Gay Kuala Lumpur | The Essential LGBT Travel Guide!
A large, sprawling city known as the cultural melting pot of South East Asia: Kuala Lumpur is often at the top of many bucket lists for those who want to experience a bit of everything: street food, wild nightlife, temples, mega-malls, and skyscrapers.
However, for gay travelers it’s fair to say Gay Kuala Lumpur is not going to be a highlight of a trip around Asia – in large part due to Malaysia being a Muslim majority country with a low tolerance for homosexuality in comparison to other Asian countries, so don’t expect anything like the craziness of Gay Bangkok or openness of Gay Phuket.
However, outright persecution of LGBT travelers in Kuala Lumpur is rare though discretion in public should be applied to avoid any unwanted attention as many Malaysians still hold conservative attitudes to any display of public affection – straight or gay.
Having said this, Gay Kuala Lumpur still offers a rather active gay scene thanks to its cosmopolitan vibes increasingly may gay travelers are drawn here for a stopover thanks to cheap Air Asia flights and to glimpse gay life in a Muslim majority country.
Not only are there gay clubs, parties and sauna’s in Kuala Lumpur but also incredible food, world-class shopping, cheap 5-star hotels and plenty of outdoor natural attractions in this increasing international destination – though if your after beach’s and history your after it’s best to head to Penang,Langkawi or even Melaka.
Note: Malaysia retains a British colony era criminal ban on sodomy, poorly defined but includes both heterosexual and homosexual acts, with punishment ranging from fines to prison sentences of up to twenty years and even corporal punishment. Though this law is rarely if ever, applied to foreigners and should not discourage gay travelers from visiting Kuala Lumpur it is worth reading up on LGBT rights in Malaysia.
Grindr, Scruff, and Tinder are the most popular hook-up app currently used by gay men in Kuala Lumpur. Online censorship is a growing issue in Malaysia, and possession of any pornography is strictly banned in Malaysia.
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Gay Kuala Lumpur Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Because gay life in Kuala Lumpur only thrives at discos, spas, online and behind closed doors, many of the attractions in Kuala Lumpur during the day gay travelers will want to see are the top attractions in Kuala Lumpur anyway. All travelers in Kuala Lumpur should take caution in less-developed areas with valuables and take taxi’s or ride share apps at night – and always listen to local advice when exploring.
Gay travelers in Kuala Lumpur should take special care in terms of public displays of affection where many residents may be less exposed to LGBT culture and likely hold conservative attitudes…Though outright outrage is unlikely. Overall Kuala Lumpur is very safe and a common-sense approach to travel will generally ensure you have no issues exploring this beautiful and diverse city.
One of the best tips we can give you for exploring Gay Kuala Lumpur is to pre-order a travel SIM card for easy airport pickup and activation the moment you arrive so you will not pay a fortune in international roaming charges. Get restaurants recommendation and reservations on the fly, public transport instructions up to the minute, bar opening hours and if it is your thing – access to gay hook up apps to find out more about the local scene.
Mobile data is fast, cheap and available almost everywhere in Asia so it is no wonder most travelers chose to stay connected and to get off the beaten track (without ever worrying about getting lost). So why wait? Pre-order the best local SIM card now to have it waiting for you when you arrive.
Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia with over 7 million residents including the surrounding areas which seem to stretch on forever. Some of the biggest attractions in Kuala Lumpur for tourists include the Petaling Street / Chinatown, which is filled with markets, temples, street art and photogenic hidden spots perfect for wandering around for a few hours.
Being a Muslim-majority country, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the National Mosque of Malaysia – based on the Grand Mosque in Mecca with the main dome symbolizing the 5 pillars of Islam and 13 states of Malaysia. The Batu Caves are the probably the most famous attraction in KL with its huge giant statue and monkey colony, though more adventurous travelers might want to try to get out an experiencing some of the amazing hiking trails around Kuala Lumpur.
Of course, a visit to admire the Petronas Towers should go without a mention, and if you’re looking to shop up a storm Kuala Lumpur has plenty of designer shopping malls (and is often said to be one of the best shopping cities in the world). Why not check out 1 Utama, the largest mall in Malaysia, Suria KLCC, the high-end mall at the base of the famous Petronas Towers or the hyper-modern high-rises of Pavilion KL.
In a big city like Kuala Lumpur however you sometimes need a breath of fresh air – and luckily there are so many great day trip options from Kuala Lumpur to choose from. Prices are low so we prefer to splurge on better service and flexibility to do as we wish – but there are shared options for most tours if you are more budget concussions or would like to meet other travelers.
Our favorite options are to visit the gorgeous Cameron Highlands with all of its adorable tea plantations and strawberry fields, stroll around the UNESCO listed Old Town of Malacca (and try find the Melaka Gay Scene) or to really go wild and explore the ancient Taman Negara rainforest. There really is no reason to be bored in Kuala Lumpur no matter how long your visit is!
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Gay-friendly Dining in Kuala Lumpur
With so many places to explore in Kuala Lumpur (and a booming foodie scene), there is no need to limit yourself to specific dining destinations. While conservative attitudes may prevail in general, nobody will bat an eye unless you happen to have your tongue down someone’s throat – and at upscale establishments, it is not uncommon to see openly gay couples dining.
Below are a few of the more popular, trendy places that have opened – and one institution everyone must visit – that you should try to visit, perhaps as a warm-up for the gay nightlife in Kuala Lumpur…
Butter + Beans ($$) at The Row– A gay-popular cafe with incredible coffee and views of the KLCC Twin Towers. Famed for their Almond Salted Caramel Mille Crêpe, though all of their baked goods are incredible, thanks to their use of imported French butter!
Tamarind Springs By Samadhi ($$$$) in Selangor – It doesn’t get much better than this. Made famous by its luxurious natural surrounding, they serve high-quality Indochinese fusion food in a casual and sensory feast. The only downside is the location 15 minutes out-of-town so you will need to take a ride share / taxi. But it will be a highlight of your entire trip!
Sao Nam ($$$) in Bukit Bintang– Fine Vietnamese fusion and tradition food produced by an award-winning gay chef. Fine dining with a modern twist in a central location closed to all the Kuala Lumpur gay bars.
High Tea at the Majestic Hotel Orchid Conservatory ($$$) – Enjoy delicious high-quality afternoon tea delights surrounded by thousands of blooming beauties in this ‘orchidscape’. An unforgettable experience which needs to be booked weeks in advance as it’s so popular, but this is one high tea in KL you will never forget!
Baan 26 ($$$) in Bukit Bintang – A gay-popular restaurant & café in the neon-lights tourist district. A great place to meet other queer travelers while enjoying a varied selection of Malaysian and Thai cuisine – with a focus on seafood – at great prices.
HusKiss Cafe ($$) in Petaling Jaya– A newly opened Husky Cafe in Kuala Lumpur with delicious coffee, cakes, waffles and of course eight resident Huskies to keep you entertained. Well-worth the trip out here (take a rideshare/taxi) though you need to book ahead and it can get very crowded on weekends!
Hutong Lot 10 ($$) in Bukit Bintang – Lot 10 Hutong is a unique heritage destination/food court that collects all of the best-loved national treasures of Malaysian cuisine into one place, at a central location with low prices.
Brasserie 25 At Hotel Stripes ($$$)in Chow Kit – Rustic yet dramatically modern, this newly opened designer restaurant offers a fabulous French-inspired seasonal menu in a beautiful setting. Best paired with a visit to the nook-inspired Man Tao Bar rooftop bar afterward for innovative cocktails with an unobstructed view of the KL Skyline.
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In Kuala Lumpur, you would be hard pressed to find an upscale hotel which had any issues with gay guests but discretion is advised still in this conservative society. Some Kuala Lumpur hotels are more popular with queer travelers due to their location and inclusive environment or vibe, which are features here.
These gay-friendly hotels in Kuala Lumpur are frequented by members of the LGBT community and have great reputations. Each hotel and area offer something very specific, so be sure to choose the right style and location to meet your needs. Prices are cheap compared to North American and European hotels (thought quickly rising) and standards are high – so it’s a great place to splurge! Of course, there are also hundred’s more hotel and hostel options in Kuala Lumpur if none of these suit your desired budget, facilities or area
Kuala Lumpur is a giant city, and with many locations worth visiting. Don’t be afraid to explore outside your neighborhood – either with the effective metro, monorail or bus system or using a ride-sharing app (which is cheaper than taxis, safer and you can preset your destination so nothing gets lost in translation!)
The Majestic Hotel KL ☆☆☆☆☆ – The original Majestic Hotel – one of the most famous hotel in Malaysia of all times, and a national heritage building. Step back in time and experience world-class service, plush modern rooms, two swimming pools and even a bespoke cigar lounge, The Smoke House. Not to be outdone, there are multiple elegant dining options include an international buffet restaurant, a gorgeous high-tea lounge and conservatory, a live piano bar and even a private dining room if you want to do all out. Exactly like nothing else, the Majestic Hotel KL is our pick for an unforgettable experience you will dream of long after you leave.
Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur ☆☆☆☆☆ – An upmarket hotel directly connected to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre with two trendy restaurants and a rooftop infinity pool with swim.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur ☆☆☆☆☆ – Globally renown chain and a popular gay hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Floor-to-ceiling windows with lake or city views, 10 dining destinations, and in-house club mean you hardly even need to leave the property – though is ideally located in KL Sentral.
Grand Millennium Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – Luxury, hospitality and located in the middle of Bukit Bintang right next to Day Thermos male sauna and Pavilion Complex. Amazing city views, swimming pool, and in-house spa make this one another popular gay hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Hotel Capitol Kuala Lumpur ☆☆☆ – An upmarket, high-rise hotel smack bang in the middle of the Bukit Bintang, entertainment shopping and dining hub. Elegant simplicity with no surprises.
Container Hotel ☆☆☆– A rather eclectic hotel on the edge of Bukit Bintang housed inside recycled shipping containers. Expect minimalist rooms and simple living areas, with an amazing rainfall shower. Plenty of other intriguing amenities make this a great unique stay in Kuala Lumpur.
Furama Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Probably the most popular gay hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Furama Hotel is walking distance to all the best gay bars in Bukit Bintang. Stylish rooms, a great price, pool and chance to meet other gay travelers are also popular draw-cards.
Hotel Stripes ☆☆☆☆ – A super-chic newly completed hotel in Chow Kit featuring a rustic-chic restaurant, exposed-brick walls and a stunning rooftop terrace with sundeck and probably the best rooftop infinity pool in Kuala Lumpur. Our top pick for a luxurious modern stay in KL!
Paper Plane Hostel ☆☆ – A young and hip place to stay in central Kuala Lumpur just minutes from the Bukit Bintang gay clubs. Housed in a 100-year-old colonial house, this is a gay-friendly option for those wanting an affordable hostel or to meet other travelers.
Orange Pekoe Guesthouse ☆– Gay and lesbian-friendly, this 16-room guesthouse in KL’s Golden Triangle is close to everything. Great service and low prices (with free breakfast) this is the best gay hotel in Kuala Lumpur for those who don’t want to splurge.
YY48 Hotel ☆☆ – A gay-friendly hotel in Kuala Lumpur located in the historic Chinatown. Colorful and vibrant, another great gay hotel option in Kuala Lumpur only a 10-minute walk from all the nightlife action.
Gay Bars and Gay Clubs in Kuala Lumpur
While gay life in Kuala Lumpur may be subdued during the day, at night behind closed doors there is a thriving and vibrant nightlife scene where locals and foreigners come together to celebrate diversity and pride.
While there have been reports of police raids every few months or years, these are generally focussed on alcohol consumption by Muslims – illegal under Sharia law – and in the unlikely event this occurs will lead to nothing more than an end to your night. Things get crazy, however, and what better way could there be to get to know the locals than in Kuala Lumpur gay bar! Just don’t forget your common sense.
BlueBoy Discotheque – The mainstay of gay clubs in Kuala Lumpur, BlueBoy has been running for years and remains popular for its nightly Cabaret shows – especially on a weekend where things really get pumping after 1 am. A night mix of locals and tourists with a few expats thrown in and all in a central local in Bukit Bintang. Check out their Facebook page for show times, events and cover cost.
OMG Pub – Not exclusively gay but a trendy karaoke bar in Taman Gembira popular with the LGBT community in KL. Who doesn’t love to sing and belt out Gaga’s or Beyonce’s best of hits right? Look out on their Facebook page for events.
Heli Lounge Bar – Trendy and welcoming, not an LGBT hang out but an amazing helipad that morphs into a rooftop bar in the evening with the best views in the city. A great place to chill in Bukit Bintang with a cocktail at sunset before a big night out.
Elysium Bar + Terrace – A gay-friendly club in central Kuala Lumpur with a stunning roof-top terrace and some of the cities best DJ’s. Dress to impress in this upscale location with killer cocktails and a daily happy hour from 5-9 pm. An eleganza-extravaganza destination competing with the best hip and happening spots from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Singapore!
iBlue Bar– A popular gay club in Kuala Lumpur outside the city center in Taman Segar. Expect a largely local crowd, friendly service and a glamour-puss vibe with dancers and drag shows. Reservations are required on weekends.
La Queen Club– The famous gay party night held at different venues around Bukit Bintang every Friday night with themed nights, guest DJ’s and hot dancers. Check out their Facebook event for upcoming details.
Nakd Bar– Discretely tucked away in Bukit Bintang, don’t try to find this place unless you have a reservation as walk-ins are not allowed. A private social club that is the first of its kind in Malaysia – exclusively for gay men to party the night away.
The Gaytherin Pub– A nice hang-out spot in Bukit Bintang for a quiet night or to pre-party with karaoke and great service. LGBT-friendly but not exclusive.
Utopia – A bit far out in Petaling Jaya but if you up for an adventure and want to get real local check out this newly opened venue with dance floor and themed parties, plus some pretty sexy shows!
Gay Spas and Man Massage Kuala Lumpur
While at night Kuala Lumpur’s gay scene might come alive, for those who can’t wait, don’t care about the sights or simply want to take advantage of the insanely cheap and high-quality gay spas – or get a male massage in Kuala Lumpur – there are plenty of options for you. Here are some of the top recommended gay spas in Kuala Lumpur and male massage KL options!
Aromann – Newly opened with an all-male massage team in Bukit Bintang. Exotic packages featuring butt facials, authentic manhood and aromatherapy sensuals. Book in advance.
Aroma Men Spa & Facial – Exclusively Male Massage in a discreet setting with a range of treatments available including full-body, four-hands, couples spa and more.
Sadomen– A professional (read no naughty service here) spa exclusively or men in the Pandan Indah area. Combines four of the best male massages in KL with aroma therapy, milk baths and facial treatments
Don’Skinz Facial For Him – A Facial Treatment Male Massage in KL to get you looking young and beautiful after a tough night out.
Shah Soothe– An out-call only male massage in KL with a range of services including Swedish and deep tissue. Reasonable prices and all equipment is brought to you.
Majestic Spa KL – By no means a gay or mens massage, instead the luxurious Majestic Spa offers a truly indulgent spa experience – among the best in Malaysia – in a repurposed turn-of-the-century tearoom. Exotic and traditional the Majestic Spa harks back to a golden era in Malaysian history, offering massages and spa packages that will leave you more relaxed and pampered than you ever thought possible.
If you’re looking to combine male massages in KL / gay spas with a sauna trip you can also receive these services at OOPS! Kuala Lumpur, Kakiku, Day Thermos and Sentral Massages (see next section..)
Gay Saunas in Kuala Lumpur
Unlike some more Western countries, saunas and bathhouses in Kuala Lumpur are still all the rage – probably because gay life in Kuala Lumpur is forced into the shadows and cruising / public sex is illegal and often snuffed out by local police.
Luckily most Kuala Lumpur sauna are welcoming to foreigners and gay travelers are unlikely to experience any problems.
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Kakiku Gay Sauna – Probably the most popular sauna in Gay KL thanks to it’s themed nights on the weekend, Kakiki offers everything from massage spa, movie room, gym, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. There is also a relaxation area in the basement. Popular with all age groups. Located in the Taman Pertama neighbourhood.
Chakran Kuala Lumpur – Small and popular with locals, there is just a steam room, sauna and rooftop terrace. Near KL Sentral.
OTOT2 – A mens only gym and sauna in KL Downtown spread across two floors with a steam room, showers, large jacuzzi and lounge area. Popular with both locals and foreigners, there is also a on-site cafe and plenty of group classes including yoga and aerobics.
Day Themos Sauna – A small fit-out in central KL. There is mix of locals and tourists, with a dry sauna, steam room and gym. Located in the gay area of KL, Bukit Bintang.
Mandi Manda – 3 floor modern set up with relaxation cabins, seated rain baths and a dry sauna. There is also a cafe and gym on-site. Located in Taman Desa, a 20 min drive from Sentral KL.
Sentral Massage – Run-down and small – but in KL Sentral , this KL sauna is popular with bears and chubs and features a sauna, massage, dark room and cafe – as well as rather skilled, blind masseurs.
Oops! Gym Steam and Sauna – One of the best gay saunas in Kuala Lumpur featuring cool, modern interior design,professional massages, jacuzzi and a hot pool. Guests like the large walk-through steam room and air-conditional private rooms. Near the centre in Kampung Pandan.