In the decade since the United Kingdom handed this prosperous territory back to China, Hong Kong has continued to enjoy great popularity as a center of business and trade as well as retaining its status as a major tourist destination.
Now one of two “special administrative regions” of China (the other being the nearby island of Macau, which until 1999 had been a colony of Portugal), Hong Kong nevertheless maintains its own distinct identity.
Although the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents are of Chinese descent, visitors to Hong Kong will encounter a large population of Westerners – not just Brits but also other Europeans, as well as Americans and Australians.
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In fact, there are parts of Hong Kong that appear so heavily influenced by the West that, for better or for worse, you may feel as though you’re not in Asia at all.
In comparison with other Asian cities, Hong Kong has a fairly visible and well-organized gay community, with an LGBT social and cultural scene that has grown steadily in recent years.
This territory of about 7 million people has its own currency ($1 U. equals about 7.80 Hong Kong dollars as of this writing), law enforcement, legal system, and customs and immigration policies.
Automobile traffic follows British road rules, and even though Hong Kong is technically part of China, North American and British citizens do not require visas for entry, as they do when they cross the border into China.
This is in part because the city is such an international business and leisure hub, but also because attitudes toward gays and lesbians are steadily becoming more favorable throughout the Pacific Rim.
Still, the traditional attitudes of China and even old-school Britain largely prevail.Comprising an archipelago of mountainous islands and a similarly precipitous peninsula extending from the China mainland, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most spectacularly beautiful cities.It’s also one of the Pacific Rim’s hottest destinations for gays and lesbians, fans of fashion and gourmet dining, freewheeling investors and entrepreneurs, and devotees of luxury hotels.Nearly all of the world’s leading hotel chains have outposts in this famous trading port at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta.From 1842 through 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony.In this sense, gays and lesbians in Hong Kong tend to be more discreet and, in many cases, closeted, than in most major Western cities.