Gay Friendly Asia – Nomadic Boys

Author: , June 20th, 2019

Gay Friendly Asia - The Nomadic Boys

We spent 2 years travelling around Asia and completely fell in love with the continent. It offers so much in terms of cultural experiences, food and landscapes, with some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

But when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Asia has some serious work to do! In quite a lot of countries in Asia, being gay is either illegal or an arrestable offence, like in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. If it’s not illegal, then it’s such a strong taboo that you have to stay in the closet to avoid jeopardising your job prospects and embarrassing your family like in China, Russia and Indonesia.

Despite this, there are a number of countries in Asia that are paving the way forward in relation to LGBTQ rights. We’ve selected the top 10 most gay friendly countries in Asia, which we’ve based on the following criteria:

  • Where are they at with same sex marriage legislation, along with other LGBTQ laws?
  • What is the gay scene like and do they have any notable annual LGBTQ festivals?
  • Our personal experience travelling there as a gay couple, with reference to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

We have taken it as a given that homosexuality is legal in the countries we’ve selected, which is why we haven’t included Singapore despite it having quite a vibrant gay scene and a famous LGBTQ PinkDot festival in June/July.

We have also included two “places” (Taiwan and Hong Kong) rather than “countries”, because although they’re not officially recognised “countries”, they can still be regarded as a “country” given they have their own flag, currency, national anthem, set of laws etc.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Instagrammable Hong Kong – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , February 22nd, 2019

Lok Wah South Estate - Once Upon a Journey - Instagrammable Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an Instagram paradise! This city has so much to offer, from architecture to beautiful beaches and mountains, Hong Kong has it all. But where to start?! We made a list of the 7 most Instagrammable Hong Kong places that you can’t miss!

QUARRY BAY

This is the most famous Instagram spot of all. The incredibly dense and stacked residential complexes of Quarry Bay are featured in movies like Ghost in The Shell and Transformers: Age of Extinction. There are five complexes but Yik Cheong and Montane Mansion are the best known. They are perfect for a fantastic photo. But try to be creative, since many angles and poses have already been shot here!

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

China Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Hong Kong for Size Queens

Author: , April 6th, 2017

gay hong kong - pixabay

In gay Hong Kong, size matters.

The city boasts five of the world’s top 30 tallest buildings, including the ICC which holds the Ritz-Carlton hotel and O-zone, the highest bar in the world on the 118th floor.

The world’s largest outdoor, seated Buddha – helpfully referred to locally as the Big Buddha – can be found on Lantau Island, just a short train and then cable car ride away from the heart of the city.

Another exciting ride can be found at the Peak Tram which is the world’s steepest tram ride, whisking you up to Victoria Peak for spectacular views over Hong Kong Harbour both day and night.

Every evening Victoria Harbour is lit up in the world’s largest permanent light and sound which illuminates all the erections straddling both sides of the water.

Full Story at Gay Star News

China Gay Travel Resources

Pink Dot is Back in Hong Kong

Author: , October 6th, 2016

Pink Dot

Over 10,000 people turned up in pink at Pink Dot Hong Kong, the city’s LGBTI festival and largest diversity event, to celebrate diversity and love equality on Sunday.

Co-organized by BigLove Alliance and Pink Alliance, and supported by Covenant of the Rainbow, the third edition of the annual event was held this year at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Nursery Park. Organisers chose a different venue this year, as compared to the first two years at the city’s Tamar Park, in order to ‘accommodate more activities for everyone, young and old’.

This year’s event was also largely supported by various entertainers, celebrities, corporate sponsors and diplomats – and was officiated by the Equal Opportunities Commission, an independent statutory body which commissioned a study last year to look into the need for anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

China Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia – Rediscovering Hong Kong

Author: , September 6th, 2015

Hong Kong - Carlos Melia

This was my second time in Hong Kong, and this time I was there along my partner Rubin Singer, being his first time. We had ahead of us a full month of traveling along China, so for our first 48 hours, after a long flight, I wanted to re-discover the city and show him, the highlights mind the 48 hours limit. So basically to took it very easy, and we decided to explore Central, Kowloon, Wan Chai, The Peak and Aberdeen. Unfortunately, this time, we didn’t have time to go all the way to Lantau Island and the Big Buddha.

First day began over breakfast at our lovely hotel in Central, the Mandarin Oriental The Landmark Hotel. Where we had a beautiful suite, and we were spoiled rotten. A masterpiece of contemporary design. With just 113 rooms and suites, they are a chic five-star retreat in the heart of Hong Kong’s business and fashion districts.

Hong Kong - Carlos MeliaA walk around the Central District, absorbing the characteristic pulse and hustle and bustle of the city. An urban jungle, with its monumental towers and buildings. Where heritage and tradition blend perfectly with modern architecture and design.

Second stop, was the mid levels and this took us to Victoria Harbour and the docking station of the iconic Star Ferry – which BTW if you have time, it is a must. The panoramic views of Hong Kong’s Skyline crossing either way Central/Kowloon are breathtaking. And you will also get to mingle with the locals, although most of them nowadays use the underground/water metro system.

Final morning stop, was one of my absolute destinations in Hong Kong, the Man Mo Temple. Which I always make the time to visit. Located over Hollywood Road. The Man Mo Temple is visited mainly by tourists and young students. A picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), both of whom were worshipped by ambitious students looking to succeed in the civil examinations of Imperial China

After a long morning exploring, was time for Lunch. We joined our local friend and gourmet guru, Geoffrey Wu, for a lunch at Fofo by el Willy Restaurant. Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Cuisine with the menu designed by the award-winning Chef of “el Willy” and executed by Catalan Chef Alex Martinez Fargas.(see photo below with the Chef). Including the from the traditional tapas, rice and Iberian Ham, to new innovative dishes like Scallops Ceviche, and some off the menu item that the Chef premiered with us before including them to the new summer menu.

Hong Kong - Carlos MeliaBack at our suite at The Landmark by Mandarin Oriental, we were very happy to take a little nap, and more so, to find this lovely thoughtful amenity, which was the opening session and mood for our evening.

We took the Star Ferry to, as I recommended and mentioned before, enjoy the panoramic views from the water, of Hong Kong’s Skyline. After that we came to Kowloon – Tsim Sha Tsui, to watch the Show of Lights, which I must say, needs a update. It has not changed in over 5 years, and given that technology has moved way forward, the show looks very unappealing. Constructive criticism.

After a brief incursion in Kowloon, we returned to Central, to move onwards to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – sister neighbor property of our hotel The Landmark, for an intimate dinner at Man Wah Restaurant, raditional One-Michelin Cantonese Restaurant. This concluded our first 24 hours.

Four our second and next 24 hours in Hong Kong, we began our day checking out The Landmark Hotel, to move to our next hotel, the Four Seasons Hong Kong. But before that, and after breakfast, we climb atop the Victoria Peak, to enjoy some breathtaking panoramic views of Hong Kong. Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak, is the highest mountain on Hong Kong island, with an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft). A major tourist attraction that offers views over Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands.

Next we moved to the quaint fishing village of Aberdeen. Aberdeen Harbour has the distinct honour of being the first place where the British set foot upon arriving in Hong Kong. Back then, Aberdeen was the center of the incense trade, this is how Hong Kong got its name, it literally means “Fragrant Harbour”. Here you must jump onboard a sampan – a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat. Here you will see the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant, which was featured on James Bond and Bruce Lee’s film.

Now for our lunch, this time, we chose to move to the district of Wan Chai, to a very unexpected hidden gem. Youka Japanase Restaurant. A very intimate, simple yet sophisticated true Japanese Washoku restaurant experience, on Johnston Road open both for lunch and dinner. The most fresh ingredients, flown daily from Japan.

After lunch we headed to our next hotel, the Four Seasons Hong Kong. Ready to check in and enjoy their outdoor pool overlooking Victoria Harbor and Kowloon. Same view we had from our lovely room.

Back on the Star Ferry, this time heading to our next dinning destination. Cantonese Restaurant Tin Lung Heen at the very top of the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. This was indeed our TOP dining experience. THANK YOU Gloria Ip for making us feel like Royalty. At Tin Lung Heen, we experienced our six-course Traditional Cantonese degustation menu, showcasing the brilliant presentation and overall culinary excellence that have earned Tin Lung Heen the distinction of two Michelin stars. Chef Paul Lau Ping Lui is regarded as one of the top Cantonese chefs in Hong Kong. Set in a sleek modern space, with 360-panoramic views of Hong Kong that blends traditional Chinese design elements with modern lines and colours, the two Michelin star restaurant, Tin Lung Heen, presents refined authentic Cantonese cuisine at its best.

After dinner, we joined our host to a sumptuous journey at 420m meters above sea level at OZONE Bar. Positioned on 118/F of the hotel, Ozone invites you to indulge in signature cocktails and exotic selection of Asian tapas, while enjoying DJ beats and the captivating vistas of the city and Victoria Harbour. Our host had booked the VIP Section of the bar for us, so we joined her for a few drinks.

So this was our brief, but very hectic visit and time in Hong Kong. 48 hours re-discovering Hong Kong.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia – Do’s and Don’ts When Dining in Hong Kong

Author: , July 23rd, 2015

Carlos Melia - Hong Kong

DOs and DON’Ts Dinning Options in Hong Kong, based on our own experience. Because in this city, amazing panoramic views are not enough to make it work. To include Tin Lung Heen by The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong . Man Wah by Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and Hutong by the Aqua Restaurant Group. I have been to Hong Kong before, so this list only reflects the dining experiences of my last trip. Learn which made the cut and which was a total disaster… Check out also my post on my favorite Lunch options in Hong Kong.

As we arrived to Hong Kong on our first night, be were staying at a gorgeous suite at The Landmark Hotel by Mandarin Oriental. Just around the corner from their Hong Kong flagship hotel the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, where I have stayed before during previous visits. For our first dinning experience, I chose Man Wah Traditional One-Michelin Cantonese Restaurant.

Carlos Melia - Hong KonhI will rank Man Wah as my second best choice of my trip. Located on the 25th floor, this Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant serves exquisite local and regional specialties. Often referred to as Hong Kong’s most beautiful dining space. With walls adorned by original paintings on silk, and lacquered enamel and gold-plated ceiling lamps fashioned to resemble birdcages, Man Wah’s design is as celebrated as the menu.

Visit for dinner and enjoy your meal against a backdrop of sparkling city lights or stop by at lunchtime for dim sum dishes that are the talk of the city. Man Wah’s atmospheric decor and panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline provide the perfect setting for wonderfully delicious cuisine. Award-winning signature dishes include such delights as steamed fillet of spotted garoupa with crispy ginger, crabmeat and egg white sauce, and Wok fried fillet of sole with black bean sauce.

The room is indeed strikingly beautiful. Now my only comment is that over the years, so many new restaurants have established in Hong Kong, offering quite striking panoramic views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong’s skyline. Man Wah’s views are not the main feature of the restaurant at all.

My choices for the night along a local white wine from the Qingdao region, were: First: Shrimp wonton noodles, supreme broth. Second: Steamed grouper fillet, crispy ginger, crabmeat and egg white. I also shared a bit of my partner’s dish, the Fried rice, abalone, lotus leaf. And for dessert: Chilled mango cream, sago, pomelo.

After dinner we enjoyed a cocktail at the M Bar and off we went back to our suite, since we were rather exhausted after flying all the way from New York. Note that the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, counts with other nine food and beverage outlet, among which I would highly recommend the stunning two-Michelin starred restaurant, Pierre by Pierre Gagnaire. Now we spend so much time in France, that my natural choice over Pierre, was their Cantonese option, and I was VERY happy with my choice.

The Gourmet DISAPPOINTMENT was our dinner at Hutong by Aqua Restaurant Group, on top of the One Pekin Tower in Kowloon, Tsim Tsa Shui. It was not quite what I expected, I mean everything was wrong. Very touristy, loud, weird crowd… And when the Chef came out to juggle the noodles for the crow and people were standing up to take photos, that was the end of it.

Lovely views of Hong Kong bay, I give them that.. but not enough for us to stay for dinner. So we cancelled our booking and left. Note to myself: Do Not recommend Hutong Restaurant. As we exited, but did a brief stop at Aqua, at the 29th Floor of the same tower, to at least enjoy the Hong Kong Skyline over a Dirty Martini, and not have our entire evening ruined. This was not my first time at Aqua, but indeed will be the last.

On our last night, we moved hotels. This time we were staying at the Four Seasons Hong Kong, with lovely views over the Victoria Harbor and Kowloon Island. Funny enough, from my own room, I was able to glimpse into our next gourmet experience, to happen at the top floor of the ICC Tower, at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. This hotel, has a particular place in my heart. Four years ago, I came to visit it while it was still in construction, being among the first VIRTUOSO Travel Advisors in the world to preview it.

I was happy to find out that my friend and colleague Gloria Ip, was still working there, so we made a date to enjoy a lovely dinner all together at Tin Lung Heen Restaurant. So as the sunset took over Hong Kong, we jumped on the Star Ferry and crossed on a panoramic sail, to Kowloon.

This was indeed my TOP dining experience on my latest visit to Hong Kong. THANK YOU Gloria Ip for making us feel like Royalty. At Tin Lung Heen, we Experience our six-course Traditional Cantonese degustation menu, showcasing the brilliant presentation and overall culinary excellence that have earned Tin Lung Heen the distinction of two Michelin stars. Chef Paul Lau Ping Lui is regarded as one of the top Cantonese chefs in Hong Kong. Set in a sleek modern space, with 360-panoramic views of Hong Kong that blends traditional Chinese design elements with modern lines and colours, the two Michelin star restaurant, Tin Lung Heen, presents refined authentic Cantonese cuisine at its best.

Embark on a sumptuous journey at 420m meters above sea level. Positioned on 118/F of the hotel, Ozone invites you to indulge in signature cocktails and exotic selection of Asian tapas, while enjoying DJ beats and the captivating vistas of the city and Victoria Harbour. Our host had booked the VIP Section of the bar for us, so we joined her for a few drinks.

But I must say I was quite intrigued to visit their Presidential Suite, of which I have heard wonders, so off we continued to that. The Ritz-Carlton Victoria Harbor Suite. I must say, it is one of the most spectacular and sumptuous suites I have seen in the last few years.

So there you go my raking based on my own gourmet experience on my recent three nights stay in Hong Kong of the DOs and DONTs Dinning Experiences when in Hong Kong.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources

Globetrotter Girls – Hong Kong The Second Time Around

Author: , July 6th, 2015

Hong Kong - Globetrotter Girls

As some of you might remember, my first visit to Hong Kong didn’t go as planned. Even though I was wowed by the city and loved my time there, I felt like I had failed as a traveler. I had made poor choices about where to stay, I gave into my jet lag instead of fighting it, and I was too exhausted after a busy month of travel to feel the urge to truly explore the city.

But back then, I also knew that I’d be back in Hong Kong a few months later, and this time around, I’d rectify all the mistakes I had made on my first visit.

I arrived energized after a short flight from Bangkok, and when I checked into my cozy room at the OZO Wesley Hotel a little bit later, looking out of the window over Hong Kong Island, I couldn’t wait to head out and take on the city – I didn’t waste any time and went right out to wander the streets of Wan Chai, the neighborhood I was staying in. When I left the city six days later, (even though I was nowhere near ready to leave Hong Kong!), I did so with a smile on my face, knowing I’d made the most out of my visit. Read on for my tips on how to have a splendid time in Hong Kong, plus my favorite eateries, coffee shops and bars.

By Dany – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls | China Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia – My Two Latest Favorite Lunch Options in Hong Kong

Author: , June 17th, 2015

Hong Kong - Carlos Melia

I have been to Hong Kong a few times, and I am very outspoken about the fact, that it is one of my top five favorite cities in the world. Every time I visit I discover new options, and of course repeat over and over my favorites. During this visit, I truly enjoyed two gourmet experiences, introduced to us by local expert Food and Lifestyle Consultant Geoffrey Wu with The Forks and Spoons. Oddly enough, none of them are Chinese, but trust me we covered that during our time there, for our dinners. Both restaurants are totally different and both true hidden gems. Both restaurants can be booked online prior your arrival to Hong Kong, and I strongly advise it.

Hing Kong - Carlos MeliaThe first one was Fofo by el Willy – Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Cuisine with the menu designed by the award-winning Chef of “el Willy” and executed by Catalan Chef Alex Martinez Fargas.(see photo below with the Chef). Including the from the traditional tapas, rice and Iberian Ham, to new innovative dishes like Scallops Ceviche, and some off the menu item that the Chef premiered with us before including them to the new summer menu.

Fofo, comes from the Spanish “fat” or “Flabby”, hence why the decoration is full of penguins with big bellies and pigs. And I think that after our lunch experience, I was pretty much looking and walking like one of them… ” I meant the Penguins, of course…”

Having tried many restaurants in Hong Kong, one of the things I truly appreciated from Fofo, was the view. Most of the times in Hong Kong, you will face to the water, in this case, they feature quite an understated face of Hong Kong, facing to the mountains, and that was quite a lovely surprise and a side of Hong Kong to discover. To be matched by a creative interior design and tranquil atmosphere.

Our degustation consisted on: Oyster Chilli Granita – HK$105 for 3 pcs. Salmon Explosive Air Bag – HK$30 per pc. Scallop Ceviche – HK$98. Spanish Crystal Bread with Tomato – HK$45. Spring French Sea Bream with Green Pea Puree & Spanish Red Prawn – HK$288. Lobster Mollette – HK$144 for 3 pcs. Spanish Coca with Anchovies – HK$30 per pc. Chipriones – HK$110. And we also tried a new dish off the current many. New Summer Menu RAF Tomato Salad – HK$155 ( which was together with the Oysters, the highlight of my lunch). As for desserts, Chef Alex Martinez Fargas chose for us: FoFo Apple Tart – HK$78 and of course… Churros – HK$75. During our degustation, we went through several pitches of refreshing and tasteful Sangria.

Prices at FoFo are certainly not cheap, but trust me whatever your bill costs, it’s definitely worth it. Spanish restaurants in Hong Kong, are quite popular, but Fofo is indeed one of the best.

Fofo by el Willy, is located in Central Hong Kong. It took us a while to find, since it is located on the rooftop (20/F) of the LKF building, which just offers a hidden corridor to the lift and has a small badge of FoFo’s name downstairs. So do not give up, it is worth each minute of your time.

Youka was our second experience. This time in Wan Chai, and from its exterior, you would never guess what you would find inside. A very intimate, simple yet sophisticated true Japanese Washoku restaurant experience, on Johnston Road open both for lunch and dinner. The most fresh ingredients, flown daily from Japan. The name “YOUKA” translates to the 8th day. A famous Japanese writer once wrote about a cicada that lived for eight days. Cicadas usually only live for seven days but the writer imagined the world as it would be witnessed one day after, free from the noise and hustle of all the other cicadas. Another interpretation of its name can be through the story of Genesis where God created the world with the basic elements in seven days, at YOUKA, we believe the other beautiful elements like arts, culture and a taste of cuisine were subsequently developed by mankind – on the eighth day.

Washoku, is a social practice based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food. It is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources. The basic knowledge and skills related to Washoku, such as the proper seasoning of home cooking, are passed down in the home at shared mealtimes. Transmitted from generation to generation, Washoku plays an important role in strengthening social cohesion among the Japanese people while providing them a sense of identity and belonging.

Our degustation consisted of only the most authentic Japanese dishes expertly prepared by Chef Ito Katsuhiro, one of Hong Kong’s most seasoned veteran Japanese Chefs: Tuna Intestines with Cream Cheese & Crackers – HK$90. (Seasonal) FireFly Squid with Special Mustard Sauce – HK$90. Deluxe Sashimi Platter (Chu Toro, Japanese Half Beak, Giant Scallop, SeaBream, Spanish Mackerel – seasonal price). Sake Steamed Big Clams – HK$210. Sakura Shrimp (Aji) Tempura – H120. Grilled Japanese Chicken – HK$160. Grilled Miso Eggplant with Prawns – HK$120.

YOUKA’s interior design takes inspiration from Hokkaido’s coastal location with maritime motifs and ocean accents. The intimate setting is sophisticated but comfortable with an open atmosphere for diners to witness Chef Ito Katsuhiro in action.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources

Globetrotter Girls: 12 Surprising Things About Hong Kong

Author: , May 30th, 2015

Hong Kong - Dany

Even though I didn’t have many expectations when I visited Hong Kong for the first time this year, I have to admit that not only did the city blow me away completely, but it also surprised me in many ways.

I noticed these things during my first visit earlier this year, and when I returned to Hong Kong last month, I wanted to see if I still felt about them the same way, especially #8, which I found mind-boggling! And yes, I was still just as surprised about the following things as I had been back in January – so here they are, twelve things that surprised me about Hong Kong:

1. Hong Kong is busy: Arriving in Hong Kong from Stockholm, which had felt eerily empty during my visit, was absolutely overwhelming. There were crowds everywhere, and I hadn’t experienced large numbers of people in this way since leaving New York last November. Especially in the Kowloon neighborhood, where I was staying in the beginning, the streets were always packed with people. The subway was just as busy as the tube in London at rush hour, and most streets felt as busy as the streets around Times Square in Manhattan. It took me a few days to get used to how crowded Hong Kong felt.

By Dany – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls | China Gay Travel Resources

Globetrotter Girls – High Up Over Hong Kong

Author: , May 1st, 2015

Hong Kong

Returning to Hong Kong felt bittersweet – it is the place where my winter escape to South East Asia started and now came to an end. For my second visit to this fascinating city, I was armed with lots of energy, adventurousness and a plan of action (a sharp difference from my first visit when I was jetlagged, poorly prepared and burned out).

I was excited to be back, because even though my first visit felt like a bit of a failure, I had loved the dynamic atmosphere of the city back then and was eagerly awaiting my second visit.

I had nearly a week in Hong Kong which allowed me to explore the city at a leisurely pace instead of rushing around. I visited several neighborhoods, saw the main sights, went for long runs, hung out in trendy coffee shops, ate amazing food, caught up with friends and finally hiked up to The Peak, Hong Kong’s famous viewpoint that offers sweeping views over the harbor, Hong Kong Island and Tsim Sha Tsui from the island’s highest peak, Victoria Peak at 554 meters (1,818 feet).

By Dany – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls | China Gay Travel Resources