Here be dragons – where to watch, and how to join
Get ready for the drumming and thunderous cheers as the Dragon Boat Festival returns. Also known as Tuen Ng, the public holiday falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunisolar calendar – which happens to be May 30 this year. Voted “Best Annual Event” for three consecutive years, the Dragon Boat Festival sees thousands of spectators line along the Sai Kung Promenade to watch around 180 teams compete it out for the top prize.
Itching to start paddling? Join one of many teams competing in the Sai Kung races. Dragon boating not only helps get your body in tip-top shape ready for the summer but is also a fantastic way to delve in and experience a large part of the local Hong Kong culture.
Join the club
Blue Sky Water Sports Club
The club’s dragon boat team, MVision Blue Sky, are no strangers to winning. They train all year round with sessions on Monday and Wednesday evening, and Saturday mornings at Sha Ha Beach. They have a men’s, women’s and mixed teams as well as a youth training programme. Start by enrolling on their trail lesson. 2791 0806, email@example.com, bluesky-sc.com
The team – which started back in 2006 – has always been an inclusive team who don’t hold tryouts. HKA Dragonflies is made up of teachers, faculty and friends of Hong Kong Academy School. Their training sessions are predominately held in Sai Kung. firstname.lastname@example.org, hkadragonflies.weebly.com
An all-female Dragon Boating team which comprises of mainly Sai Kung mums. Training is on every Saturday morning at Sha Ha Beach. Blazing Paddles have trial dates for new members at the beginning of the season with an introductory session. email@example.com
Way Young Dragon Boat Club
Founded in 2006, Way Young Dragon Boat Club is a non-profit sporting organisation whose objective is to become a driving force for promoting Hong Kong’s dragon boating sport. 2566 9988, www.wayyoungdragon.com
Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association
The large organisation has a training centre in Sha Tin which offers training courses for elementary, intermediate and advanced levels in Cantonese and English. 5233 5299 www.hkcdba.org
Where to watch the Dragon Boat Festival
Sai Kung Dragon Boat Races
The local favourite event takes place at Sai Kung waterfront promenade. There will be shaded front row seating but you’re going to have to get there early as it’s first come first serve. Races begin at 8am and are expected to last until 2pm, but the festivities, game booths and after party continue on until 5pm.
Sha Tin Dragon Boat Races
The Sha Tin Dragon Boat Races take place on the Shing Mun river, starting from near Banyan Bridge and finishing close to Sha Yin Bridge. Races run from 8am-1pm, Shing Mun River, Sha Tin, New Territories, 2691 5657.
Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races
Enjoy three days of racing on Victoria Harbour, plus the San Miguel Beerfest – a coldie and some live music goes down oh so well as your cheer on the boats. Races run from noon-5.30pm (day one), 8.30am-5.30pm (days two and three). June 2-4, Central Harbourfront, free entrance.
The 15th Summer Vigor Mini Dragon Boat Races
A little later on in the year, the mini dragon boats will have their turn on the water. The event will take place at Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course Pier. Races run from 8am-4pm, September 10, Kau Sai Chau, www.dragonboathk.com