Walking a tightrope between old and new, Hong Kong is where skyscrapers meet street markets, shopping malls meet temples and tradition meets tech, says the Virgin Australia team, who are offering incredible return airfare deals to the “Fragrant Harbour” often starting from under $800. And while its location between East and West is at the crux of its dueling identities, Virgin Australia says Hong Kong’s dynamism is first and foremost a product of its people, who stride toward the future whilst celebrating their rich heritage and past. May and June is a fun and exciting time of year to be in Hong Kong as the city celebrates some of its most unforgettable festivals. Here’s a selection of what’s hot and new in Hong Kong in the coming months.

Fabulous festival fun

Hong Kong celebrates the ancient Cheung Chau Bun Festival on the charming island of Cheung Chau from May 9-13. Every year, the people of Cheung Chau get busy making papier-mâché effigies of deities, preparing costumes, steaming tens of thousands of ping on bao, aka ‘lucky buns’ and building a bamboo tower. They’re preparing for thousands of people to descend upon their tiny island to celebrate one of TIME Magazine’s “Top 10 Quirky Local Festivals”.

Now in its 10th year the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival celebrates this action-packed three-day annual festival (June 14-16) with a series of competitive races and cultural activities. Expect to witness vigorous battles among some of the world’s strongest dragon boat teams as they compete by invitation only on Victoria Harbour. Don’t miss out on the fun at Central Harbourfront where spectators line up to cheer on the teams, there’s a ‘Fancy Dress Competition’, a fun-filled playground with a man-made beach, a ‘Splash Area’, the Street Food Gala and the newly introduced Artisanal Market – and entrance is free.

Eat darling eat

The newly opened eat darling eat represents modern-nostalgia based on nostalgic memories of Hong Kong’s quintessential street treats, snacks and desserts which are being revived with a trendy modern twist by Executive Chef Jason Luk – a dessert specialist from internationally acclaimed Zuma in Bangkok, Shanghai and Miami. The menu features retro specialities with a healthy, contemporary twist and intriguing variations of traditional Hong Kong hawker food – all complemented by the bold, surreal restaurant design which is reflective of the menu’s creativity.

Lee Ho Sing is a new modern takeaway and snacks eatery situated on Lyndhurst Terrace in Central. Translated directly to mean ‘You’re So Smart’, Lee Ho Sing cleverly draws inspiration from Hong Kong’s unique cosmopolitan culture to reinvent traditional street food using premium ingredients to create an inspiring marriage of flavours at affordable prices.

Silencio is the latest venture of Le Comptoir’s and Californian native and Executive Chef Sean Mell from the famed Japanese-Peruvian Nobu restaurant chain.  It’s Hong Kong’s only contemporary izakaya featuring live jazz music. The cuisine showcases a sophisticated take on Japanese izakaya favourites that respect tradition but are not bound by it, paired with a curated selection of junmai sakes and handcrafted cocktails. The sleek wood panelling, black marble and leather details accented in gold set a sultry atmosphere for guests to dine and imbibe against the backdrop of live music.

Drink & rejuvenate

The SEA by The Old Man opened in March and  is brought to life by the founders of The Old Man (ranked 10th on World’s 50 Best Bars). It’s a sister venue of The Old Man paying homage to the life and legacy of Ernest Hemingway and his 1952 hit novel The Old Man and the Sea. Think rustic décor and serious cocktails built with some of the most inventive techniques in food and drinks today such as fermentation, sous-vide cooking and rotary evaporation.

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has unveiled a Breathe and Detox suite experience to celebrate the first revolutionary dry salt inhalation ‘halotherapy’ and infrared sauna to strengthen respiratory health and encourage detoxification exclusively at the award-winning Mandarin Spa. Until 30 June 2019, the Mandarin Spa is offering a 120-minute Breathe and Detox suite experience.

SHHHHH…

Hot in the hotel scene

Newly opened on 11 April 2019, The St. Regis Hong Kong reflects the vision of interior designer André Fu of a Hong Kong mansion, blending the timeless elegance of the St. Regis brand to the silhouettes of Hong Kong’s architectural and cultural diversity. Thoughtfully-designed accommodation featuring 129 rooms and suites are complemented by East meets West elements that provide the perfect setting to offering personalised St. Regis Butler Service.

Rosewood Hong Kong, a magnificent new ultra-luxury property situated within the Victoria Dockside arts, design and conceptual retail district opened on in March. The 413-room Rosewood Hong Kong is located at a prime Victoria Harbour waterfront location at the former New World Centre on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon. The ultra-luxury hotel occupies 27 floors of a multi-use tower, already destined to become a landmark on the world-famous skyline.

Eight restaurants and lounges are complemented by recreational facilities including Asaya, Rosewood’s holistic wellness approach for mind, body and inner self as well as a fitness centre and 25m outdoor swimming pool boasting panoramic views of Victoria Harbour. The Manor Club executive lounge provides exclusive privileges while The Pavilion, the brand’s signature residential-style meeting and function space, can host corporate events, conferences and social celebrations.

Images supplied courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board

Scott Podmore

About Scott Podmore

Managing Editor of The Departure Lounge and award-winning writer, newspaper editor, photographer/videographer and bestselling author who specialises in travel, music and lifestyle content. Follow on Twitter & instragram #scottpodmore

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