As temperatures start to sizzle in Hong Kong, so too does its calendar of events – especially as Covid-19 restrictions begin to subside. While June may not be the best month for hiking – it’s the perfect time to investigate its glorious beaches and coastal delights. Alternatively, seek out the air-conditioned interiors of museums, galleries and restaurants this month to satisfy your cultural cravings while staying cool. From dragon boat races to art exhibitions and craft workshops here’s what to do in Hong Kong this June.
Cheer on racers during Dragon Boat Festival
The sight of long boats helmed by mythical creatures and guided by rhythmic drumming is common at this time of year, as teams all over Hong Kong prepare to race against each other in the annual Dragon Boat (or Tuen Ng) Festival. The annual celebration is said to pay homage to heroic Chinese poet Qu Yuan, and sees teams race furiously to reach the shore. Spectators meanwhile can enjoy traditional delights such as zongzi – lotus-leaf wrapped parcels of sticky rice, meat and vegetables. Races take part across the territory, but one of the most popular is the Stanley Dragon Boat Race, set to return on 3 June.
Discover renowned artists in Hong Kong
While Art Basel and Art Central wrapped up at the end of May, there’s still plenty of artistic Hong Kong events to explore this month. View the hypnotic oil paintings from record-breaking artist Zao Wou-Ki at a retrospective exhibition held at Alisan Fine Art, or discover the challenging works of Los Angeles artist Louise Bonnet at the Gagosian, where her grotesquely twisted portraits explore our relationship with our bodies. For digital art lovers, the facade of the city’s newly opened M+ Museum will be transformed into a piece of moving art with Ellen Pau’s work The Shape of Light, while K11 Musea’s NFT exhibition highlights work by artists including Takashi Murakami and blockchain collectables such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Experience the joie de vivre
Francophiles – this one’s for you. French May is an annual festival celebrating all things French. It returns this year with a slew of arthouse films, dining experiences and live performances. French cinema is set to take over a number of theatres across Hong Kong, with classics ranging from The Young Girls of Rochefort to Daft Punk’s space-musical Interstella 5555, while the jazzy songs of Serge Gainsbourg will be honoured with a live tribute concert. See the full programme here.
Celebrate Hong Kong’s history
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover and a number of museums and galleries will pay tribute to this pivotal moment in the city’s history. Head to the Asia Society Hong Kong Center for Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence: Thirty Years of Hong Kong Photographs, an exhibition which transports viewers to the 1940s through black-and-white images. An immersive experience opens at the Maritime Museum on 24 June, with a special exhibition showcasing the city’s dramatic rise following World War II. Another event called HK 1997 specifically documents the year of the handover through striking photography by Birdy Chu.
Broaden your horizons with Cantonese opera
For a taste of traditional culture, one of the quintessential things to do in Hong Kong is to watch a Cantonese opera performance. Talented performers take to the stage with painted faces and striking costumes to bring famous legends and historical events to life. Head to the modern Xiqu Centre – a dedicated space built to celebrate Chinese cultural arts – for a wide selection of performances. The Tea House Theatre Experience offers a narrated introduction to the world of Chinese traditional theatre, while avid fans won’t want to miss the star-studded production of Seven Filial Kin.
Learn a new skill
From lamp-making to coffee brewing, Hong Kong’s event calendar is packed with interesting workshops to explore this June. PMQ, one of the city’s cultural hubs, is set to host a number of exciting events, including regular coffee workshops with Palicoffee, ring-making classes at Obellery jewellery studio, and a carpet tufting session with Tufting Dept to get in on the latest social media craze. Elsewhere, you can find workshops to make your own Turkish mosaic lamp, lockdown-friendly sourdough baking lessons, or even candlemaking classes.