Home Hong Kong Festivals The Hong Kong “Tuen Ng” Dragon Boat Festival

The Hong Kong “Tuen Ng” Dragon Boat Festival

  • Celebrated: May. 30 to Jun. 4
  • Location: Hong Kong

One of the world's major concentrations of dragon boat races and other Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat in Cantonese) activities is held annually in Hong Kong during the Tuen Ng Festival. This year, most of the main competitions are scheduled on May 30, 2017 (Tuen Ng Day), but the biggest CCB dragon boat competition is June 2–4 in  2017.

Dragon Boat Festival Background

Colorfully-decorated dragon boatsColorfully-decorated dragon boats

What is the Dragon Boat Festival? Racing these long boats on Tuen Ng Festival (端午节 Duānwǔ Jié) or Dragon Boat Festival (龙舟节 Lóngzhōu Jié) is an old tradition. In the past, mainly fishermen competed. The Tuen Ng Festival is a traditional holiday that falls on different dates each year depending on the lunar calendar. In China, it is a 3-day national holiday in 2017. For more, see our Dragon Boat Festival page.

What is a Dragon Boat? These long canoes mimic the old war canoes of the past. The crews paddle to the beat of a drummer. Various heats and competitions are held around the region, and canoes vary in size from 20 to 80 people.

Major Racing Events

The Stanley and CCB races are the biggest and may be televised. The CCB competition is an international event pitting teams who won in competitions in other countries and regions. The Stanley race is a quite popular local event where various companies and organizations get a chance to race each other.

CCB Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races

Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in Victoria HarbourRace team in Victoria Harbour

The CCB Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in Victoria Harbour is the biggest competition, but about 9 other races are held in various sites around Hong Kong region during this time. Thousands of competitors and tens of thousands of their supporters go out on various race days. Tourists can watch these races and various festivities, parades, and entertainments.

Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races are at Victoria Harbor at the Central Harbourfront. It is a picturesque area with a giant ferris wheel and the Central skyline for a backdrop. Generally, about 4,000 athletes from countries and regions around the world will compete.

As many as thirty thousand fans and supporters might watch along the shoreline at Central in good weather. Free music and live entertainment helps to entertain the crowd. The wondrous scenery of Victoria Harbor adds to a good time.

The best local teams from the various district races compete at this event and match their strokes against the international teams. The local teams represent universities, police, government organizations, and other groups.

Transport: We can provide transport, or the race venue can be reached via the MTR to Central Station Exit A or Hong Kong Station Exit A2. Then you can walk about 10 minutes to the Harbourfront. If you take the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui, is is only a 5 minute walk. If you'd like us to provide a private driver and a guide, for you or your group, just contact us.

Sun Life Stanely International Dragon Boat Championships

Hong Kong dragon boat raceHong Kong dragon boat race heat line up

The Stanley races started in the 1960s from a small village even and grew so that now paddlers from more than 280 local organizations including local companies, universities, and international corporations compete. Many financial industry companies in the area take an avid interest.

The races include both expats and locals and teams of men and women contestants. About 30,000 spectators may watch.

In recent years, these races have become a festive and exciting sporting event. It has become a tradition for the spectators to party on the beach as they watch the races. There is a lot of cheering. In the last few years, the races have appeared on world networks.

Place and time: Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8:00 a.m.

Transport: Bus 6, 6A, 6X, or 260 go to Stanely from the Exchange Square Bus Terminus in front of the Star Ferry dock in Central. Stanley is roughly 15 km from Central. Taxi is the most direct and quickest way.

Other Local Hong Kong Races

Tai O on Lantau Island is a site for dragon boat racingTai O on Lantau Island is a site for dragon boat racing.

Along with the big Stanley Beach race day, there are also smaller competitions at about 8 other locations including Aberdeen, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Cheung Chau, Discovery Bay and Tai O

Most of these are on May 30, though Tai O and Discovery Bay might have races on other days. These are generally local competitions for people living in the particular town or island. These races are usually combined with other traditional Chinese festivities such as parades or carnivals.

These race sites are scenic and interesting in their own right as tourist highlights. Aberdeen is known for its floating seafood restaurants, Sai Kung for natural beauty and hiking, Cheung Chau for Chinese restaurants and atmosphere, Discovery Bay for its beach and expat hideaway, and Tai O for its old architecture, quaint stilt village, and dolphins.

So you have lots of choices for watching a dragon boat race, and you might want to go to the one for the setting and experience that interests you.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Tours

Hong Kong harborHong Kong harbor

We can help you, your team, or your group with arrangements and facilitate your trip to Hong Kong during this event. You can customize a trip to Hong Kong to watch this festival. See our Hong Kong Tours for an idea of things you can do here.

We can help plan and book your accommodations and travel including your flight tickets. We can plan the logistics for you or your group for this festival. We can also arrange a tour of more of China.

Here are some more tour suggestions for around Dragon Boat Festival time: