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The Symphony of Lights

Hong Kong Symphony of LightsICC Tower lighting effects

It's a unique light show, called the biggest daily permanent city light show in the world. It’s one of the things that sets Hong Kong apart from the rest of the world with many buildings coordinating their lighting to music. The quality of the show itself has decreased in the last few years. However, the lighting effects on the buildings have improved much during the same time.

  • World’s biggest permanent sound and light show.
  • Unique color, lights and atmosphere.

Though locals hardly notice, hundreds or thousands of tourists flock to the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui every evening in good weather. The harbor and the lights of Victoria Peak are a beautiful backdrop as the clouds stream overhead.

Then at 8 o’clock, the lasers start strafing the clouds, the background music and commentary begins welcoming the crowds to the show, and the lights on the buildings start to perform musically choreographed movements and patterns.

There is a seasonal Christmas display. Victoria Harbor is a dazzling sight especially when the HK government fireworks display bursts with the lights on New Years Eve at midnight. Read more about the festive season in Hong Kong this year.

Participating Buildings

symphony of lightThe Symphony of Lights in Victoria Harbor seen from Tsim Sha Tsui

Now, about 44 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbor participate. The ICC Tower, one of the newest participants, is the biggest building and has the most intricate and interesting light graphics effects, though it is dressed up in only white light generally. The lighting is capable of portraying graphics and text, birds flying, a man dancing, hearts floating, and the time displayed on top. It opened in 2011 in Kowloon. IFC Tower 2 participates with laser lights, but has little lighting.

Each building is introduced one by one in the beginning, and then they perform a show. The show seems actually to have decreased in quality and scale in the last two years since it doesn't have the "aaaah" effect it used to have. But it is still something to do to relax, eat something, and have some fun for free.

This might be because the lighting effects of the individual buildings have become so interesting and colorful that the additional lasers and synchronicity of the show doesn't seem special now. A few years ago, the show was a hit, but now it leaves most tourists thinking that the show isn't interesting, though the city lights and the skyline is very much enjoyed.


Hong Kong Symphony of LightsLight show seen from the island side

The Symphony of Lights show (幻彩詠香江) was developed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board with the help on an Australian company called Laservision. It was part of the Avenue of Stars project, and performances begin on January 17, 2004.

It originally included about 17 buildings on the Hong Kong Island side, but many buildings have been added on the Kowloon side to balance the performance on both sides of the harbor.

The show cost about 5 or 6 million USD to develop. The Guinness Book of World Records included the show as a world record event in 2005.

Hong Kong 3-D Pulse

Seasonally, another special light show that lights up the Hong Kong Cultural Center can also be see seen in the Avenue of Stars and Star Ferry area. It is a 3-D laser light show that uses the broad sides of the Cultural Center as a screen for highly colorful graphics and video pieces.

The shows begin after the building light show from the end of November to the end of December. Most tourists like this show much better.

Travel Essentials

Hong Kong Symphony of LightsLighting effects and colors change rapidly
  • View Points: Avenue of Stars (best view) or Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.
  • Narration: On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in English; Mandarin on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and Cantonese on Sundays. You can listen in English on 103.4 FM.
  • Time: 8 pm; but make sure you get there by about 7:30 if you want a top deck viewing seat on the promenade.
  • Fee: Free.
  • Transport: Transport is easy. Take the Star Ferry to TST, Bus 5 or 7 to the ferry terminal station, or get off at the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and walk 10 minutes to the waterfront.

Suggested Hong Kong and Region Tours

It would be helpful to have a local guide who can give you some insider recommendations about how to enjoy your trip and/or a private driver to make transport convenient and wait on you.

China Highlights specializes in private tours. Contact us if you would like us to tailor-make you a Hong Kong tour.

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