Are you ready? Let the paddling begin on Dragon Boat Festival

… And that's just for the spectators as Dragon Boat Festival promises to be wet and wild

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 8:51am

Anyone off to watch the Dragon Boat Festival races today had better go prepared for plenty of wind and rain.

The annual holiday, also known as the Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet who was born in 343 BC, in the middle of the Warring States era.

Qu killed himself in a river in despair at the defeat of his homeland's capital - part of modern Hubei province.

To keep the fish from devouring his body, villagers took to their boats, splashing the water with their paddles, beating drums and throwing rice to the hungry fish. Thus a tradition was born, with dragon boat races and sticky rice dumplings the order of the day.

This year, a total of 242 teams will participate in the Sun Life Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships, which will run from 8am to 6pm at Stanley's main beach.

Discovery Bay will also have its share of the action, with 59 teams representing companies and professional bodies competing in its championship. There will be an open-air carnival at the plaza next to the beach, with hip-hop lion dancers and cheerleaders among those performing on stage.

Elsewhere in the New Territories, 24 races will be held off Sai Kung promenade, near the pier.

In Sha Tin, 23 dragon boat races will take place on Shing Mun River, and Tuen Mun will host races at Castle Peak Bay in the morning.

The islands of Tai O and Cheung Chau will also host races.

And there's more to come. Next week, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races will be held from June 21 to 23 on Victoria Harbour.

The event, which began as a race between fishermen, is now in its 38th year. The races will see more than 5,000 paddlers from 200 teams and 11 countries and regions vie for 20 dragon boat championship titles.

A "celebrity bathtub race", in which lawmakers and business leaders will row a bathtub for 100 gruelling metres, is a new addition to the line-up this year.


Hong Kong Island

  • Stanley International championships

Time 8am to 6pm

Venue Stanley Main Beach

Language Cantonese and English


  • Aberdeen

Time 8.40am to 4pm

Venue Aberdeen Promenade.

Language Cantonese, Mandarin and English


New Territories

  • Sha Tin

Time 8am to 1pm

Venue Shing Mun River, Sha Tin (starting close to Banyan Bridge and ending close to Sha Yin Bridge)

Language Cantonese


  • Sai Kung races and carnival

Time Races: 8am to 2pm; Carnival: 2pm to 5pm

Venue Sai Kung Promenade (near Sai Kung Pier)

Language Cantonese, Mandarin and English


  • Tai Po District

Time 8.30am to 1pm

Venue Promenade at Tai Po Waterfront Park, Tai Po

Language Cantonese


  • Tuen Mun District

Time 9am to 1pm

Venue Castle Peak Bay, Area 44, Tuen Mun

Language Cantonese



  • Discovery Bay

Time Races: 8am to 4.30pm; Carnival: 11am to 6pm

Venue Races: Tai Pak Beach.

Carnival: DB Piazza, Discovery Bay

Language Cantonese and English


  • Tai O

Time 9am to 2pm

Venue Tai O Promenade

Language Cantonese


  • Cheung Chau

Time 10am to 4.30pm

Venue Typhoon Shelter

Language Cantonese