Leisure & Entertainment in Hong Kong

Posted: Aug 20 2015Last Updated: Aug 20 2015

Hong Kong’s reputation as a city that never stops, is a true and apt description. And yet you will not find it difficult to make a choice when it comes to leisure and entertainment. There is truly a wide variety of international-standard sports events, cultural activities, dining choices and nightlife. The Government’s LSCD website lists all leisure and cultural events and facilities under its management. Otherwise, a number of publications – many of which are listed in the next chapter – help keep one clued into what activities and resources are available, but the best way to get connected would be through word-of-mouth as contact details become quickly outdated.


LEISURE & CULTURAL SERVICES DEPT (LCSD) WEBSITE  http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php


Cultural Activities

Considering the size and relatively short history of Hong Kong, the number of art and cultural activities are in abundant supply, with an impressive collection of museums. Many are run by the Government but there are also some smaller privately managed ones. You may not be able to spend an entire day or even an afternoon strolling amongst immense collections, but you are guaranteed a few illuminating hours in these museums.

A stroll along Hollywood Road in upper Central is also a delightful way to spend a weekend as there are several antique shops and art galleries offering to convert your hard-earned funds into something to adorn your home!  The recently renovated Police Married Quarters (PMQ) also features along this stretch, showcasing local ware alongside hip restaurants and shops in an example of the Government's efforts to revitalize historial buildings. 

Once the home of the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces
 Hong Kong Park,  Admiralty
Permanent Chinese art and visiting overseas exhibitions
 Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Representative of a 2000-year old Han tomb 
 Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
An historic fort that protected HK harbour 100 years ago 
 Shau Kei Wan, HK Island
Traditions of the  Hakka located in a 200 year-old village house
 Chai Wan, HK Island
Devoted to the study of science and technology / HK’s history
 Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
A burgeoning attempt to record Hong Kong's heritage 
 Sha Tin, New Territories
An open-air museum located in the old stationhouse
 Tai Po, New Territories
Housed in a colonial building relocated from Central  
On Hong Kong University’s campus in Pok Fu Lam 
On the Chinese University of HK’s campus in Sha Tin 
A stage for HK's creatives and part of the "Conserving Central" project

A stroll along Hollywood Road in upper Central is also a delightful way to spend a weekend as there are several antique shops and art galleries offering to convert your hard-earned funds into something to adorn your home!

Performing Arts

The variety of Chinese and Western performances on offer is outstanding in Hong Kong. There are several local groups of international-standard as well as many visiting artists who include Hong Kong on their tours. Information and ticket sales can be found at any one of Hong Kong’s several venues, the most prominent and largest being the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. You can join a mailing list and be guaranteed not to miss a thing. All events are listed on the LCSD website.

LSCD PERFORMING ARTS INFORMATION info http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/cs_pa.php
On the western front, major local groups include four classical music orchestras, ballet and modern dance (some of which have incorporated traditional Chinese dance into their choreography), drama (mostly presented in Chinese and with English surtitles) as well as innumerable smaller presentations by a few artists collaborating on an ad hoc basis. These are all full-time groups who present their talents throughout the year. In addition, the Government usually sponsors two of three western operas per year. 
There are also several smaller presentations, many of which are organized and performed by graduates of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.  The APA deserves mention as it is a ready source of affordable entertainment. All Schools give recitals and full performances (complete with scenery and costumes) throughout the academic year. Cantonese Operas come with subtitles in English, which is an added advantage.   The Academy also runs a continued-education program for adults and a junior school for children.  
Other local groups have been formed by like-minded artists who – apart from the aforementioned – present a variety of performances that include drama in English, jazz music and chamber music. A number of these are presented at the Fringe Club – housed in the old Ice House located in upper Central on its eponymous street. And thanks to arts-education support in the local schools, we also enjoy the efforts of the many choral groups that have contributed to the richness of our local cultural scene.    
Visiting performers and groups from overseas are a constant source of entertainment in Hong Kong. Aside from classical music, dance and theatre, a number of pop and rock music performers also make their way to Hong Kong. To give you an idea of the variety, recent visitors have included  Itzhak Perlman, The Vienna Philharmonic, Justin Beiber, and Top Gear Live, to name a few. Tantamount to the Cultural Calendar is the three week long Hong Kong Arts Festival in February/ March, a much anticipated and enjoyed event.  In its 42nd year (2014), the festival invited renowned overseas and local artists to present a variety of music, theatre, dance, popular entertainment, cinematic and exhibition programs. The program for the following year is announced in August each year, with advance bookings from October to December.  Lastly, a number of popular - and affordable - film festivals are held throughout the year.
Chinese Opera
You may also welcome the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Chinese performing arts and discover Chinese opera to be either a wholly entertaining although ear-numbing experience.  There are several presentations by both local and visiting troupes.  The Chinese Orchestra is one of the few professional orchestras dedicated to Chinese instruments in the world.   There are a number of Chinese opera performances in all forms, ranging from the amateur “street” troupe to the world-renown kun-qu groups.    The Hong Kong Heritage Museum has a permanent display dedicated to local Cantonese opera and teaches an appreciation course.   On the contemporary front, there are two experimental theatre groups.  PIP used satire to depict the humor of urban Hong Kong living and Zuni offers alternative and multi-media fare.  Finally there are a few amateur drama and music groups, who present 2 to 3 performances a year.
HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC    classical music  http://www.hkpo.com
HONG KONG SINFONIETTA    classical music  http://www.hksinfonietta.org
CITY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA    classical music  http://www.ccohk.com
HONG KONG BALLET    ballet  http://www.hkballet.com
CITY CONTEMPORARY DANCE    modern dance  http://www.ccdc.com.hk
HONG KONG DANCE COMPANY    modern dance  http://www.hkdance.com
HK REPERTORY THEATRE    drama in Chinese  http://www.hkrep.com
SPRINGTIME PRODUCTIONS    drama in Chinese  http://www.springtime.com.hk
CHUNG YING THEATRE GROUP    drama in Chinese  http://www.chungying.com
OPERA HONG KONG    western opera  http://www.operahongkong.org
HK ACADEMY FOR PERFORMING ARTS    everything  http://www.hkapa.org
HONG KONG FRINGE CLUB    arts venue  http://www.hkfringeclub.com/
HONG KONG ORATORIO SOCIETY    choral  http://www.oratorio.org.hk
HONG KONG BACH CHOIR    choral  http://www.bachchoir.org.hk
HONG KONG WELSH MALE CHOIR    choral  http://www.hkwmvc.com
HONG KONG PLAYERS    drama in English (amateur)  http://www.hongkongplayers.com
HONG KONG ARTS FESTIVAL    everything  http://www.hk.artsfestival.org
HONG KONG FILM FESTIVAL    film  http://www.hkiff.org.hk
HONG KONG CHINESE ORCHESTRA    Chinese music  http://www.hkco.org
PIP THEATRE    experimental theatre (in Chinese)  http://pip-group.org/v2
ZUNI ICOSAHEDRON experimental theatre  http://www.zuni.org.hk


Ticketing for most cultural activities are available from the two major ticketing companies: Urbtix manages all Government-managed venues and HK Ticketing everything else. One can either go to the box office or purchase tickets by phone or online for a nominal fee.    Many local performing groups offer season booking and discounts to their patrons, the forms for which are available at all performing arts venues prior to the beginning of their respective seasons.
URBTIX  http://ticket.urbtix.hk/internet/
HONG KONG TICKETING ��http://www.hkticketing.com


Cinemas are all over Hong Kong and you can definitely find one in each district. Movies are shown in their original format with subtitles provided in Cantonese or English. Children’s movies usually offer either a Cantonese or English version. New offerings change on Thursdays and runs are not long so waiting around means you may have to buy the DVD. Tickets are assigned seating and can be bought two days in advance at the box office, by phone or via the internet.  Listings are in the newspapers or on the cinema’s website.
Entertainment – Dining & Nightlife

Dining out is tantamount to an art form in Hong Kong. Being praised as a food paradise, every cuisine imaginable is served here, including every type of Chinese delicacy. This is a city where the locals rely heavily on hotel dining and coffee shops offering an international array of cuisines. Hotel buffets are a popular attraction and advance booking is necessary on any day. Vegans and vegetarians will be pleased to discover a number of dining choices. And if you feel like staying home but not cooking, there are a number delivery services that will bring the restaurant to you.

Nightlife is another highlight of Hong Kong. Lan Kwai Fong in Central has a bustling array of trendy restaurants and bars where you can enjoy high quality food and drinks. Other than Central, there are also some bars in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai. These are for sure good places to grab a drink after a tense working day.

OPENRICE HK  http://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong
EAT DRINK HONG KONG  http://www.eatdrinkhongkong.com
HONG KONG FOOD GUIDE   http://www.hongkongfoodguide.com
LAN KWAI FONG GUIDE   http://www.lankwaifong.com
I LOVE SOHO  http://www.ilovesoho.hk
KNUTSFORD TERRACE http://www.discoverhongkong.com/uk/dine-drink/where-to-eat/knutsford-terrace-observatory.jsp
FOOD PANDA https://www.foodpanda.hk
DELIVEROO https://deliveroo.hk
Although the hot and humid weather from April to October can easily dampen any desire to be outside, there are a surprising number of sports and outdoor activities. Hong Kong is known for its dramatic skyline of tall buildings and city living and yet 40% of its 1,100 square kilometers is park land, thanks to measures taken by the Government in the 1980’s.  
LSCD LEISURE INFORMATION  http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/ls.php

With twenty-three country parks, nature lovers will enjoy becoming acquainted with the lesser-known parts of Hong Kong, which are home to countless species of flora and fauna. There are several books and guides published on hiking.

The Hong Kong Government operates a number of sports facilitiesswimming, racquet (tennis, squash, badminton), basketball, soccer, and volleyball to name a few.  Their facilities are open to all HK residents and, when a fee is charged for usage, it is a moderate one.  Information and bookings (i.e. squash or tennis courts) can be made via the LCSD website (listed below).     There are a number of associations and/or private clubs the center on a specific interest – i.e. football (soccer and rugby), cricket, tennis and golf.  In regards to the latter, it is fortunate that golf creates or attracts fanatics, as it requires effort to play here. There are four private golf clubs that are expensive and difficult to join, whilst the Jockey Club maintains a public course for those who have a handicap. Otherwise, a trip to one of the many clubs in South China is 'de rigueur'.  
Water Sports are also popular – hardly surprising given that Hong Kong is an island.  Boating is a favorite outdoor activity and ranges from business and social entertaining on weekends to competitive sailing and windsurfing. Sailors and windsurfers can contact one of the private clubs or associations to get involved. The Government also operates a Water Sports Centre next to Stanley Beach. The fortunate will have access to a swimming pool in their complex or private club. If not, no need to fret, there are several public swimming pools and beaches (locations for which are on the LCSD website).
Another sports activity that people of Hong Kong are passionate about is horse racing. The season runs from September to late June/early July with racing events usually on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. The Hong Kong Jockey Club, a non-profit organization and the largest charitable benefactor, maintains two racecourses in Happy Valley and Sha Tin respectively.  There are also now a number of horseback riding facilities in part due to the number of retired race horses needing exercise.  Hong Kong’s hosting the equestrian events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics equestrian events has also generated interest in the sport.
HONG KONG OUTDOORS     outdoor activities  http://www.hkoutdoors.com
HONG KONG ADVENTURERS     hiking  http://www.hkadventurer.com
HONG KONG CLIMBING     hiking  http://hongkongclimbing.com
HONG KONG TRAMPERS     hiking  http://www.hktrampers.com
HASH HOUSE HARRIERS     running & social  http://www.hkhash.com
WANCHAI HASH     running & social  http://www.wanchaih3.com
SOUTH CHINA ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION     multi-sports  http://www.scaa.org.hk
HK SQUASH     squash  http://www.hksquash.org.hk
HK TENNIS CLUB     tennis  http://www.tennishk.org
HK BADMINTON ASSOCIATION     badminton  http://www.hkbadmintonclub.com
KAU SAI CHAU PUBLIC GOLF COURSE     golf  http://www.kscgolf.org.hk
HK RUGBY ASSOCIATION     rugby football  http://www.hkrugby.com
HK GAELIC ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION     football  http://www.gaa.hk
KING’S PARK SPORTS ASSOCIATION     sports ground  http://www.kingspark.com.hk
HK CRICKET ASSOCIATION     cricket  http://www.cricket.com.hk
HK ICE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION     ice hockey  http://www.hkiha.org
HK SAILING FEDERATION (HKSF)     sailing  http://www.sailing.org.hk
WINDSURFERS ASSOCIATION OF HK     windsurfing  http://www.windsurfing.org.hk/en/home/index.php
ABERDEEN BOAT CLUB     sailing (membership)  http://www.abclubhk.com
ROYAL HK YACHT CLUB     sailing (membership)  http://www.rhkyc.org.hk
HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB     horse racing  http://www.hkjc.com
CLEARWATER BAY EQUESTRIAN CENTRE     equestrian  http://www.ceec.hk
LOWU SADDLE CLUB     equestrian  http://www.lowusaddleclub.org


Family Fun Entertainment
When thinking about family fun entertainment, the first thing that comes to your mind is amusement parks. Of the two amusement parks in Hong Kong, Disneyland needs little introduction while Ocean Park is a conglomerate of marine conservation and entertainment as well as amusement rides and is also home to Hong Kong’s beloved pandas. And for those who wish to see the Pearl River Delta pink dolphin with their own eyes, there is the Dolphin Watch. 
There are a surprising number of good choices of family fun activities where children can get to know more about Hong Kong’s nature. There is an educational wetland park, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) also conducts tours of the Mai Po marshes nature reserve.  The Kadoorie Farm provides a scenic way to get to know the local flora and fauna as well as learn about conservation of these sadly dwindling resources. 
Once again, the Government’s LCSD website is a useful source of information to discover what Hong Kong has to offer.
LSCD PARK INFORMATION  http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/ls_park.php
HK DISNEYLAND  http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com
OCEAN PARK  http://www.oceanpark.com.hk
NOAH’S ARK  http://www.noahsark.com.hk
NGONG PING 360  http://www.np360.com.hk
DOLPHIN WATCH  http://www.hkdolphinwatch.com
KADOORIE FARM & BOTANIC GARDEN  http://www.kfbg.org.hk
MAI PO MARSHES  http://www.wwf.org.hk
HONG KONG WETLAND PARK  http://www.wetlandpark.com


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