The highlight of the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng Festival, on June 10, 2024, are the races that will be held across the city. These events are seen as the culmination of multiple practices meant to drive away evil energy and invite clean energy into one’s life. We bring you a list of dragon boat races that you can watch in Hong Kong in 2024. While most of the competitions are on the day of the festival, which is a Monday, some others are on weekends preceding it or following it.

What is a dragon boat?

A dragon boat is a long, narrow, human-powered watercraft traditionally used in the sport of dragon boat racing, which originated in ancient China. These boats are usually made out of wood, although modern versions can be made from various materials, including fibreglass. The standout feature of a dragon boat is its decorative dragon head and tail, and it often features a drum at the front where a drummer sits to keep the paddlers in rhythm.

Dragon boat crews comprise paddlers, a steerer, and a drummer. Therefore, the boats vary in length, depending on their design and the number of rowers they carry. Standard dragon boats are usually around 40 feet long and can hold a crew of 22 people, while small dragon boats measure about 30 feet long and are designed to hold a crew of 12 people. A long dragon boat, which is a more traditional and ceremonial version, can be much longer than the standard racing boats — up to 90 feet long.

2024 Eastern District Dragon Boat Race — June 2, 2024

eastern district dragon boat race hong kong
Head to Chai Wan to catch these races that take place before the Dragon Boat Festival (© Stewart~惡龍 via WikiCommons)

This annual event organised by the 60-year-old Chai Wan Fishermen’s Recreation Association usually takes place on a Sunday before the Tuen Ng Festival. This year, the races will take place two Sundays before the festival in Chai Wan. Teams will compete in standard boats and long boats during the races.

When: June 2, 2024
Where: Chai Wan, Cargo Handling Area, Chai Wan Waterfront
Distance: 400 metres
Time: 8am–5pm
Official Website: www.chaiwan-dragonboat.yolasite.com
How To Get There: Take the MTR to Chai Wan Station (Exit D), and walk through Chai Wan Park to Wing Tai Road. Turn onto Ka Yip Street and walk to the cargo working area.

Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race 2024 — June 10, 2024

aberdeen dragon boat race hong kong
Paddlers who take part in this century-old race compete in long boats (© Aberdeen Dragon Boat)

This event has been held for more than 100 years and typically features long dragon boats, as opposed to the small and standard varieties. These boats are 90 feet long, with 48 paddlers seated in rows of two, making them twice as long as the boats used in most other races.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Aberdeen Promenade/Aberdeen West Typhoon Shelter
Distance: 400 metres
Time: 8.30 am–4pm
Official Website: www.facebook.com/aberdeendragonboat
How To Get There: Hop on Bus 70 from Exchange Square in Central or take a cab.

Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships — June 10, 2024

stanley international dragon boat championships hong kong
The dragon boat races at Stanley take place at one of the most popular beaches in Hong Kong (© istolethetv via Flickr)

This popular tourist destination, which is a haven for beach-goers, is also a hub of activity during the Dragon Boat Festival, when teams from around the world compete in the races held here. Paddlers up the ante by wearing colourful wigs and face paint in the hope of bagging the Best Dress Award. Spectators partake in a variety of free activities, such as face painting and mini-games.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Stanley Main Beach
Distance: 270 metres
Time: 8am–5pm
Official Website: www.dragonboat.org.hk
How To Get There: Take the 6, 6A, or 6X bus from Central Bus Terminus to Stanley, or take Bus 973 from Tsim Sha Tsui East Bus Terminus. The quickest way is to take a taxi to Stanley.

See also
22 Best Beaches In Hong Kong To Visit This Summer

Sai Kung Tuen Ng Festival — June 10, 2024

sai kung tuen ng festival hong kong
The dragon boat races in Sai Kung are held along with a carnival (© Sai Kung District Sports Association)

Come for the races, and stay for the carnival! The day will begin with standard boat races, which will end in the afternoon. If you want to get into the festive spirit of the event, head to the carnival that will have game stalls that everyone can try their hand at.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Sai Kung Waterfront and Promenade
Distance: 400 metres
Time: 8am–2.30pm (races), 10am–1pm (carnival)
Official Website: www.sksa.com.hk
How To Get There: From Central or TST, take the MTR to Choi Hung Station then board the Green Minibus 1A. Alternatively, take the MTR to Diamond Hill Station, then hop on Bus 92 to Sai Kung.

Sha Tin Dragon Boat Race — June 10, 2024

sha tin dragon boat race hong kong
This New Territories event has an all-women race (© dohjai via Flickr)

This half-day event is quite popular in the New Territories, where it has been held annually for the past 30 years. The highlight is the phoenix race, which only comprises female paddlers.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Shing Mun River (Banyan Bridge-Sha Yin Bridge)
Distance: 300 metres, 500 metres
Time: 8am–1pm
Official Website: www.stsa.org.hk
How To Get There: Take the MTR to Sha Tin Station (Exit A), and walk through New Town Plaza to Sha Tin Park. Then walk along the riverside for about 10 minutes.

Tai Po Dragon Boat Race — June 10, 2024

tai po dragon boat race hong kong
Get to this New Territories race early to witness the races (© Toodwin via Flickr)

This half-day event will see participants compete in standard boats and small boats, and is held at a scenic location in the New Territories.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Tai Po Waterfront Park Promenade
Distance: 500 metres
Time: 8.30am–1pm
Official Website: www.tpsa.org.hk
How To Get There: Take bus 72A from MTR Tai Wai Station (Exit B). Alight at Tai Po Waterfront Park.

See also
What's On: The Best Events And Things To Do In Hong Kong This Weekend

Tuen Mun Dragon Boat Race — June 10, 2024

tuen mun dragon boat race hong kong
Pick up admission tickets for the Tuen Mun races on June 1, 2024 (© Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Race Committee)

If you want to spend your day in the northwestern part of the New Territories, head to Tuen Mun. The races here are a half-day affair and will see paddlers in standard boats and small boats. While entry is free, there are limited admission tickets for the races, which you can pick up from the Tuen Mun Government Offices on June 1.

When: June 10, 2024
Where: Castle Peak Bay, Area 44, Tuen Mun
Distance: 400 metres
Time: 9am–1pm
Official Website: Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Race Committee on Facebook
How To Get There: Take the Light Rail 614, 614P or 507 to Siu Hei Station or bus 59x from MTR Mong Kok East Station (Exit C) to Tuen Mun Ferry Pier. Then walk 10 minutes to the venue.

Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races — June 15-16, 2024

hong kong international dragon boat races fancy dress contest
One of the biggest draws of the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races is the fancy dress competition (© Hong Kong Tourism Board)

This two-day event will feature local and international teams who will battle it out for several titles, including the International Open, Mixed and Women’s Grand Championships, the 18 Districts Trophy, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Championship. This year’s event will also feature a series of 75A Trophy championships to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Winners of all championship races will be awarded US$10,000. And, of course, there’s the highly anticipated Fancy Dress Competition, which is only open to members of participating teams.

When: June 15-16, 2024
Where: Off Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade
Distance: 500 metres
Time: 8am–5:30pm
Official Website: www.hkcdba.org/en/hkidbr
How To Get There: Take the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station (Exit J) and walk to the promenade via the Avenue of Stars. Or take the Star Ferry from Central or Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui, then walk along the TST promenade for about 10 minutes.

Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade & Dragon Boat Races — June 30, 2024

dragon boat water parade of tai o
The Dragon Boat Parade of Tai O is an annual tradition (© Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Every year during the Dragon Boat Festival, three fishermen’s associations in Tai O — Pa Teng Hong, Sin Yu Hong, and Hop Sum Tong — organise the Dragon Boat Water Parade. The event, also known as the Deities Parade, was recognised on China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage in 2011. Deity statues from four temples in Tai O are loaded on small boats towed by three dragon boats through the water channels of the village. Dragon Boat Races are also held during this day.

When: June 30, 2024 (Dragon Boat Race)
Where: Tai O Creek and Pier (Dragon Boat Parade), Tai O Promenade (Dragon Boat Races)
Distance: 300m (Dragon Boat Races)
Time: 7am–2pm (Dragon Boat Parade), 10am–2pm (Dragon Boat Races)
Official website: www.dragonboathk.com
How To Get There: Take Bus 11 from Tung Chung, Bus 1 from Mui Wo, or Bus 21 from Ngong Ping Village.

If you aren’t able to watch the races during the Dragon Boat Race Festival, there are other competitions scheduled throughout the year:

  • 2024 Kwai Tsing District Dragon Boat Race Invitational Race: May 26, 2024
  • 2024 Kwun Tong Waterfront Sunshine Dragon Boat Race: August 28, 2024
  • Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Gala: TBA

Header image credits: Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Race Committee, Hong Kong Tourism Board

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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