Why you should go to Hong Kong !

Hong Kong became an autonomous territory in China in 1997, ending nearly two centuries as an exotic port of call in the British empire. If anything, it is even more vibrant today, a global financial and tourist center with shopping, culinary and entertainment opportunities galore.

One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong is also one of the most romantic, calling up classic cinema images like "The World of Susie Wong" and "In the Mood for Love." You can find hotel accommodations from backpacker digs to a luxurious room for nearly US$1,500 a night. Food and shopping options run the same gamut. Its sights and sites make international bucket lists, but just wandering around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon - the two halves that make up the Hong Kong whole - is an adventure in itself.

Hong Kong has an active and growing LGBTQ community, a Pride Parade each November and Asia's largest LGBTQ festival for several weeks each fall. Party goers will find gay clubs and bars in Soho on Hong Kong Island equal those in any world capital and an array of saunas, particularly in Wan Chai on the island and Mong Kok across the harbor in Kowloon.

You can spot many lesbian couples around Mong Kok, but the lala nightlife is less visible and more nuanced. Les Paradis HK, opened in 2014, is a popular lesbian bar. Les Peches has been staging monthly parties since 2005. The Women Coalition schedules a gathering the first Saturday of the month at Rainbow Center on Nathan Road in Kowloon with dinner after, but the talks are in Cantonese as are many Lesbian groups. Mastering at least a few words of Cantonese will help meet local Lesbians.

On the whole, Hong Kong is welcoming to LGBTQ visitors, but its laws lag behind other parts of the world. Until 1991, a male charged with homosexuality faced a maximum life sentence. Consensual homosexual relations were decriminalized, but the age of consent was 16 for heterosexual and 21 for homosexuals. LGBTQ groups contested, but not until 2005 was it 16 for everyone. No laws bar discrimination because of sexual orientation or hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, but violent attacks on gays are rare. China did not decriminalize homosexuality until 1997.

Homosexuality remains controversial, particularly in the business community. Same-sex marriage or civil unions are not recognized although domestic violence laws give some protection to same-sex couples. Cross-dressing is not illegal. After sexual reassignment surgery, individuals may change passports and identity cards but not birth certificates.

LGBTQ organizations have multiplied since the early 1990s when Horizons and the Ten Percent Club were launched. The annual parade attracts over 5,000, many from Mainland China where pride parades are forbidden.

Be inspired

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I met my Boyfriend in Hong Kong on Tinder in Dec. 2015. Incredible City with diverse mixed cultures and people!

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Getting around

Hong Kong has amazingly safe, affordable and reliable transportation ranging from trams and ferries to a sleek high-speed train that takes only 24 minutes from the airport to the city. Your choice begins at the airport where you can hop a train, bus, taxi, hotel transport or personal limousine into town or shuttle buses and high-speed ferries to Mainland China. The Star Ferry, which began service in 1888, and the historic double-decker trams on the north corridor of Hong Kong Island are the most picturesque ways of getting around.
Because few people need to rent a car in Hong Kong, options are fewer than in most cities. Before you rent, remember that driving is British-style with a left-hand drive and manual gears, parking is expensive and rentals can't be taken across the border into China.
The New Territories and Landau have recreational trails with rides ranging from easy (West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade) to challenging (Chi Ma Wan on Landau). The Tai Wai-Tai Po route, along Shing Mun River and Tolo Harbour, is a Hong Kong favorite with views, rest stops and restaurants. Ten parks also have mountain bike trails, including Shek O on Hong Kong Island. Many trails have bike rental kiosks.
The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system with 10 rail lines makes it quick and easy to reach the main parts of the city and includes two stops at the boundary with Mainland China. The Octopus smart card is accepted for transit, but tourists may also want to consider an Airport Express Travel Pass, which includes the Airport Express and three consecutive days of travel on the MTR, or a Tourist Day Pass for one day of unlimited travel. Riding off-trail in busy commercial areas is not advised.
Buses, most of them air-conditioned, service almost all of Hong Kong. The final destination of the route is marked in Chinese and English on the front of the bus. Fares are based on distance and paid in exact change or by an Octopus electronic Smart Card, which is accepted for all public transport and by many retail shops. Several bus companies operate routes around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories and two on Lantau Island. For the more adventurous, there are shared-ride mini-buses. Green ones travel fixed routes at fixed prices, paid in exact change or by the Octopus card. Red ones have more fluid routes with passengers getting on or off anytime, paying in cash as they alight.
Taxis in Hong Kong are color-coded: red taxis operate throughout Hong Kong except for certain parts of Landau Island; green are only in the New Territories; blue are only on Landau Island. All taxis can go to and from the international airport and Hong Kong Disneyland. Taxis are metered and can be hailed on the street or engaged at a hotel or taxi stand. Fares range from HK$17 for the first 2 kilometers for blue taxis to HK$22 for the red with increments based on every 200 meters plus any waiting time.

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