The month of May in Hong Kong kicks off an array of colorful festivities and traditions...including Buddha bathing ceremonies, colorful parades and dragon dances, the one-of-a-kind bun-scrambling contest at the Cheung Chau Bun Festival and fantastic dragon boat racing action in anticipation of the annual dragon boat festival.
In the cultural front, the premier art events postponed from March are here with Art Basel opening on the 21st of May and a plethora of satellite fairs and exhibitions in what has now become Hong Kong Art Week.
Please pay attention to latest health advisories and the ongoing Coronavirus situation in Hong Kong as it may cause last minute cancellations or changes to the events. Always check the organisers' websites before heading out to any event.
So take advantage of the fantastic festivals, art exhibitions and the last balmy days before the
scorching heat and humidity of summer start trickling in...
May 1st is Labor Day, a public holiday.
May also sees the start of our infamous typhoon season. Hong Kong deals with typhoons every year, don't be alarmed, just aware and if a warning is issued, take the precautions outlined here and stay safe.
Here is a guide to this month's most popular happenings and where and when to
catch these colorful and electrifying events.
Highlight Celebrations and Events in May 2021
- Birthday of Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea - May 4, 2021
- Cheung Chau Bun Festival - May 16 - 20, 2021 - CANCELLED
- Birthday of Buddha Celebrations - May 19, 2021
- Birthday of Tam Kung, the Seafarer's God - May 19, 2021
- Art Basel Hong Kong - May 21 - 23, 2021
- Art Central - May 20 - 23, 2021
- "Painting Across The Threshold": Ng Lung Wai Exhibition - March 12 - June 27, 2021
- Stanley Dragon Boat Warm-Up Races - Saturday May 22, 2021
- The Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival - Postponed to September 26, 2021
Ongoing Events This May 2021
Birthday of Tin Hau - May 4, 2021
Tin Hau is the Goddess of the Sea, given that in the past Hong Kong was a
fishing town and most everybody's lives were tied to the sea, Tin Hau is sort of the "patron saint" of the city and you can imagine that
the Tin Hau Festival is a really big deal.
There will be colorful and lively celebrations including the unique fa pau floats unique to the celebration, dragon parades,
lion dances and feasts... anywhere there is a Tin Hau temple nearby, and there are
over 60 in Hong Kong!
Some of the most vibrant and notorious celebrations are in Yuen Long in the New Territories and Joss House Bay in Saikung, which
boasts the oldest Tin Hau Temple in Hong Kong. Also the coastal towns will be celebrating: Stanley, Lamma Island, Peng Chau and Cheng Chau as well.
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival - CANCELLED
A very colorful and unique festival in the island of Cheung Chau, just a short ferry ride away.
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival has been celebrated for
hundreds of years and
is dedicated to the god Pak Tai, in thanks for protecting the island and to drive away the evil spirits.
One trademark of the festival is the huge bamboo mountains covered with handmade buns which are set up near the
Pak Tai Temple where the majority of the celebrations take place.
There are the parades, lion dances, the many rituals and of course lots of drumming! This is a very lively event, not to be missed if you are in Hong Kong during this period.
When? This is a week-long celebration culminating on May 19, 2021
Getting to Cheung Chau: 40 or 60 minutes with ferries from Central Pier #5 approx. every 30 minutes. The fast ferry is an enclosed
cabin, the standard or slow one is a much more scenic way to get there on the outside decks.
The Birthday of Lord Buddha - May 19, 2021
A celebration that will be observed at most monasteries, shrines and buddhist temples in Hong Kong to commemorate
the birth of Buddha as worshippers and followers flock to the temples to pay their respects.
The "Bathing of the Buddha" Ceremony
is performed as part of the festivities.
One of the biggest celebrations is at the Hong Kong Big Buddha in Lantau and
the nearby Po Lin Monastery.
The Birthday of Tam Kung - May 19, 2021
Tam Kung, together with Tin Hau, is considered the protector of the fishermen and the seas, and so there is also a festival in his honor, on the eight day of the fourth moon, this year on the Western calendar it will be celebrated on May 19, 2021.
The festivities take place by the Tam Kung Temple in Hong Kong Island and involve a large parade with the colorful dragon and lion
dances, lots of drumming, acrobats and performers accompanying the floats and the procession.
When?: May 19, 2021 - Parade from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
How to get there?: The Tam Kung Temple in Shau Kei Wan can be easily reached with the MTR: MTR Shau Kei Wan Station Exit D1,
about a 5 minute walk to Tam Kung Temple Road, just follow the crowds.
Art Basel Hong Kong - May 21 - 23, 2021
Art Basel Hong Kong on its eight edition, will be bringing the art world together once again
as galleries, artists, collectors and art enthusiasts from Asia and all over the world flock to this most prestigious
of international art events.
Recognised as the premier art event in Asia, this is where you get to see the latest developments in art
from across Asia as well as the best from the West.
When?: May 21 - 23, 2021
Where?: The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Art Central - May 20 - 23, 2021
A new exciting art fair has popped up in the waterfront to go head to head with Art Basel...
Art fair veterans Tim Etchells and Sandy Angus,
who founded the original Art HK who later became Art Basel are behind this new exhibition.
Art Central will showcase works from over 100 exhibitors and international galleries in this highly anticipated edition.
When?: May 20 - 23, 2021
Where?: Relocated from Central Waterfront to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
How Much? FREE with registration
"Painting Across The Threshold": Ng Lung Wai Exhibition
Our favourite local contemporary artist Ng Lung Wai is back this year with another incredibly unique exhibition, this time at The University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong as the
first exhibition of the UMAG_STArts series which explores the symbiotic
relationship between science, technology, and the arts.
Drawing inspiration from the traditional art of paper folding, this exhibition presents Ng Lung Wai's
"folding paint" technique. If you have followed his work, you know of his stunning ability to recreate phenomenal visual effects from seemingly ordinary items, this exhibition won't dissapoint.
When? March 12 - June 27, 2021 (Closed on Mondays, University and Public Holidays)
Where? Study Gallery, G/F Fung Ping Shan Building, UMAG, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong
How Much? FREE
Stanley Dragon Boat Warm-Up Races - May 22, 2021
The Dragon Boat Festival is fast approaching and the
Stanley Dragon Boat Warm Up Races are the perfect prelude to the most anticipated Dragon Boat
International Championships coming up next month on June 14, 2021.
This is a great chance to take a peek at what is to come. The Warm Up races differ a bit from the regular races, the course is shorter and the number of
paddlers is limited to 18, but although on a smaller scale, it is
still a very exciting fun-filled day of dragon boat racing with the same action-packed festival atmosphere and enthusiasm as the main event.
When?: Saturday May 22, 2021 - 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Where?: Stanley Main Beach. Click here for more on Stanley Market, Stanley Beach and how to get there
How Much? Free!
The Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival - Postponed
The Lamma 500 International Dragon Boat Festival takes place at Tai Wan To Beach, the home
of the Lamma Dragons and the Lamma Outrigger Canoe Club in Lamma Island.
Besides an exciting day of dragon boat action, including Men's, Women's and Junior Crews (12 to 17), there is the
beach-side after-party following the races, or you can head into the Village for dinner and festive drinks along with the many participants.
When?: 2021 Races have been postponed to September 26, 2021
Where?: Tai Wan To Beach, Lamma Island. Take the Ferry from Central Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan. The ferry takes 25 minutes. The walk to the beach will take approximately another 15-20 minutes.
How Much?: Free
Ongoing Hong Kong Events
These are some popular ongoing events that are worth checking out, specially since they are FREE or offered for a low fee!
These events feature some of the great and
ancient traditions of the territory and are offered by experts in their corresponding fields:
The Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of Lights is Hong Kong's light and sound show, a tribute to the city and its people, their diversity, energy and vitality.
The stage is the entire city, which is what makes it so unique, you can watch the lights from just about anywhere in the waterfront.
This free show offered by the city, takes place every night at 8:00 pm and lasts about 12 minutes.
When?: Every Night
Where?: Can be seen from both sides of Victoria Harbour, specially stunning aboard a Harbour Cruise.
How Much? Free
The Horse Races Are On! This is how you can attend
The horse races in Hong Kong whether or not you are a horse racing enthusiast is an experience
not to be missed!
The beautiful horses, the skillful jockeys, the crowds going wild,
they all add up to an exciting, fun-filled, thrilling atmosphere in two world-class venues, at the Sha Tin Racecourse and the iconic Happy Valley Racecourse.
The Happy Valley race course itself is a sight in itself, the city has built around it through the years and it is now practically surrounded by skyscrapers, an awesome experience specially at night when the city is illuminated.
At this time, due to the ongoing Covid-19 measures, THE RACES ARE RUNNING WITHOUT PUBLIC ATTENDANCE. The Hong Kong Jockey Club however obtains permission by the Government to organise attendance with certain conditions for race meetings
at both Happy Valley and Sha Tin, for example members of the general public can attend by making a booking at one of the course venues following the prescribed measures. This might vary depending on restrictions and curfews in effect at a particular race day. Here are the latest arrangements.
When?: Happy Valley Night Races on Wednesday Nights. On race day, first race starts at 7:15 p.m. and the gates open at 5:15 p.m.
The races are done by 11:00 p.m. For now "Happy Wednesdays" are being conducted online due to the Coronavirus measures. Once the restrictions are over, the on course experience will return.
Sha Tin Day Races are on Sundays. First race normally starts at 1:00 pm, earlier if there are more than 10 races. Gates open at 11:00 am.
All races will be streamed live at the HK Jockey Club Racing Channel.
How Much? There are many ways to experience the races, from General Stand to Private Boxes and
special packages including dinner and drinks. General Stand entrance starts at HK10. The "All inclusive VIP tour" provides transportation to/from your
hotel, dinner and drinks and access to the Member's Boxes.
Coming Up: Hot Tickets Now On Sale
November 5 - 7, 2021
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Book with confidence! Free cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund