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Hong Kong Gay Travel

Hong Kong gay travel thrills all nomads, the metropolis being among the most gay-friendly cities in Asia. Experience how “east meets west” at poppy gay clubs, local markets, beaches and buzzing streets.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Hong Kong

Any westerner can explore Hong Kong without a hitch. Since Hong Kong was a British territory, there is an obvious lasting English influence. With a ton of ex-pats, loads of gay bars and modern infrastructure, you’ll surely have an easy and fun time in Hong Kong.

gay Hong Kong travel
Many Australians, Brits and Americans live in Hong Kong for work. There is a large presence of financial institutions. The folks that work here are usually younger, in their twenties or thirties. They also tend to be social butterflies. These ex-pats love to party!
gay Hong Kong travel
Hong Kong gay tourism
Hong Kong gay tourism

Officially part of China, Hong Kong operates under the “one country, two systems” principle. The city is an SAR, or Special Administrative Region of China. The government runs independently with respect to economic and administrative functions. Democracy, press freedom and abundant capitalism are three large aspects that make Hong Kong so progressive.

arriving in Hong Kong
Aside from the lack of comprehensive LGBT protections, being gay in Hong Kong is pretty easy. Hong Kong has a gay scene akin to some European world cities. I felt comfortable being gay in Hong Kong throughout my stay. Everything felt very inclusive and welcoming. Not only that, but Hong Kong is super safe in general.

Hong Kong Airport LGBT Issues

A friend recently alerted me that he knew of two LGBT travelers on business who had difficulty proceeding through immigrations in the Hong Kong airport for reasons that have to do with being LGBT. Since most people move swiftly through airport controls, this was definitely alarming.
Hong Kong airport LGBT
Hong Kong airport LGBT
arriving in Hong Kong

Two LGBT Americans were held for questioning in Hong Kong airport upon arrival. One was detained because their gender expression did not match what was shown on their passport. The other person is transsexual and was allegedly held for seven hours.

I don’t mention this to scare you. If you identify as trans, queer or express yourself in a way that may be flagged by Hong Kong border officials, take extra precaution.

Hong Kong airport LGBT safety
Most importantly, gay travelers from America heading to countries that do not expressly grant full LGBT rights should enroll in the STEP program. If you’re from outside the USA, explore the options your government offers.
is hong kong safe LGBT
Hong Kong airport LGBT safety

Secondly, keep a friend or family member on standby to follow your progress through the airport.  Upon arrival, confirm that you have entered the border security area.

is hong kong safe LGBT

After that, confirm with them again (verbally) that you made it through the border. I stress that you do everything verbally in case anyone confiscates and uses your mobile phone.

These are the steps I would personally take to make sure an emergency contact can alert your home country’s embassy authorities if anything does not go according to plan.

Hong Kong: Where to Stay

To get the best Hong Kong gay travel experience, I recommend staying on Hong Kong Island. Many of the best Hong Kong neighborhoods are here. Central is on the northern tip of Hong Kong Island. This is the area of Hong Kong that has the most ex-pats, gay bars and english-speaking restaurants.
Hong Kong gay airbnb
Your alternative option is to stay across the bay in Kowloon. There is nothing bad or unsafe about Kowloon. There are various things to do there. I just believe that the best Hong Kong vibe is on HK Island.
where to stay in Hong Kong
where to stay in Hong Kong
Hong Kong gay airbnb
Wan Chai is a neighborhood on HK island that offers a bit more of an authentic experience. It’s not too far away from Central. Causeway bay is another option. This area is just a bit further, definitely cheaper, yet still has plenty to offer. I’ll give a bit more detail about each area below.

Where to Stay in Hong Kong Island

I highly recommend staying on Hong Kong Island as opposed to Kowloon. Overall, there is much more to do on Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong Central is the crowd favorite for convenience and access to the most “western” restaurants. Staying in Central will make things easy, especially if you are short on holiday time.
Hong Kong central neighborhood

Hong Kong Central & Soho Neighborhoods

Most of the people living in Hong Kong on business live in Central, so it has an international vibe. You’ll find a ton of Brits, some Australians and some Americans here. Soho is directly in the middle of Central, so they have the same overall vibe. Specifically focusing on staying in Hong Kong Soho neighborhood isn’t really helpful. Just search for hotels in Central.
Central Hong Kong mid levels
Hong Kong is a big financial hub that attracts workers from other cities with big-bank presences. Central is also quite easy to reach from the HK airport since the HK Airport Express train makes its final stop in this area.
Hong Kong central neighborhood
Central Hong Kong mid levels

I stayed in two separate Hong Kong Airbnb rentals, one of them being a five-minute walk west of the Central neighborhood. This area is great because I wasn’t smack in the middle of the Central neighborhood, yet could quickly walk there.

In my opinion, just outside of the Soho area is the best place to stay in Hong Kong! Soho proper is by no means bad though. I stayed with my hospitable friend Harrison, who loves across the street from the famous Soho mural.

Where to Stay in Hong Kong: Wan Chai & Causeway Bay

Two more fun Hong Kong Island neighborhoods to stay in are Wan Chai & Causeway Bay. They are both to the east of Central and are well-connected by public transit. You can take above-ground trams, busses or the metro from Causeway Bay or Wan Chai to Central, even at night.

wan chai Hong Kong
If you’re seeking a truly authentic travel experience, I think you’ll agree that Wan Chai is the best place to stay in Hong Kong. With less ex-pats flooding the streets, you’ll be able to connect with the people who have lived there all their lives!
wan chai Hong Kong
causeway bay Hong Kong
causeway bay Hong Kong
My second Hong Kong Airbnb was in Causeway Bay. There are tons of local restaurants nearby that understand some English, yet weren’t overrun with tourists. This was my favorite aspect of the area I loved being able to experience local Hong Kong life. The amazing Victoria Park was also super close!
If you decide to stay in Wan Chai or Causeway Bay, rest assured that getting to Central will be a cinch. You will certainly be able to get to the bars in Central bars at any hour. Hong Kong’s fantastic public transit system runs late into the night. I took a bus from Central to Causeway Bay at 3:00 in the morning.

Where to Stay in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Kowloon hotels will be much cheaper than hotels on HK Island. While there is plenty to see in Kowloon, you may find yourself going back and forth to Hong Kong Island during your stay. There is simply more of a buzz about HK Island!
where to stay in Kowloon Hong Kong
If you stay in Kowloon, I recommend you choose accommodations nearby a Tsuen Wan metro line stop. Jordan and Mong Kok are two popular neighborhoods in south Kowloon.
where to stay in Kowloon Hong Kong
Kowloon best neighborhoods

Both areas have great connectivity to HK Island. You can get to the Central neighborhood in 20 to 30 minutes by metro. If you’re on a tight budget, southern Kowloon is a great bet.

Kowloon best neighborhoods
My friend Taylor stayed at the The Eaton HK Hotel in Kowloon during his visit. I stopped by the hotel and was quite impressed! The Eaton is an eco-conscious chain with multiple Hong Kong locations. The Eaton HK in Kowloon has a killer rooftop, a bountiful breakfast and friendly staff.

Hong Kong Experiences for the Gay Traveler

As you make your way around Hong Kong, you’ll likely see small stands selling buns, savory snacks and colorful sweets in glass cases. This stuff is delicious! Don’t leave Hong Kong without indulging in a set of 3 to 5 items.

wan chai Hong Kong
Dim sum is very popular in Hong Kong. You will see dim sum restaurants everywhere. Read below in the restaurants section for my top recommendations for dim sum in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Gay Travel: Visit Wan Chai

Stroll through the Wan Chai neighborhood to see some of the most authentic areas of Hong Kong. I recommend passing through the Wan Chai Market to see locals shopping for veggies, fish and meats. The fish section may not be for the faint of heart, though. Things get a bit gruesome.
hong kong wan chai gay
hong kong wan chai gay
wan chai Hong Kong
The actual Wan Chai Market is inside of a warehouse building, not to be confused with the general Wan Chai Market area. There are many things to do outside of the proper market too. Peruse the vendor stands and grab some lunch at a local restaurant.

Hong Kong Viewpoints: Where to See the Skyline

The Hong Kong skyline is magnificent. I urge you to go sightseeing both by day and night. Here are two of my favorite places to see the skyline in Hong Kong.

Golden Bauhinia Square

Don’t miss Golden Bauhinia Square. Stroll down the Expo Promenade and take in the views of Kowloon’s waterfront across the bay. During my visit, it was quite relaxing listening to all the birds chirping in the trees along the pathway.
best viewpoints Hong Kong travel
Golden Bauhinia Square Hong Kong
best viewpoints Hong Kong travel

Take note that this area of Hong Kong is undergoing major development. Golden Bauhinia Square is awesome if you love skylines, but there is not too much else directly nearby.

Golden Bauhinia Square Hong Kong
There is a large business center about a 7 minute-walk away that has some small restaurants, but it’s nothing too authentic. Still, grab a taxi and go see it!

The Top of Hong Kong: Victoria Peak

My favorite place to see the Hong Kong skyline is without a doubt Victoria Peak. Take a ride on the HK Peak Tram (as opposed to several hours hiking a mountain) to the observation deck.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong viewpoint
You can buy tickets upon arrival and they take credit card. I personally went at night to see the city lit up. Going before sunset would also be a great idea so you can see the colorful horizon.
Victoria Peak Hong Kong viewpoint
The Peak Hong Kong
The Peak Hong Kong

If you want to catch the sunset at Victoria Peak, make sure to leave plenty of time for the journey up there. By the time you walk to the tram entrance, ride it up, go up the many escalators to the viewing deck and all that you will have spent at least an hour.

I highly recommend buying the combined ticket with the observation deck. The free one pales in comparison.
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Ride the Mid-Levels Escalators

In the Central neighborhood on Hong Kong Island, streets that run along the hillside are connected by a long series of escalators. Riding them from bottom to top is a fun way to explore the neighborhood.

Hong Kong escalators mid levels
There are tons of little restaurants, bars, coffee shops and more in this vibrant area of town. I stopped at a relaxed restaurant called “The Balcony” for a half pint of Stella beer on my way through town.
mid levels Hong Kong
Hong Kong escalators mid levels
mid levels Hong Kong
There is not necessarily anything to see once you reach the top level after the last escalator. The fun area of town is in the middle of the Central/Soho neighborhood. Nonetheless, I still went to the top!

Hong Kong's Victoria Park

Victoria Park is huge. The park has an area for just about every type of sport. There’s a jogging path, basketball courts, tennis courts, stretching areas and a bunch more. There is also grassy area in the center of the running track if you’re just looking to relax.
Victoria Park Hong Kong
Victoria Park Hong Kong
Hong Kong travel tips

The energy in Victoria Park was so positive that I had to get up early one morning and go for a run just after the sun came up.

I loved how you can sense such community while exploring the park. It felt like many of the locals knew each other. People smiled at friends as exercise groups did their meditative dance routines and Tai Chi.

Hong Kong Restaurants

Midnight Wildfire is a fun spot to have dinner with a friend. You can entertain yourself with a personal grill! Everything you order comes raw. You’ll cook it on a small vented grill on your table. The restaurant is between Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

Hong Kong restaurants
I ate breakfast at Fairwood many of my days in Hong Kong. Fairwood is a local restaurant chain that specializes in serving delicious meals fast! Hong Kongers head to Fairwood for a pre-workday meal.
Fairwood Hong Kong
Hong Kong restaurants

Fairwood is cheap, has plenty of seating and is open very early. Its the perfect breakfast spot for gay travelers who like to get out and about while the sun is still rising. It can get busy, so you may need to share a table with a local!

Pick up a quick breakfast at Catherine’s Bakery in Central. They have both sweet and savory items. They also have delicious iced coffee. Everything is very cheap!
Fairwood Hong Kong
It’s difficult for me to recommend various other places I visited since the names were not on Google Maps and/or were not in English. I recommend just hitting the streets in busy areas and trying some randoms places. If you see a small line, its always a good sign.

Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong

I’m sure you’ll be craving some good dim sum at some point! Hong Kong has a bunch of great dim sum restaurants. Not only are they delicious, but they’re quite cheap.
One of my favorite HK dim sum spots is Prestige Dim Sum Restaurant in the Central neighborhood. You can expect quick, basic service and delicious food. I loved the glutinous rice rolls here, as well as the shrimp and vegetable dumplings.
best dim sum Hong Kong
best dim sum Hong Kong
Hong Kong gay travel guide
“Dim Dim Sum” is another great spot for authentic dim sum. You’ll find mostly locals here, but some tourists come too. You absolutely must get their iconic piggy custard cakes. They’re so cute and delicious!
Other than the piggy cakes, I recommend sticking to the steamed menu and other savory items. I accidentally ordered way more sweet dishes than dumplings!
Hong Kong gay travel guide
Are you intimidated about ordering food in Hong Kong? You shouldn’t be when it comes to dim sum. It’s super easy; you fill out a sheet with a pen, marking which dishes you want. Every decent place I saw had the menu in English and Cantonese.

Hong Kong Gay Bars & Nightlife

The Hong Kong gay scene is very friendly. Everyone is open-hearted and especially eager to chat with travelers. There are a bunch of gay bars in Hong Kong, mostly near the Central neighborhood.
Exploring nightlife is the best part about Hong Kong gay travel! It’s always a ton of fun. Even if you’re visiting for two weeks, it’s still a challenge to to try all the HK gay bars!

Petticoat Lane: Hong Kong’s Best Gay Bar!

In my opinion, Petticoat Lane is the best gay bar in Hong Kong! Everything about Petticoat is awesome; they have an outdoor terrace area, talented drag queens and there is no charge to enter.
Petticoat Lane Hong Kong gay bar
If you’re looking for drag shows in Hong Kong, this is the spot. I saw the best drag performance I’ve ever seen in Asia right here! The Petticoat Lane drag performances are not elaborate hour-long shows. Instead, they perform one or two individual songs a couple times over the course of an evening.
Petticoat Lane Hong Kong gay bar
gay Hong Kong bars
gay Hong Kong bars
Every Wednesday, Petticoat Lane has a special event called “Wednesgay,” where they give out free vodka drinks for a couple of hours. You’ll surely find a bunch of gay ex-pats here. My good friend Harrison, who lives in Hong Kong, frequents on Wednesday with his friends. Who passes up free drinks?

FLM & Zoo Bar: Local Hong Kong Gay Bars

FLM had the largest dance floor area of all the Hong Kong gay bars I visited. If you’re headed there on foot, don’t fret if the streets around you seem a bit desolate. I’m sure once you arrive you’ll vfeel the music’s vibration, begging you to come inside!

FLM Hong Kong gay bar
FLM has an additional upstairs area with another bar that’s quieter if you prefer something more intimate. They have these cool pet fish too. Make sure to have cash on hand; FLM gay bar charges a cover of 200 Hong Kong Dollars. You’ll also get a couple of well-drink tickets.
Zoo gay bar Hong Kong
FLM Hong Kong gay bar
Zoo Bar had the clubbiest music and the most local feel of all the Hong Kong gay bars, although it’s smaller so there is not much room to dance. I didn’t see any ex-pats here and I later learned why.
Zoo gay bar Hong Kong
Zoo Bar is a “locals only” Hong Kong gay bar. Foreigners are sometimes asked to leave, but not always. If you respectably approach the bouncer (not thoroughly inebriated), I’m sure you’ll have a good chance getting in.
I loved the music as well as all the elaborate ceiling decorations. There’s no cover charge at Zoo Bar and it’s open until 5am!

Gay-Friendly Party Spots in Hong Kong

Hang out on Peel Street with the ex-pats on Fridays! After everyone gets out of work, Peel Street fills with workers looking to get a little rowdy. In my opinion, it resembled a college campus bar area! There are dozens of tiny bars on Peel Street, so everyone kind of moves around since everything is so small.
peel street Hong Kong parties
Sobremesa on Elgin Street (very close to Peel Street) has great happy hour specials as well as shisha! I shared some lychee martinis with my friend Taylor who was in town on business. Interestingly, you can find shisha at a number of restaurants in the Central neighborhood.
peel street Hong Kong parties
gay clubs Hong Kong
LKF is one of the rowdiest places to party in Hong Kong. The vibe of LKF is more akin to something you would find in Southeast Asia. Loud music blares as hosts and hostesses try to lure in pedestrians with cheap drink specials.
gay clubs Hong Kong
One Hong Kong bar that I really wanted to try is Flat 61. The day I went, the bar was closed because of some Hong Kong protests nearby. Flat 61 is a bit more of a cocktail bar, and so I was pretty excited to see how chic it really was. I would love to know what your experience is like.
stanley market hong kong
If you do decide to go to Flat 61, note that the bar is not street-front. You must go in the main building’s elevator up to the correct floor. The elevator will have a sticker for the correct level.

Hong Kong Beaches for the Gay Traveler

If you weren’t already aware, Hong Kong has some beautiful, swimmable beaches! Take a public bus to the southern coast of Hong Kong Island to see some magnificent beaches tucked between massive rock outcrops. It takes about 30 minutes and costs about USD 30 cents! Much more economical than a cab. Plus, it’s probably faster.
Hong Kong gay beach
Hong Kong gay beach
Hong Kong gay travel

Repulse Bay: Hong Kong’s Best Beach

I never expected to find such an amazing oasis in Hong Kong! Repulse Bay has a uniquely beautiful beachfront. The way the trees are spread out in the sand reminded me of an African landscape.
best beach in Hong Kong
best beach in Hong Kong
beach areas in Hong Kong
Repulse Bay Beach is best if you’re seeking tranquility in a large open area away from the city. It is not as developed with restaurants and other facilities as Stanley (which I’ll describe below), but it’s certainly more beautiful.

Stanley Main Beach & Stanley Plaza

Stanley is the most developed of the beach areas in Hong Kong. There are two parts of Stanley: Stanley Main Beach and Stanley Plaza/Waterfront Promenade.
stanley Hong Kong promenade
There are many English and French ex-pats living in Stanley. While you visit, you can observe how the Chinese and ex-pat communities flawlessly meld. You can also do some windsurfing!
stanley market hong kong
stanley main beach hong kong
The Stanley Promenade is lined with restaurants and markets, perfect for a long stroll. At the west end of the promenade you’ll find a small indoor-outdoor mall called Stanley Plaza.
stanley main beach hong kong

The Stanley Plaza mall has a relaxing open-air vibe, similar to something you would expect in California or somewhere else with an amazing climate. Pretty much anything you could need is here in Stanley Plaza including clothing stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, a grocery store and a pharmacy.

Make sure to walk past Murray House across the street for some great architecture. Surprise: there’s an H&M inside this relic of a structure.
Stanley Plaza Hong Kong
stanley Hong Kong promenade
Stanley Plaza Hong Kong
A five-minute walk away is the Stanley Main Beach. In my opinion, the beach was not so great. There were too many children to allow any relaxation and the beachfront seemed a bit lackluster. It was more like a run-down shower area with concrete steps right up to the water.
If you’re headed to Stanley anyway, then walk over to the watersports area. It’s quieter over area and you’’ be able to more peacefully listen to the waves.

Deep Water Bay Beach, Hong Kong

One final option nearby Repulse Bay is Deep Water Bay Beach. You still need to catch the bus to go between the two. Deep Water Bay Beach is even more secluded than Repulse Bay Beach. You may be able to be one of few people on the beach if you’re lucky!
Hong Kong gay beach

Does Hong Kong Have a Gay Beach?

Firstly, remember that you’re on an East Asian island. This part of the world has a very traditional culture that doesn’t exactly promote LGBT culture. Although Hong Kong gay travel would be nicer with an official gay beach, there sadly is no such thing in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong waterfront
I did not visit in summer, so I wasn’t in the right time frame to seek information on local gay beach hangouts. If you know of one in Hong Kong, shoot me a message or leave a comment below!
Hong Kong waterfront
Hong Kong gay beach
I recommend that you first visit Repulse Bay Beach, especially if you are planning on swimming. After Repulse Bay Beach, you can catch take the same bus line from a few minutes further and get off at the Stanley Plaza stop.
Walk along the promenade, grab a late lunch and peruse the mall before heading back to Hong Kong proper.

Hong Kong Gay Travel Tips

Whenever you eat at an informal restaurant, you will likely receive a small receipt right after you place your order. If you’re given a small slip, this means that you pay at the front cash register, as opposed to the waitstaff coming to your table to take payment.
Hong Kong gay travel
gay Hong Kong
gay bars HK central
Whenever you eat at an informal restaurant, you will likely receive a small receipt right after you place your order. If you’re given a small slip, this means that you pay at the front cash register, as opposed to the waitstaff coming to your table to take payment.
Hong Kong travel tips
If you plan to go to mainland China, that is a completely different and more lengthy process. I recommend contacting a private passport agency that can expedite the process. It is definitely possible to get a mainland china visa in three to five days for a price north of $100 USD.
gay bars HK central

Buy a Hong Kong Octopus Card

Every Hong Kong local uses a prepaid cash card called the Octopus Card. It can be used for the Hong Kong Metro, busses, trams and a bunch of restaurants.
bakery Hong Kong
The odd thing about the Octopus Card is that you cannot use a debit or credit card to buy one. So, the use of the Octopus Card in a restaurant is pretty much pointless. Its main purpose is public transit.
bakery Hong Kong
Hong Kong cocktail bar
I recommend you put only the value you’ll need on the card when you buy. It’s always possible to add more. When buying an Octopus Card, you will need to pay a “deposit” of about 50 Hong Kong Dollars. Before you leave HK, trade it back for your money if so desired.
Hong Kong cocktail bar

Using Public Transit in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s public transit system is quite efficient and organized. The city has above-ground tramways, busses and a below-ground metro. Public busses come in two types: larger, and more modern double-decker main busses and “light” 19-seat busses. Smaller busses serve farther destinations.
Hong Kong public transit
Hong Kong metro
Hong Kong public transit
When boarding the above ground tramway cars, all passengers enter through the rear door. You pass through a turnstile upon entry, the only use of which is to prevent people from existing through the rear doors.
Hong Kong metro
As your tram stop approaches, move toward the front of the bus to pay upon exit. You have to tap your Octopus card as you pass the bus driver.

How to Get to Central Hong Kong from the Airport

Hong Kong has a wonderful airport link called the Hong Kong Airport Express. It’s an above ground train that makes only a few stops between Hong Kong Island and the Hong Kong airport.
Hong Kong hotels
There is a station in both Hong Kong Central (on Hong Kong Island) and in Kowloon. The train cars are spacious, comfortable and air conditioned. The arrivals are frequent, too.
Hong Kong hotels
Hong Kong temples
Hong Kong temples
You can purchase a scannable HK Airport Express e-ticket in advance with Klook. Using Klook, you can download the ticket and add it to your apple wallet in advance, you the ticket will just pop up on your phone the day you need it. It’s pretty awesome.

More Hong Kong Gay Travel Tips

Upon arrival, you probably won’t notice how huge Hong Kong Airport truly is. As in my case, you’ll probably only notice this when it is taking you 25 minutes to walk to your gate after passing security! Leave yourself plenty of time. I mean it!
ladies market Hong Kong
Even with those moving walkways you may find yourself running to catch a flight if you mismanage time, especially if your gate it toward the end of the terminal. I was that guy running.
The Aspiration debit card has no bank fees, no withdrawal fees and no international fees. I use Aspiration and it’s a million times better than any big bank. Using my link will get you 25$ free cash!
ladies market Hong Kong
hong kong food

The weather in Hong Kong is much more tropical than you may have in mind. Hong Kong has a climate closer to that of Singapore than to Shanghai or Tokyo. Temperatures year round are pretty warm and winters are mild. Pack your t-shirts!

gay Hong Kong

If you are asked to “sign in” upon entering any Hong Kong restaurant or bar, this is just a formality that businesses need to comply with in order to maintain their liquor license. One person per party is required to write down their information.

It is actually quite funny how some waitstaff will refuse to speak to or serve you until you have written your name. If they seem a bit curt, it’s probably the language barrier.
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