There are a number of activities or experiences that have, over the years, become synonymous with life in Hong Kong. These events, are often on an international scale and help to make Hong Kong the vibrant, cosmopolitan city it is today.
To find out what you simply can't miss whilst you are in Hong Kong, read on...
A Junk Trip
A junk an engine powered, wooden bodied, fishing vessel converted into a comfortable, recreational boat. The boat may also be of the modern, faster, fiberglass variety.
Junks or boat trips are a way of life in Hong Kong among the expatriate community, and weekends during the summer months invariably involve boating excursions to the outlying islands. Popular destinations for a day out on a junk are Lamma and Po Toi islands for their excellent seafood restaurants. The restaurant on Po Toi is notably more rustic, and you may even be able to eat on the beach. Alternatively, many people opt to take a picnic lunch and enjoy the entire day aboard.
If you are aboard a modern powerboat, then your destination may be Sai Kung or Lantau, spots that are very scenic but take longer to get to. Junks are spacious vessels, and usually have a large top deck that affords plenty of room for sunbathing or just “lolling”. The boat may also have a speedboat tender and offer such activities as water skiing and wakeboarding.
It is not uncommon for large companies to own one or more boats, which employees may utilize. If you do not have access to a company boat, there are a number of companies that specialize in junk rental. Details below. The junks can be picked up at any of the public piers in Central, Wanchai or Tsimshatsui and are available for day or nighttime cruises. Expect to pay around HK$3000 for a modern junk plus a tip for the “boat boy” (actually the driver) of a couple of hundred dollars.
If you yearn for a taste of the old life, however, there is one, old fashioned junk, the Duk Ling (pictured left), still remaining in Hong Kong. The Duk Ling can be chartered through Detours Ltd. Fully restored in the early eighties, Duk Ling is a throwback to Hong Kong’s 19th century origins. This option is notably more expensive than the modern junks, but well worth it for the unparalleled experience. A cruise of up to eight hours on Duk Ling costs HK$13500 with a 50% surcharge for Sunday’s and public holidays’.
Junk Boat and Yacht Rentals
Tel: 2851 9601
Fax: 2804 6786
Jubilee International Tour Centre
Tel: 2530 0530
Fax: 2845 2469
Tel: 2873 0345
Room 47, Sino Center
582 Nathan Road
Tel: 2385 7190 / 2835 6608
Fax: 2388 9370
Tel: 2780 0387
Tel: 2814 9899
Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
Undoubtedly the sporting event of the year in Hong Kong, the Rugby Sevens is an annual tournament held every March in a purpose built stadium in Causeway Bay. Just about every expat in the territory turns up for at least one of the three days of rugby. Major companies take the opportunity to set up hospitality boxes and entertain their clients in fine style. The rugby fans, meanwhile, take up position in the stands and, depending on which wing of the arena one is seated in, the action is more often more about consuming large quantities of beer or Pimms than watching sports!
Hong Kong Rugby Football Union
1 Stadium Path
So Kon Po
Tel: 2504 8311
Fax: 2576 7237
Dinner at Felix
Felix is the creation of renowned avant-garde designer, Philippe Starck. Located on the twenty-eighth floor of the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon side, Felix offers spectacular views of the harbour, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Have a drink at the bar before dining on Pacific Rim creations that are as mouth-watering as they are innovative. Almost as famous as the restaurant itself is, oddly, the men’s room, which, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, affords a sweeping vista of the harbour. After dinner dancing is also a feature.
Dress is smart casual.
The Peninsula Hotel
Tsim Sha Tsui
Reservations: 2315 3188
Christmas in Hong Kong
Christmas in Hong Kong is an experience not to be missed. Fairy lights and festive decorations abound, and many of the city’s skyscrapers sport enormous, shimmering Christmas scenes on their façades. The excitement of Christmas is palpable as shops and department stores set up festive displays and decorations weeks in advance, shopping malls offer special Christmas programs, and the hotels each try to outdo the other with decorations and the, invariably huge, Christmas tree. Stores are overflowing with all sorts of Christmas goodies, so Christmas shopping is absolutely no problem. One’s social calendar from November to New Year is apt to be full with cocktail parties, dinners and special events. Because there are few family obligations one has to meet, Christmas in Hong Kong is one big social whirl.
Despite the impressive vigour demonstrated by native Hong Kongers for this foreign holiday (card and gift giving is the norm), Christmas day is a normal working day for most Chinese and as such, supermarkets and department stores are often open for business as usual!
There are numerous church services held throughout the city in English, Cantonese and other languages.
St John's Cathedral Carol Service
4 Garden Road
Tel: 2523 4157
Note: Arrive early, as this is extremely popular.
To get into the Christmas spirit go to...
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Have tea at the Clipper Lounge, which will be fantastically decorated with a massive tree and wonderful decorations. Alternatively, go up to the Chinnery Bar and sink into one of their comfy leather armchairs. There is a great menu comprising delicious, old-fashioned British food and one of Asia’s most extensive selections of single malt whiskeys. This olde-worlde bar is sure to get you feeling festive. For all your Christmas morning baked goods or for a traditional ginger bread house, the Cake Shop at the Mandarin is the place to go.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel
5 Connaught Road
Tel: 2522 0111
Fax: 2810 6190
Book a night time dinner cruise around the harbour, affording you spectacular views of the Christmas lights on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Alternatively, take a trip on the Star Ferry, which is always a wonderful ride.
Harbour Cruise Bauhinia
Tel: 2802 2886
Fax: 2802 2881
You will find Christmas trees being advertised in the Dollar Saver Magazine. Nurseries will also offer Christmas trees for sale. Trees are expensive as they are all imported.
Christmas dinner preparations
Park ‘n Shop carries turkeys, and all the baking necessities such as mince pie filling, etc. For Christmas specialities try Oliver’s in the Prince’s Building, Great in Pacific Place or City Super in Times Square. For Italian Christmas specialties, try Viva Italia on the Peak.
Last Updated: 19 November, 2003