We know, as a female married couple, that lesbian travel isn’t always as easy as packing your suitcase and going. We love traveling and would love to travel the world but as two women there’s much more to think about.
For our holiday adventures it’s important that we can truly be ourselves, feel comfortable and not worry about safety being a lesbian married couple. For us, there shouldn’t even be “destinations” that are lesbian friendly; the world should be tolerant and respect one’s choices, however the world is sadly not like that.
When planning lesbian travel, it’s important to consider the local laws, customs, and cultural norms regarding LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in your chosen destination. Researching and understanding these aspects beforehand can help ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience. Additionally, be mindful of personal safety, follow general travel safety guidelines, and consider travel insurance to cover any unexpected situations.
Here are some key aspects of lesbian travel
- LGBTQ+ Travel Companies: Several travel companies specialize in organizing lesbian travel experiences. These companies create itineraries that focus on lesbian-friendly destinations, accommodations, and activities. They may offer group tours, cruises, adventure trips, or beach vacations tailored to the needs and interests of lesbian travelers. These trips provide opportunities to meet and connect with other lesbian women while exploring new places.
- Pride Festivals and LGBTQ+ Events: Attending Pride festivals and LGBTQ+ events is a great way to experience the vibrancy and diversity of the lesbian community in different cities worldwide. Pride events often include parades, parties, concerts, and other cultural activities that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Some of the most renowned Pride events include Pride in London, Sydney Mardi Gras, New York City Pride, and San Francisco Pride.
- LGBTQ+ Accommodations: Many hotels, resorts, and guesthouses recognize the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusivity and provide lesbian-friendly accommodations. These establishments prioritize creating safe and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ+ travelers, ensuring they can enjoy their stay without fear of discrimination. Several LGBTQ+ travel websites and apps provide information on lesbian-friendly accommodations worldwide.
- Lesbian Online Communities and Resources: Online platforms and communities specifically cater to lesbian travelers, providing information, recommendations, and support. These resources offer travel tips, advice on lesbian-friendly destinations, safety considerations, and personal travel stories from lesbian travelers. Engaging with these communities can help you connect with other lesbian women who have traveled to various places and gain valuable insights for your own journeys.
Top 5 lesbian friendly travel destinations
There are loads of destinations around the world that are lesbian friendly. The difficulty lies in choosing where to go and what you actually want out of a holiday. If you want to have fun, then why not look at destinations that have festivals and events catered for lesbians and the LGBTQ+ community.
Top lesbian festivals to inspire your next holiday
What are the greatest destinations for an unforgettable lesbian vacation?
Why Is Thailand A Lesbian Friendly Holiday Destination?
There is no better place to travel to as a lesbian couple or by yourself than Thailand. From the breathtaking islands and thrilling jungles to the magnificent temples and mouthwatering Thai cuisine, you will definitely have a holiday to remember. And the Thai people are so friendly and welcoming towards lesbian travelers, it’s no wonder it is called the land of smiles.
Thailand is one of the most lesbian-friendly nations in Asia, yet it is still a predominantly conservative nation. Therefore, public demonstrations of affection should generally be avoided and reserved for the hotel room. It’s a cultural phenomenon that also applies to straight relationships. Of course, homophobia still exists, as it does in every country, but it is uncommon in Thailand and is vanishing as young Thais are raised in a country that is becoming more accepting of gay and lesbian individuals.
Since 1956, it has been legal to be gay in Thailand, and the country’s gay community is booming both among residents and visitors. A nation that practices Buddhism, where there are no genuine distinctions between sexes and sexual orientations, and where people are free to choose without being forced to identify as one gender or the other.
Gay and lesbian travellers will find Thailand to be more welcoming than other countries and that’s why it is one of our favourite lesbian friendly holiday destinations. In order to expand the legal rights of gay and lesbian couples, the Thai government approved a same-sex civil partnership bill. In addition, Bangkok’s leading private hospital, Bumrungrad, built a clinic particularly for LGBTQ+ patients in 2021.
Thailand is also one of the many countries that are part of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), with travel partners ranging from the Hilton to Airbnb, to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Founded in 1983, the IGLTA provides “free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within the LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide”
A Thai gay couple got death threats from Indonesian internet users in April 2021 after they posted pictures of their wedding, underscoring the country’s general acceptance of the gay and lesbian population. That led to an outpouring of love and support for this couple online from Thai internet users, as well as the Thai media stories defending them.
This explains why Thailand has exploded in popularity as a top gay and lesbian friendly holiday destination during the past 20 years. In addition to acceptance, the nation boasts a vibrant LGBTQ+ social scene, with numerous gay and lesbian establishments present in every significant Thai city and beach resorts. The Silom sector of Bangkok, which is teeming with gay bars and nightclubs, is frequently referred to as the largest gay entertainment zone in Asia.
Visitors who identify as LGBTQ+ and are travelling to Thailand should take the same precautions though as other tourists. The four largest dangers for all visitors to Thailand are scams, spiked drinks, small-time theft, and road accidents. If at all possible, arrange for day trips, watersports, or lengthy taxi rides through your hotel or from reputable companies such as Viator or Get Your Guide.
Where To Go In Thailand That Is Lesbian Friendly?
Thailand is just a beautiful country to visit and thousands of tourists flock to this little gem of South East Asia every year. Bangkok, the capital and main city for LGBT nightlife offers the best of both worlds: It is a modern metropolis jampacked with temples such as Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun as well as the many markets (Chatuchak Weekend Market, Patpong Market, Yaowarat Market), shopping malls (Central World, MBK Centre, Asiatique Riverfront), vibrant nightlife, and the delicious food scene.
Take a walk through Lumphini Park, a popular gathering spot for Bangkok’s residents to practice Tai Chi, lounge by the lakeside, or jog through the lush gardens. Then take a tuk-tuk to the Grand Palace and marvel at the city’s architecture along the way and spend the evening down Khaosan Road, famous for its nightlife and cheap hotels catering to backpackers and budget travellers. We stayed here for a couple of hours and mingled with the lesbian community before taking a sightseeing dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River admiring Bangkok’s iconic landmarks. We watched the city light up at night whilst enjoying live music and eating delicious Thai cuisine.
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The tropical island of Phuket is our next choice as a lesbian friendly place to visit, with an international airport it is very easy to get to on your travels through Thailand.
The gay hub is Patong, where the LGBTQ+ community can party all night long in numerous bars and clubs.
For a truly special experience, visit Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, where a herd of elephants, between the ages of 36 to 70, romp freely across lush pastures. Visitors can observe them from a treetop observation deck as they graze or splash in the freshwater lagoons and hydrotherapy mud pools.
Pattaya is well-known for its nightlife. The LGBTQ+ community is vibrant and lively, especially in Sunee Plaza or the Boyztown district where women are very welcome. It does not matter if you are travelling solo or with your partner, you will have a great time.
Pattaya is also known to have two of the most popular gay beaches in Thailand – Jomtien Beach and Dongtan Beach. The region along Jomtien Beach is a favourite for those heading to Pattaya who are seeking a more toned-down and relaxing option to the town’s more lively central regions. The beach is around 3.5 miles long and is paralleled by a stretch of shaded, palm tree-lined road. Jomtien is located in an area with lots of restaurants, and plenty of delicious street food for tourists to try. And for those who love being in the water, it’s not too difficult to find a variety of fun and adrenaline-inducing activities to indulge in.
Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan is known for its full moon celebrations. LGBTQ+ tourists from all over the world are known to attend these events.
These events take place on the Haad Rin beach every month of the year. They are known to draw large crowds—often thousands at once. The fact that the island is breathtakingly gorgeous obviously helps. White sand makes the crescent-shaped beach the perfect location for both exploration and relaxation. The majority of the beaches in this area are welcoming to LGBTQ individuals. However, Salad Beach, Haad Yao Beach, and Bottle Beach are the most well-known of these.
Right next to Koh Phangan is Koh Samui. However, it is much more chilled and laid back. The beaches and many upscale lesbian-friendly hotels on Koh Samui are among the island’s best attractions for tourists. The Absolute Sanctuary is one of Thailand’s best-known wellness retreats, offering spa and fitness programs, Thai massage, yoga and healing exercises, life coaching, and detox programs. Bophut, which is thought to be the centre of Koh Samui’s LGBTQ culture, is only 6 km away from the spa resort.
We loved our week in Khao Lak. It has white sandy beaches and is surrounded by lush forested hills. It is much quieter than other locations, but it is very lesbian friendly and you can truly be yourself here. The beaches are isolated, the nightlife much calmer and activities are geared towards families. Scuba diving is amazing, the sea life will have you entertained for hours.
When the devastating tsunami happened in Thailand last 2004, Khao Lak was one of those areas that was badly hit with over 4000 fatalities and 3000 people unaccounted for. Since then, Khao Lak has made a full recovery, turning the area into a popular tourist destination.
A truly unforgettable experience is to visit the turtle sanctuary. If you are lucky like us and are in Khao Lak in the first week of March, then celebrate the turtle festival, where volunteers can release young turtle hatchlings back to the sea at Thai Muang National Park Beach.
If you love elephants then enjoy a day of river rafting, bathing and feeding elephants, and exploring a tropical rainforest by bamboo raft. The bathing of the elephants is one of the most remarkable experiences in our lives.
Krabi is the ideal vacation destination whether you identify as a member of the LGBTQ community or not. Its wealth of beaches is a significant draw for individuals who prefer spending time outdoors.
Railay Beach and Ao Nang are the most well- known but go off the beaten track and find your own piece of secluded paradise. The beaches are stunning, and the nightlife is just as remarkable. Travellers who identify as LGBTQ may opt to partake in action-packed pursuits including scuba diving, kayaking, rock climbing, snorkeling, and island hopping.
Koh Kood / Koh Kut
If LGBTQ people are seeking a spot to spend their anniversary or maybe go on a honeymoon, Koh Kood might be the perfect place to go. To put it mildly, the atmosphere is unique, and the tropical setting heightens the romance. In other words, it provides everything you could possibly need to make your holiday special.
We stayed at The High Season Pool Villa & Spa and as a lesbian couple, we were treated no differently than any other guests. The staff were so friendly and helpful. It was totally luxurious and we spent many hours kayaking through the mangroves on the Klong Chao River. I also dragged my wife through a nature trail to a magnificent waterfall and we took in the beauty of Koh Rung, Koh Mak & Koh Chang on a speedboat excursion. It is one of the most romantic places we visited on our adventures through Thailand.
Second only to Bangkok in terms of popularity, Chiang Mai “the jewel of the north” is one of Thailand’s most visited cities. Known for its hill tribes, luxuriant rainforests, elephant sanctuaries, and unique cuisine, it is a cool mountain town.
In Chiang Mai, there are more than 300 Buddhist temples that you can visit if you like to do so. There are numerous night markets and digital nomads that have made this city in northern Thailand their home.
Chiang Mai is also very lesbian friendly as there is a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ scene in the city. In addition to cabaret clubs, lesbian friendly nightclubs, and massage shops, the city boasts many LGBT friendly bars too.
An almost ideal balance of pace, affordability, comfort, culture, natural beauty, and nightlife can be found in this incredibly liveable city.
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2. San Francisco
If you are lesbian then chances are you have been to the gay mecca of San Francisco and if you haven’t then you must plan to visit at some time in your life. It has a strong history of LGBTQ+ activism, bars, theatres, there is literally something to do in San Francisco all year round. 15% of San Francisco’s population is LGBT, according to recent population statistics. It is the gay capital of America and we even got married at San Francisco City Hall last year. The building is one of the most impressive sights to see in SF and we were very lucky to be married by a gay judge who was mates with Harvey Milk!
The Castro district serves as the LGBTQ+ heartland of San Francisco. You will find lots of bars and restaurants here, catering to all types of customers. Among other amusing things, the famous Castro Theatre hosts sing-along musical nights and a gay movie. Also visit Castro Camera, the former camera shop owned by legendary gay activist and gay martyr Harvey Milk. Castro Camera is now a Human Rights Campaign store.
Visit the Bay area in San Francisco where the residents are notoriously liberal and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community or take a walk through Chinatown, a destination in itself. There are plenty of museums, festivals, theatres, restaurants, shopping, and bars to keep you entertained all year round wherever you visit in San Francisco.
The most popular things to see in San Francisco are:
- The Golden Gate Bridge
- Lombard Street
- Golden Gate Park
- Haight Ashbury
- Pier 39
- Painted Ladies
- California Academy of Sciences
Barcelona, one of Europe’s most stunning cities, is also one of the best locations for a lesbian vacation. Days can be spent relaxing on the beach, eating tapas in one of the numerous adorable cafés, or exploring the Gothic Quarter in search of history. Barcelona was one of our first city breaks away when we first met all those years ago.
The majority of gay and lesbian establishments are in L’Eixample, so spend an evening exploring there. Numerous eateries, bars, and clubs are completely LGBT friendly. Beautiful Spanish women can be found at the dance floor at lesbian events like Aire, Divina, and Chicas Malas.
Barcelona is generally known to be a tolerant and inclusive city that has a thriving LGBTQ+ community. It has a reputation for being relatively lesbian-friendly and is considered one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations in Europe. The city hosts various events, such as Barcelona Pride and LGBTQ+ film festivals, and has a range of LGBTQ+-friendly bars, clubs, and venues.
Barcelona has implemented laws and regulations that protect LGBTQ+ rights, including anti-discrimination laws and legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. The city has a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to different sexual orientations and gender identities.
Top activities to do in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia
- Casa Batllo
- Casa Mila
- La Pedrera
- Montjuic Hill Cable Car
- Park Guell
- Gothic Quarter
- La Boqueira
Choosing your next lesbian friendly holiday may be difficult, but choosing the right lesbian book to take with you is just as hard. Just as a holiday is intended to take our bodies out of their punishing routines to rest and rejuvenate, books do the same for our minds. They relax us, engage us, and transport us, even for just a little while.
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