Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world to go for a festive Christmas atmosphere. There is a two-day public holiday, and there is usually dry, mild weather to enjoy. The American CNN television network named the Hong Kong WinterFest as one of the Top 10 places to spend Christmas in the whole world. Hong Kong is known for fantastic Christmas displays, fine food, and Christmas shopping.
Disneyland on Lantau Island hosts Christmas-themed amusement and entertainment starting before Thanksgiving and ending after New Year's Day. The theme for this year's event highlights sparkling lights, and they present a new technology they call “Disney Paint the Night." Computerized floats with almost a million LED lights and optical fibers will be interactive with the spectators. The entire Main Street USA will be fantastically decorated.
The Nutcracker is a world-renowned operatic ballet, and it is also a special Yuletide tradition enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Set to a joyous score by the famed composer Tchaikovsky, this fairytale ballet invites the young and old alike to rediscover Christmas.
The tale begins at a party when a young girl named Clara receives a Nutcracker as a Christmas gift. The Nutcracker is transformed into the handsome Prince of Bonbon Land. The Hong Kong Ballet features sumptuous sets and costumes and live music by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
Now there is jazzy 21st century choreography inspired by Terence Kohler in collaboration with Australian dramaturge Clair Sauran. The Hong Kong Sinfonietta provides concert music. The performances are featured at the Grand Theatre in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre next to the Star Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.
Times: December 19–21 and 24–28 at 7:30 pm; and December 20–21 and 25–28 at 2:30 pm.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic presents a special Harry Wong Celebrates Christmas with selections of classic Christmas carols and exotic songs you probably have never heard. The Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestra is a professional HK government-sponsored orchestra.
Hong Kong puts on a winter festival after Thanksgiving that is a highlight of the Christmas season. The American CNN network named Hong Kong's WinterFest as one of the Top 10 places in the world to spend Christmas.
Every night of the season, weather permitting, about 40 buildings along the harbor put on a light show called the Symphony of Lights with Christmas and New Year's decorations. During WinterFest, most of the the city is aglow with festive lighting and laser images. Victoria Harbor is a dazzling sight especially when the fireworks burst on New Years Eve.
Every night during the season, you can head to Victoria Harbor and watch the free holiday light show. The show expands and gets flashier every year. Visitors sit along the shore at the pedestrian walk called Avenue of Stars, have a meal on a restaurant boat, or simply ride the Star Ferry during the Symphony of Lights display.
Loudspeakers broadcast music and the accompanying narrative. A lot of buildings put up special Christmas light displays to complement the visual effects of the architectural choreography.
A new feature for the holidays is the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show. This high tech laser audiovisual display is best seen around the plaza of the clock tower near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui. Lasers light up the plaza and the adjacent building. It is astounding, but expect it to be crowded. It is attracting even more attention than the regular building light show.
3D show dates: 17-29 December 2014
Time: 8:30pm, 9pm, 9:30pm and 10pm nightly (Starting after the Symphony of Lights, about 15 minutes per session)
If you're there on December 31, you can take in the fireworks spectacular in the New Year's countdown. Some of the same buildings involved in the Symphony of Lights take part in this spectacular, and large crowds line both sides of the harbor. So far, either the IFC Towers or the Hong Kong Convention Center have been the center of the show. The buildings involved changes from year to year, but you can expect the display to be spectacular and accompanied by music and a laser light show lighting up the atmosphere.
Every shopping mall dons Christmas decorations, and the ritziest malls put up spectacular and expensive displays to draw crowds. In the recent past, 1881 Heritage near the Star Ferry Terminal, Harbour City, Langham Place, Elements Mall and the IFC Mall put up dazzling, intricate and large displays.
The best Christmas display: Each year, the best display is put up at Statue Square by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. These are epic displays put up by the ritziest jewelry companies such as Swarovski's 30 meter tree made of 20,000,000 pieces of crystal in 2010. Computer controlled lighting may make the displays dazzling and glamorous.
The scene is a special one flanked by buildings with their own moving lights. The Bank of China Tower skyscraper forms a shiny backdrop with its crystal-like designs.
Unfortunately, unlike in other countries, there aren't pre-Christmas sales with lower prices to attract shoppers. Prices actually go up. However, the malls try to to attract customers through special Christmas displays, decorations, and entertainment. And the places to find bargains like the outdoor markets still try to compete on prices.
If you are looking for Christmas gifts on regular electronics, clothing, and other common items, the places to go to bargain for deals are the street markets such as Ladies Market in Mongkok (clothing, electronics, souvenirs, pets, jewelry, etc.), Temple Street in Mongkok (a variety of products plus many open-air restaurants for Chinese food), and Stanley Market in Stanley on Hong Kong Island (souvenirs).
Along with these big public events, millions of local people, churches, and many businesses, restaurants, and hotels celebrate Christmas as well. Many of the excellent restaurants and hotels have Christmas celebrations and special dinners that the locals attend.
In the days before Christmas and on Christmas Eve, groups of carollers from churches and schools go around and sing in the parks and malls. You might spot groups of children, teenagers, and adults walking in Central, Kowloon Park or elsewhere, joyously singing! Music groups and orchestras also put on free concerts.
Hong Kong is known for having more excellent restaurants than any other similarly-sized location in Asia (as ranked by Michelin and other such ratings bodies). Many of the world-class 4-star and 5-star hotels in Hong Kong serve special Christmas dinners from about the 22nd of December until Christmas Day.
Hong Kong has 75 Michelin-starred restaurants, and many are quite affordable for the average tourist although they might not have special Christmas fare. Check our list of recommended restaurants on our restaurant guide.
For an especially Christian Christmas atmosphere for your Christmas celebration, a place to go is the Salisbury YMCA. It may be the world's ritziest YMCA. It has two restaurants that feature buffets. Guests can also enjoy a great harbor view, and the extensive sports facilities include a swimming pool and rock-climbing room. Several churches meet there on Sundays, and there is a Christian bookstore.
Contact us for a Christmas tour of Hong Kong, China, or SE Asia, customized to your requirements
High season: The last half of December is an excellent time for touring in Hong Kong. The weather is mild, often sunny, and dry. The busy crowds of Chinese tourists don't arrive until Chinese New Year, and many foreigners come in during their Christmas and New Year holidays. So prices are lower and transportation more convenient than during the peak travel periods.
Plan and make trip arrangements: International Hong Kong flight tickets are more difficult to get during this time. We can book your tickets and help arrange hotel rooms and itineraries. We could provide guides, drivers, and private vehicles for great private tours for individuals and groups. You can book Hong Kong hotel rooms and any China train tickets you need for a great trip.
Touring Hong Kong and Macau during Christmas: Tour both Hong Kong and Macau for shopping and sightseeing during the big festival on this two day tour.
China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. Check them out and send cards to your family or friends for free.