Journey to Asia, Part 3: Adventures in Shanghai

12 06 2018

Barry Hoy and his partner with Shanghai in the background in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineShanghai literally means the city by the sea, and it is the gateway to China. There are endless things to do and see, like shopping in high-end venues for designer items, or stroll through the backstreets for photo opportunities… or to hunt for interesting trinkets and traditional Chinese handicrafts.

Read Barry’s Journey to Asia, Part 1: Discover Hong Kong.

Read Barry’s Journey to Asia, Part 2: Kuala Lumpur here.

WHERE TO STAY

Jing An Shangri-La – Located on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River in the Jing An Business District – one of Shanghai’s most prestigious and fashionable business and commercial districts. The hotel boosts spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the city.

Peace Hotel – This has been a Shanghai landmark for over eight decades, enjoying a premier location on the Bund. The hotel faces the Pudong area over the Huangpu River, where you will find all the impressive high-rise buildings and towers.

WHERE TO EAT

Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Yong Yi Ting at the Mandarin Oriental – A one Michelin star restaurant featuring Chef Tony Lu and his unique vision, combining the diverse gastronomic influences of Shanghai and its neighbouring provinces.
  • 1515 West at the Jing An Shangri-La – The 1515 West, Chophouse & Bar combines the aesthetics of an old Shanghai movie set with the décor of a classic American bar and grill.
  • Din Tai Fung – This is the chain of restaurants that made Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) famous, so it’s only logical that they serve some of the best in the world.
  • Yang’s Dumpling – With multiple locations throughout the city, they serve their famous pan-fried soup filled buns.
  • Shanghai Grandmother (by the Bund) – Shanghainese restaurant with many classic local dishes.
Adventures in Shanghai by Barry Hoy for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineGAY NIGHTLIFE

There are not many gay bars in Shanghai, but here are a few top picks of places to go for a drink and to meet locals:

  • Lucca – One of Shanghai’s best-known gay bar and club in the French Concession area. It gets busy on weekends and attracts upscale local and international crowd.
  • Happiness 42 – Modern and chic, with a sexy red lighting throughout the bar. It’s a good place to start off the night.
  • Paw & Six – Located in the same building as Lucca on the sixth floor, this place attracts more of a bear crowd.
  • Snap! – Monthly party where people gather for a night of dressing up and dancing. Each party generally has a unique theme, and the location may change so you should check with a local or on WeChat (Chinese social app) for details.

Did you know that most visitors require a visa to enter China? Want more information about this and the Transit Visa Exemptions? Visit asianmapleaf.comto read more about our adventures in Shanghai. Also, stay tuned for more of our ultimate must-see travel stops around the Globe.

Read Barry’s Journey to Asia, Part 1: Discover Hong Kong.

Read Barry’s Journey to Asia, Part 2: Kuala Lumpur here.

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Journey to Asia Part 2: Escapades in Kuala Lumpur

11 06 2018

ManAboutWorld global corresondent Barry Hoy contemplating the city of Kuala Lumpur shirtless. Because.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and a place where you will find a variety of cultures from the region, all living together in one city. There is Chinatown, Little India, Malay village and many more neighbourhoods. In this city, it is not uncommon to find a Muslim mosque, a Hindu shrine, a Christian church, and a Buddhist temple – all in the same area! Story and photos by ManAboutWorld correspondent Barry Hoy.

Click here to read Barry’s Journey to Asia Part 1: Discover Hong Kong.

And here is Journey to Asia, Part 3: Adventures in Shanghai.

WHERE TO STAY

Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur – Set in the heart of the city’s business and shopping district, and near major landmarks such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur City Center. Despite it being right in the city centre, the hotel is still set amidst plenty of lush greenery, and has a good size outdoor pool and lounge area.

WHERE TO EAT

There are a lot of food options to try in Kuala Lumpur. Here are a few to wet your appetite!

  • Nobu – Located on the 56th floor of the Menara Petronas, it boosts dramatic 360-degree views of the KL city skyline, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
  • Jalan Alor – Famous street food in Kuala Lumpur and bustling nightlife.
  • Old China Kafe – Step back in time at this charming and authentic café in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.
  • Fatty Crab (Fei Lo) – Best known for its seafood. Make sure you try the Sweet and Sour Chili Crab!
Some of the many delectable food items on offer in Kuala Lumpur via ManAboutWorld global correspondent Barry HowTHINGS TO DO
  • Petronas Twin Towers – The iconic Petronas Twin Towers are basically the symbol of Kuala Kumpur, and they dominate the skyline. Make sure you buy tickets in advance (especially for the bridge connecting the two towers). Visit com for tips to save some money and enjoy a cocktail at the same time.
  • Batu Caves – Deep inside a Limestone Mountain, just outside the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, is the Batu caves. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.
  • Chinatown – Wander down little laneways and into cute coffee houses and restaurants, or around the markets filled with fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, and out on to the lively main street of Chinatown.
  • Little India – colourful neighbourhoood with lots of restaurants where you can sample different types of fragrant curries or snacks.
  • Pavilion KL – This is a huge shopping centre where you can satisfy all your shopping needs.

Make sure you also visit the beaches and little towns outside of the city of Kuala Lumpur. The city itself offers some great food and sights, but it’s not a place where you would want to spend more than a weekend.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY:

Gay sex is still technically illegal in Malaysia and punishable under a colonial-era sodomy law. Foreigners are generally safe from this, but caution is still recommended.

Want more information? Visit asianmapleaf.com and read more about our adventures in Kuala Lumpur. Also, stay tuned for more of our ultimate must-see travel stops around the globe.

Click here to read Barry’s Journey to Asia Part 1: Discover Hong Kong.

And here is Journey to Asia, Part 3: Adventures in Shanghai.





CheckOut: Hotel X, Toronto

6 06 2018

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe brand-new, stylistically-striking Hotel X Toronto in Toronto, Canada is anything but yet another cookie-cutter urban luxury hotel crammed into a downtown lot. Hotel X Toronto is a very short taxi/Uber/Lyft ride from everything that Toronto has to offer; making it an ideal headquarters for enjoying Pride Toronto or any other event in Canada’s largest city. Story by ManAboutWorld correspondent, James Careless.

Amenities

Worth noting: The 404-room, 30-storey Hotel X Toronto is likely correct in claiming that it offers “a wealth of amenities unrivalled by any downtown hotel, including four indoor tennis courts, a full-service spa, two year-round heated swimming pools and TEN X TORONTO—a 90,000 square foot athletic centre with its own children’s area.” In addition to its restaurants (with options for vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan diets), Hotel X Toronto has an art gallery, beer garden, stadium-style movie theaters, event spaces, historical exhibits, and the three-storey rooftop SkyBar with – again – unparalleled views of downtown Toronto and the lake. The multi-story ‘living wall’ at the Front Desk – literally a vertical surface of plants rising high above one’s head – is impressive in its own right.

Rates

Hotel X Toronto is currently in what is known as a ‘soft opening’ until the end of July 2018, when it will officially open. This means that the hotel is still in the process of getting everything running – and giving guests price breaks as a result of it. (Note: Everything I experienced while there gave me the feeling that the hotel was fully operational.)

The good news: “During the soft opening period of Hotel X Toronto, you will find rates reduced as much as 30%,” said Celso Thompson, the hotel’s director of Sales and Marketing. “At any time, the hotel offers a prepaid, non-refundable option which clearly is the best deal if you are certain about your travel plans. Rates start at $350 for the entry level rooms.”

The bad news: You’ll have to go through Hotel X Toronto’s booking sites to get actual prices. Still, 30% is 30% off – and that is on top of the US dollar being worth about $1.20-$1.25 Canadian.

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Location

Located at spacious Exhibition Place (home of the Canadian National Exhibition – CNE — every summer, and various Class A events and conventions year-round), Hotel X Toronto is right on the shore of Lake Ontario. It is far enough from the downtown core to have a clear, unobstructed view of the lake, the nearby Toronto Island with its parks and airport, and Toronto’s major buildings; plus the lakeshore’s Ontario Place and the 1840s-era stone Stanley Barracks at Fort York.

Having grown in Toronto and spent many summers at the CNE in all its gaudy midway glory, I could never have imagined a true luxury hotel being located on the fair grounds. But much has changed at Exhibition Place. New convention/display buildings have been added (like the Enercare Centre) and older spaces renovated, while the rundown Exhibition Place grandstand has been replaced by the modern BMO Field (home of the Toronto FC pro soccer team). The historic Stanley Barracks next door has been restored and softened with the addition of gardens.

Add the fact that Hotel X Toronto is right on Lake Ontario, yet so close to the downtown hub (transit is available, in addition to taxis and walking), and this hotel combines the best of open waterfront breeziness with downtown urban access. It is a welcome alternative to the very best downtown cor hotels that are crammed together, through no fault of their own. (Runners will particularly like the quick access to the lakeshore and its open spaces, rather than being confined to car-packed downtown sidewalks.)

Room/Bathroom

I was fortunate to stay in a corner suite, on the 18th floor of Hotel X Toronto. I walked into an entrance hallway that angled left to the spacious modern bathroom (including a glass-walled shower with space for more than one), then turned right into a truly roomy bedroom with floor-to-ceiling full glass windows on two side.

The view alone from this suite justifies the price of admission. It is one of the best that I have seen in Toronto’s many downtown hotels. But the quality of Hotel X Toronto’s modern furniture and appointments is also worth mentioning: The wood, metal, leather and fabric far are above the usual hotel fare. They and the room’s fabric walls make you feel like you are staying in someone’s elegantly-decorated high-end condo; rather than yet another unsuccessfully pretentious hotel.

I was also struck by the bathroom’s elegant fittings, and the little details that were tended to; such as having two bathrobes and slippers available rather than just one. The room service was also a treat: What a luxury to have smoked salmon Eggs Benedict delivered to one’s room for breakfast!

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay Factor

If ‘Gay Factor’ translates into superb modern design with no false flash, elegance and quality in all things, and the sense that staying here somehow raises one’s game and sense of self, Hotel X Toronto has tremendous Gay Factor. That said, what I have just said applies to anyone, regardless of gender or orientation – as long as they have class, style, and a sense of how to comport themselves in public.

Meanwhile, Hotel X Toronto is a quick taxi/transit ride to everything in downtown Toronto; be it the city’s famous Gay Village, the Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club), the Theatre District, the business core, shopping, or the Toronto Island (accessible by an underground tunnel at the nearby Island Airport, or a short ferry ride across the harbor; well worth it).

About the Checkout

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.





Journey to Asia Part 1: Discover Hong Kong

5 06 2018

Barry Hoy writing for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine - in Hong KongWhether you are visiting for the first time, or re-exploring if you have been before, Hong Kong is an exciting, energetic and vibrant city that really lives up to the term – “East meets West”. To get you started on your journey, here is a mini guide to one of Asia’s greatest cities, including top accommodations, top places to eat, and the best experiences. Story and photos by ManAboutWorld correspondent Barry Hoy.

Where to Stay

The Murray – Hong Kong, A Niccolo Hotel – This newest luxury iconic landmark hotel has stunning natural fabrics and stones, leathers, and plush textiles, creating a contemporary chic sanctuary, and an ambience of understated sophistication.

The Kerry Hotel – Hong Kong – Bringing a dynamic approach to hospitality to the shores of Victoria Harbour, it’s the city’s first urban resort offering an unparalleled array of dining options, leisure activities, business and meeting services, and wellness programs.

Where to Eat

Hong Kong is renowned for its food scene. From Chinese to western food, and everything in between, it is a foodie’s paradise with options from street side snacks to high-end five star restaurants. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Street food and “Cha Chaan Teng” – Hong Kong has amazing local street food, including items such as stinky tofu, curry fish balls, squid or octopus tentacles, egg waffles, egg tarts, Chinese buns, and pastries. Also, you must try a local Cha Chaan Teng (translates to “tea restaurant”), where you will find fuss-free affordable comfort food. They are all around the city!
  • Zuma – Zuma features a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya type of restaurant. Make sure you try out the much-loved champagne Baikingu brunch!
  • Tao Li at the New World Millennium Hotel – Overlooking the spectacular Victoria Harbour, Tao Li is celebrated for its elegant selection of dim sum and authentic Cantonese dishes.
  • Rech Restaurant at the InterContinental – A Michelin star restaurant – this is the first outpost of Paris’s most famous seafood restaurant by Alain Ducasse.
  • Ham & Sherry – Spanish restaurant serving some of the city’s best aged Spanish hams, tapas items and sherry. Make sure you also check out the Backbar hidden in an alleyway behind the restaurant.
Barry Hoy writing for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine - in Hong KongGay Nightlife

There are endless things to see and do in Hong Kong. Here are a few top picks for where to go out for a drink and meet some locals:

  • Bing Bing (formerly Circo) – This cocktail lounge and dance club in Causeway Bay boosts a great view of the city. It is super crowded later in the evening and tends to draw more locals than foreigners.
  • Time Bar – Located in an unassuming alleyway in the Soho area, this is more of a place for a quiet drink or intimate conversation. The younger local crowd tends to spill out into the street where the drinks continue to flow.
  • Zoo – This is a high-energy bar in Sheung Wan with regular theme nights. The crowd is a mix of locals and expats.
  • FLM – One of the few gay clubs where you can dance on the first floor and have a quiet drink on the second floor. FLM is across the street from Zoo and tends to have a more international crowd.
  • Petticoat Lane – One of the newer gay bars with great drag performances and a small outdoor terrace. The crowd is mixed with a lot of expats and people from out of town.

Want more information? Visit asianmapleaf.com and read about our adventures in Hong Kong. Also, stay tuned for more of our ultimate must-see travel stops around the Globe.





Pride LGBTQ Travel-safety Twitter Chat 🌈 Tues., Jun 5 2pm ET! Set your ⏰! #PrideGuide

31 05 2018
ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine; twitter chat on LGBTQ travel safety
Join our annual Pride LGBTQ travel-safety Twitter chat happening Tuesday, June 5. It’s hosted by Ed Salvato at ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine with our partners at the U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs via TravelGov.
We’ll discuss how to stay safe during the busy summer travel and LGBTQ pride season. Join this important conversation Tuesday, June 5 2pm-2:45pm ET by following #PrideGuide on Twitter.
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT PARTICIPANTS USUALLY INCLUDE:
Below are the topics we’ll discuss so you can think about your contributions and questions or feel free to pre-program your replies.
See you on Twitter Tuesday, June 5 at 2pm ET. And remember to set your  !
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT; TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2PM, #PRIDEGUIDE
2:00 pm ET
Q1: Before we get into #travelsafety, tell us … What is your next big trip this summer? And where are you traveling for LGBTQ Pride 2018? #PrideGuide 
 
2:05 pm ET
Q2: Do you feel it’s safe to travel overseas for LGBTQ Pride celebrations, gay or lesbian cruises or parties in Europe? How about in Eastern Europe? Russia? Israel? What precautions is it best to take? #prideguide
 
2:10 pm ET 
Q3: Today 74 countries criminalize same-sex relations. How do you get information in advance of a trip to help ensure your safety? #prideguide 
 
2:15 pm ET
Q4: Which travel agents, tour operators and content providers do you use for information on LGBTQ issues, destinations and events — especially in more exotic destinations? #prideguide
 
2:20 pm ET
Q5: What resources do you use from the U.S. State Department, TSA, CDC, HRW and other organizations committed to LGBTQ travel/safety in destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:25 pm ET
Q6: What are the biggest concerns for lesbian travelers (especially when going to destinations with anti-LGBT attitudes or laws)? #prideguide  
 
2:30 pm ET
Q7: What are the greatest concerns for transgender travelers heading to airports and to destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:35 pm ET
Q8: How concerned should LGBTQ travelers be about health issues and what can we do to prepare? #prideguide
 
2:40 pm ET
Q9. Anything can go wrong when we travel. What’s the best way to prepare for the unexpected? #prideguide
ED SALVATO




Meet us at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the Denver Travel & Adventure Show, March 24-25. Free Tickets Here!

22 03 2018

Gay travel experts Ed Salvato and Kenny Porpora at the Travel Show for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineMingle with LGBTQ travel businesses at the first-ever LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the Denver Travel & Adventure Show, March 24-25. For FREE tickets, click here and enter code MANVIP18. You’ll meet the ManAboutWorld team (pictured above) along with representatives of the following awesome businesses which offer tours, cruises, experiences or insurance catering to LGBTQ travelers and their family and friends.

  • Wild Rainbow African Safaris: Owned and operated by Jody Cole, the business runs under one simple philosophy—ensure every traveler has the time of their life.
  • HE Travel: Adventure, culture, leisure or luxury, HE Travel is the leader in gay travel tours and gay adventure travel today and for the last 40 years. .
  • AIG Travel: Whether you’re planning a two-day getaway, a cruise, an adventure vacation, or a month-long international holiday, Travel Guard is designed to fit every traveler and budget.
  • Depart SmartDepart Smart is on a mission to make travel awesome in life-saving ways with online tools and safety certification.
LGBTQ TRAVEL PAVILION AT THE DENVER TRAVEL & ADVENTURE SHOW

All are welcome at the Denver Travel & Adventure Show  first-ever LGBTQ travel pavilion! Learn about hot destinations and events as well as tours, cruises and experiences right here in the U.S .and to the farthest corners of all seven continents and on the high seas — for gay, lesbian, transgender and queer travelers and their straight friends and family. All brought to you by ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

New Free Guide to Same-sex Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel by ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Ask questions. Gather information. Book travel

Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight, you are welcome here. Find travel information tailored for you and those you love.

FACEBOOK LIVE SATURDAY, MARCH 24 AT 2 P.M. MDT/4 P.M. EDT

If you can’t join us at the LGBTQ Travel Pavilion at the Denver Travel & Adventure Show tune into our Facebook Live Q&A Sunday, Saturday, February 24 at 2 P.M. MDT/4 EDT P.M Meet the travel experts at the booth and ask your travel questions!

FOLLOW THE RAINBOW

Find us under the rainbow in booth number 405.





Paris Update: Is the Marais Still Gay? Oui et Non … Read on!

21 03 2018
What happened to the Gay Marais in Paris?

Has the charming Gay Marais gone? If your last visit to Paris goes back to the mid-’80s or the ’90s, Is the Marais still gay? Read all about it in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinechances are you may not recognize the neighborhood. The days of first ever created gay-bars like Le-Village and L’Amnésia seem really far.

Things have changed but to understand what’s really happening now we may need to board the time-machine.

A little history

Le-Marais (marsh, swamp in English) goes back to the Middle-Age and was developed right after the Renaissance when the rich and famous started to build elegant mansions also known as “Hôtels-particuliers” to remain rather close to the king’s palace, The Louvre. When the Court moved to Versailles, the area started to lose its wealthy patrons. In the 19th century the rich inhabitants moved further West and the old Marais started to host a new population: the many Jews who had escaped cruel persecutions, frequent in the ancient Russian empire.

Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAfter WW2 Le Marais was sentenced to death, in other words: to be demolished. Too old and the bearer of tragic war memories. Thanks to a clever minister of cultural affairs, it survived the bulldozers but wont see its renaissance until the arrival of the gay community in the early 80s following the first solid renovations of historic mansions and inauguration of the Pompidou Center which will bring international light to the older part of the capital city. As often with the gay community, the street started to become prettier, flower pots popped-up in front of design stores and friendly cafés and restaurants.

The best years indeed!

Le-Marais was back, it was fashionable – luxury brands could not miss this opportunity and over the past 5 years we have seen high-end stores coming-in, replacing traditional and convenient businesses. L’Amnésia closed and so did many other gayGay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine “institutions” often replaced by luxury boutiques. Rue des Archives a whole series of top boutiques have been created by a single investor. The facades all look alike and are truly magnificent but the Givenchy, Prada, Moncler boutiques seem a bit lost and too often quite empty. They are not terribly inviting as a security guy stands right at the door and this is never a way to say “bienvenue!”. Cox, Open-Café, Raid, Free DJ are still here to welcome their gay patrons.

Plus ça change

Change everything so nothing changes (The Leopard, Visconti): in reality Le-Marais has never so Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinebeautiful and charming. All restaurants, cafés, wine-bars, bakeries, boutiques, art galleries – not to forget the legendary department BHV, totally revamped, all are truly gay-friendly and all know what they owe to the Gay Community. We only hope this mind set will remain but further closure would not help and may simply sign the end of Le Gay-Maris!

In the meantime, it’s never been a better time to visit. So don’t wait!

ParisMarais.com

One fantastic resource for the Marais is ParisMarais.com. Created by Pascal Fonquernie, the site — which is available in seven languages — is among the world’s most visited guides on le Marais, including a large gay community section. Not a gay guide, it’s the best of le Marais, including booking hotels; information about the Jewish quarter; recommended tour guides; restaurants; history; and interviews with famous people. Download a copy of the Marais map here.

Story by ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, Jean-Pierre Soutric, Paris, 18-March 2018, 








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