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8 things to do in Hong Kong during Christmas & New Year’s

By Jen Paolini 21 December 2020

Header image courtesy of Universal Pictures

Oh, the weather outside’s delightful—because Hong Kong winters never really get cold enough to feel completely unbearable, am I right? And although this Christmas season is destined to look quite different to the ones we’re used to, we’re still determined to make the most of it and head into the new year with a motivated mindset. Bid your farewells to 2020 and spend the season with friends and family—responsibly and socially distanced, of course—with the best things to do over the Christmas holidays.

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Bake up a (festive) storm

Nothing feels like Christmas more than festive smells wafting through the house, and while sprinkling peppermint extract on everything might seem like a good idea at first, the resulting spike in sharp odours might soon drive your taste buds and smell buds insane. No one needs a peppermint-induced migraine, especially over the holidays.

Instead, why not try your hand at whipping up some traditional Hong Kong pastries and baked goods? Not only can you work on your homemaking skills, but you can also treat your loved ones to nostalgic flavours. If Hong Kong-style pastries are too advanced for you, give these beginner-friendly baked items a go to get your oven warmed up.

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Stay in & stay warm with Netflix

Hong Kong winters can hardly be compared to the frost-bitten climes of northern Europe and beyond, but on days where the mercury dips below 10 degrees Celsius, all that’s left to do is pour ourselves a mug of hot chocolate, snuggle up under the duvet, and turn on the telly for some holiday classics.

Whether you’re feeling up for the best Christmas films to watch on Netflix or the most binge-worthy Netflix shows to wolf down over the long weekend, there’s plenty on offer on the small screen. And as Christmas is a time to get together with loved ones, why not revisit some of your childhood favourites, like these iconic Hong Kong gangster films, or laugh it out with the best Stephen Chow comedies around? With two long weekends coming up, you could even tackle one of these unforgettable TVB dramas in one go.

Photo credit: @naimniloy1 (via Instagram)
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Go explore an uninhabited island

Boasting over 250 islands, Hong Kong is certainly not short on natural wonders. Venture outside of your urban comfort zone of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (and even the New Territories!) and explore one of Hong Kong’s many uninhabited islands for your next epic day-trip, whether it’s the stunning geological rock formations of Tung Ping Chau, the awe-inspiring red sands of Port Island, the gorgeous clear waters of Middle Island, and more.

You can also catch a ferry or take a cable car to one of Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands to explore, eat, and play the day away! Traversing through these quaint villages and communities will also have the added benefit of forcing you to go at a slower pace and take in a rural kind of living that’s much different to city life, as there are often hidden gems that often go unnoticed.

Over the years, many of these islands have transformed, opening up modern businesses to serve visitors and locals alike, catering to the rise of domestic tourism. Notably, a lot of Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands now boast chic cafés and coffee shops to fuel the weary traveller. Whether you’re off to uncover everything that the sleepy villages of Cheung Chau, Tai O, Peng Chau, or Lamma Island have to offer, we guarantee there is plenty there to do, eat, and see on your day-trip. If you’re bringing the little ones along, consider taking them on a family-friendly walk or hike as well.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

Photo credit: @lynexxy (via Instagram)
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Tackle some of Hong Kong’s best hikes

Hiking is the best way to explore Hong Kong and soak in the natural wonders of this urban jungle. With a couple of weekends of beautiful and cooled-down weather ahead of us, why not explore new hiking trails and routes across Hong Kong? Many well-known routes can be busy and congested during these times, so why not beat the crowds and tackle a lesser-known hike this weekend? From exploring all sorts of different ways to reach the Big Buddha to setting aside a few days and traversing one of Hong Kong’s famous thru-hikes, we guarantee that there is a hike out there for everyone—and (almost) no hiking adventure that we have not already covered in our extensive hiking guides. Browse through them all to pick your next challenge!

Photo credit: hktoystory.wordpress.com
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Challenge your family to competitive games

Well, this one’s quite obvious, but it bears repeating—Christmas is traditionally a time for family, so what better way to pass the holidays than by spending quality time with your loved ones? (Some of us, of course, might have already been spending a little too much time with family this year, considering travel restrictions and city-wide shutdowns, but hey, it’s Christmas and we’re wanting to focus on positives here.)

Spice things up this holiday season by challenging your family to a round or two of our favourite board games, or relive your childhood with these classic Hong Kong games and toys—we are sure that this will bring back fond memories. And if you have been blessed with a Nintendo Switch or brand-new video game console this Christmas, check out some of the best multiplayer games on the market. Finally, you could always indulge your folks by letting them teach you how to play mahjong properly over the upcoming long weekends.

Photo credit: Hong Kong Development Bureau
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Spend time in Hong Kong’s great outdoors

Hong Kong may be a hiker’s paradise, but there’s plenty more to do in our great outdoors than just scale mountains and climb paved stairs. Rent a bike and hit up these fantastic cycling tracks around town or go camping at some of our favourite spots across New Territories and the Outlying Islands—just be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes and an insulated sleeping bag, as the temperatures really are dipping. There are also many beautiful (and hidden) parks to spend a leisurely afternoon in—and some of them even double as great picnic spots, too. Don’t forget to pick up a picnic hamper before you go!

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

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Visit Christmas displays for a dose of festivities

What is Christmas without dazzling displays and festive markets? While the holiday season of 2020 is proving itself to be a lot quieter than past years, there is still a number of joyful happenings taking place around the city that can be experienced (with adherence to social distancing guidelines and keeping proper precautions in mind, of course). If you are in need of a little holiday cheer to lift the pandemic-induced gloom, here are some spectacular Christmas displays and markets to check out around town.

Photo credit: @anitazietha (via Instagram)
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Take in some of Hong Kong’s natural splendours

With travel restrictions in place around the world, going on a vacation is out of the question. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep you entertained right here in Hong Kong—if you know where to look. Little-known spots all across Hong Kong offer a taste of international destinations. Whether you are in the mood to frolic through the lavender gardens of Provence or the sunflower fields of Hokkaido, here are some replacement-worthy destinations across Hong Kong to explore if you are feeling the travel withdrawal, and here are some more if you’ve already exhausted the first list.

If the mystical bamboo groves of Arashiyama are calling your name, fear not—check out some of Hong Kong’s very own bamboo forests and bring Kyoto closer to you this season. From stunning silvergrass fields to beautiful mangroves and impressive natural rock formations, Hong Kong boasts its fair share of geological and ecological splendours to visit. Down for a tranquil night of stargazing or a peaceful afternoon of forest bathing? All that and so much more to keep you busy in town.

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Jen Paolini

Content director

Born in Hong Kong, raised in Germany, and educated in the U.S., Jen is an award-winning creative with a background in illustration, communication design, art direction, and content creation. When she’s not getting lost in a good book, you’ll find her doing crosswords, eating dim sum, covering all sides of a “Hamilton” number, and taking naps.

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