Surrounded by the South China Sea, Hong Kong is the gateway to China and the Far East. Comprising Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and the 280 outlying islands, Hong Kong was first settled by the Han Chinese in the seventh century. It was ceded to Britain in 1842 and remained a British colony until 1997. After reverting to Chinese rule, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region and now has a great deal of autonomy.
With a population of over seven million, Hong Kong is a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. Cantonese and English are the official languages, although many people also speak Mandarin. As the Asia-Pacific headquarters for banking, commerce, manufacturing and tourism, Hong Kong is renowned for its prime shopping, fine dining and dynamic nightlife.
In addition to being one of the world’s most important business hubs, Hong Kong has a rich history and culture – and its rugged mountainous landscape offers many peaceful areas for hiking and camping. Four Seasons guests enjoy the combined advantage of staying at the city’s most exclusive hotel while experiencing with ease all that Hong Kong has to offer.
Events and Festivals 2017 – 2018
Winter / Spring:
- Spring Festival (January 28 – 31, 2017) is the most important Chinese holiday and is marked by one of the grandest fireworks displays in the world. The dates vary each year, but it usually falls in late-January or early-February and lasts for 15 days.
- Hong Kong Marathon (February 12, 2017) is a 42.195km full marathon starting in the scenic Tsim Tsa Tsui area of Kowloon, racing up into the New Territories and heading back down to a spectacular finish in Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island.
- Tomb Sweeping Festival / Ching Ming Festival (April 4, 2017) – A nationwide day for mourning the dead. The Chinese people use the occasion to pay their respects to their anscestors and to tidy the tombs and grave sites by removing weeds and leaves. This festival is also celebrated as a day that welcomes the coming of spring, when all is new and fresh.
- The Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) (February 16 – March 18, 2017) brings together a unique and inspring collection of art and cultural remasterings annually.
- Hong Kong International Film Festival (April 11 – 25, 2017) – A gathering of the best filmographers and videographers in China.
- Hong Kong Rugby Sevens (April 7 – 9, 2017) retains its status as the largest on the HSBC Sevens World Series (HSBC SWS) with 16 international teams contesting the HSBC Sevens World Series core team competition and an additional 12 teams contesting the international HSBC Sevens World Series qualifier for a chance at promotion to the international series in 2016.
- Tin Hau’s Birthday (April 19, 2017) – Hong Kong’s maritime heritage ensures that Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea and patron saint of fishermen, has a strong and loyal following here. On her birthday,there is a colourful parade of fa pau (floral wreaths), lion dances and a fa pau raffle. There are also celebrations in Joss House Bay, where the oldest Tin Hau Temple in Hong Kong is located.
- Le French GourMay (May, 2017) – Le French GourMay is dedicated to the promotion of French wine culture and culinary arts in Hong Kong and Macau for everyone's enjoyment.
- International Labour Day (also known as May Day) is celebrated as a public holiday in China, and locals use the holiday as a chance to explore their city.
- The Cheung Chau Bun Festival (April 30 – May 4, 2017) – One of the largest festivals in the area, celebrating both the birth of Buddha and an ancient ceremony to ward off pirates by building large mountains of buns as distractions. The weeklong festival includes Taoist ceremonies and music, a parade, lion dances, drum beating and an exciting Bun Scrambling Competition where participants climb a mountain of buns.
- Buddha’s Birthday (May 3, 2017) – The Birthday of the Buddha is one of the most spiritual festivals celebrated in Hong Kong. Some buddhist families in Hong Kong may choose to dine in vegetarian restaurants on this day.
- Dragon Boat Festival (May 30, 2017) commemorates the death of ancient poet Qu Yuan. Locals eat zongzi (bamboo-wrapped rice dumplings) and watch the exciting and vibrant dragon boat races. Qu Yuan lived as a courtier in the Chou Dynasty until he was one day tossed into the sea at the hands of a corrupt and evil official. When the local fishermen heard of the poet's demise, they searched the waters to find him. Unsuccessful, they threw rice dumplings into the sea and slapped the water with their paddles to distract the fish from the poet's body.
- ClockenFlap Festival – An annual music and arts festival held in Hong Kong. It incorporates international, regional and local live music, film, art installations, street and kids' area. 45,000 people attended the 2014 event and is widely considered HK's marquee music event of the year.
- Hong Kong Tennis Open – A seven-day sports and entertainment spectacle designed for people from all walks of life to enjoy.
- Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Festival) is held on the 15h day of the 8th lunar month. Signaling family reunion to the Chinese people, it is also one of the most important traditional festivals in China. Admiring the full moon and eating delicious moon cakes top the to-do list for this occasion.
- Hungry Ghost Festival / Yue Laan – An ancient Chinese festival to appease wandering ghosts while continuing to favour ancestors. Food is left for ghosts, incense is burned and Chinese opera is enjoyed.
- Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon (to be confirmed by organizer) – A mixture of amateur and professional races and rides, the event allows participants to push themselves to the utmost or enjoy the city’s scenery on long, leisurely rides.
- The CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival (October 26 – 29, 2017) – The CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival features a large collection of gastronomic food and wine stalls set against the stunning backdrop of Victoria Harbour, offering award-winning bites and rare wines from around the world. This is followed by a month of events tailored for serious foodies, including street carnivals, culinary tours, wine-pairing meals and dining offers across town.
Whether you need to know local public holidays or highlights throughout the seasons, we hope you will find the facts gathered below useful tools for your travel planning.
GMT +7 or +8 hours, time does not change with daylight savings
Cantonese and English are the official languages. Most staff in shops and restaurants speak some English or Putonghua.
Local voltage is 220 to 240 volts AC. Electrical plugs are the same as ones in the UK. Adapters and transformers are available; please request through Housekeeping.
Most shops are open seven days a week.
10:00 am to 7:00 pm in Central District
10:00 am to 9:00 pm in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Major banks are open Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and some open Saturday 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
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Hong Kong Public Holidays in 2017
|The day following New Year's Day||January 2 (Monday)|
|Lunar New Year||January 28 – 31 (Saturday – Tuesday)|
|Ching Ming Festival||April 4 (Tuesday)|
|Good Friday||April 14 – 15 (Friday – Saturday)|
|Easter Monday||April 17 (Monday)|
|Labour Day||May 1 (Monday)|
|The Birthday of Buddha||May 3 (Wednesday)|
|Tuen Ng Festival||May 30 (Tuesday)|
|HK S.A.R Establishment Day||July 1 (Saturday)|
|The day following National Day||October 2 (Monday)|
|The day following Mid-Autumn Festival||October 5 (Thursday)|
|Chung Yeung Festival||October 28 (Saturday)|
|Christmas Day||December 25 (Monday)|
|Boxing Day||December 26 (Tuesday)|