Top LGBT festivals in Asia

19 January 2017 | Multi-country | Our Favourites | By Louise
Share
Songkran

Songkran

Thailand, but especially Bangkok, 13-15th April 2017

The Thai festival of Songkran has become one of the continent's largest street parties, and visitors from all over the world arrive to join in what could be described as the world’s largest water fight. Songkran is the start of Thai New Year, marking the beginning of the new solar year and celebrating the rain, which arrives in April after a long hot and dry season. It's impossible to stay dry during this festival, so come prepared! Everyone takes to the streets prepared with huge super-soakers, water pistols and buckets of icy water, with the sole intention of drenching other willing revellers. Although not an exclusively LGBTQ festival, Songkran has taken on particular meaning in recent years, with specific LGBTQ parties being held alongside the street celebrations. The party lasts for 3 days, and can be enjoyed all over Thailand, with Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket as centres of the action.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Tokyo Rainbow Pride

29th April - 7th May 2017

Welcoming people of all genders and orientations, Tokyo Rainbow Pride is a week long festival celebrating the diversity of Tokyo’s LGBT community. Heading into its seventh year in 2017, the main event sees a parade of floats belonging to dozens of different LGBTQ groups and organizations from Tokyo and beyond. This vibrant Pride celebration starts in Yoyogi Park and makes its way through the Shibuya and Harajuku districts followed by 5,000 people. Over the course of the week, 70,000 people come to join in the festivities and events, with the parade marking the grand finale of the festival. Visitors can enjoy films, meetings, exhibitions and parties, all coming together to showcase and raise awareness of the LGBTQ community in Japan. Watch the video here.

Hand in Hand Festival

Hand in Hand Festival

Seoul, South Korea, 4th June 2017

Not so much a festival as a growing movement, Asia Proud Voices brings together LGBTQ choirs from across the contintent, to unify and communicate through song. The network consists of groups including the Wu Tong Gay Men's Chorus in Chengdu, Rainbow Voices Mumbai, and NECO Punch (literally “cat’s paw punch”) - a Japanese gay male choir. In 2015, Proud Voices Asia put on Asia’s first ‘Hand in Hand’ festival in Taipei. It was the first international gathering of LGBT choirs from across Asia, and included representation from China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as singers from Europe and North America. With the plan to operate the festival in Asia every two years, we’re looking forward to seeing the next event come together in South Korea in 2017.

Vietpride

Vietpride

Vietnam, 2017 dates TBC

‘We are Queer, We are Here’; Vietpride aims to promote awareness and visibility for same-sex love and gender-nonconformity in common spaces like the workplace, schools and cafes throughout Vietnam. The initiative has been received enthusiastically by Vietnamese and expat LGBT communities, and a coalition of local and foreign NGOs and diplomatic missions. In 2014, the Vietpride Scholarship was launched to provide assistance for disadvantaged LGBTQ youths in obtaining vocational training and degrees. A unique aspect of the Vietpride rally in Hanoi is that the parade typically takes place on bicycles and motorbikes – the most quintessentially Vietnamese forms of transport. Throughout the event, visitors can partake in film screenings, workshops, panel discussions and ongoing dialogues around LGBTQ rights – in both English and Vietnamese.

Other festivals to look out for include Phuket Pride ThailandKyushu Rainbow Pride Japan and Cambodia Pride. We can offer advice on gay friendly countries in Asia, and are committed to ensuring that hotels honour appropriate bed configuration and honeymoon benefits for clients of all sexual orientations.

Top LGBT festivals in Asia - Selective Asia