Although an increasing number of Koreans are coming out of the closet every day, most gays and lesbians keep their orientation a secret from their families and co-workers, even as younger generations become more tolerant than their parents. Gay and lesbian travelers who publicize their orientation should expect some shock and even some hostile reactions.
However, you will see same-sex friends walking around hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm. Public display of physical affection between same-sex friends is actually more common than between heterosexual partners.
Seoul, Busan, and Daegu have gay neighborhoods with clubs, bars, and saunas, but they generally maintain a low profile. Seoul even has a GLBT Film Festival and a Queer Culture Festival (tel. 0505/336-2003; www.kqcf.org). Visit www.utopia-asia.com (click on the "Korea" link) for in-depth information and current events.
The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 800/448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www.iglta.org) offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses and tour operators. San Francisco-based Now, Voyager (tel. 800/255-6951; www.nowvoyager.com) offers worldwide trips and cruises.
Gay.com Travel (tel. 800/929-2268 or 415/644-8044; www.gay.com/travel or www.outandabout.com) is an excellent successor to the popular Out & About magazine. British travelers should click on the "Travel" link at www.uk.gay.com for advice and gay-friendly trip ideas.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.