JUNE 2023 ISSUE
WITH THE world now re-open for international travel, Aussies are deciding just where to take that long-awaited holiday. Top of most bucket lists is Hong Kong, which is fully open for business and once again providing a must-see list of attractions and events.
Here’s a look at just some of the new and exciting activities available when you say, “Hello Hong Kong”.
Get your Drag-on
The 2023 Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races are returning after a four-year hiatus. Thousands of dragon boat athletes from around the world will be present on June 24-25 for the two-day event packed with an array of intense races on Victoria Harbour.
It promises to be a thrilling weekend with rich colours and the sound of drummers and fans cheering paddlers on to the finish line off Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade.
For five weekends from July 8, the Wan Chai harbourfront area will play host to the Harbour Chill Carnival.
This large-scale land and sea carnival will feature live music shows on a water stage, a variety of performing arts programs from different countries, X-game performances and a special edition of ‘A Symphony of Lights’ light and music show.
The highly anticipated Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will make its return to the Central Harbourfront from October 26 to 29. Set against the Victoria Harbour skyline, the four-day event offers a memorable outdoor wine and dine experience.
Wineries and brewers from around the world will offer a vibrant selection of liquor assortments, while local culinary masters serve up their delectable creations and signature dishes.
Head to the Tasting Theatre to take part in tasting and cooking workshops and enjoy live entertainment on stage as you sip on a glass of vino.
Shine like a diamond
Hong Kong is hosting the first major exhibition to highlight women’s role and presence in Cartier’s history at the Palace Museum.
Featuring about 300 items of jewellery, timepieces, precious objects and archival records dating back to the 19th century, ‘Cartier and Women’ celebrates women’s lifestyles, creativity and influence.
Through these exquisite works and fascinating stories, the exhibition’s four thematic sections explore the close relationship between women, jewellery and fashion.
This exhibition also highlights how Chinese aesthetics has influenced women’s lifestyles and global fashion. It runs until August 14.
A touch of magic
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort offers a variety of rides and attractions, photo opportunities with Disney characters, shows and experiences for all ages.
At the centre of it all is the reimagined Castle of Magical Dreams, backdrop for shows like the ‘Follow Your Dreams’ daytime performance and the ‘Momentous’ night-time spectacular.
Its world exclusive design was inspired by the heroic stories of beloved Disney Princesses and Queens, each represented by one of 13 distinct towers to celebrate “diversity and inclusion”.
Central to its success
With a history dating back to 1842, Central Market has been through multiple transformations since its emergence as one of Hong Kong’s first fresh produce markets.
Covering a 12,000-square-metre area, the Grade III historic building located between Queen’s Road Central and Des Voeux Road is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Hong Kong.
The site has recently been converted into a ‘Playground for All’, offering experiences and venues for dining and retail aimed at connecting the local community to the neighbourhood’s history, tradition and contemporary culture.
A plus point
Situated in the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture.
The museum’s collections are from Hong Kong as well as other locations in Asia and around the world. The building occupies a total floor area of 65,000-square-metres and has 33 galleries.
Curated contents in M+ extend from the traditional visual arts to visual culture, encompassing popular culture, internet culture and technology-oriented methods of expression.
Architecture sketches and models, graphic designs, industrial goods, album covers, posters and video games are placed alongside artworks to highlight local distinctiveness.
Making a splash
Water World Ocean Park Hong Kong is Asia’s first all-weather, year-round water park, featuring 27 indoor and outdoor attractions across five zones.
Families can enjoy rides such as ‘Torrential River’, ‘Cyclone Spin’ and ‘Tropical Twist’, or try ‘Surf Striker’, Hong Kong’s first indoor surfing simulator.
For a more chilled experience, ‘Adventure Coast’ is a hidden oasis for adventurers to catch some surf in ‘Big Wave Bay’, or simply enjoy the spectacular views of the southern Hong Kong shoreline in one of the cabanas.
In the right neighbourhood
West Kowloon has become Hong Kong’s newest arts hub but still remains one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, offering a variety of attractions and activities for visitors, including heritage buildings and vintage craftsmen.
Highlights include the Yau Ma Tei fruit market, which has been in existence since 1913, and the Red Brick Building, which is even older, originally constructed in 1895.
West Kowloon is also home to the Tin Hau Temple, the striking Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and the Xiqu Centre, dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of Chinese opera.
Explore the alleys and hidden doorways of the neighbourhood to find master artisans making everything from handmade scales (Lee Wo Steelyard) to chopping boards (Man Kee), kitchen knives (Chan Chi Kee) to bridal wear (Koon Nam Wah).
HIT THE HIGHLIGHTS
Of course, while new attractions are springing up all the time, classics never go out of fashion.
No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a ride on a junk boat or a ride up the famous Peak Tram, which first opened in 1888 and is one of the oldest funicular railways in the world.
To provide a more enjoyable, efficient and comfortable experience, Peak Tramways has completed a significant upgrade project.
This included new tramcars, the replacement of all haulage, control and signalling systems, new ropes and track rails, and the refurbishment of its Central and Peak Termini to facilitate the larger capacity tramcars.
You’ve also got to try Dim Sum while in Hong Kong, one of the city’s most popular meals. Recommended restaurants include Dimdimsum, Duddell’s and Hexa, which offer this delicious treat in both traditional and contemporary fashion.