The Dragon Boat Festival – also known as Duan Wu (in Putonghua) or Tuen Ng (in Cantonese) – is not only one of the most traditional, but also one of the most exciting events in Hong Kong. Occurring on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar, the Tuen Ng (Duan Wu) festival is a significant lunar holiday and public holiday in Hong Kong. This year, the Tuen Ng (Duan Wu) festival will take place on June 2, 2014.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng)

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng)

The Dragon Boat Festival has one of the longest histories and there are several versions about the origin of this important Chinese festival. The most common story is the one about Qu Yuan (a Chinese National Hero) who was a popular poet and minister during the ancient state of Chu (nowadays Hunan and Hubei Provinces) about 2000 years ago. The king decided to form allies with the powerful state of Qin. Evil and corrupt officials launched several intrigues and Qu Yuan was not only betrayed, accused of treason and dismissed from his office, but also sent to exile. Being an honest and loyal minister to his king, he realized that his beloved kingdom was in the hands of the wrong people. Realizing his powerlessness Qu Yuan decided to jump into Mi Luo River and committed suicide as a protest against the corrupt rulers on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Nearby fishermen paddled out on their boats and tried to save him, but were unable to recover his body. In order to keep the fish from eating his body, legend has it that townspeople threw cooked rice dumplings (Zongzi) into the river and beat drums to scare the fish away. To commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, the Dragon Boat Festival was born.

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Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng) - Shark Team

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng) – Shark Team

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race in Stanley

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race in Stanley

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng) in Stanley

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race Festivals (Tuen Ng) in Stanley

Zong Zi - the traditional food on Tuen Ng Festival

Zong Zi – the traditional food on Tuen Ng Festival

Traditionally, Hong Kong people will celebrate this special day by eating Zongzi (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and filled with different fillings such as pork, preserved egg yolk, sugar or red bean paste), drinking realgar wine, watching and enjoying the spectacular Dragon Boat Races.

Visitors and Dragon Boat Race Lovers have a large selection of Dragon Boat Races at the traditional Tuen Ng Festival on Monday June 2th, 2014. Several locations around Hong Kong offer exciting and spectacular Dragon Boat Races and the best part of it: admission is free! Below we list details of the upcoming of Dragon Boat Races:

Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2014 (Highly Recommended)

The Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2014 is Hong Kong’s largest Tuen Ng Festival Dragon Boat Race. Last year, 250 teams and 5,000 paddlers from around the world took part at the Tuen Ng Dragon Boat Races at Stanley Main Beach. More than 30,000 visitors cheer and enjoy the dramatic and spectacular Dragon Boat Races and transform Stanley Beach into big beach party with a carnival-like atmosphere. Take a look at the following article of previous years for more information and impressions about the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships.

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Where and when the Stanley Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Venue: Stanley Main Beach
Narration: Cantonese and English
Admission: Free

How to get to the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships 2014 event:

Take MTR to Hong Kong station and exit through Exit D. Transfer to Bus 6, 6X or 260 at Central’s Exchange Square to Stanley. Alternatively you can take bus 973 from Tsim Sha Tsui (Mody Road) to Stanley.

Tai O Water Parade and Dragon Boat Competition 2014 (Highly Recommended)

The Tai O Water Parade and Dragon Boat Competition is one of the four cultural events in Hong Kong, which has been placed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. Tai O’s three fishermen associations (Pa Teng Hong, Sin Yu Hong and Hop Sum Tong) co-jointly organize this traditional “Water Parade”. On the morning before the festival, members of these associations will travel with their dragon boats to the four temples Yeung Hau (Marquis Prince) Temple, Tin Hau (Empress of Heaven) Temple, Kwan Tai (God of War) Temple and Hung Shing (God of the Sea) Temple to get the deity statutes out and place them at the temporary activity venue. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, three dragon boats tow small boats loaded with the deity statues through the various water channels of Tai O which is also known as the “Deities’ or Gods’ Parade”. Along the way “fa yi” – a kind of offering burning – is performed to ask for blessing of the deities as well as to pacify the wandering water ghosts. While the dragon boats pass by the traditional Chinese stilt-houses, residents will pray, burn paper offerings and incense. After the parade, the dragon boat races are on not only to entertain and calm down the gods, but also to entertain locals and visitors alike. In the afternoon, the deities’ statutes will be taken back to their temples and each association holds its own banquet to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. The Tai O Water Parade and Dragon Boat Competition is one of the best events to experience Hong Kong’s culture, dragon boat races as well as Tai O’s old heritage and their Chinese stilt house community.

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Where and when the Tai O Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 1, 2014
Time: 9:00am- 2:00pm
Venue: Tai O Creek and Pier, Lantau Island (Tai O Dragon Boat Parade)
Tai O Promenade, Lantau Island (Tai O Dragon Boat Race)
Narration: Cantonese
Admission: Free

How to get to the Tai O Water Parade and Dragon Boat Competition 2014:

Take MTR to Tung Chung station and exit through Exit B. Then take New Lantau Bus No. 11 or taxi to Tai O. Alternatively, you can take the ferry from CentralPier 6 to Mui Wo and transfer then to New Lantau Bus No. 1 to Tai O.

Insider Tips: The Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships as well as the Tai O Water Parade and Dragon Boat Competition are both very popular among locals and visitors. Be prepared that the venues will be very crowded. In addition, plan enough time to travel to and from the venues since both locations are not in the downtown area.

Aberdeen – Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race 2014

The annual Aberdeen Dragon Boat Races feature one of the most traditional dragon boat races in Hong Kong. Aside from enjoying and watching the spectacular dragon boat races, visitors can experience and explore a cultural exhibition organized by the dragon boat race committee as well as manifold Chinese handicraft and snack booths set-up along the Aberdeen promenade.

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Where and when the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 8:30am – 4:00pm
Venue: Aberdeen Promenade, Aberdeen Praya Road
Narration: Cantonese, Mandarin and English
Admission: Free

How to get to the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Races 2014:

Take MTR to Hong Kong station and exit through Exit D. Transfer to Bus 70 from Central Exchange Square to Aberdeen Promenade.

Note: The famous Hong Kong Theme Park “Ocean Park Hong Kong” is close to the Aberdeen Promenade with an approx. 15-20min taxi ride.

Sha Tin – Sha Tin Dragon Boat Race 2014

The Sha Tin Dragon Boat Races are held for over 25 years now and is one of the popular races in Hong Kong. In case you don’t have time to travel to Tai O or Cheung Chau, the Dragon Boat Races at Sha Tin are a good option to join the locals and enjoy the Tuen Ng Festival activities. This year, there are more than 150 teams participating in 23 races fighting for fame and victory. Be prepared for plenty of dragon boat race action.

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Where and when the Sha Tin Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Venue: Shing Mun River, Sha Tin
(starting place is close to Banyan Bridge and the ending close to Sha Yin Bridge)
Narration: Cantonese
Admission: Free

How to get to the Sha Tin Dragon Boat Races 2014:

Take MTR to Sha Tin station and exit through Exit A. Walk through the New Town Plaza Shopping Mall to Sha Tin Park and forward to the riverside (it’s about 10min walk).

Sai Kung – Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race Gala Festival 2014

Experience the dramatic dragon boat races at the Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014. Over 100 teams will participate in this year event. Be sure to stay after the dragon boat races are over. Sai Kung has a special Dragon Boat Carnival with game stalls and both to be enjoyed by young and old. Besides Sai Kung is also well-known for its seafood delicacies. Why not try some while you enjoy the spectacular dragon races and enjoy Sai Kung’s picturesque surroundings.

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Where and when the Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 8:00am – 2:00pm (races)
2:00pm – 5:00pm (carnival)
Venue: Sai Kung Waterfront Promenade, Sai Kung
(near Sai Kung Pier)
The Carnival takes place at/close by the Tin Hau Temple.
Narration: Cantonese, Mandarin and English
Admission: Free

How to get to the Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014:

Take MTR to Hang Hau station and exit through Exit B1. Transfer to Green Minibus No. 101M to Sai Kung Town Terminus. Alternatively, you can take the MTR to Choi Hung Station and exit through Exit C2. Transfer to Green Minibus No. 1A to Sai Kung Town Terminus.

Tai Po – Tai Po District Dragon Boat Race 2014

Over 50 teams are participating in the Tai Po District Dragon Boat Race 2014. This dragon boat race has a long history and is one of the major events in the Tai Po District.

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Where and when the Tai Po Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Venue: Promenade at Tai Po Waterfront Park, Tai Po
Narration: Cantonese
Admission: Free

How to get to the Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014:

Take the MTR to Tai Wai Station and exit through Exit B. Transfer to bus 72A and alight at Tai Po Industrial Estate Dai Cheong Street. From there hop in one of the free shuttle buses.

Tuen Mun – Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Race 2014

At present, it is expected that over 90 dragon boat teams will participate in the Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Races 2014.

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Where and when the Tuen Mun Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Venue: Castle Peak Bay Typhoon Shelter, Area 44, Tuen Mun
Narration: Cantonese
Admission: Free

How to get to the Tuen Mun Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014:

Take the MTR to Siu Hong and hop in one of the Light Rail (LRT = Light Rail Transit) 614, 614P or 507 to Siu Hei Station. Alternatively, you can take the MTR to Mongkok East Station (Exit C) and transfer to bus no. 59X to Tuen Mun Ferry Pier and then walk 10 minutes to the dragon boat race venue.

Discovery Bay – Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Race and Carnival 2014

The 25th Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Races & Carnival will feature a total of 49 teams this year who will compete in this exciting event. For the first time, a new school category will be added to the Dragon Boat races giving young teenangers and adults the opportunity to participate at this unique event. Similar to the Sai Kung Dragon Boat event, the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat event also hold a special Dragon Boat Carnival at the Discovery Bay Piazza with over 60 booths selling food, homemade goods and interactive games as well as stage performances such as performances by the Hong Kong Disneyland Cheerleading Team, Bubble Dance, Magic Show, Chinese Gymnastic Show, Puppet Show, Fire Dance and a Beer Drinking Challenge.

Join the exciting and spectacular races at the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Races and Carnival 2014.

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Where and when the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 1, 2014 (races)
June 1-2, 2014 (carnival)
Time: 8:00am – 4:30pm (races) / 11:00am – 6:00pm (carnival)
Venue: Races: Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island
Carnival: DB Piazza, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island
Narration: Cantonese and English
Admission: Free

How to get to the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014:

Take ferry from Central Pier 3 in Central (Hong Kong Island) to Discovery Bay. Alternatively, you can take the MTR to Tung Chung Station exit through Exit B and transfer to bus DB01R to Discovery Bay or take MTR to Sunny Bay, exit through Exit A and transfer to bus DB03R to Discovery Bay.

Cheung Chau – Cheung Chau Tuen Ng Dragon Boat Race 2014

Cheung Chau is one of the small islands of Hong Kong and well-known for its famous Bun Festival. However, Cheung Chau Island is also a great place to watch and enjoy the traditional dragon boat races at the Tuen Ng Festival.

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Where and when the Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Race take place?

Date: June 2, 2014
Time: 10:00am – 4:30pm
Venue: Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter (near Chueng Chau Pak She Praya Road), Cheung Chau
Narration: Cantonese
Admission: Free

How to get to the Cheung Chau Dragon Boat Race Gala 2014:

Take Ferry from Central Pier 5 directly to Cheung Chau Island.

May 18 Mui Wo Dragon Boat Races 2014, Silvermine Bay Beach, Mui Wo, Lantau Island (8am to 5pm, narration: Cantonese, take ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo or alternatively MTR to Tung Chung Station, exit through Exit B and transfer to Bus 3M).

May 29 Dragon Boat Races in Lok Chau Wan 2014 (Lamma Island) (10am to 3pm, narration: Cantonese, from Exchange Square in Central take bus 70 to Aberdeen. Then transfer to boat to Lok Chau Wan at Aberdeen Promenade)

June 22 Tai O Dragon Boat Racing Competition 2014, Tai O Sheltered Boat Anchorage, Tai O, Lantau Island (9am to 3pm, narration: Cantonese)

July 1 Sok Kwu Wan Dragon Boat Races 2014 (Lamma Island), Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island (9:30am to 5:30pm, narration: Cantonese, take ferry from Central Pier 4 to Sok Kwu Wan)