Gay Bali Travel Guide
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Bali ticks every box, from paradise beaches and monkey-filled forests to chic resorts and bucket bars, it’s got it all. Bali is one of Asia’s most desirable destinations for a gay beach holiday and this party island truly Bali deserves every bit of its reputation.
The island itself is large and diverse. To give an idea it would take over 12 hours of constant driving to circle the island. From the mountainous rice paddy fields of Ubud to the palm-lined beaches of Seminyak there is something for everyone. But it’s not all about beaches and cocktails for those attractive travelers there is plenty to keep your day packed from surfing and scuba diving to hiking.
Bali’s culture makes it the most accepting part of Indonesia for gay visitors. Gay Bali’s nightlife is focused around a group of bars located in Seminyak on Jalan Camplung Tanduk Road. Seminyak is South Bali’s trendy neighborhood, located north of Kuta. The area is filled with luxury beach resorts, chic restaurants, and trendy bars.
Don’t leave Balli without experience the world-famous Balinese massages. For quality relaxation and therapeutic treatments, make use of the hotels and resorts across Bali that offer great treatments at affordable prices. Prices vary dramatically between street-side shops to luxury hotels. Where better to try them than the laying on the sand of Bali’s beaches.
The gay nightlife in Bali’s centered around the town of Seminyak and the concentrated on Jalan Camplung Tanduk street. The collection of gay bars sits side by side perfect for bar hopping. The most popular gay bars are Bali Joe, Mixwell Bar, F Bar, and Bottoms Up. Get ready for drag shows, international pop, inside smoking, and plenty of Indonesian working men. The party’s start around 11 pm – 12 am with the majority of the bars closing around 3 am. Like most holiday destinations, parties take place every night of the week, all year round on Bali.
Outside of the gay scene, Bali is home to some great nightlife. Seminyak is Bali’s most luxurious neighborhood with many chic resorts and beach clubs. The best of which can be found at Potato Head and W Seminyak. At the other end of the scale, Bali’s backpacker’s know how to party. Kuta just 15-25 minutes drive down the beach from Seminyak is the backpacking zone. Jalan Legian is Kuta’s party street and is lined with bucket bars and clubs.
The gay sauna scene in Bali is small. There are just two male-only saunas on the island both located in Seminyak; M.A.N Sauna and Elegantz Spa & Sauna. Both specialize in private treatments and massages and offer little in the way of cruising.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Bali however in 2017 a gay sauna in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city was raided and over 51 men were arrested including a number of tourists. Local pornography laws which have been loosely worded to cover anything that undermines public decency has been used to justify the sauna raids. Travelers are advised to exercise extra discretion when visiting a sauna or spa.
Gay-Friendly Hotels Bali
Bali excels in all ranges of accommodation from budget backpacking dorms to chic beach resorts. If you like to party, you should stay in south Bali’s Seminyak or Kuta to make the most of the nightlife. These neighboring towns are the largest on the island and are the main tourist spots.
If your idea of paradise more deserted palm-fringed beaches then it’s North Bali for you with its incredible quiet black sand beaches. For those signature hillside rice paddies Ubud it is. Famed for panoramic mountain views lined with steep terraces.
For advice on the best places to stay in Bali check out the Best Gay-Friendly Hotels in Bali by The Gay Passport.
Is Bali safe for gays?
Bali is the most accommodating part of Indonesia for LGBT travelers. There are many factors for this including the island’s original Hindu religion and it’s recent history as a tourist hot spot. Bali is visited by thousands of LGBTQIA travelers each year, most have a wonderful time but it’s still advisable that tourists note local laws and customs before visiting the country.
Across Indonesia, LGBT acceptance is not widespread. Indonesia is a country with thousands of islands divided into 34 provinces, each with different cultural and religious influences. In terms of public tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality, views are very mixed across the country. Male and female same-sex activity is legal but international same-sex marriages are not recognized.
In recent years lives of local LGBTQIA people have become more difficult due as local governments’ harden their stance against equal rights. In 2017 a gay sauna in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city was raided and over 51 men were arrested including a number of tourists. The effects have also been felt in Bali, in 2019 on a homophobic spree, local Bali government officials removed the hotel licenses for a number of gay-owned and gay-managed hotels citing the hotels were tainting island’s tourism reputation.
Check out thegaypassport.com for more!
1. Image: The Sakala Resort Bal from The Gay Passport
3. Image: Conrad Bali from The Gay Passport
4. Image: The Sakala Resort Bali from The Gay Passport