Attending my first Taiwan Pride, East Asia’s largest pride parade, in the capital city of Taipei with more than 200,000 people marching for LGBTQ+ rights!
While planning for my 4D3N itinerary to Taipei, I spotted an unusual rainbow street on Google maps. Out of curiosity, I click onto it and BOOM! The short rainbow street turned into a long stretch of rainbow line across Taipei city: “Taiwan Pride – Sat, 26 Oct, 12pm – 7pm”
Woah, that’s exactly the date I’m landing in Taipei!
After a quick Google search, I found out that Taiwan Pride is the largest pride parade in East Asia and it’s also their 17th annual parade since 2003. It’s definitely worth checking out!
I was worried about not making it in time, because my flight would land in Taipei around 3pm, and I had to check in to my hotel first. Above all, I had an extensive list of restaurants and cafes to review for YouTrip, so I didn’t really have much time to spare outside of that.
Nonetheless, I added Taiwan Pride into my itinerary and crossed my fingers that my flight would be punctual.
If it’s your first time to Taipei, here’s some handy guides:
Part #1: Taipei Food Guide – Which Best Restaurants to Eat?
Part #2: Taipei District Guide – Which District to Stay in Taipei?
Part #3: Taiwan Travel Guide – Which Day Trips from Taipei to Take?
Part #4: Taipei Itinerary Guide – 4D3N in Taipei
Part #5: Taiwan Hotel Promotions List
Upon landing in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, I spotted Ikari Coffee and I was really hungry, so I grabbed a late lunch (cafe review coming soon!) before making my way to Forward Hotel for check in (hotel review also coming soon!).
Fortunately, it was only slightly after 5pm when I arrived in my hotel room. Sparing an hour for the parade should be fine, I hope! Given that the parade still had about 2 hours to go, I thought I should join the further part of the march instead. I looked through the Taiwan Pride route and decided to alight at Zhongxiao Xinsheng Metro Station.
As I tapped out of the metro station gantry, I saw several groups decked out in rainbow gear – hats, shirts, pants, flags, and of course various rainbow body paints.
Shucks, did I miss the parade already?
I quickened my pace towards the station exit. While on the escalator up to the street level, I started to hear faint cheering in the distance, and it wasn’t before long that I saw the horde.
So. Many. People.
Rainbow flags, banners, and balloons everywhere. Everyone was cheering and chanting alongside loud music that’s playing from somewhere. A middle-aged man was giving out postcards at a traffic junction, and I managed to get a copy as well. It looked like a promotional postcard for a LGBTQ+ romance film.
It was only after I returned to Singapore that I realised it was the film director Chu Yu-ning himself distributing the postcards. No wonder he was bombarded with selfie requests! That’s him with the white shirt in the photograph above.
When the pedestrian light turned green, everyone dashed across the street and continued on the parade route.
I noticed that along the Taiwan Pride route, traffic junctions continue to operate, and there were traffic police and ushers to hurry marchers to cross whenever the pedestrian lights turned green.
That’s also why some of my photographs were blurry, especially when I tried to capture the moments of us dashing across the roads while the ushers blew their whistles urgently at us.
There were also lots of flashy vehicles moving with us along the parade, and they were all rainbow-themed. Most of these lorries had an open back and well-built, shirtless men dancing on it.
These vehicles seemed to be mostly advertisers, especially the one that was closest to me had words like “Hottest Mobile Game” plastered all over it.
I saw another vehicle ahead, so I slow jogged ahead to check it out. It was a similar lorry, but it had a giant rainbow ball branded with clothing line GAP, and similar logos were plastered all over the truck.
There was also a huge Jolin Tsai poster board on each side of the lorry, guarded by a man in what looked like a “police uniform” with hotpants, dancing to the Taiwanese queen of pop’s iconic songs.
Throughout the parade, many marchers were dressed up in drag, elaborate costumes, skimpiest of shorts, or simply just a rainbow flag draped over their shoulders. Of course, there were lots of folks in everyday clothes, marching for the recognition of the LGBTQ+ community, with the same fervour for equal rights.
At some point it was surreal to see men holding hands with men, and women holding hands with women right in front of me, celebrating their lifestyle in a country that recognises their right to love.
Even before I could process everything that was happening at the pride parade, The East Gate came into view and that marked the end of the Taiwan Pride. Massive crowds of bystanders lined up on both sides of the road, cheering and clapping as the marchers flowed in.
Oh, what? I wasn’t expecting such an audience to receive us! Just like that, I completed a 2-kilometre march, and it didn’t feel like 30 minutes had passed at all.
Overall, I was thrilled to have witnessed a pride parade (my first one) and it was the largest of its kind in East Asia. Though I didn’t manage to complete the full 5.5-kilometre parade route, it was an eye-opening experience to observe a momentous LGBTQ+ event in the region.
Enjoy a worldwide fees-less travel experience!