Make the most of your holiday season with this list of the five best things to do in Hong Kong over Christmas. To put the cherry on top of the cake, Hong Kong has just announced further relaxation of measures for international travel.
The grand parades, the eye-catching displays, and the many traditions combine to make Christmas in Hong Kong something that everyone should witness and experience at least once in their lives. With everyone in the city already in a festive mood, holiday celebrations in Hong Kong are in full swing, and December is regarded as one of the best months to visit the destination.
To help you discover its best attractions, Hong Kong superfan Belle Daza put together this guide to the city’s best restaurants, art experiences, and outdoor activities that are sure to make your holidays extra memorable.
1. Treat the kids to a magical light show at Hong Kong Disneyland’s new Castle of Magical Dreams
No family trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. With a plethora of Disney characters to meet, rides to enjoy, a Lion King show, the Fantasy Parade, and fireworks, this experience guarantees a day of fun and excitement for the kids.
“Hong Kong Disneyland was so fun, Baltie kept talking about it the morning after. Even the adults had a good time, and we stayed there for eight hours to watch the fireworks. It was a worthwhile experience, to say the least. One for the books, especially if you’re traveling with kids,” she quipped.
This year, the annual Hong Kong Disneyland Christmas celebration returns to the city. It once again transformed into a magical winter wonderland. You can take selfies with Duffy and Friends, watch Santa Goofy’s magic show, meet Disney characters dressed for the holidays, and eat Christmas-themed food. Of course, you can also get limited-edition merchandise for your children!
2. Wine and dine with your significant other at award-winning Mott 32
Isabelle has been living in Asia’s culinary capital for two years now and suffice to say, there’s no shortage of delights for her. When asked to recommend a restaurant with great vibes, Mott 32 goes first on her list. Daza fondly recalls, “They serve top-grade pork char siu and peking duck. If you are looking to turn up the charm with your special someone, look no further than Mott 32.”
The Mott 32 experience starts at the front door. To get to the restaurant, you must descend a mirror-clad spiral staircase that leads to a dimly lit yet impeccably furnished dining room. But Mott 32 is more than just a visual treat, with a menu overseen by Chef Lee Man Sing that promises just as much flair as the surroundings.
Serving fine Chinese dishes from time-honored recipes, leave it to the team to take care of your evening while you enjoy each other’s company. Their menu features the restaurant’s famous Royal Cut Peking Duck, which is prepared 48 hours ahead of time and smoked in Apple Wood. A large selection of dim sum (including gluten-free options), the Double Boiled Bird’s Nest Supreme Soup, and desserts such as guava mousse cake and rose and valrhona white chocolate panna cotta are also highlights of the menu.
Have we also mentioned that it includes private rooms in the back so you and your S.O. can go ahead and whisper sweet nothings or just gush about their excellent Chinese eats?
3. Share meaningful experiences with your loved ones at the West Kowloon Cultural District
The gleaming Christmas Town is now open in Hong Kong’s cultural hotspot, the West Kowloon Cultural District. There is plenty to do here that will allow you to spend the entire day immersed in art, culture, experiences, and nature.
For starters, this artsy neighborhood is home to M+ Museum – a stunning hub for the artgoing. With 33 galleries, three cinemas, a media library, and museum shops, one should make this museum part of their annual holiday tradition. There are thousands of works on display – representing 777 artists from over 35 countries – you will literally discover treasures at every turn. With such an immense collection, Belle Daza advises visitors to set aside at least half a day to consume the sections thoroughly.
“It’s interesting to see how different people express themselves through art. I got to learn about things I had no idea I wanted to learn about. The tour was so engaging that I would recommend it to anyone, including children. The museum also exhibits works from Yayoi Kusama in celebration of their first anniversary.” Belle Daza explained.
Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now is the largest Yayoi Kusama retrospective outside of Japan. Known for her whimsical pumpkins, dots, and mirrored spaces, the exhibition also introduces three new works to audiences for the first time at M+.
There’s more: a Christmas Town has taken over the West Kowloon Cultural District’s harbourfront, complete with an enormous, sparkling Christmas tree and the multimedia light and sound show, ‘A Symphony of Lights,’ to make your holidays even merrier. Finish the day with a slew of festive activities at the Hong Kong Winterfest, which awaits you and your family.
4. Go Christmas shopping with your bestie at K11 MUSEA
Trying to decide whether to spend your valuable Hong Kong vacation time on art or shopping? Isabelle recommends K11 MUSEA where you can have both. With artwork integrated throughout the museum-retail space, you can appreciate art while shopping for fashion and accessories, electronics, and beauty and lifestyle products. It also offers a diverse selection of international and local brands, including Hong Kong flagship stores.
To celebrate the holiday season, the mall is offering a two-month special curation of retail and gastronomic experiences. Shopaholics will be able to indulge in their favorite activity at K11 MUSEA’s Christmas Weekend Market which will feature a rotating selection of tenants selling everything from chocolates and wine to artisanal jewelry and candles.
5. Take a holiday hike with your cousins at the Kam Shan Country Park
Photo credit trip.com
Winter hiking during the holidays sounds like a good plan. You get to enjoy the trails while there are fewer people around. On top of that, you get to experience another side of Hong Kong’s beauty apart from the usual through the city’s country parks.
An outdoor person herself, Belle Daza reveals she was surprised upon discovering that the district is also wrapped in lush verdant mountains that are perfect for hiking. “Like most Filipino tourists, I’ve been going to Hong Kong ever since I was young but I never really got to see the other side of it. I would always visit the same places but this changed when we moved there last 2020. I met locals and since then, we were able to explore different trails almost every week,” Belle Daza shared.
One of the oldest country parks in Hong Kong, Kam Shan Country Park is popular for a good reason. This 3.37-square-kilometer pocket of teeming woodland is fully furnished with barbecue sites, picnic tables, and a handful of well-established, easy-going trails, making for a pleasurable, low-stakes escape into nature — provided you have a tolerance for primates. Monkey business aside, the country park also has a plethora of scenic and historical attractions so you can choose your trail based on your interests.
“I love how Hong Kong’s hiking culture has variety. There are short nature trails and there are also steep mountains. There’s plenty of options for all kinds of hikers. Just don’t forget to check the region if it’s cloudy or rainy. If you have decent weather like us, you’ll be able to see the whole ridge you just conquered,” Belle Daza added.
There’s never a dull day in Hong Kong. Whether it’s admiring the city’s skyline from the high altitudes, feasting in their mouth-watering local cuisine, or celebrating at the “happiest place on earth” – Hong Kong is, without a doubt, one of the best places to celebrate the holidays. No wonder it has always been a top tourist destination, especially for Filipinos.
Take advantage of the visa-free policy and the further relaxation of anti-epidemic measures. For a full guide to activities to make your holiday visit to Hong Kong the most memorable one yet, check out Hong Kong Tourism Board’s official website.