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One Week in Gay Taiwan

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On 7/3/2023 at 7:43 PM, floridarob said:

I've been to Taiwan several times, but have had more sex with Taiwanese guys in Boston¬†ūüė≤

Maybe you're doing something wrong but I agree that Boston is a great place for meeting Asian twinks cause of such high number of colleges and dorms packed in a relatively small space.

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On 7/15/2023 at 10:34 PM, Pantherz said:

Does Taipei offer a better experience than Hong Kong for a gay visitor?

They are both great cities which deserve to get visited again and again. Both are safe, modern, easy to navigate and most importantly have lots and lots of very cute friendly twinks. I guess  one thing that goes into Taipei's favor is price. Pretty much in every category, Taipei is cheaper than Hong Kong and sometimes quite considerable so. As for the other things:

Bars and clubs: Even though HK is a more compact city than Taipei, its gay venues are actually sparse all over HK island  and the Kowloon peninsula. On the other hand, most of Taipei's are concentrated in Ximending (around the Red Theater which can rightly by called Taipei's gay street) and the nearby Zhongshan area. It's true also that Taipei has more bars on the "hardcore" side like Commander D (a fetish bar where you can find slings and gloryholes) and Hunt (a bar with theme nights, like underwear and towels and which has a small dark room).

Saunas: I guess you don't more posts in this forum to convince you of how great of a gay sauna is Soi13 in Taipei. Hong Kong has a very good number of gay saunas (probably even more than BKK), though I would say Hutong sauna in Kowloon is the most valid competitor of Soi13.

Apps: In both cities, there is plenty of activity and a very high number of profiles. In Taipei, I would say it's mostly Grindr and Hornet (I feel for some reason Blued is going down in popularity). In hong Kong, it's definitely Grindr, Blued and Jack'd.

 

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12 hours ago, PeterRS said:

 

There used to be a light show on the Island which you can see from the Kowloon side starting at 8:00 pm.

It still happens though it felt a b it underwhelming from what I remembered.

 

12 hours ago, PeterRS said:

During the week, I'd suggest Hutong as your best bet

I only went there on a Saturday during my last trip to HK in May. Arrived there around 8PM. There were already plenty of people. I think the peak was reached by 9PM and then around 10:30 people start leaving. The sauna keeps being as clean as I remembered and its facilities are top-notch. However, the crowd is much mixed-aged than when I was there almost 9 years ago. There are still a good number of twinks, but gone is that allure of exclusivity that Hutong used to have (A local twink I met and hanged out with, when I mentioned Hutong, just said: "Haven't been there in awhile, too many uncles now") Messed around with three guys, plus the dark rooms are quite fun at Hutong, both for group fun or for seeing people doing it as, one of them has actually two beds inside.

One thing to notice though, is the steep price. I paid 260HKD (aroound 33USD), which probably makes it the most expensive gay sauna in Asia (though I don't remember exactly how much I paid in Tokyo and Osaka). It's even more expensive that in some European cities known for high prices like London, Amsterdam, etc. They offer a discount for local guys under 25. I know there is at least one day when they can go for free as there was a big sign inside advertising it. I thought that day was Saturday but this guy I met on a Monday, told me that is actually Monday, the free night for under-25. As I was already with him, I couldn't tried it out. Next time, I'll do a bit more research and maybe visit on a Monday.

12 hours ago, PeterRS said:

The one problem with Huang Tzu is that while it is easy to get there - take the Red subway line to Shipai station and then a taxi from there (around NT$160 now - just over US$5) - getting a taxi back is really difficult and without one, you are stuck with a long steep uphill trek to the main road to get a bus back down to the station. But then all the buses seem to stop around 11:15 pm or so and that would enable you to get the last subway train back to the centre of teh city.

Have you tried taking Uber from that location @PeterRS? I've used Uber all over Taiwan and it's been pretty reliable. A bit more expensive in Taipei, but still way less then I would pay in the US or Europe. It's also pretty popular in HK. I took it a few times and the price is not bad. Took it one time late at night, at around 1:00AM to meet this guy, from Jordan where I was staying to Kau Pui Lung for around 110HKD (14USD) round-trip. Still cheaper from what I would pay in LA or NYC.

 

12 hours ago, PeterRS said:

In hot weater there s a gay beach west of Tamshui at the end of the Red Line. I did try to find it once but got lost. My friends tell me it is actually quite easy to find and there are usually a lot of gay guys there at the week ends.

Do you plan to give it a try and see if you find it this time on your incoming trip @PeterRS?

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39 minutes ago, hojacat said:

One thing to notice though, is the steep price. I paid 260HKD (aroound 33USD), which probably makes it the most expensive gay sauna in Asia (though I don't remember exactly how much I paid in Tokyo and Osaka).

Entrance to saunas in HKG has traditionally been on the higher side. I can't recall if Hutong has a two pricing system. I do know that it had a selective entry pre-covid. On Friday evenings, for example, when there would sometimes be a queue outside, one of the employees would decide who would be the next to enter. I think this was to ensure many more twinks than uncles.

Entrance to 24 Kaikan in Shinjuku was ¥2,500 when I was last there about 4 years ago (US$18 today but the exchange rate then made it closer to $22). 

46 minutes ago, hojacat said:

Have you tried taking Uber from that location @PeterRS? I've used Uber all over Taiwan and it's been pretty reliable.

SInce Uber gave up in Thailand some years ago, I only have the Grab app on my phone. So thanks for that advice. I'll add in Uber, although I sometimes think the hike up the steep hill is good for getting rid of a few calories!!

48 minutes ago, hojacat said:

Do you plan to give it a try and see if you find it this time on your incoming trip @PeterRS?

Being the rainy season I doubt it. I should have tried to find it in May during my last visit. The only other trip I have planned this year is mid-November when it is almost certainly too chilly for beach going.

HONG KONG BEACHES

In my earlier post, I forgot to mention gay beaches. On the Island the main gay beach used to be the small Middle Bay located between Repulse Bay and South Bay. https://www.discoverhongkong.com/in/interactive-map/middle-bay-beach.html  It had a shark net, a pontoon to swim out to, a small cafe with simple meals, toilets and a cruisy changing room. Lots of cute guys used to frequent the beach at week-ends. During weekdays there would always be a few guys in skimpy swimwear tanning themselves. In the late afternoons and evenings there was sometimes some action in the bushes and rocks area close to the right side of the beach. I was told that many gay guys have moved on to the nearby and much larger South Bay beach but it is easy to check both. Parking is always a problem as the meter bays are snapped up early and the cops are active in giving illegally parked cars tickets. But it not difficult to walk down there from the main road which passes Repulse Bay or just take a taxi.

Over on Lantau  island on the oother side from the airport, for decades there was a gay beach at Cheung Sha. This is a 3 km long beach with white powdery sand, lots of cafes, a few bars, toilets and changing facilities. It is split into two sections. Local families and water sports enthusiasts tend to opt for the Lower beach. The Upper is quieter and closer to foliage which can see some action. But during weekdays don't expect to find many guys there.

Getting to the beach is not difficult now. You take the MRT to Tung Chung station (the local version of the airport railway) and then a bus over the hill from there. This site has all the details - https://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/explore/great-outdoor/wellness/cheung-sha-beach.html

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you guys have a lot more HK experience than I do... I found lots of incredibly handsome guys there. I always chalked that up to the melting pot nature of the place - sort of like Singapore another place with gorgeous people. But for me I'd pick Taiwan 10 times out of 10 these days given the current political situations. I really need to get back over there one of these days...

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On 7/17/2023 at 7:33 PM, PeterRS said:

I do know that it had a selective entry pre-covid. On Friday evenings, for example, when there would sometimes be a queue outside, one of the employees would decide who would be the next to enter. I think this was to ensure many more twinks than uncles.

Yeah, they stopped doing that around 2018. Was it because of what in a contemporary idiom would be called "embracing inclusivity" or just because they were in need for cash and was more profitable to let anybody in? I'll let you be the judge.

 

On 7/17/2023 at 7:33 PM, PeterRS said:

Entrance to 24 Kaikan in Shinjuku was ¥2,500 when I was last there about 4 years ago (US$18 today but the exchange rate then made it closer to $22). 

On 7/17/2023 at 6:13 PM, hojacat said:

Have been to at least 3 different saunas in Tokyo and at least one in Osaka. Didn't go to any in Kyoto and Kobe. Don't remember the names but looking at the pics of 24 Kaikan, I've definitely been in it. Big, clean, with a lot of amenities inside. I remember perfectly the room with pillows and tatamis were people slept or pretended to sleep and do some light fun instead.. It was at the end of a row of cabins, but you had to pay extra if you wanted to have one if I'm not mistaken.

The highlight was definitely the big room filled up with rows of bunk beds. It was quite dark in there and the atmosphere around was definitely worth experiencing. There were people sleeping or just laying down , others talking, there was the unmistakable squeaky noise of box springs and a few people moaning loudly with their legs up in the air. and between all these , you had people walking  and cruising around for a partner.

Once you found one though, the bed turned out to be not that practical. First, it's smaller than most mattress you would find in a cabin. Then you would have a group of people around you who would not only watch , something that never bothers me, but as I would always go for the lower level bed, they would also touch you, sometimes quite firmly when you were in the middle of the performance. The people on the bed above you could also be a cause of disturb. One time this guy I was with stopped because the people that had climbed up the upper bed started being noisy and making the whole bed shake.

The sauna in Osaka had the same format, though I think the cruise room with bunk beds had more of a maze-like layout which I think it made it even better. Anyway, I really think Japanese gay saunas should be on the "To Do At Least Once" list for gay travelers in Asia. I'm surprised they aren't more famous or known.

On 7/17/2023 at 7:33 PM, PeterRS said:

Being the rainy season I doubt it. I should have tried to find it in May during my last visit. The only other trip I have planned this year is mid-November when it is almost certainly too chilly for beach going.

Does it mean you aren't going to be there for Taipei pride this year @PeterRS?

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1 hour ago, hojacat said:

Don't remember the names but looking at the pics of 24 Kaikan, I've definitely been in it. Big, clean, with a lot of amenities inside. I remember perfectly the room with pillows and tatamis were people slept or pretended to sleep and do some light fun instead.. It was at the end of a row of cabins, but you had to pay extra if you wanted to have one if I'm not mistaken.

I have been in 24 a couple of times on each visit to Tokyo virtually since it opened. It's certainly big even though the layout and experience there is much the same as other saunas I used to go to. I'd also recommend 24 in Ueno, the second of the three 24s to be opened probably around 20 years ago. It's a smaller facility on several floors and tends to attract a more well-built and dare-I-say working class fractionally older type of crowd (late 20s to 40s I'd guess). It's also a good 15 minute walk from Ueno station. Haven't been in the original 24 close to the end of the Ginza subway line in Asakusa (not to be confused with Akasaka) and virtually at the back of the wonderful Senso-ji Temple for probably 2 decades.

Asakusa_Senso-ji_Temple.thumb.jpg.f4d8eecf20db1d54dde4df4a78afd001.jpg

It was pretty run down then, on two floors and had quite a number of much older men. On the other hand, I recall also a lot of student types which struck me as odd because I cannot think of any universities being nearby. Unless the sauna has been renovated, I imagine it must be in a pretty rough condition.

The faciities in 24 in Shinjuku are slightly different than as described by @hojacat.

Shinjuku_24_Sauna.thumb.jpg.c0c7a6e83a4c45f9609153d3ec15c465.jpg

As you enter, there are the shoe lockers on the right which require you to deposit a ¥10 coin. Then you go to the ticket machine on the left of the reception desk, as you need to purchase a ticket before going further. If I recall correctly, the basic fee gives you something like 10 - 14 hours. Here also you'll pay extra for tickets to the private rooms. You then take the ticket and your shoe locker key to the reception desk which is low enough so that neither party sees the other's face. There you will be asked to give a name and handed a small basket with a large towel, long small towel and a yukata. The large towel is mostly for drying off as you are about to leave the sauna, although some patrons do use it as they walk around cruising. Several will don the yukata and walk around in that. On your way to the changing area, you will see a TV room on the left. This is purely for relaxing.

The next floor has the bathing area. On one side there is a bank of low showers for washing thoroughly before proceding further. Hence the small towel! On the other side are two medium heat pools for relaxing and people watching. Many guys will be totally naked as the Japanese, unlike many in the west and in quite a few parts of Asia, have no hangups about walking around nude in such a setting.  Proceeding through the washing area, you come to a much darker area. This has about 8 full sized shower cabins, some with glory holes, and some patrons will use these for sex. Also at this level is a pool with freezing cold water, a sauna, a totally dark steam room next to a room with a sling, a rainshower room and a more popular steam room with a little more light where there is often a lot of action usually involving a few guys. Most people walk around this area naked. As you leave, there is a small fast spin dryer for drying your small towel before taking it with you upstairs. This floor is closed for cleaning, I think about 6pm

On the next floor up, there are the two very large dark rooms, one virtually split into two sections. Each has long mattresses running along one or more sides. One side of the right section has only bunk beds but there are more bunks spread throughout the areas. When the sauna is busy, these rooms see a lot of action, and few seem to mind if you watch, even though it's not possible to see much given that it's dark. Imaginations, though, are useful! ūü§£¬†Bareback is unfortunately not uncommon so take your own condoms and lube. At one end there is a TV room often showing Japanese porn (sadly when I have been there with mostly chubby actors) with around 8 slightly partitioned bed areas. The next floor up also has another large dark room with mattresses and bunk beds. At the end above the TV room on the lower floor there is a smaller dark room, again with a mattress and nothing but a starlit ceiling. It's on the next floors that there is a variety of private cabins which require extra payment and keys. I have never been to one but they do seem to be popular. No one cruises up there that I have noticed.

As in most Japanese society, it is important to be polite in a sauna setting. If you see someone you like and gently touch his towel or his leg, if he is not interested he will either gently move your hand away or himself move elsewhere. It's not acceptable to pursue this guy further. So just find someone else, or pop down to the bathing area to see if there are any new arrivals who interest you! You'll have fun!

2 hours ago, hojacat said:

Yeah, they stopped doing that around 2018. Was it because of what in a contemporary idiom would be called "embracing inclusivity" or just because they were in need for cash and was more profitable to let anybody in? I'll let you be the judge.

I honestly can't imagine any Hong Kong sauna owner changing policy in order to embrace inclusivity!! Increasing profits is much more Hong Kong!

2 hours ago, hojacat said:

Does it mean you aren't going to be there for Taipei pride this year @PeterRS?

I'm keeping my options open for the moment. Having been to 7 already and being much less interested in the dance parties and overcrowded saunas and hot springs than in the Parade itself, I may give it a miss this year as I do want also to revisit Tokyo.

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22 hours ago, PeterRS said:

I'm keeping my options open for the moment. Having been to 7 already and being much less interested in the dance parties and overcrowded saunas and hot springs than in the Parade itself, I may give it a miss this year as I do want also to revisit Tokyo.

Great. I'll head to Fukuoka right after the pride. I've heard of a sauna in there, close to Hakata station but it will definitely be much smaller than the ones in Tokyo and Osaka.

Thanks for your detailed description of the sauna in Shinjuku. It's definitely very useful to a person who wants to go there for the first time, as Japanese saunas are pretty different from saunas in other countries. I focused more on the dark room with bunk beds, as that was the thing that really struck me the most the first time I went there and I really think  it's the most unique element in a Japanese gay sauna. I remember though a dark with rows of mattress where people were having sex in gay sauna in Seoul. It was in the Hongdae area.

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22 hours ago, hojacat said:

Great. I'll head to Fukuoka right after the pride. I've heard of a sauna in there, close to Hakata station but it will definitely be much smaller than the ones in Tokyo and Osaka.

Thanks for your detailed description of the sauna in Shinjuku. It's definitely very useful to a person who wants to go there for the first time, as Japanese saunas are pretty different from saunas in other countries. I focused more on the dark room with bunk beds, as that was the thing that really struck me the most the first time I went there and I really think  it's the most unique element in a Japanese gay sauna. I remember though a dark with rows of mattress where people were having sex in gay sauna in Seoul. It was in the Hongdae area.

Used to be the same in pre Aids Rio. Sauna Leblon had a room full of beds with everyone happily fucking away! Was also paradise for tops then.  You went into sauna and guys would come up to me  and insert my cock up their arse. Mind you, I was young then! Happy days.

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