Hong Kong is famous for its 24/7 buzz and its living culture is a testament to the city’s rich and diverse history. From an early morning tai chi class, to palm reading or an evening at the races, a plethora of experiences can be found in every corner of this extraordinary city. Learn more about Hong Kong’s living culture.
A colonial-era tradition that has been going on since mid 1800’s, horse racing is a definite must see. The racing season starts in September and finishes in July the following year. Head over to Happy Valley on HK Island on Wednesdays, or Sha Tin in the New territories on the weekend, and experience firsthand the thrill and the glamour of one of the Hong Kongers’ favourite pastime.
Noon Day Gun
The one-gun salute tradition is said to have started when a Royal Naval Officer who was new to Hong Kong became annoyed at the tendency of Jardine employees to fire off a gunshot when the head of the company sailed into port – gun salutes being reserved for military commanders only. As punishment, Jardine were required to fire a one-shot salute every day at noon, for perpetuity. And as the name suggests, come by just before midday to see it in action.
Address: Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
Dating back to the Song Dynasty, the wishing trees in Lam Tsuen saw villagers throwing joss paper onto its branches. It was believed that the higher up their paper reached, the more likely their wishes would come true. Today, preservation means your wishes are made by tying joss paper to nearby wooden racks or imitation trees. Nevertheless, they still call for an impressive sight, especially around festival time when crowds from all across the city gather to have their wishes fulfilled.
Address: Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories
On any given day of the week, you can find a believer making an offering to the gods, in any of the city’s many temples. These impressive places of worship are steeped in history and tradition, and are a focal point of many festivals throughout the year. Scattered throughout Hong Kong, they are open to everyone, whether they are faithful devotees, or just looking for a moment of serenity and reflection.