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Are gays welcome in Malaysia?

I am aware that Malaysia is a strict Muslim country. I am gay and traveling with my partner of 6 years. Will we have any problems getting into restaurants or booking hotels? - Bob - Guest

Malaysia gay travel
Some Malays (the more affluent ones) tend to be more tolerant towards gender preferences. This said, Malaysia is largely a Muslim country and even the Christian community frown upon homosexuality. While it is unlikely that you will experience violence because of your sexual orientation, it would be best to be discreet about it. Don't put yourself in a position where you could be thrown in a Malay jail because of homosexual offenses.

Just don't be too sensitive when people stare and whisper and pardon the frosty attitude, especially when staying in the more conservative parts of town. Understand that you are traveling in a very conservative country.

Hi, Bob! You have probably heard of the Malaysian religious  laws against homosexuality. Yes, that law exists. Malaysia’s penal code also criminalizes gay sex, with punishment ranging from fines, to prison sentences. The good news is that this law does not apply to foreigners. Some Muslim citizens have been charged for being gay and tried in ‘special Islamic courts,’ but Non-Muslim foreigners have never had problems.

So Malaysia is safe for gay foreigners, but like Glaiza suggested, public display of affection is discouraged and considered impolite. That said, you will find that the country is quite cosmopolitan and tolerant of gay and lesbian foreigners. All of the gay travellers we have talked to have been welcomed warmly in most holiday resorts and city hotels.

Malaysia is a popular tourist destination that does not discriminate against gay foreigners. It is visited by an average of 24 million tourists every year, a percentage of which will likely have been lesbian or gay. Travel experts estimate that LGBT tourism in Malaysia is worth around US$1 billion yearly. LGBT tourism in the capital Kuala Lumpur alone is estimated to be worth US$400 million a year. But while there are some gay venues around Kuala Lumpur, they’re much more discreet than what you will find in Thailand and the Philippines.

My partner and I did the Kuala Lumpur - Penang - Melaka route and we had no problems staying in these hotels:

Glow Hotel Penang

Syaz Meridien Melaka

Hotel Sentral in Pudu KL

We booked a 'twin' room with two separate beds in Melaka. We booked one big bed (double) in KL and Penang but we didn't get questioned. Actually, the receptionist seemed to be gay, too. If you are really concerned about having to explain yourself maybe you can book a twin room with two separate beds throughout your trip. But like I said, we felt very welcome in those hotels I mentioned. No problems at all.

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