How to experience Hong Kong’s vibrant art scene from home
Sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board
Canada’s “one-dose summer” might not encourage international travel, but it won’t be long before you can get back on a plane and fulfill your wanderlust. You’re probably already making plans.
While you wait, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has created a series of virtual itineraries for you to experience the city’s rich art and culture scene from home – and eventually, when the time is right, in-person again.
You might not immediately think of art when you think of Hong Kong, but you should. It’s known for history, scenery and nightlife, and has thousands of restaurants. But Hong Kong contains multitudes. It’s a mix of old and new, East and West. And the best way to experience that multidimensional cultural identity is through art.
“As the world cautiously looks to resume international travel and bring back events, it is fitting that art is a driving force to make this happen, with Hong Kong paving the way in the hope of safely staging large-scale events again,” says Hong Kong Tourism Board director Michael Lim.
Here’s where to start:
Check out these world-famous art events
May is a huge month for the Hong Kong art scene.
One of the world’s hottest art events (or just events period), Art Basel is back after a two-year break during the pandemic, and Hong Kong is the art fair’s new home base. It’s a hybrid in-person/virtual event this year. From May 21-23, more than 100 galleries from across Asia, Europe and the Americas will showcase work in the Victoria Harbour area. Meanwhile, an online program called Art Basel Live: Hong Kong will let you tune into viewing rooms, live screenings, broadcasts and browse virtual galleries of some of the leading contemporary artists from all over the globe.
Art Central is another major exhibition and art fair that both reflects the unique position of Hong Kong’s art scene for locals and for anyone across the world. Online, you can browse hundreds of artworks and livestream talks and events.
Yim Tin Tsai Arts Festival takes place in the beautiful village of Yim Tin Tsai, which exemplifies the blending culture of Roman Catholicism and Hakka culture. The arts festival reflects that culture too, blending arts, religion and heritage with green elements under the triple concept of Sky, Earth and Human. The virtual aspect is a sight on its own, offering a 360-degree virtual reality view so you can look at and take audio tours of the scenic island, which has won awards and designations for its heritage conservation.
The Hong Kong Arts Festival is also doing a hybrid/in-person format this year. The 49th annual event encompasses opera, music, theatre and dance, and features some of the leaders in each category from all over the world. Some things are in-person and livestreamed, others are created specifically for an online format – either way, you’ll want to tune in.
M+ is a new arts and cultural hub in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. The monumental museum is still rolling out in-person, but there’s plenty to experience online: the M+ Stories storytelling platform, over 5,000 objects and archival items from the M+ Collections, a series of videos about artist Shirley Tse, and a video series created to examine the works of the six shortlisted artists for the Sigg Prize and much more.
Explore Hong Kong cinema
Hong Kong has one of the most renowned international cinemas in the world. Wong Kar-Wai is one of the greatest living directors, and modern classics like Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love inspire pilgrimages all on their own. Some of Bruce Lee’s classic kung fu films arose from Hong Kong. Whether you know it or not, it’s also the spot where films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, James Bond: Die Another Day and Pacific Rim were filmed. And Hong Kong’s postmodern architecture even inspired the visual style of the classic sci-fi film Blade Runner.
Here’s an exploration of some of Hong Kong’s most recognizable big screen moments. Scroll to the bottom to visualize it all on a map. And follow this itinerary for more.
Take a virtual tour
All that doesn’t even scratch the surface. To explore even more, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has put together a series of virtual itineraries (including the aforementioned cinema itinerary).
You can take an Arts by the harbour tour through Victoria Harbour, which is the epicentre of tourism in Hong Kong. You can follow the Arts in the wild itinerary through the countryside. You can take a taste of the arts tour through Old Town Central, which is filled with hidden arts gems and historic buildings. You can explore Wong Chuk Hang itinerary, one of the city’s hippest districts with enormous factories and world-class galleries. And you can check out the stories behind Hong Kong’s most eye-popping street art.
Art is everywhere you look in Hong Kong, from international arts fairs to the cafe you stop in for a bite to eat or the alley you take to get there. So be prepared to get lost – even if it’s in your browser.
Find dining, arts and travel destinations in Hong Kong at DiscoverHongKong.com/ca