Fabulous local: Disney Chanel’s guide to Hong Kong
I was lucky enough to meet the fabulous Disney Chanel in London when she was just a baby drag queen. Her crazy antics at Sink The Pink soon made her a family favourite and her signature look became a uniform of blonde, beige, Coach and Fauxboutins. (These days, her style is more power bottom black). I can’t believe Disney’s been gone from London for two years now but I always love watching the trouble she gets up to in Hong Kong via social media. She’s really made it her own and I couldn’t think of anyone better to share the highlights (both the classy and trashy ones) for this exciting city! If you want to experience Hong Kong like a local, you can find all Disney’s tips on my HK map here.
Disney Chanel says:
After peeling myself off the floor of Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in London, I booked a flight and relocated to Hong Kong two years ago. Since then, I’ve brought a sense of the London nightlife to (and asserted myself on) the somewhat small party scene here. I’ve made this city my home and I’m more than willing to give you a tour, all in a heel of course! Ready?
So let’s start with something I’m passionate about: DANCE! Yes, we all travel to see new cultures and experience new things but why limit yourself and not include a dance floor? Here’s my list of bars, clubs and spaces that allow you to fling your arms about and shimmy what ya got from ya mumma.
Lost your friends and wanna dance? No worries! You can always make a new friend on the dance floor here! Also, the huge screen behind the DJ provides amazing visuals!
📍 Lower Basement, 79 Wyndham Street (entrance off Pottinger Street), Central District
If the lure of a ceiling full of neon isn’t enough, the talented and passionate staff should get you there! Still undecided? Wait till you see the cocktails and try some food! Plus, everyone is welcome – I was even invited back after sprawling over the bar!
📍UG/F 52-56 Staunton Street (Entrance on Aberdeen Street), Central District
The status of this venue and its sister, Premium Sofa Club, is still unknown due to venue changes (thanks to Hong Kong’s greedy rent prices) but if you’re in town, check their Facebook page below to get an update! If you do get a chance to visit this legendary venue, you’ll forget about all other parties – probably because of their B.Y.O.B policy!
This venue is close to my heart due as it was so welcoming to me on my first night out in drag in Honkers! This gay bar may have been around a while, but it shows no sign of slowing down! There’s always some themed event on, whether it’s classic bingo, karaoke or a screen of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Best part? There’s a pole & stage! You can thank me later…
It’s the next day, you’re feeling fragile and need some chill time. Other blogs will have you up in a cable car to see the Big Buddha before you could even say ‘Lei ho’! I wouldn’t make you do that just yet but would recommend it though if you have time! No, what I’d recommend today is to head to a beach or an equally appealing local pool. HK is made up of over 200 islands, so it has plenty of shores for you to dip ya toes in and catch a tan (unless, like me, you’re me a natural redhead). Anyway, here’s my list of beaches and pools worth checking out.
Some people would say I’m being biased as it’s a (not so secretive) secret that this is the gay beach. Usually referred to as Middle Gay, this beach actually does offer more than a few hunks in speedos and a possibility of fooling about in the locker room. It’s quieter than others, such as Repulse or Shek O, as families and tour groups never head this far.
This beach is a bit of a journey (catch a boat from Hong Kong Island’s Central Pier to Mui Wo, then a bus to the beach) but once you’re there you’ll thank me. Its long stretch of black sand and open bay allows a fun day in the sea or even a chance to try some water sports (not that kind).
Kowloon Park pool
This is another place where my recommendation is biased by all the male eye candy. Aside from that, this pool is very accessible from most places in Hong Kong. With a variety of pools and plenty of sunbeds (even a sun deck), you’re guaranteed to love it, especially the entrance that leads you off busy Nathan Road into a park that resembles paradise. After your dip, have a walk around the park to see the flamingos or aviary. Or if you’re feeling like seeing some bigger mammals, head to any of the loos 😉 (Whoops, is that me being biased again?)
Chai Wan Pool
Again being a public pool that will only set you back $17/$19 (under £2), this pool boasts several pools and space to lay out. Also being slightly uphill, there’s a nice view over the local area.
After your day at the beach or by the pool, you’re probably hungry now! The best thing in Hong Kong is that no matter where you walk there’s always great food every 5 meters, whether it’s street snacks, Asian noodle shops, western eateries or some form of dim sum. After changing my diet recently, I want to show you some of the options for vegetarians and vegans. As I’m pretty new to this, I’m discovering new places each week but here are some of the places I’ve been visiting regularly since going veggie.
Simple and cheap vegetarian/vegan Chinese restaurant. They have your favourite Chinese dishes but all plant-based! Plus, they stock products such as vegan cheese and ice-cream that you can take home!
Yes, that’s an ‘l’ not an ‘i’! Veggle is on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong and a great treasure if you’re exploring some of the attractions close by, such as Diamond Hill Nunnery or Chai Wan Estate. The reasonably priced and varied menu will leave you feeling very happy. I recommend the Fish burger (vegan of course!).
These two are not fully vegetarian but if you are a meat eater then well worth a visit!
Dim Dim Sum
This chain has a few restaurants across Hong Kong and they are pretty consistent! The prices are great and they will always find a table for you. The stuffed peppers are beaut but watch out for the chilli!
Another meat restaurant but if that’s your thing then it’s worth checking out! Delicious Mexican food and cocktails. The tacos are amazing which can cause tension if someone suggests sharing! The prices are a little more than local restaurants.
This list includes extra fun bits that are missing from most other blogs.
This bar/restaurant has a great terrace for those lazy Sunday afternoons. Sundays here are known for being ‘Gay Sundays’: no the drinks don’t make you gay, just the crowd is predominately, but not exclusively, gay! Outside you’ll usually see some queens who brought their pooches along! Woof!
This Sunday brunch happens once a month and is run by three of Hong Kong’s beautiful and talented Drag Queens! They put on a lengthy show on the last Sunday of every month whilst you munch on the feast and fill your glass on the free flow! Cheers!
This night is still fairly fresh, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re in town. The last Wednesday of the month sees creatives, artists & anyone who fancies it, meet to partake in a night themed around life drawing, performance art, or whatever the creators, This Is Not HK, can think up! A great chance to chat and mingle with like-minded creatives and take the creative process back to the fun days of just giving it a go and playing about.
This one is pretty broad but all I’m suggesting is no matter where you are staying – a hotel, an Airbnb or hostel – head upstairs and check out the roof! The majority of the time it will be accessible and you’ll be treated to a stunning view over the city. At night, take a bottle and enjoy your personal light show as the cities residents flutter about this vertical city.
Sham Shui Po
Another a fairly broad suggestion, but if you’re in town, head to the area Sham Shui Po. This part of the city is a sensory overload: whether it’s the wet market, rows of fabric shops, the wholesale clothing stores or the collective of eccentric residents who can be found flogging their wares anywhere and everywhere.
Having always had an obsession of film cameras, finding this small gem held mixed feelings for me. Firstly, I was over the moon due to the welcoming and knowledgeable staff who’ll offer honest advice, the huge collection of cameras and films, and the fact they have cheap and fast developing. The juxtaposing feeling was one of dread at how much time I will now put into this new obsession and how much money I will now have to sacrifice from buying heels and bags for cameras!