If you’re in Hong Kong in the summer, then our apologies. It’s hot, it’s humid, and you sweat pretty much 24/7. The air sits on you like a wet cloud. People walk around constantly fanning themselves, and you’ll find yourself wanting to bathe twice a day because your clothes stick to you like glue.
Summer is so sticky that people take solace in any place that is air conditioned—malls, supermarkets, libraries, even IKEA, which has become a popular place for people to ‘try out’ couches and recliners, often for hours at a time.
However, there are ways to escape the heat, at least temporarily, without squatting in IKEA. If you’re just visiting, use this as a handy list of Hong Kong summer activities. And if you live in Hong Kong, this can be a time to catch up on your bucket list of things that you’ve been meaning to go do, but never got around to.
Join a junk trip
Summers and junk trips go hand in hand in Hong Kong, with boat loads of people ready to get the cool wind in their hair and some ice-cold cocktails down the hatch. People usually gather up a group of friends and charter a junk, but if you’re a tourist, what do you do? Thankfully, on sites like Meetup.com, there are a number of junk boat trips that anyone can join. The boats typically head east to park up in pretty bays where you can swim and cool down in the South China Sea.
Embrace the heat from on high
Cool off from the inside out with refreshing cocktails while enjoying spectacular rooftop views. Check out our guides for the best rooftop bars and patios in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. There are plenty of air-conditioned indoor options as well as outdoor patio recommendations if you want to soak in some vitamin D.
Take a cooking class
From dim sum to cakes and pies, cooking classes have recently become popular in Hong Kong, with more popping up all the time. To make something quintessentially local, head to long-time cooking instructor Martha Sherpa, or the Towngas Cooking Centre, both located in North Point. Viator has a long list of cooking classes, some of which include a trip to a local market to buy ingredients.
Try scuba diving
So it’s no comparison to, say, a liveaboard in Palau, but Hong Kong still does offer some decent diving, especially in the far-eastern waters of Sai Kung and beyond. If you’re certified already, then you’re all set. If not, this is a great opportunity to get dive ready. Splash HK, Pro Diver and Mandarin Divers are but a handful of the many dive companies offering PADI courses and fun dives, with instruction in English.
Check out the museums
And there are a lot of them! Cool off at the expansive Museum of History, Museum of Science, or Museum of Space, all conveniently located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Or head a bit farther out of town, to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin.
Hong Kong has a long list of interesting museums, so read more at our Guide to Hong Kong’s Best and most Unique Museums to decide which one to visit.
Cool down at a public pool
Public pools might not sound glamorous, but you’d be surprised to learn that Hong Kong has some pretty awesome public pools which they do keep impeccably clean. Some are straightforward lap pools, while some are family-friendly with splash pads and kids areas. The recently built Kennedy Town Pool is especially scenic with views of Victoria Harbour, while the Kowloon Park Pool has waterfalls linking the outdoor pools together.
All public pools have showers, change rooms, and amenities. You can even pay the entry fee with your Octopus Card.
Hit the beaches
Pools not your thing? No worries, because Hong Kong has loads and loads of beaches to choose from. From the popular Repulse Bay and Stanley Beach, and farther to the more remote and untouched hidden bays around Tai Long Wan, a day trip to the beach can be as easy as a bus or taxi ride. And always carry lots of water.
Read our full Hong Kong beach guide.
Taste a local brew
Nothing beats the heat like a cold, cold beer, and there are many noteworthy local craft beers in Hong Kong. Tour guide company Humid with a Chance of Fishballs is one of the companies that runs a craft brew tour, where you visit three different breweries and get to taste more than a dozen different beers. Light snacks are also provided at each stop to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Party from dusk till dawn
Hong Kong has an incredible nightlife scene, including live music. Head out in the evening when the temperature dips a bit to find the city’s best jazz, reggae, rock and more.
Visit the Outlying Islands
Whether for a day or a night, Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands are a great break from the sweltering, crowded city. A 30-minute ferry ride can get you to the likes of Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau or Peng Chau, all of which have quaint B&Bs, sandy beaches and interesting villages.
Bonus idea: Get wet at Ocean Park
Last year, Hong Kong’s popular marine-themed amusement park, Ocean Park hosted Summer Water Battle, a battle zone with water guns, water cannons and a super-sized fountain. It’s not back this year, probably due to safety measures, but you can still cool off on the park’s “wet rides”. They include The Rapids (a raft ride through a rainforest adventure) and Raging River (a meandering boat ride with lots of twists, turns and drops). See out full guide on getting tickets and how to make the most of your Ocean Park visit.