Hong Kong is home to two world-class racecourses which host official horse racing events throughout the year. This article is your full guide to how to spend the day enjoying the Hong Kong horse races, including how to choose your seats, costs and tips to planning out the day.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club run a few racecourses in Hong Kong, where attending horse racing has become a rather common part of local life. The mild weather found in Hong Kong make for perfect conditions for hosting races almost year round, so attending a day at the races whilst in Hong Kong makes for a great activity!
There are 2 main racecourses, one located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong island, whilst the other is on the Kowloon side, called Shatin Racecourse.
Choosing your seats
There are multiple ways to experience the Hong Kong horse races, based on your preference & budget:
If you're just interested in seeing the races, you can enter the racecourse at the general stands with the public for a very minimal price. These standing tickets will put you amongst locals who just walk in & place their bets providing a true loud racing vibe.
Best bang for your buck
When visiting the Happy Valley course, the best way to make a day of the Hong Kong horse races without breaking the bank is by booking a table at a bar/venue inside the racecourse bar called Adrenaline.
Their location overlooks the racecourse and our favourite part is the comfy outdoor seating options, perfect for up to groups of 4 to 5 people. The tables are in a balcony right above the racecourse, giving you a great view and proximity to the horses, however, you're not directly in front of the finish line.
You can also find an air-conditioned indoor common seating area with large screens, betting statistics, a betting desk and a live view of the racecourse.
The best part is that getting a reservation here starts at just 100 HKD per person (about 10 eur/usd), which gets you entry, a reserved seat in the Adrenaline bar & as well as 1 free drink at the bar. Each table also gets served bottomless small snacks like nuts & crisps. If you're hungry, you can order food from another venue at the racecourse but enjoy it at your table.
If you want an even more private, luxurious experience, there are several sit down restaurants which offer indoor seating & meals during the races. Explore restaurants here.
Do I have to bet?
No matter which ticket you purchase in order to enter the racecourse or where you sit, entering the venue & watching the races does not require placing a bet.
Whether or not you chose to place a bet is entirely your choice. If you do wish to partake, you can do so for each individual race right before it starts or do all of your betting at the beginning of the day. The minimum amount is HK $10 (about 1 eur/usd).
A lot of information including betting guides are available online before the events, and booklets are provided to you upon arrival, which give various statistics & about the horse races that will happen that day. Once each race has completed it will take about 5 to 10 minutes for them to confirm results and if you are a winner you can go up to the same counter where you placed your bet and collect your winnings in cash.
Race times & planning out the day
The website event calendar shows all of the available and upcoming events which you can research ahead of time. Keep in mind that race day events do sometimes change schedules due to weather conditions. For the most part, Hong Kong horse races take part two times a week, mostly on Wednesdays and weekends.
In my opinion, it's best to go on a weekend, for an all day event and make it a full day experience at the Hong Kong horse races. These usually last 12 pm - 6pm. During an all-day event, there will be multiple races throughout the day with breaks in between. Checking the schedule ahead of time can help you plan out the day. Some breaks can be as big as 90 minutes which are perfect for popping out to lunch if you wish!
If you cannot spend the whole day for this activity, then our recommendation is to come for the beginning (12 noon for example) and leave early. Coming late and staying until the end wont be as fun since the crowd kind of dwindles towards the end of the day.
What to wear
Dress code will depend on the location (venue) to which you have booked tickets. Please read the venue information before-hand to plan accordingly. Additionally there are specific calendar events which require a specific dress code. As a general rule, if you are going in the general stands the dress code is very relaxed, but other venues require smart casual dress. Read the website and the specific venues requirements before you arrive.