Nothing beats a night at the world famous Hong Kong horse races. Sitting among thousands of crazy horse racing fans your senses will blur under the dazzling lights of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers. Capturing the feel, excitement, thrill and action of this sport you have the unique opportunity to grasp the essence of one part of Hong Kong’s culture. While the spectacle includes fantastic races, beautiful horses, professional jockeys, shouting enthusiastic fans and the chance to make a fortune you have a great opportunity to get in touch with locals and may be getting some hints for successful betting on the right horse.
Founded in 1884 to promote horse racing, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is a non-profit organization. Hong Kong is unique in many ways and this is especially true when it comes to horse racing. Although the Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the largest taxpayers, it takes social corporate responsibility serious. They are also one of the largest private donors of charity funds in Hong Kong (we are talking here about over HK$ 1 billion annually for the last consecutive 10 years). May be this is one of the reasons that over 2 million people visit every year one of the two race courses and bet billions of HK Dollars since the losing dollars contribute directly to the Hong Kong society.
The two different horse racing courses in Hong Kong are situated in Sha Tin (New Territories) and in Happy Valley (Hong Kong Island). Besides arranging the famous horse racing, the Kong Jockey Club provides other sporting and betting entertainment in Hong Kong.
Did you know that during the 2008 Olympic Games of Beijing, the facilities and international world-class race course of Sha Tin was used for the equestrian competitions? Today you still find some permanent exhibitions in Sha Tin as well as in Happy Valley to commemorate this event. Another interesting fact is that the giant video screen in Sha Tin Racecourse is the longest and largest one in the world (it’s claimed to be equivalent to 4,500 x 52-cm TV sets) and is as wide as a Boeing 747 long. The Diamond Vision Screen at Sha Tin Race Course even found its way in the Guinness World Records books.
Furthermore, Sha Tin Race Course is the world first to offer a retractable parade ring roof – so you can enjoy the beautiful horses at any weather condition. Now you have no excuse to miss out the action.
Btw, if you have a chance try your luck betting. It’s a great way to get in touch with locals and some of the professionals are happy to share their insights about picking the right horse with you. Single bets start at HK$ 10 and who knows – may be you will be the next big winner?
Just like the guy on August 31st, 2003 – he won the highest 3-T dividend recorded with a total value of unbelievable HK$ 155578703 (what equals around 15.5 million Euro).
Usually, the admission fee to enter the racecourse is HK$ 10.
How to Get to Hong Kong Racecourses:
Happy Valley Race Course:
Take Sheung Wan MTR line (blue line) and get off at the Causeway Bay station and take Exit A. Then either walk about 20 minutes along Wong Nai Chung Road towards Happy Valley Race Course, or take Hong Kong’s iconic tram also known as the “Ding-Ding” to the station “Happy Valley Tram Terminus”.
Sha Tin Racecourse:
From TST: Take Tsuen Wan MTR Line (purple line) and interchange at the Hung Hom terminus platform to the MTR East Railway. Take the MTR towards Lo Wu or Lok Mau Chau and stay for 5 stations in the MTR and get off at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Important: the Sha Tin Racecourse station is only available during horse racing days and not every MTR will stop there. So please pay special attention when boarding the East Railway and ask some of the MTR staff in case you are not certain if this MTR will stop there!!!
Alternatively, you can get off at Fo Tan station and walk about 15-20 minutes towards the Racecourse. (Not recommended)
Racing season is between September and end of June / early beginning of July. There are no races in July and August due to the hot weather.
General horse racing schedule:
Daytime: First Race starts at 12:45 pm and racing continues to 1:30pm.
At Night: First Race starts at 7:00 – 7:30 pm (Wednesdays).
First Race starts at 5:45 – 6:45 pm (Saturdays/Sundays)
If you are opting for a more elegant and convenient experience you can consider to join a “Come Horseracing Tour”. This tour will give you the opportunity to enter the members enclosure and includes a round-trip transfer to several hotels, a guide tour through the racecourse including the winning post, betting voucher and an international buffet with unlimited flow of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Prices for the badges start at HK$ 770. For special days e.g. Chinese New Year Cup or Hong Kong International Derby you have to calculate HK$ 960-1020.
Narration is English (Putonghua, Japanese)
Duration: approx. 5.5 – 7 hours.
Similar badges/packages are offered by these two travel agencies:
Phone : +(852) 2316 2151
Phone : +(852) 2723 1808
Important notice: Be aware that if you aware shorts, flip-flops or even blue jeans chances are very high that your access will be denied and there will be a dress code since you enter the members area. Smart casual dressing is appropriate.
There is also a museum at the Happy Valley racecourse called the Hong Kong Racing Museum at Happy Valley. Make sure to have a look at this one to get a nice overview and insights of the fascinating historical development of horse racing in Hong Kong. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday free of charge.
Furthermore, if you want to enjoy the races from one of the prestigious member boxes you should ask your hotel concierge. Sometimes they are able to meet this special arrangement. Just try and ask. Another option is to take your passport with you. The Hong Kong Jockey Club offers tourists the opportunity to enjoy the races from the member boxes. Entrance fee is about HK$ 100.
The Bottomline: Is it worthwhile to go to the horse racing? In my opinion it is absolutely worthwhile. Even if you don’t have the chance to enjoy the races from the member boxes, you will have a once in a lifetime experience. I’m not a particular big fan of betting and gambling, but to feel the excitement, thrill and action of this sport paired with the environment of skyscrapers is an overwhelming feeling and should not be missed.
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