December is a great time to explore Hong Kong, when the city is festive and themed for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Visitors will find winter decorations in various parts of the city, a seasonal themed nightly laser light show, special events at theme parks, and new menus at many hotels.
Not surprisingly New Year’s Eve is an extremely busy time in Hong Kong so if you’re planning on staying through to ring in the New Year, be sure to book fast as the hotels with views of Victoria Harbour can be even pricier than normal, and sold out in many cases.
If you’re considering visiting Hong Kong during the Christmas season, some of the winter touches you won’t want to miss include:
A Symphony of Lights
Buildings along the Victoria Harbour waterfront are traditionally decorated with seasonal lights for the Christmas holiday. I love the views from the Kowloon Peninsula side, where you get the best view of the buildings in Central. The nightly show begins at 8 pm and lasts for 13 minutes. If you are planning to shoot photos on a tripod or capture video, get there early, as you’ll often find larger crowds.
Aside from throngs of people visiting Hong Kong malls to do some shopping, you’ll find the upscale malls create some impressive holiday displays. The Langham Place and Harbour City are two of my favorite stops as they have impressive displays each year – sometimes including fun themes like Hello Kitty or Disney characters.
Don’t miss the display and gigantic Christmas tree set up in Central’s Statue Square. Typically part of the official Winterfest celebration hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, sponsors have changed throughout the years, but several have included Tiffany & Co. and Swarovski.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Swing by Hong Kong Disneyland for Disney’s Sparkling Christmas event. Look for festive displays, exclusive merchandise, seasonal foods, and of course, Mickey and Friends dressed in their winter best. Unlike the Christmas party event held at Walt Disney World, there is no special admission ticket required on top of regular admission for Disney’s Sparkling Christmas event. Hong Kong’s event typically kicks off in mid-November and ends after New Year’s Day.
Ocean Park Christmas
Ocean Park theme park hosts an annual Christmas Brilliance event if you’re a real theme park enthusiast. The event typically kicks off in early December, and the 2014 event featured Hong Kong’s largest indoor lighting spectacle, with millions of eco-friendly LED lights.
Check the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website for an updated listing of live events happening in December. Typically the Hong Kong Ballet puts on performances of the Nutcracker while the Hong Kong Philharmonic schedules performances of classic Christmas music.
Many of Hong Kong’s upscale hotels will offer special holiday menus and set dinners, especially on Christmas Day itself. The city is home to a large number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and it’s a great time to revisit your favorites or try a seasonal menu at somewhere you’ve never been. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time though as many of these menus are limited, and restaurants tend to fill up quickly during the holiday season.
Which city is your favorite to visit during the holidays?
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