Entertainment is king in Hong Kong, a place where it's virtually impossible to be bored at any time of year. And with summer under way, things are naturally hotting up even more. Here's a selection of our top tips for a sizzling season of fun…
Lan Kwai Fong Beer Fest
If it's a party you're after, Central Hong Kong's popular nightlife hotspot is the place to head on the second weekend of July. The Lan Kwai Fong Beer Fest brings two days of revelry to the streets, with myriad global brews jostling for the attention of your taste buds. Balance out the booze with samples of from over 70 participating restaurants and enjoy some live music and dance. Brave and outgoing attendees can even participate in eating and drinking competitions.
When: 9th &10th July
Shaolin Kung Fu Showcase 2011
Heading over to Lantau for the big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery? You've picked the right time of year as Ngong Ping is also playing host to the Shaolin Kung Fu Showcase. Every afternoon until the end of August you can check out incredible martial arts demonstrations and even learn some techniques in workshops with the monks.
When: 1st July – 31st August
International Arts Carnival
Asia's largest family festival hits various venues in town from early July. This year's International Arts Carnival features everything from Russian acrobats and circus performers on ice to multi-media puppet theatre from Denmark, youth orchestras, comedy and Shakespeare. You'd be hard pushed to not find something on the programme to pique your curiosity.
When: 8th July – 14th August 2011
Bats and Crabs at Wetlands
Tin Shui Wai's Hong Kong Wetland Park is always worth a visit and this season has some real treats, especially if you're travelling with kids. The bats exhibition gives visitors a special insight into the lives of the mysterious flying mammals through games, talks and workshops. The park's Meet The Mud Wrestlers event meanwhile, will allow you to get up close and personal with the entertaining fiddler and horseshoe crabs.
When: bats until 31st October 2011, crabs until 5th September 2011
Chinese Opera Festival
For those with some 'proper' culture in mind, the Chinese Opera Festival offers the perfect opportunity to see and hear performances that are definitely not your everyday spectacles. Seven different genres of traditional theatre are showcased throughout the season, but whichever performance you choose, you'll be in for a unique experience. All shows have surtitles and/or a synopsis in English and Chinese.
When: until 24th August
Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong
For five days from the end of July, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre becomes heaven for kids and self-confessed nerds, with the arrival of the 13th annual Ani-Com & Games Fair. The world's leading companies take over the space, exhibiting their latest comic and video game inventions alongside a ton of competitions and interactive events including the ACG Cosplay Contest.
When: 29th July - 2nd August
If you're visiting in August, save your appetite for the gigantic Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Part trade fair and part public event, the expo promises hundreds of exhibitors from just about every far flung corner of the globe. Tuck in to some curious cuisine and pick up some tips for your own kitchen at the various cooking demonstrations.
When: 11th – 15th August
Birthday of Kwan Tai
Of course, Hong Kong is also home to many ancient religious and mystical traditions, whose festivals occur throughout the year. The 24thday of the Sixth Moon marks the birthday of war god Kwan Tai, the patron of both Hong Kong's police and gangsters. The Man Mo temple in Sheung Wan is dedicated to the deity and as well as hosting more solemn rituals of offerings and prayers, will be the setting for processions and dancing on the day.
When: 24th July
The inspiration for Japan's Tanabata festival and variously known as the Seven Sisters Festival, Double Seventh and Chinese Valentine's Day, Qixi is based on the folklore tale of the celestial princess who can only visit her lover once a year on the seventh day of the seventh moon. The Lovers' Stone on Bowen Road in Wan Chai is the place to head to watch young girls make offerings of needlework and food to the stars.
When: 6th August
Hungry Ghost Festival (Yue Laan)
From the 15th day of the Seventh Moon (14th August this year), you may spot small fires and boxes of offerings scattered on pavements around town. These are being given up for the hungry ghosts who roam the earth during Yue Laan, a month long festival celebrated all over Hong Kong. Between 29th August and 1st September you can catch special free Chinese opera evening performances related to the festival at Moreton Terrace Temporary Playground in Causeway Bay and also between the 2nd and 4thof Septeber at King George V Memorial Park on Canton Road.
For more Hong Kong adventures, check out our post on Outer Island Experiences.
Hop on over to virginatlantic.com for the best deals on fares to Hong Kong.
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.