Situated in the Pacific Ocean more than 1,800 miles southeast of mainland China and 3,700 miles west of Hawaii, Guam is the ultimate tropical getaway—it’s blissfully relaxing and far from crowds. Although our setting is remote, Guam’s Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport is served by more than a dozen airlines and offers direct flights to some of the Pacific Rim’s most alluring—and LGBTQ-popular—destinations, from Hong Kong and Taipei to Seoul and Tokyo.
A trip from North America to Guam presents travelers with the perfect opportunity to visit one or more additional Asian cities. And if you’re interested traveling someplace without direct service to Guam—such as Bali, Bangkok, Shanghai, or Sydney—it’s relatively easy to connect to most other Pacific locales through Manila, Tokyo, or another major hub.
Japan enjoys close ties with Guam, which offers direct flights to Tokyo as well as Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagoya. Tokyo is a thrilling year-round destination with a lively LGBTQ nightlife quarter in Shinjuku and an extensive Gay Pride festival in late April–early May. Other highlights include the trendy shopping and dining of Shibuya, Aoyama, and Harajuku, the newly relocated Tsukiji fish market, and a slew of world-class art and history museums. The cosmopolitan metropolis of Osaka hosts a well-attended Pride festival in October and has a fast-growing gay scene, and nearby Kyoto is one of the world’s most picturesque and inviting small cities.
South Korea has developed into one of Guam’s most important markets, and numerous flights are offered to Seoul- Incheon Airport as well as to Busan, Cheongju, and Daegu. A dynamic center of art and design, Seoul offers trendy neighborhoods—such as hipster- minded Hongdae and gay-popular Itaewon—abundant with late-night shopping, dining, and nightlife,and the not-to-be-missed three-day Seoul Queer Culture Festival takes place in July. Beyond Seoul, the scenic resort island of Jeju is known for its fine beaches and volcanic rock formations, and the country’s second-largest city, Busan, has a growing LGBTQ scene concentrated around the Beomil neighborhood and offers beautiful coastal and mountain scenery.
With rugged mountains and vibrant cities, the island of Taiwan—which is also Asia’s leading nation on marriage equality—has a highly visible LGBTQ community. Much of the action is centered around Taipei, whose late October Pride celebration—drawing 130,000 participants—is the largest in Asia. The city’s Red House District pulses with gay bars and clubs, and design- driven Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is a must for art lovers and shoppers. Farther south on the island you can take in the gorgeous scenery of Sun Moon Lake National Park, and the sunny beaches and lush hiking in Kenting National Park.
With its storied setting on the South China Sea, an iconic contemporary skyline, and trendy restaurants, bustling night markets, and chic hotels, Hong Kong is a long-time LGBTQ hub as well as a distinct amalgam of British and Chinese culture. In the same day, you can take a funicular to Victoria Peak, sunbathe at gay-popular Middle Bay Beach, visit Tian Tan Buddha, and take a cruise on magnificent Victoria Harbour—there’s even a Disneyland theme park in this fabled city. Both Central Hong Kong and Kowloon—across the harbor— buzz with gay nightlife, and the city’s exciting Gay Pride festival takes place in November.
About 1,500 miles away, the Philippines is a favorite vacation destination among Guamanians, roughly a quarter of whom claim Filipino lineage. With its mix of Spanish Colonial buildings and shiny new skyscrapers, friendly and densely populated Manila has a sizeable LGBTQ scene and hosts an increasingly well-attended Pride festival, usually in late June. Picturesque resort getaways such as Camiguin, Cebu, Palawan,and especially Boracay are also becoming steadily more popular with LGBTQ travelers.
The largest of the 2,100 islands that make up Micronesia, Guam is an ideal base for exploring the other popular destinations in this vast region that comprises four main island groups. Nearest are the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Commonwealth.Here you can visit Saipan, with its internationally renowned casinos and sandy beaches, and Rota, a stunning 33-square-mile island just 40 miles north of Guam with a few small hotels, an acclaimed golf course, and superb diving, swimming, and beachcombing. From Guam you can also fly direct to several other areas of Micronesia, including Chuuk, Kosrae, Majuro, Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap.