One of the world’s most extraordinary cities, where rippling mountains, a kaleidoscopic waterfront and futuristic architecture merge with fabulous food, sizzling nightlife and top shopping.
Travel bucket list idea:
Horse racing at Happy Valley
Hong Kong , China|www.happyvalleyracecourse.com|
More than just a pastime, horse racing has been an intrinsic part of life in Hong Kong for over 150 years, with their importance even mentioned by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who promised ‘the horse racing will continue’, even after the city returned to China.
There are two famous racecourses, both offer an energetic insight into the city’s intense love of gambling. Happy Valley Racecourse is the older and more atmospheric of the two. Surrounded by high-rise residential blocks, it’s a massive arena filled with delirious punters, noisy party-goers, men and women, young and old all betting small fortunes on every race. Lunar New Year and the first and last races of the season generally attract the biggest fields.
While you’re there
To discover more about the racetrack’s extraordinary history, visit the Hong Kong Racing Museum, which adjoins the stands. The museum charts the heritage of racing in Hong Kong back to the 19th century.
Getting there & doing it
Public transport is always crowded on race nights. The nearest MTR station is Causeway Bay; from Exit A it’s about a 15-minute walk to the race course entrance. Or you can take a Happy Valley tram to just outside Members’ Enclosure Entrance.
The basic entrance price is very cheap but buys standing only (at race track level). The best option is to buy a ‘tourist ticket’ (you’ll need your passport), which gives you a seat and a better view.
Cold beers, fast food and live music is the order of the day down by the rails. If you’re in one of the boxes, Moon Koon restaurant is very good.
When to do it
Races take place between September and June and generally fall on a Wednesday night at Happy Valley, with Saturday and Sunday meets held in Shatin.
Lunar New Year and the first and last races of the season generally attract the biggest fields.
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