great indigenous museum
Here are 2 indigenous-theme museums that you cannot miss.

Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

Add: No. 282, Sec. 2, Zhishan Road, Shilin Dist., Taipei City
Open Hours: 09:00 am-17:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

National Museum of Prehistory

Add: No.1 Museum Road, Taitung County
Tel: 886-89-381-166
Open Hours: 09:00 am to 17:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

2. Have a meal at indigenous restaurant

Hasila Food 
Add: No. 19, Lane 77, Sec. 2, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan Dist., Taipei
Tel: +886-2-2563-4992
Open Hours: 18:00 pm to 02:00 am Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

3. Stay one night at indigenous-theme hotel/B&B

Taroko Village Hotel

Located in Taroko Gorge, Taroko Village Hotel is surrounded by forests and all the staffs there are local indigenous people (Taroko People). The atmosphere is really relaxing!

Where can I buy indigenous souvenirs with good quality?

Of course, the best place is the craft studios in the tribe that you visit. You will know who make these crafts and could interact with local artists. In Taipei, below are 2 recommended shops that select worth buying indigenous souvenirs from many tribes.

Lovely Taiwan Shop 台灣好,店
Add: N0. 18-2, Lane 25, Nanjing West Road, Taipei City
TEL: +886-2-2558-2616
Open hours: 12:00 pm – 21:00 pm Tuesday – Sunday (Closed on Mondays and on public holidays)

Ayoi Taipei 阿優依
Add: B2, No.88, Yanchang Road, Xinyi Dist., Taipei City (in the Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store)
TEL: +886-2-6636-5888#1906
Open hours: 11: 00 am – 22:00 pm Everyday

Book an indigenous tour with us!

Want to have an indigenous tour when you visit Taiwan? Contact us now and let us know your interest!



Taiwan seems a much underrated tourist destination in Asia, especially for western travelers. Based on the travelers’ feedback, Taiwan exceeds their expectations a lot and is very worth visiting. The tremendous diversity in a small island is amazing – rich nature wonders, interesting night market, fantastic food, fabulous hiking trails and outdoor sports, cultural experiences, aboriginal village, and very friendly people. We sum up 8 highlights to tell you why Taiwan is worth visiting!



Taiwan is one of the best food destinations in the world where you could try from Michelin star-awarded restaurants to local street “small eats”. Veggie and halal food are also easy to get in Taiwan.

Taiwanese like to ask “jia ba buay (have you eaten already?) ” and we usually put having food on our priority list. Taiwan serves all kinds of cuisine from Taiwanese cuisine, Hakka cuisine, Chinese cuisine, aboriginal flavor, hot pot, BBQ and also exotic cuisine. In general, the most common local ingredients are seafood, chicken, pork, rice, soy and seasonal vegetable. Fresh fruits are also things you can’t miss! Instead of merely eating the food, you can also learn the interesting story behind some of the dishes.



You could go from lush mountain forests to lakes and tropical beaches in one or two hours, Taiwan’s landscape is extremely diverse.

Bisected by northeast Asia’s highest mountains and surrounded by 1566 km of shoreline, making Taiwan geographically unique. There are 9 national parks which offer a variety of distinct topographic landscapes. Taroko National Park, features its lofty gorge; Yangmingshan National Park is known for its volcanic landscape. Kenting National Park is the only tropical area in Taiwan which includes best beaches and rich marine ecology. There are also agricultural scenes such as rice fields and tea plantations. Taiwan is definitely paradise for travelers who loves nature.



There are plenty of hands on activities that the whole family can join together such as tea processing or indigo dyeing. You will have lots of fun learning Taiwanese culture through these activities. There are also numerous cultural festivals during the whole year.

Due to the natural location and altitude of Taiwan, it’s an appropriate place for growing fruits, tea and all kinds of agriculture. In this way, you can experience how does it feel when being a farmer. We can also learn how to make Taiwanese cuisine. We will cherish the food we have after experiencing the process. Besides, we try very hard  to preserve traditional skills such as making sky lantern, handmade paper and indigo dyeing  art crafts.



Taiwan abounds with venues for hiking, cycling and water sports: hundreds of well-maintained natural trails, popular cycling trails along the coastline or lake, ideal clean mountain streams for river-tracing and beautiful beaches for world-class snorkeling.

Over 50% of Taiwan is mountainous, so the island is a heaven for mountaineers! From low-altitude and flat trails to the highest mountain in northeast Asia, Jade Mountain (Yushan), no matter on which level you are, you could find a trail that delights you. Taiwan also offers excellent conditions for variety of activities. The highlights are cycling along Sun Moon Lake or the northeast coast , river tracing in Hualien, snorkeling or scuba diving in Kenting or offshore islands (such as Green Island and Lanyu). If you love surfing, Taiwan Open of Surfing is held in Taitung in every November.



There are over 300 night markets in Taiwan and they are full of energy! You can get everything such as clothes, shoes or souvenirs and have a chance to sit next locals and enjoy authentic street food such as famous stinky tofu.

There is at least one popular night market in each city of Taiwan, for example, Raohe, Ningxia and Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Fengjia Night Market in Taichung and Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung. Each one has its own characteristic and the abundant local snacks there gives you an insight in the people of the area. The most famous food are stinky tofu, oyster omelet, Taiwanese sausage with sticky rice, braised pork rice, bubble tea and shaved ice…etc. Besides authentic local snacks, shopping in the night market is interesting as well. The shops sell various things from fashionable clothing, accessories, shoes, toys to electronic products.



Taiwan is home to groups of Austronesian indigenous people. The 16 officially recognized indigenous peoples, who each have their own native languages and lifestyles enrich the culture in Taiwan.

Most indigenous groups live around Central Mountain Range and east part of Taiwan. Apart from enjoying the scenery, learning and experiencing unique culture is the most beautiful part of each travel to indigenous village. The experienced hunter will teach you how to survive in the nature, tell you many charming local myths. It is also the best chance to taste authentic indigenous cuisine and admire their handicrafts such as weaving, carpentry and pottery.



Many aspects of traditional Chinese arts, crafts and customs are better preserved in Taiwan than anywhere else. For example, National Palace Museum houses one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world.

The links between Taiwan and the Chinese culture had begun as early as in the Song and Ming dynasties, when the ancestors crossed the ocean and came to Taiwan. Taiwan is quite an important place to preserve the Han heritage in the forms of antique, architecture, festival, religion and entertainment. For example, Taiwan is one of the few places still using traditional Chinese characters.



Sweet Potato Mama volunteer tour is an exclusive tour arranged by TOPOLOGY. The travelers will support the single mothers by helping them sell the sweet potatoes on the street and get to know them as they teach you how to roast sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato mama project helps single mothers live independently by allowing them to become vendors of the traditional Taiwanese sweet potatoes. No matter how tough life is, they never give up because there is always something that keeps them moving toward a better life—their lovely kids. This project contains 2 parts: first part we will introduce the whole sweet potato mama project, including the start of the foundation and the project. The second part you will experience what the mamas do everyday – sell the sweet potato with them! You can also take your time chatting with the mamas or other participants. Don’t forget to learn as much as you want to cook yams.
Book Sweet Potato Mama volunteer tour right night!
Report by CNN

Acts of Altruism – How an American couple brought their Asian daughters to Taiwan to experience the Taiwanese culture

Two weeks before arriving in Taiwan, Jennifer and her husband, who were from the United States, contacted Travel Consultant Amy to ask her to plan an itinerary for them and their six- and seven-year-old daughters. What struck out the most to Amy was Jennifer’s insistance on participating in the “Live as Local Sweet Potato Mama Volunteer Project,” and so of course she gladly helped to arrange that for them. On the day of the project, the eagerness with which the entire family had in selling the sweet potatoes made Amy realize that this was the main reason for their trip to Taiwan this time.

Read more

Beijing Opera Makeup Session – A Novel Taiwanese Cultural Experience

“Dressing up in a kimono and hanbok are often highlights for tourists visiting Japan and Korea. In Taiwan, Topology Travel also offers the Beijing Opera Makeup Session to provide foreign visitors with an authentic Chinese experience.”

On a beautiful sunny morning, boxes after boxes of large black cases were loaded into the office of Topology Travel, signifying that a sumptuous costume party was about to begin.

Beijing Opera makeup teacher, Mr. Yu Shan Qian, opened up the professional makeup case, and attentively arranged the various tools as if preparing for a solumn ceremony. Just like the cartoon of Doraemon pushing open the Anywhere Door, the lighting of the makeup mirror instantly transformed the office into the backstage of a Beijing Opera performance. With Teacher Qian’s magical hands, three American girls were going to convert into the leading female characters of the Beijing Opera.

Just two days ago, the three lovely sisters had enjoyed a sonorous show of Beijing Opera at the TaipeiEYE, where they danced alongside the performance’s exciting plotline. They were extremely thrilled in anticipation of becoming the classical characters of Beijing Opera.

With all the materials ready, layers of white and red powder were laid on the girls’ faces. Their innocent faces gradually matured into expressive, womanly complexions, such that one would have trouble believing they were in fact only teenagers.

With application of the makeup, interestingly, the girls also became more quiet and bashful. Even their breathing grew more careful, as if they were actresses trying to calm their nerves before going on stage. As Teacher Qian applied black eyeliner around the contours of their eyes, the girls’ eyes seemed to sparkle, adding to the charming essence that was found in all Beijing Opera female characters.

Afterwards came the elaborate process of hairstyling. Professional hairstyling required that a cloth first be used to secure the hair near the forehead, in order to accentuate the vividness of the eyes and create an animated expression. Teacher Qian took out what looked like kelp from his treasure chest. This was made from sap that was hand extracted from elm trees, which was used as hairspray in the past. Not only did it create a particular hairline, this was natural and didn’t hurt the scalp, no wonder people praised the ancient people’s wisdom to use it.

Teacher Qian paid much attention to forming the hair’s various angles, so that the girls’ hairstyles appeared elegant but natural. He even designated different roles based on their personalities. The oldest sister, donning a glimmering coronet, became the grand Yang Guifei. The middle sister, displaying a hairstyle from the Qing Dynasty and wearing a shoe last mould that made her look like she had bound feet, was a graceful princess. With a distinct fabric hanging down her waist, the youngest sister appeared to embody a mischievous handmaiden. Under Teacher Qian’s conscientious care, everyone showed off their particular personalities.

Lastly, the red lipstick final touches could not be forgotten.

The time-consuming and labour-intensive Beijing Opera makeup and costume session is precisely a cultural journey. With every step one could sense the profound and unique charm of Beijing Opera.

Stacey, the mother of the girls, happily proclaimed that although the girls had previously shown interest in Beijing Opera, this makeup session was an eye-opening experience that would definitely be the highlight of their trip. Watching the girls merrily pose for photos that would surely become memorable for a lifetime, one couldn’t help but think that this fascinating experience could perhaps cultivate a budding interest for the performing arts.

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