May brings hot, sunny weather, so you’re going to want to stay cool in Hong Kong this month. Whether that’s enjoying cocktails – and air-conditioning – in your favourite watering hole, or lacing up your trainers and catching a breeze atop one of Hong Kong’s hilly trails, we’ve got you covered. Find some of the best hikes on outlying islands like Lamma, Lantau and Cheung Chau, which are popular for weekend forays, laidback cafes, restaurants and beaches. Or delve into the city’s programme of events, which is starting to heat up as COVID-19 restrictions become more relaxed.
Read on for a selection of the best things to do in Hong Kong in May.
Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday
Buddha’s birthday falls on 19 May this year. Make the most of the day off with a visit to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Your reward for hiking up to the main temple on a hill overlooking Sha Tin will be zen vibes and hundreds of statues, including 500 life-size gilded arhat figurines.
Join Cinco de Mayo Festivities
Celebrate Mexican cuisine on 5 May at Basehall in Central, where themed dishes will be available all day for a special Cinco de Mayo party that includes Mexican folk music courtesy of the Mariachi Fiesta band from 6-10pm. Throw back a couple of margaritas, try Pub 1842’s Lager Al Pastor – a Mexican-inspired beer brewed just for the occasion – then scoff tacos at Westside Taqueria or sample unique creations from burger connoisseurs Honbo.
Every Night is Pizza Night in Soho
Amalfitana has been serving Amalfi Coast vibes in Repulse Bay since it opened in 2017 – now you can enjoy a taste of the Italian tourist spot at its second branch on Soho’s Wyndham Street. Dig into artisan pizzas like the Capricciosa (which marries the flavours of tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushroom, olives, artichokes and anchovies) or devour the classic pasta dishes created by chef Michel Degli Agosti and the team.
Tuck into New Dishes at Chaat
Chef Manav Tuli has been busy working on new dishes for Rosewood’s celebrated Indian restaurant Chaat. Don’t miss the beetroot kulfi kebabs, served with mint and tamarind chutney and sweet yogurt; and order baskets of the indulgent black truffle and chilli cheese naan to mop up the fabulous curries. That’s if you can get a reservation, of course…
Sip on Cocktails in Style
With nightlife gradually reopening, it’s time to get reacquainted with Hong Kong’s hottest bars and clubs. One of the city’s buzziest venues, Cassio has made a splash with a glam makeover courtesy of Parisian designers Hervet Manufacturier – the creative director behind retired robot rockers and DJ supremos Daft Punk. Saunter into the newly remodelled retro-futurist interiors for tapas, cocktails and dancing.
Meanwhile, Soho watering hole The Pontiac has a vibrant new cocktail menu that shouts as loud as the punk aesthetic and rockin’ soundtrack. Marvel at the bold artworks by Hong Kong’s own Riya Chandiramani while knocking back creative new libations including the Run Rabbit Run (Fernet Hunter, purple carrot gin, cassis, lime and nutmeg) and the Japanese-inspired High Tide Martini – a collaboration between owner Beckaly Franks and chef Max Levy from Okra, made with gin, dashi dry vermouth, Okra’s own wormwood tincture and pickled celery.
Get a Buzz with Coffee Academics
Learn how to make the perfect latte at home with The Coffee Academics’ new series of weekly workshops. Designed to give you basic barista skills, the 90-minute classes are held at the Morrison Hill branch (priced at HK$488; English, Cantonese and private classes upon request).
Catch Fortnum & Mason’s Terrific Tea Season
British tea purveyor Fortnum & Mason continues its Tea Season this May with a series of tea-themed events including a roving Tea Tuk beverage cart serving the brand’s signature blends as it pops up around the city, and new tea-infused cocktails at the brand’s K11 Musea dining establishment, 181. The brand has also collaborated with food writer Tom Parker Bowles on its new Time for Tea book, an entertaining read packed with recipes and hacks to get the most out of your cuppa.
Hang Out at Tong Chong Street Market
Taikoo Place’s Tong Chong Street Market is now running all year on weekdays from 8am-3pm. This month, get ready for the Street Food Carnival (3 May-2 July). Among the concepts are Holy Gaw, bringing Filipino cuisine to Hongkongers; Măm Măm, serving healthy Vietnamese favourites such as banh mi; and Hauabout, which experiments with fermented ingredients in local cuisine.
Check Out Exhibitions
Tai Kwun welcomes a new exhibition: Ink City (until 1 August). The title comes from a video featured in the exhibition by the late Chen Shaoxiong, composed of hundreds of ink washes layered over an entire day. Works examining contemporary urban life, by international artists from Vancouver to Beijing, will also be on show – including pieces by Tsang Tsou Choi, affectionately dubbed the ‘King of Kowloon’ for the proliferation of his inky scrawls across the area’s postboxes and public areas.
Return of Le French May
The annual Le French May arts festival continues to bring all things French – from gastronomy to cinema to exhibitions. There’s still time to catch Mixed Colours: Rebirth, an exhibition highlighting the links between the cultures of Asia and the West, running until 3 May; and explore a series of special dinners organised under the banner of Le French GourMay – the Surrealism in the Modern Kitchen promises ‘a delicious symphony of flavours’.
Splash Out on a Staycation
We’re excited about the news of the Hong Kong Singapore Air Travel Bubble (read our top tips for planning your perfect Singapore escape). But while you’re waiting to take off on that next overseas adventure, you can still take advantage of staycation offers at top hotels right here in Hong Kong: among them the Four Seasons, The Langham, The Ritz-Carlton and the Gold Coast Hotel.