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Hong Kong is my favorite city in the world – a statement I do not take lightly. I have lived on four continents, visited more than 60 countries and 300 cities, Hong Kong is the best. Its tropical climate, mix of cultures and language and unique history make it unmatched globally. There is a visceral honesty to the city that sanitized Singapore doesn’t share. Hong Kong allows visitors to see it as they do, warts and all. After more than two dozen trips and months spent in Hong Kong this is the very best time, places, and things to do in Hong Kong.
This in-depth article discloses all of the key information you need to make the best decision for yourself and your family. From weather to festivals, island information, favorite activities, and much more.
Feel free to jump right to the section most important to you via the Table of Contents right below.
When is the Best Time to Go For a Vacation in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is home to a mostly tropical climate. The weather is nearly always warm but does have some cooler weather during the months of November to April. It is during May through September that the rainy season occurs. Like hurricanes that visit the same locations annually, Typhoons are regular visitors during the shoulder season months.
Most of the year, however, the sun shines brightly on Hong Kong with warm weather, beautiful coastal waters of the South China Sea and palm trees. The hillsides are incredibly lush and green despite the skyscrapers jutting upward from nearly every flat parcel of land in the territory.
In the summer, the heat and humidity in Hong Kong can be overwhelming. Luckily, hotels and office buildings offer air conditioning and heat, though the latter is used rarely even during winter in Hong Kong.
In the winter, the temperatures range between lows of 14°C (57°F) and highs of 25°C (77°F), while temps during the summer months range between 22°C (73°F) and 32°C (89°F). Hong Kong weather can be unpredictable, but is generally on par with Florida in the United States or northern Spain in Europe.
The best time to visit Hong Kong for weather is late April or October.
When to Purchase Airline Tickets
The best rule of thumb for securing airline tickets in advance of a trip is approximately four months prior to departure. After this window, airline seats begin to fill up, reducing available capacity thus driving prices higher.
Business travelers who tend to have more elasticity in their budgets (willing to pay more) will book closer to their desired travel dates. Leisure travelers who may save up for years for a long haul trip will book further in advance and plan around their trip, which usually means higher prices even when tickets first go on sale and not a single seat has been sold.
The same is true for award seats. Airlines will fly planes with less than a full load if they believe it will be likely they could sell the last few seats at a high premium. Well in advance, many airlines want passengers to think about using cash before the carrier is willing to open up free seats to frequent flyers.
A small number of airlines release award seats available the day the flight goes on sale, typically 330 days in advance of travel.
Visitors to Hong Kong who want to save the most for their trips should target the last week of November and the first two of December as business travel is low and school is in session globally. Those who miss this window should also look at late January to the middle of February, just a few days prior to Valentine’s Day.
If good weather is the most important thing to travelers, the dryer and warmer end of March through May is the most pleasant time to be in the city, but airfare may be higher.
While nearly every airline in the world flies into Hong Kong or has a partner that does, Hong Kong’s Chep Lak International Airport is home to Cathay Pacific. The green and white carrier is the epitome of a luxury airline. The carrier flies to several North American cities from Hong Kong including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. Other cities that have had service include Seattle, Washington DC, and Newark.
PRO TIP: Hong Kong’s airport is amazing as an experience. It’s beautifully built (it rests on a manmade island), offers as many shops from all over the world as a major mall, and if you have the extra miles or cash – it’s worthwhile upgrading your ticket to business or first class for the elevated lounge experience.
The Cathay Pacific First Class lounge, The Pier, even offers quests reservable private cabanas with a couch, bathroom, seated vanity, robes and slippers, and both a waterfall shower and deep soaking tub.
When to Make Hotel Reservations for Hong Kong
The summer is typically busier for hotels due to favorable weather and schools that are let out for the summer. However, late in February, Lunar (Chinese) New Year also presents a very busy time for Hong Kong (as it does for much of the Asian sphere of influence.) As Hong Kong was leased to the United Kingdom for a 99-year term concluding in 1997, many Christian holidays are also celebrated as they have been for generations.
To get the best price for hotel bookings, the system does not parallel the four-month rule for flights. Rather, booking out any time in the future up to three months prior is likely to be the same price.
Award availability does not follow the same structure as flights. Rather, as soon as a property is on sale for the year, it is typically open for an award booking as well. Award prices are less likely to fluctuate with a hotel redemption, however, availability might diminish as the date approaches, so it’s better to book your hotel first and cancel if you cannot find an accompanying flight.
The hottest months are June, July, and August with very warm weather in both May and August. Most travelers will prefer to visit somewhere in this general range, however, some guests will prefer cooler temperatures during the winter. As with flights, shoulder seasons in April and September are the least busy and most comfortable.
When to Visit Disneyland Hong Kong
Walt Disney World Resorts operate several theme parks outside the United States. One of the first foreign parks for Disney was Disneyland Hong Kong. It’s a smaller theme park with less infrastructure than Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando or Shanghai Disneyland, each several times larger than Disneyland Hong Kong.
But the smaller park has its advantages. The park is far more manageable, lines are nearly non-existent and for younger riders, there’s more content geared toward them. For parents, it’s kind of a dream Disney park. Entry fees are about $50 USD per adult, a little less for children and those under 3 years old are free.
Instead of spending all day waiting in lines to go on a handful of rides for which a guest has paid $100-130 at Disney World in Orlando, families can move from one to the next with ease, complete the park in a day, and spend half the money.
Visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland will find the smallest lines and best experience during the middle of the week (Tuesday through Thursday) and the lowest crowds in May and September.
Hong Kong Disneyland is accessible quickly and easily by MTR with its own dedicated stop. It’s also quick and easy to reach from the airport for those on an extended layover. How many people can say they rode roller coasters in between flights instead of slumping over a boarding gate chair?
When to Visit For the Dragon Boat Festival
Held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar (not the Gregorian calendar like the west.) In 2021, the Dragon Boat Festival will take place on June 14th. So with that in mind, remember, the date of this event changes every year.
The festival is a sight to behold in historic Victoria Harbour which splits Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. These decorated wooden boats resemble colorful dragon emblems found throughout the country.
The festival features a combination of boat races by rowing teams and a parade-style float approach with viewing tents of the beautifully decorated vessels.
When to Visit Victoria Peak
A must-see attraction in Hong Kong is Victoria Peak. Often referred to as simply The Peak, a viewing station and restaurant await visitors for the best view of the city. On the western edge of Hong Kong Island, it is the island’s highest point at just above 1,800 feet in elevation.
Getting to the Peak is half the experience. While you can reach it by bus, taxi, or private car, the traditional manner is to take a funicular originally constructed in 1888. Guests ride the tram car through the tropical forest, hills, and even private residences as they make their way to the top.
The Peak Galleria allows visitors to stand in the open air of an observation deck overlooking the harbour, Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island. Seeking out a telescope will enhance the view of the many skyscrapers below.
The best time to visit Victoria Peak is in the spring. In the winter, fog can quickly overtake the view especially at nightfall or early in the morning with temperature changes. In the late fall, inclement weather can reduce the splendor of the view and make for a bad experience.
However, in the spring, the weather is calm, warming and generally sunnier giving clear lines of site to the city.
TIP: Most visit during the day, but at night the lights of the city are a sight to behold. There’s an evening light show that takes place nightly on the harbour, projected onto the exteriors of city buildings. It’s beautiful day or night, but at night it seems to take away some of the distraction and demonstrate the beauty of the city.
When to Visit For the Hong Kong International Film Festival
Film is important in Hong Kong, the home of Kung Fu and Jackie Chan. The festival has been taking place since 1976 rotating more than 200 films from 60 countries at different venues throughout the city.
The festival typically takes place during the first last weeks of March and often into the first week of April, though in 2020 the festival was canceled. In 2021 the festival start date has been pushed past the first week in February for preliminary screenings.
Premiers that take place during the festival are gala events. Due to improved weather conditions and reduced tourism during this time of the year, late March or early April is a fantastic time to visit Hong Kong.
When to Visit For Lunar (Chinese) New Year
The Gregorian calendar (January 1st-December 31st) that we use in the west is not the traditional lunar calendar for which most of Asia still ties the passing of time. The Gregorian calendar is for business and outward events, but holidays are still from the Lunar cycles. The most important of those holidays is the Lunar (Chinese) New Year.
Both mainland Chinese, as well as those from other Asian territories such as Hong Kong, celebrate the new year which moves annually – February 12th, is when it was celebrated in 2021. While the 12th was the exact day for that year, a weeklong public holiday is observed (February 11th-17th) and the new year technically lasts 16 days beginning on the night preceding Lunar New Year. Be sure to check based on the current year when Chinese New year will be celebrated exactly.
During Lunar New Year, mainland Chinese are most likely to travel around, occupy hotels, and fill restaurants. Hong Kong will be festive but more expensive during this period of the year. Visitors should arrive a few days prior to Lunar New Year, and in the year of the Ox, that would be somewhere around February 9th.
When to Go For a Family Vacation
The shoulder season may lead to the best value for money, but some families prefer to travel to Hong Kong during the summer months when school is out and the weather is hot. It can also be easier for some working professionals to take time in the summer away from work, where other times may present a challenge.
For colder climates in North Asia, Europe, and North America, even the cooler, wetter months of December and January are vacation-worthy. That said, sunshine will be in short supply during this period.
If family schedules are more flexible, optimal times to visit would be in late May and early September. Attractions and theme parks will have lower attendance and better weather during these months.
When to Go on a Honeymoon in Hong Kong
Not everyone thinks of going to Hong Kong for their honeymoon but many should. Luxurious hotels fill the city, and there’s nothing better than spending your honeymoon in a robe on your way to the spa. Michelin-starred restaurants fill every district of the city, especially in Central, Wan Chai, and Kowloon. Theme parks, beaches, open water, and quick transfers to anywhere in Asia that a honeymooning couple might like to go are all reasons to visit Hong Kong after the wedding.
The city also boasts a substantial cruise business in a new cruise port from the former Kai Tak International Airport, right on the water in Kowloon. Many honeymooners fly to Hong Kong and spend a few days in the city first before taking cruises that touch many Asian ports.
The best time of year to visit for a honeymoon would be in May or June depending on tolerance of heat. June is is hotter than may but with fewer thunderstorms than July or August. If May is not an option, honeymooners might also try their luck in mid-september before Typhoon season picks up in activity.
When to Go to Save Money
Business travel keeps Hong Kong full year round but there are some key opportunities to save money in the city. One of those periods is in the shoulder seasons outlined previously. Those periods are April-May, and September-October when rain is at its worst.
Late January through the Lunar New Year (mid-February) is also a lull in business travel and tourism affording visitors some of the best prices (especially on flights and accommodations) that can be found.
Expatriates also go home during the Christmas and New Year holidays so this can offer a two-week window as well. However, visitors will compete for seats on airplanes with business people going home for the holidays and students coming back for the holiday break from schools in the west.
PRO TIP: December 15th-20th into Hong Kong and January 7th onward are cheapest and easiest for frequent flyer award bookings and cash tickets. Business class is particularly easy to obtain during these periods as companies that buy the seats aren’t typically paying for business trips during the period.
When To Go When It’s Not Busy
Hong Kong is nearly always busy but dies down during Typhoon/rainy season in September and October. Late January through to the Lunar holiday are also low points in tourism traffic. During the school year, when children have class and parents are reluctant to remove them for a holiday, the city has lower traffic as well.
Visitors may also avoid crowds in different areas of the city and attractions. Skip Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland during the weekends and save these attractions for the middle of the week. Wan Chai, a bar and expatriate district, is very busy on the weekends (including Fridays and Mondays especially during holiday weekends.)
When is the best time to go to Hong Kong for Weddings
The best time to go to Hong Kong for weddings is the mid to late spring where temperatures are cool, and inclement weather is at a minimum. April temperatures are comfortably warm in the day time making it an ideal location for outdoor weddings and evening receptions in the garden.
For those from the extreme northern hemisphere in Russia, Europe, and North America, January and February with still temperate climates are still warm enough to make Hong Kong feel tropical.
High season (May to August)
Hong Kong begins its summer in late May through August (Highs: 83-88°F/28-31°C, Lows: 75-80°F/24-27°C.) When school lets out for the summer, tourists visit the city and business does not slow down until August. While rain comes throughout the summer sunny days abound and fill the Hong Kong rugby pitch up to late August.
Later in the summer, August and September, the weather can be considerably hotter and rainier especially as it runs closer to the fall. Thunderstorms can frequent the summer, but often are not long lasting.
Buildings are generally air conditioned making the city comfortable even in the heat of summer.
Low season (September to February)
While the coldest time of year is in the winter months of late November to early March, low season actually begins in the early onset of fall (September) when the rainy season kicks into high gear but mixes with the warm waters of the South China Sea. This transforms rainy days and thunderstorms into typhoons and even landslides. (Highs: 66-86°F/18-30°C, Lows: 57-78°F/14-25°C.)
Rough weather isn’t an annual certainty the way it may be elsewhere, but nevertheless leisure travel slows during this period. Travelers with flexible schedules should be advised to visit in the late winter (February) if possible.
The Weather in Hong Kong Categorized by Month
Comparatively, Hong Kong is hot to temperate by most standards. Lows throughout the coldest months of the year remain comfortable, while highs can go from to hot but not unbearable. However, dry and wet seasons offer completely different experiences. This is why many should consider the weather when deciding on the best time to visit Hong Kong. Some months have virtually no rainy days while other seasons feature rain in the forecast every other day or more.
January falls in Thailand’s dry season with some of the more temperate weather. Average rainfall occurs just one day during the first month of the year. During January, average high temperatures are 89°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 71°F (22°C). Rainfall is just 0.2” (28.3mm) during the month. Visitors during the month of January may want to bring a light jacket or shawl for evenings out and long pants, as well as closed-toe shoes. The water is generally calmer as is the weather during this month.
February remains in Thailand’s dry season with relatively temperate weather. Average rainfall occurs just one day during the first month of the year as it does in January. During February, average high temperatures are slightly warmer than in January at 92°F (34°C) with nightly lows of 76°F (24°C). Rainfall is just 0.15” (22mm) during the month. Unlike January and December, February is warm and dry enough that visitors need not bring jackets or shawls though long pants and closed-toe shoes are still required at many finer dining venues. As throughout the dry season, water is generally calmer as is the weather during this month.
March remains in Thailand’s dry season though the weather begins to show signs of changing for the season. The month averages two days of rainfall. During March, average high temperatures increase during the day to 94°F (35°C) with nightly lows of 78°F (25°C). Rainfall is just 0.3” (40mm) during the month. March is hot during the day and warm throughout the night. Transitioning to the wet season, weather changes may include more turbulent waters and altered winds.
Shockingly, April is the hottest month on average in Thailand. Though April is technically spring and in between the dry and rainy seasons, there isn’t yet enough cloud cover to keep the days cooled down as the coming months will. The month averages six days of rainfall (20% of the month.) April average high temperatures are the hottest of the year reaching highs of 96°F (35°C) with nightly lows of 80°F (25°C). Rainfall increases twelve-fold to 3.6” (91mm) during the month. April is hot without abatement. Seasons are in the process of changing from dry to wet, as such more extreme weather instances are likely.
Though May is fully in the wet season and Thailand’s summer, it cools off slightly from April with cloudier skies and rain that cools things down ever-so-slightly. The month averages nearly half rainy at 14 days of rainfall. May average high temperatures remain hot though cool two degrees to 94°F (34°C) with nightly lows of 79°F (25°C). Rainfall doubles from April to 7.2” (183mm) during the month. Fully in the wet season, visitors can expect afternoon rain showers that often last just 20-30 minutes each day at 4 pm and intermittent thunderstorms in the night as cooler temperatures meet the day’s warm air.
June is in the wet season and Thailand’s summer, mostly maintaining the status quo from May. The month averages nearly half rainy at 14 days of rainfall. June average high temperatures remain hot though cool one degree to 93°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 79°F (25°C). Rainfall remains flat against May at 7.1” (180mm) during the month. Visitors should expect afternoon rain showers that often last just 20-30 minutes each day at 4 pm and intermittent thunderstorms in the night as cooler temperatures meet the day’s warm air.
July is the middle of summer and the rainy season. The month averages nearly half rainy at 14 days of rainfall. July average high temperatures remain hot though cool one more degree to 92°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 78°F (25°C). Rainfall is down slightly in July to 6.9” (175mm) during the month. Visitors should expect afternoon rain showers that often last just 20-30 minutes each day at 4 pm and intermittent thunderstorms in the night as cooler temperatures meet the day’s warm air.
Summer and the rainy season are beginning to wind down in August, though in Thailand that means relatively the same temperature but declining rainfall amount spread out over more days. The month averages more than half rainy at 16 days of rainfall. August average high temperatures remain hot though cool one more degree to 91°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 78°F (25°C). Rainfall is down slightly in August to 6.7” (170mm) during the month. Visitors should expect afternoon rain showers that often last just 20-30 minutes each day at 4 pm and intermittent thunderstorms in the night as cooler temperatures meet the day’s warm air.
Summer is transitioning to fall but the rainy season remains active. But moving into falls in Thailand still hot days and warm nights but rainfall becomes less substantial but more frequent. On average, two-thirds of the month experience rainfall. September temperatures remain nearly static against the prior month at 91°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 77°F (24°C). Rainfall is down slightly in September to 5.1” (170mm) during the month. Visitors should expect rainfall daily for a brief period with calmer weather.
The final throes of the rainy season come to a hefty end halfway through the month of October. Bring a raincoat and wear it. While only half of the month sees rainy days on average, rainfall amounts are the highest of the year. October highs are the same as the prior month, 91°F (32°C) with nightly lows dropping one degree to 76°F (24°C). Rainfall is the heaviest of the year in October at 8.7” (290mm) during the month. Interestingly, the sea temperature is warmer than the nightly lows at 29°C in the water.
Moving into the dry season and winter, November brings some abrupt changes. Rainy days drop to just five during the month. November high temperatures drop a degree during the day and night each vs the prior month, 90°F (31°C) with nightly lows dropping one degree to 75°F (23°C). Rainfall occurs mostly in the first half of the month, receiving just 3.7” (130mm) during the month.
December falls in the early portion of Thailand’s dry season with some of the most temperate weather Thailand receives. December is so dry, in fact, that it averages zero day of rainfall (though actual precipitation does occur in small doses. In December, average high temperatures are 89°F (32°C) with nightly lows of 71°F (22°C). Rainfall is just 0.05” (6mm) during the month. Like January, visitors during the month of JanecemberDuary may want to bring a light jacket or shawl for evenings out and long pants, as well as closed-toe shoes. The water is generally calmer as is the weather during this month.
Hong Kong Festivals And Events
For many, the festivals and events define the best time to visit Hong Kong. We have hand picked the best for each month of the year below.
New Years celebrations begin on the first as they do around the world. Businesses will be shut around the holiday but celebrations both precede and follow the holiday. Look for light displays, fireworks and tough to secure reservations.
The best views in town are from Victoria Peak, and OZONE on the 108th floor of the International Commerce Centre tower on an open-air deck.
Chinese Lunar New Year
Hong Kong enjoys the weeklong celebration and official holiday of Lunar New Year taking place from February 12-17th, 2021. The city will see viewers come and go to and from mainland China. Well-heeled mainlanders spend their time in Hong Kong and Macau while those from the mainland living in Hong Kong make a pilgrimage home to China.
The holiday is filled with joy, generosity, and an appreciation for Chinese culture. Expect high traffic on trains, planes, and highways to China.
Spring Lantern Festival
Celebrated on the last day of the Lunar New year, lanterns and love are in the air.
Observed on the 13th, this public holiday celebrates Thai elephants and their contribution to Thai society.
National Muy Thai Day
Taking place on the 17th, a national Thai martial arts celebration begins in Ayutthaya with tournaments and other cities echo similar events around the country.
As a former British territory, Hong Kong continues to recognize and celebrate both Chinese and Christian holidays. Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday are all observed public holidays. Events around the city take place and government buildings will be closed along with many offices. April 2nd-5th, 2021.
April 5th, 2021. Also called Tomb Sweeping Day, this festival and public holiday honor those that have passed on by visiting and cleaning their graves. An ancient Chinese holiday, this festival includes burning fake money and effigies to pass on to the dead.
Labour Day (public holidays)
Held on May 1st annually, this public holiday celebrates the sacrifices and hardships of common workers by giving them a day off. Most governmental offices will be closed on Labour Day.
Celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar, this public holiday is held on May 19, 2021. Celebrations of the birth of Buddha take place around the city, but on Lantau Island (near the airport), a giant Buddha statue rests on a hill reachable only by cable cars. It’s worth a visit.
Tuen Ng Day
A Dragon Boat festival treats visitors to races by competing rowing teams of 20 to 80 in Stanley Village, Tai Po and historic Victoria Harbour. This is “double fifth” day for the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. June 14th, 2021.
HKSAR Establishment Day
In 1997 the British handed administrative control of Hong Kong over to China following its 99-year lease. For a period of 50 years, Hong Kong is to remain a territory with the Basic Law (similar to a constitution) in place including rights and privileges that do not extend to other areas of mainland China. HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Establishment Day celebrates this period of autonomy.
Mid Autumn Festival
A weeklong celebration of prayer, this festival is colorful and expressed through light and sound exhibitions around the city. In 2021, the week starts on September 14th ending on September 21st with the following day (22nd) a public holiday.
Celebrating the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, National Day celebrated annually on October 1st has increased in popularity in Hong Kong following its transition to Chinese rule.
Like Ching Ming in the spring, Chung Yeung is similarly a holiday of respect for the dead celebrated in the autumn in Hong Kong. On October 14th, 2021, families will visit the graves of family members that have passed.
Officially, just Christmas Day and the first weekday following Christmas (December 27th, 2021) are official public holidays. However, businesses and government offices will be closed during the days leading up to the day and those following.
Let us know about your favorite Hong Kong visit and what time of year it was. Do you know of a special time for festivals or the best hotel deals? Share your secrets on the best time to visit Hong Kong below!