5 winter highlights in Hong Kong

Given the scorching temperatures and stifling humidity that are typical during the summer months in Hong Kong, you may want to consider visiting this vibrant city during another season. Here are top tips for highlights of a winter Hong Kong trip.
Chinese New Year lion dance preparations, Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock
Chinese New Year lion dance preparations, Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

Hong Kong winters offer a more pleasant climate than its summers, with temperatures of around 15°C. And with little to no snow, travel disruption is minimal. In addition, winter is China’s low season so prices are reduced, making it an even more appealing time of year to visit.

1. Enjoy winter celebrations and stunning displays

From the beginning of December all the way up until the new year, the Hong Kong Winter Festival hosts an array of events. With the charming refrains of carol singers, sparkling lights and dazzling fireworks soaring over Victoria Harbour, you will soon be in the festive mood. Elaborate Christmas decorations are displayed in hotels, restaurants and shopping centres, with Harbour City being a highlight. On the waterfront, many of the buildings are festooned with sparkling ornaments – taking an evening cruise here is one of the most enjoyable ways to see Hong Kong during the winter. You can take in the sights of Victoria Harbour as part of Insight Guides' Hong Kong in a Nutshell trip.

Firework display at Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Winter sports for beginners

Hong Kong offers a range of slopes for beginner skiers or snowboarders to gain confidence on. The city doesn’t usually have much snow, so more advanced winter sports fans tend to head to nearby countries, such as Korea and Japan. However, if you're a skiing or snowboarding newbie, Hong Kong has several dry indoor slopes, such as PLAY Ski 'N Board Shop in Kwun Tong, where you can learn under the tutelage of professional instructors. Alternatively, you can experience the feeling of zipping down slopes at up to 20km/h on the revolving training deck at Slope Infinity in the heart of the city. 

3. Celebrate Chinese New Year

One of the most spectacular celebrations to organise your travels to Hong Kong around is Chinese New Year. In 2019, it falls on February 5, beginning the Year of the Pig. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population celebrates this event, and Hong Kong marks the occasion in inimitable style with a fascinating mix of both traditional customs and contemporary ceremonies taking place over three days. Expect gripping horse races packed with festivities, thrilling night street parades with pumping music and spectacular firework displays lighting up the skies over Victoria Harbour.

4. Feast on winter food

Comfort food is key to savouring the colder months and winter is the perfect time to try some Hong Kong specialties. Start your day with congee, rice porridge, one of the most versatile dishes in China. This dish is traditionally prepared with pork, but can also be served with crab or vegetarian options. Later on, dine on claypot rice. This staple winter dish consists of a base of rice, which is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, layered with meat and fresh vegetables. The pot is covered and cooked slowly over a coal fire, while all the juices are gradually soaked up, producing a rich and silky base. Finish off your day with a classic hotpot, which can actually be enjoyed all year round in Hong Kong. The hotpot is traditionally served to groups dining together, who can gather around the bubbling pot and prepare their very own dish exactly how they like it. Select a soup base and pop in seafood or meat and vegetables and stew to perfection. Once cooked, the dish is best savoured with balsamic vinegar or black sesame sauce. A great area for dining out in Hong Kong is the Kowloon district, home to a wide variety of cafés, restaurants and vegetarian eateries. 

Crab dish à la Chinese. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Browse the shopping malls and markets

A shopper’s dream, Hong Kong certainly doesn’t disappoint with its variety of huge shopping malls, which have generous sales during the winter months. The shopping malls also offer bundles of food and entertainment. In winter, many have their own ice rinks such as Elements in Kowloon. Perfect for families, little ones will enjoy slipping and sliding across the ice. If you prefer to steer away from expansive malls and enjoy another type of shopping experience, you can explore some of the city’s most iconic markets, such as the Flower Market  in Kowloon and Fa Yuen street market in Mong Kok, known for its plethora of shops and stalls selling every imaginable type of sneakers and running shoes.

Ready to take a trip to Hong Kong?

Our local experts can help you to plan and book fantastic trips to Hong Kong. Simply contact us with details of your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. We will then will prepare a personalised itinerary based on your personal preferences. You can amend it until you're completely happy with every detail before you book. Seek inspiration in our existing Hong Kong itineraries, and keep in mind that all our planned itineraries can be fully tailored to suit your specific needs.