Festivals and events

Things to do in Hong Kong in February

Usher in the Year of the Dog with fireworks, Hemingway cocktails and the city's best new eats

The nearest Hong Kong gets to a winter is February. The days are squashy and cool, and the clouds hang low.

All of which means we can get away with nothing else but eating, drinking and getting nicely round to keep ourselves warm before once again reaching for the aircon switch in another few weeks. It’s also Chinese New Year, which means plenty of celebrating and, most importantly, days off work.

How to celebrate? Eating: on newly reinvigorated Staunton Street. It’s gone from being an expatty, slightly grubby place to being the location of this season’s best new openings: Meats (so meaty they give you tongs to pick at the bones with) and Big Sur (packed with Californian casualistas eating tacos). On even less reputable Wyndham Street, seek out The New Punjab Club: Tatler’s best new HK restaurant and just the thing for stoking your internal fires.

Then: drinking. It’s been open for a while, but speakeasy The Old Man – from Staunton, turn left on Aberdeen Street and dive down the lane on the right – is constantly packed with an elite group of boozers drinking Hemingway-inspired cocktails. A few stumbles down the hill from Staunton on Pottinger is Yojimbo, a new Japanese club with live music and entertainment actors were writhing around on the bar drapped in sakura when we visited), masterminded by Australian design visionary Ashley Sutton, of Iron Fairies and J Boroski fame. The bar at the excellent Piedmontese La Piola in one of Wan Chai’s noblest buildings is getting a loyal following, too.

And if you’re in town over the CNY weekend (16-19 February), there’s the usual tinselly fireworks display and parade through Tsim Sha Tsui to mark the new Year of the Dog.

While you’re there, you might notice Victoria Harbour looking a little different (or, er, not). Enter the Symphony of Lights 2.0, a subtle upgrade on Hong Kong’s top tourist attraction: expect more installations, more buildings and more bling, naturally.

Further afield

Mar 3: Sak Yant Tattoo Festival, Nakhon Chaisi, Thailand

Fifty kilometres from Bangkok, Wat Bang Phra temple hosts an event of mass tattooing by monks. The tattoos are believed to have mystical qualities; many festival goers fall into a trance.

Mar 16 – Mar 21: Singapore Cocktail Festival, Singapore

At this event, visitors will find nine rooms for tasting innovative cocktails, music from the DJs of the popular club Ce La Vi and pop-up food stalls from top restaurants. singaporecocktailfestival.com

Apr 6 – Apr 8: ITTF Asian Cup. Yokohama, Japan

Asia’s top table tennis players battle it out at this tournament dominated by Chinese contenders, with strong showings from Japan, Singapore and South Korea in recent years. ittf.com

Apr 13 – Apr 15: Xishuangbanna Water Festival, Xishuangbanna, Mainland China

Marking the New Year for the Dai ethnic group, this festival in Yunnan province means everyone throwing water on everyone. Buddha statues at temples also get good bathings.

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