Acceptance of alternative lifestyles in Southeast Asia, like anywhere, runs the gamut. One thing to remember is that many of the societies and cultures of the region are, by tradition, very modest, and public displays of affection of any kind are not acceptable. Gay nightlife choices are many and varied in larger cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but in rural areas, provincial attitudes vary and intolerance is not uncommon.
The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 800/448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www.iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry. It offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses; go to its website and click on "Members."
Many agencies offer tours and travel itineraries specifically for gay and lesbian travelers. Among them are Above and Beyond Tours (tel. 800/397-2681; www.abovebeyondtours.com), Now, Voyager (tel. 800/255-6951; www.nowvoyager.com), and Olivia Cruises & Resorts (tel. 800/631-6277; www.olivia.com).
Gay.com Travel (tel. 800/929-2268 or 415/644-8044; www.gay.com/travel or www.outandabout.com) is an excellent online successor to the popular Out & About print magazine. It provides updated information about gay-owned, gay-oriented, and gay-friendly lodging, dining, sightseeing, nightlife, and shopping establishments in destinations worldwide.
The following travel guides are available at many bookstores, or you can order them from any online bookseller: Spartacus International Gay Guide (Bruno Gmünder Verlag; www.spartacusworld.com/gayguide), Odysseus: The International Gay Travel Planner (Odysseus Enterprises Ltd.), and the Damron guides (www.damron.com), with separate, annual books for gay men and lesbians.
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.