Hong Kong Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Hong Kong gay guide to hotels & where to stay, restaurants, beaches, gay bars & parties.
The Gay Travel Experience: Hong Kong
Any westerner can explore Hong Kong easily and comfortably. Since the city was a British territory, there is a lasting English influence. With loads of gay bars, modern infrastructure, and a ton of ex-pats gay travelers love Hong Kong.
Many Australians, Brits, and Americans live in Hong Kong for work, often for financial institutions. The folks that work here are usually in their twenties or thirties, tend to be a social bunch and contribute to Hong Kong’s LGBT-friendly atmosphere. It’s a great destination for single gay travelers to visit.
Aside from the lack of comprehensive LGBT protections, being gay in Hong Kong is pretty easy. The Hong Kong gay scene is akin to some cities in Europe with its bustling gay nightlife.
I felt comfortable as an LGBT traveler the entire time. Everything felt very inclusive, welcoming, and safe. It was also much easier to navigate Hong Kong in comparison to Shanghai.
Officially part of China, Hong Kong operates under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. The city is a 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. Although recently, as you may have heard, Hong Kong’s democracy has been experiencing increased oppression from China.
Hong Kong LGBT Traveler Airport Issues
Some LGBT travelers in the past have had difficulty proceeding through immigration in the Hong Kong airport for issues regarding gender expression and identity.
Two LGBT Americans I know of 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.
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.
Secondly, keep a friend or family member on standby to follow your progress through the airport. Confirm with them upon entering border security and again after entry.
Gay Hong Kong: Hotels & Where To Stay
Staying in the north of Hong Kong Island will offer the best overall experience. The island itself is large with a ton of unique neighborhoods, which I’ll discuss below.
Alternatively, you could stay across the bay in Kowloon. This area tends to be cheaper since access to popular neighborhoods like Central & Soho isn’t as convenient.
Central Hong Kong Hotels & Rentals
Hotels in Central/Soho or the Mid Levels neighborhood are most popular for first-time travelers. Here you’ll find the most ex-pats, gay bars, and English-speaking restaurants.
The Upper House is one of the most elegant hotels in Hong Kong’s Central neighborhood. I love the simplicity and clean feel of their interior design.
The Four Seasons Hong Kong is equally gorgeous but definitely grander. It’s always a dependable ultra-luxury option for gay travelers.
Central/Soho apartment rentals are also super popular given there are tons of apartment building towers clustered here.
I stayed in two separate apartments while in Hong Kong and was super happy with both of them. For more value, check apartments just slightly west of the Central neighborhood.
Staying In Wan Chai & Causeway Bay
Wan Chai & Causeway Bay are two more awesome and popular neighborhoods on Hong Kong Island. They are both to the east of Central and are well-connected via public transit.
I recommend a VRBO rental in Wan Chai for a truly authentic Hong Kong experience. With fewer ex-pats flooding the streets, you’ll be able to connect with the people who have lived here all their lives.
I also stayed in a Causeway Bay apartment rental in Hong Kong. My favorite aspect of the area was that there were tons of restaurants nearby. Many of them understood some English, too. I loved being able to experience local life here.
If you stay in Wan Chai or Causeway Bay, rest assured that getting to the gay nightlife spots in Central will be a cinch. It was even easy to catch a bus between these neighborhoods at 3 AM!
Where to Stay In Kowloon
If you stay in Kowloon, I recommend you choose accommodations nearby a Tsuen Wan red-line metro stop.
Mong Kok hotels as well as Jordan hotels (the neighborhood to the south) are the most popular in south Kowloon. These areas have great connectivity. You can get to the Central neighborhood in 20 to 30 minutes by metro.
Kowloon hotels will be much cheaper than on Hong Kong Island. While there is plenty to see in Kowloon, you may find yourself making frequent trips to attractions on Hong Kong Island since most attractions are there.
My friend Taylor stayed at the Eaton HK Hotel in Kowloon during his visit. They’re an eco-conscious hotel chain with multiple Hong Kong locations.
I definitely recommend Kowloon’s Eaton location for its stunning rooftop, immense breakfast spread, and friendly staff.
More Hong Kong Hotels I Recommend
Here are a few other fantastic hotels in Hong Kong recommended by gay travelers that are highly rated and perfectly located for exploring the best of the city.
Hong Kong Gay Travel Experiences
With so many unique neighborhoods, markets, and parks to explore, get ready for a busy adventure! Here are some of my recommended experiences for Hong Kong gay travelers.
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.
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 vendor stands and grab some lunch at a local restaurant.
Golden Bauhinia Square
Golden Bauhinia Square is excellent for skyline views. Stroll down the Expo Promenade and take in the scenery of Kowloon’s waterfront across the bay. It was so relaxing listening to all the birds chirping in the trees along the pathway.
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.
There is a large business center about a 7-minute walk away that has some small restaurants, but it’s nothing too authentic. Still, I’d grab a taxi and go to Golden Bauhinia!
Victoria Peak Skyline Views
Victoria Peak is my favorite place to see the Hong Kong skyline. Take a ride on the HK Peak Tram (as opposed to several hours hiking a mountain) to the observation deck.
Tickets are available upon arrival and they take credit cards. I personally went at night to see the city wonderfully lit up.
Buy the combined ticket with observation deck access. The free one pales in comparison. Going before sunset would also be a great idea so you can see the colorful horizon.
Leave plenty of time for the journey to the top if you want to catch the sunset at Victoria Peak. Walking to the tram entrance, riding it up, and climbing various escalators to the viewing deck will take at least an hour.
Ride The Mid-Levels Escalators
Riding the Mid Levels escalators is one of the coolest experiences for travelers in Hong Kong. This long series of escalators connect the streets along the steep hillside. Traversing them from bottom to top is a fun way to explore the neighborhood.
Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are everywhere in this vibrant area. I stopped at The Balcony for a half-pint of Stella beer on my way through town.
Victoria Park is huge and 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 a grassy area in the center of the running track if you’re just looking to relax.
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’d definitely keep Victoria Park in mind if you’re looking for a good workout spot.
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.
I ate breakfast at Fairwood for 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 is cheap, has plenty of seating, and is open very early. It’s 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!
Recommend other great places I visited is a bit difficult since the names were often not in English or on Google Maps. So I recommend just hitting the streets in busy areas and trying some random places. A small line outside is always a good sign.
Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong
Prestige Dim Sum Restaurant is one of my favorite Hong Kong dim sum spots. You can expect quick, basic service and delicious food. I loved the glutinous rice rolls here, as well as the shrimp and vegetable dumplings.
Dim Dim Sum in Wan Chai 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 and cute piggy custard cakes.
Other than those, you’ll probably want to stick to the steamed menu and other savory items. I accidentally ordered way too many sweet dishes!
Ordering dim sum is super easy. You fill out a sheet with a pen, marking the dishes you want. Every decent place I saw had a menu in both English and Cantonese.
Lastly, 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 without indulging in a set of 3 to 5 items.
Beaches in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has some beautiful, swimmable beaches! Take a public bus to the southern coast of Hong Kong Island to see some magnificent shores tucked between massive rock outcrops.
The ride takes about 30 minutes and only costs about USD 30 cents! It’s much more economical than a cab, and probably faster too.
Repulse Bay Beach
Repulse Bay is a truly surprising oasis and has a uniquely beautiful beachfront. The way the trees are spread out in the sand sort of reminded me of beaches in Africa’s Western Cape.
Hong Kong’s Repulse Bay Beach is best if you’re seeking tranquility in a large open area away from the city. It is not as developed and doesn’t have any restaurants or facilities, but it’s certainly more beautiful.
Stanley is the most developed beach in Hong Kong. There are two parts: Stanley Main Beach and the Stanley Plaza Waterfront Promenade.
Many English and French ex-pats live in Stanley. While you visit, you can observe how the Chinese and ex-pat communities flawlessly meld.
The Stanley Promenade is lined with restaurants and markets, perfect for a long stroll. Walk past Murray House across the street for some great architecture. Surprisingly, there’s actually an H&M inside this relic of a structure.
Stanley Plaza is an indoor-outdoor mall with a relaxing vibe. Pretty much anything you could need is here including clothing stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, a grocery store, and a pharmacy.
Stanley Main Beach is a five-minute walk away. In my opinion, the beach was not so great. There were too many children to allow for any relaxation and the beachfront seemed a bit lackluster.
If you’re stopping by Stanley anyway, then walk over to the water sports area. It’s quieter and you can peacefully listen to the waves.
Hong Kong's Gay Beach
Middle Bay Beach is Hong Kong’s unofficial gay beach according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board website.
I didn’t visit this spot myself so I can’t give you too much information about it other than it’s not far from the popular Repulse Bay area. If you visit, let me know what it’s like!
Deep Water Bay Beach
One final Hong Kong beach option is the nearby Deep Water Bay Beach. You’ll need to catch a bus to get here from Stanley. Deep Water Bay Beach is even more secluded, so you may be one of the only people if you’re lucky!
Hong Kong Gay Bars
Hong Kong has a bunch of vibrant gay bars, full of dancing, drag shows, and great DJs. Most of the gay bars are in the Central neighborhood. The local gay scene is super friendly, too. Everyone is open-hearted and eager to chat with LGBT travelers.
Here are the most popular Hong Kong gay bars to explore!
Petticoat Lane is Hong Kong’s best gay bar. Everything about Petticoat is awesome and this bar is the best place to see talented drag queens in Hong Kong. I saw the best drag performance I’ve ever seen in Asia right here!
During the summer of 2021, Petticoat Lane moved to a brand new location after closing their original venue. Their new location is larger and better than ever, located in California Tower.
Instead of elaborate shows, the Petticoat Lane drag performances are comprised of one or two individual songs a couple of times over the course of an evening. Check out these stunning drag queens from Petticoat performing their virtual lip sync from global world pride 2020!
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.
FLM: Hong Kong's Premier LGBT+ Venue
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. Once you arrive and feel the music’s vibration, you’ll be excited to run inside.
With an additional upstairs bar area that’s quieter, FLM is a nice option for something more intimate. Make sure to bring cash since FLM gay bar charges a cover of 200 Hong Kong Dollars. This includes a couple of drink tickets.
Zoo Bar had the clubbiest music and the most local feel of all the gay bars in Hong Kong. It’s smaller so though, so there is not as much room to dance as in other venues.
I didn’t see any ex-pats at Zoo Bar and I soon learned why. Mostly a “locals only” bar, this place will sometimes ask foreigners to leave, but not always. If you respectably approach the bouncer, I’m sure you’ll have a good chance of getting in.
Linq is a local gay bar that offers free vodka on Wednesdays. Over toward the western part of the Central neighborhood, their space was recently renovated.
I didn’t get a chance to visit Linq Bar, but by good friend Jase loves a night out here whenever he is in Hong Kong. Give it a try!
BING BING is an upscale gay bar in Hong Kong known for specialty custom cocktails crafted by sexy bartenders. They’re always hosting themed events, fun drag shows, and rowdy weekend dance parties.
High above the city, BING BING is located on the 22nd floor of the Oliv building over in the Causeway Bar neighborhood. Their space is super modern with a beautiful circular bar, stunning views, and a few cozy booth areas.
Hong Kong Gay Friendly Party Areas
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 here, so everyone hops around.
Sobremesa on nearby Elgin 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.
Lan Kwai Fong, or LKF, is one of the rowdiest places to party in Hong Kong. The vibe of LKF is similar to what you would find in most Southeast Asian destinations. Loud music blares as hosts and hostesses try to lure in pedestrians with cheap drink specials.
Hong Kong Gay Travel Tips
Hong Kong Vs Mainland China Visas
If you plan to go to mainland China, remember that the visa process is completely different and more lengthy. I recommend contacting a private passport agency that can expedite the application.
It is definitely possible to get a mainland china visa in three to five days for a price of around $100 USD (in the US at least).
Hong Kong Restaurant Receipts
Whenever you eat at an informal restaurant in Hong Kong, you will likely receive a small receipt right after you place your order.
You take these to the front cash register to pay, as opposed to the staff coming to your table. I really like this system because it takes away the task of flagging down a waiter!
Use a VPN Connection
Personal data privacy is more important than ever before. A VPN connection protects your online activity from theft and from being used to personally identify you.
Travelers can benefit from using a VPN in unexpected ways too, like being able to unblock certain content and apps that are either unavailable regionally or blocked by the local government.
Buy an Octopus Card
Every Hong Kong local uses an Octopus card, which is a prepaid cash card used primarily for public transit. Restaurants also accept payment with this card, but not universally.
The odd thing about Octopus Cards is that you can’t use a debit or credit card to buy one, so using them in restaurants is pretty much pointless.
Only add the amount of money you’ll need on the card when you buy an Octopus card. It’s always possible to add more. You’ll also need to pay a “deposit” of about 50 Hong Kong Dollars.
Before you leave Hong Kong, trade the card back for your remaining balance and deposit refund.
Using Public Transit in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s public transit system is quite efficient and organized. The city has above-ground tramways, buses, and a below-ground metro.
Public buses in Hong Kong come in two types. There are larger, more modern double-decker buses and “light” 19-seat buses. Smaller buses serve farther destinations.
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 these is to prevent people from exiting through the rear doors. Before your stop, make sure to make your way to a position near the exit door.
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 airport.
There is a station in both Central (on Hong Kong Island) and in Kowloon. The train cars are spacious, comfortable, and air-conditioned.
You can purchase a scannable Hong Kong Airport Express e-ticket in advance with Klook. Downloading the ticket is super easy and you can add it to your Apple wallet so it pops up on your phone the day you need it.
Hong Kong's Airport is Huge
Upon arrival, you might not notice how huge Hong Kong Airport truly is. As in my case, you’ll probably only notice this when it’s taking you 25 minutes to walk to your gate after passing security! Leave yourself plenty of time.
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.
"Signing In" at Bars and Restaurants
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.
Hong Kong Gay Rights
Early LGBT laws forbidding homosexuality in Hong Kong were established when the region was under British rule. In 1991, homosexuality was decriminalized, remaining unquestioned until 2005.
Between 2005 until 2019, lawsuits continually brought the legality of homosexuality into question. Only in 2019 was homosexuality legalized in Hong Kong.
Gay marriage is not recognized in Hong Kong, though. Neither are civil unions. Courts have heard several cases challenging the non-recognition in recent years.
Hong Kong laws also don’t fully protect against LGBT discrimination either. However, the head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission has expressed intent to change this.
One-third of Hong Kong’s population supported same-sex marriage back in 2013, per a University of Hong Kong poll. This number grew substantially to roughly 50% when the population was surveyed again in 2017.