Dragon boat racing is a popular sport in Hong Kong which has an estimated 30,000 active paddlers. During 2016, Hong Kong hosts major international and local dragon boat festivals, including the traditional Tuen Ng dragon boat races on 9th June at various locations and the three-day Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival which features the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races at Central Harboufront on 10th to 12th June 2016. 


The dragon boat races at the traditional Tuen Ng Festival on Thursday 9th June 2016, will see local races taking place at several locations including Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun (Castle Peak Bay), Cheung Chau, Tai Po, Aberdeen, Discovery Bay and Tai O on Lantau Island and Stanley, which hosts the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships. Details of events taking place on 9th June 2016 are;

ABERDEEN - 2016 Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race, 9th June from 8-30am to 4pm Aberdeen Promenade, Admission free for viewing on promenade. Free by ticket only for spectator stand (contact Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race Committee tel: 8107 3488 for information)

STANLEY - *Sun Life Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship 2016, 9th June, 8am to 5pm, Stanley Main Beach, Admission free. This is the largest of the Dragon Boat Race events at Tuen Ng and attracts about 30,000 spectators. Prior to the international races on 9th June, the 11th Stanley Dragon Boat Warm-up Races take place on Saturday 14th May 2016.

Competitors in the Stanley International Dragon Boat Races

SHA TIN - Sha Tin Dragon Boat Race 2016, 9th June 2016, 8-30am to 1pm, Shing Mun River, Sha Tin, New Territories (starting near Banyan Bridge), Admission free

SAI KUNG - The Sai Kung Dragon Boat Race Festival, 9th June 2016, 8am to 1-30pm (and carnival 2pm to 5pm), Sai Kung Town Waterfront, Sai Kung, New Territories. Admission free

TUEN MUN - Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Races 2016, 9th June 2016, 9am to 1-30pm, Castle Peak Bay Area 44, Tuen Mun, New Territories. Admission free by ticket (contact Tuen Mun District Dragon Boat Race Committee tel: 2542 6520 for information)

TAI PO - Tai Po District Dragon Boat Race 2016, 9th June 2015 - 8-30am to 1pm, Tai Po Waterfront Park Park Promenade, Tai Po, New Territories. Admission free

DISCOVERY BAY, LANTAU ISLAND - The 27th Discovery Bay Dragon Boat Race and Carnival, Racing 8am to 4-30pm. 9th June 2016, Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, Admission free. Carnival 10-30am to 6pm Discovery Bay Piazza.

TAI O, LANTAU ISLAND - Tai O Dragon Boat Racing Competition 2016, 9th June 2016, 10am to 2pm, Tai O Promenade, Admission free. Includes the ancient "Gods Parade" (see below)

CHEUNG CHAU ISLAND- Cheung Chau Dragon Boat Races, 9th June 2016, 10am to 4-30pm, Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter, Cheung Chau, Admission free


DEEP WATER BAY - 16th Deep Water Bay Dragon Boat Regatta. 17th April 2016. 8am to 5pm. Victoria Recreation Club, Island Road, Deep Water Bay, Hong Kong Island. Admission free

TSING YI - Kwai Tsing District Dragon Boat Invitation Races. 22nd May 2016. 9am to 4pm. Tsing Yi Northeast Park Promenade, Tsing Yi, New Territories. Admission free

MUI WO, LANTAU ISLAND - Mui Wo Dragon Boat Race Open 2016. 29th May 2016. 8am to 5pm. Silvermine Bay Beach, Mui Wo, Lantau Island. Admission free

LUK CHAU WAN, LAMMA ISLAND - Dragon Boat Races in Luk Chau Wan, Lamma Island, 5th June 2016, 10am to 3pm. Luk Chau Wan. Admission free

STANLEY - Stanley Dragon Boat Short Course Races. 19th June 2016. 8am to 5pm. Stanley Main Beach. Admission free

TAI O, LAMMA ISLAND - Tai O Dragon Boats Racing Competition. 26th June 2016. 9am to 3-30pm. Tai O Promenade. Admission free

SOK KWU WAN, LAMMA ISLAND - Dragon Boat Races in Sok Kwu Wan 2016. 1st July 2016. 10am to 2-30pm. Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island. Admission free

SAI KUNG - The 14th Sai Kung Summer Vigor. 18th September 2016. 8am to 4pm. Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Pier, Sai Kung Promenade. Admission free. 

SHA TIN, Seiko 18th Hong Kong Dragon Boat Championships - Grand Dragon Boat Invitation Race. 25th September 2016. 10am to 6pm. HKCDBA Training Centre, On King Street, Shek Mun, Sha Tin. Admission free. 

ALDRICH BAY - King of the World Dragon Boat Competition 2016, 8th & 9th October 2016. 8am to 6pm. The promenade at Aldrich Bay (Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter).

The Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese Duanwu Festival) is a lunar holiday, occurring on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and known locally by its Cantonese name Tuen Ng. This festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China and the one with the longest history. The name for the festival in China was originally the Upright Sun Festival but this was changed by foreigners to the Dragon Boat Festival, notably for the dragon boat races, held particularly in the southern provinces, Hong Kong and Macau where there are many rivers and lakes. This festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a popular poet and minister who is said to have committed suicide at the age of 35 by drowning himself in a river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Qu Yuan was an honest and loyal minister who was held in high esteem in the kingdom of Chu (situated in the present day Hunan and Hubei provinces). When a corrupt prince vilified Qu Yuan, he was disgraced and dismissed from his office. Realising the kingdom was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu Yuan jumped into a river. Nearby fishermen tried to save him and were unable to recover the body. Mourning the death of the poet, the people threw cooked rice so the fish would eat the rice rather than their hero. The spirit of Qu Yuan appeared in the river and said that a huge reptile in the river had stolen the rice offering and suggested that they wrap the rice in silk and bind it with threads before throwing it in the river. This later turned into the custom of eating “Zong Zi” (boiled glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) and rice dumplings to symbolize offerings to Qu Yuan. The dragon boat races represent the attempts to rescue and recover the body of Qu Yuan.

The Dragon Boat Festival at Tai O on Lantau Island is also home to a waterway praying ceremony known as the “Gods Parade” which dates back over one hundred years. In June 2011 the festival became on of four cultural events in Hong Kong to be included on China's national list of intangible culture heritage. It is said that Tai O was hit by a plague more than 100 years ago and, in an effort to drive out the epidemic, local fishermen paraded along the local waterways on dragon boats, towing behind them deity statues that they had borrowed from temples in the area. The plague ended, but the custom, known as the dragon boat water parade, has been maintained to this day.

During the annual Dragon Boat Festival, three fishermen's associations, namely Pa Teng, Sin Yu Heung and Hap Sim Tong, organise a religious activity known as dragon boat water parade. On the morning before the festival, members of the associations row their dragon boats to visit four temples, Yeung Hau, Tin Hou, Kwan Tei and Hung Shing, and carry the deity statues back to their associations' hall for worship.

On the day of the festival, members of Pa Teng row the dragon boats to Po Chue Tam behind Yeung Hau Temple, where they pick fresh grass on the hillside to put inside the dragon's mouth in a ritual called "Picking the Greens". In the old days, a "Drinking Dragon" ceremony was also hosted by association elders to cast out evil spirits, during which a few drops of rooster blood were mixed with Chinese white wine and then sprinkled on the dragon's head, tail and body. However, this ceremony has not been performed since the Government introduced its ban on the keeping of live chickens.

The dragon boats then set out on the parade or "Gods' Parade". A small boat that carries the deity statues is towed by a dragon boat along the local waterways. Gold and silver paper offerings for departed souls are burned in the water along the way, while the residents of the stilt houses also burn joss sticks to pay tribute to the passing dragon boats. As entertainment for gods, the dragon boats engage in a race after the parade. In the afternoon, the associations host a send-off ritual in which the deities are transported back to the temples. Then everyone gathers at night for a feast to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in what is always a jubilant event.


The "Gods Parade", is the most important part of the Dragon Boat Festival at Tai O. A small boat carrying the deity statues is towed by each dragon boat along the local waterways. Gold and silver paper offerings for departed souls are burned along the way, while the residents of the stilt houses also burn joss sticks to pay tribute to the passing dragon boats.


Hong Kong’s Dragon Boat Carnival, which features two major elements, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races and San Miguel BeerFest will be held at its new, larger venue of Central Harbourfront. Between 2010 and 2015 the event was held at Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront after the organisers, Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association (HKDBA), along with Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) decided to raise the profile of the races and make the carnival a “mega event” and major tourist attraction. Between 2000 and 2009 the international races had been held on the Shing Mun River at Shatin. The three-day 2016 carnival will be the 40th anniversary of the international races. The 2016 carnival is jointly organised by Hong Kong Tourism Board and Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association.

The annual regatta began in 1976 as a fishermen’s boat race involving nine local and one Japanese team and was the first international dragon boat race, setting standards which have subsequently been adopted in over 60 other countries and regions. Since its initiation the regatta has rapidly expanded and the 2015 races featured 411 teams from 143 dragon boat clubs with about 4,000 paddlers including 311 local teams and 100 overseas teams from 13 countries and regions including Australia, Canada, Mainland China, Dubai, Japan, Korea, Macau, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK. The 2016 races will be contested by about 4,000 paddlers from 14 countries and regions.

The CCB (ASIA) HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT RACES take place between 10th and 12th June 2016. Racing will take place at Central Harbourfront, with the course running from Central Pier 10 to near Citic Tower. There are 500-metre standard-boat and 250-metre and 500-metre small boat races in 22 categories;


International Open Grand Championship
International Mixed Grand Championship
International Women’s Grand Championship


International Open Championship
International Mixed Championship
International Women’s Championship
International Paradragon Championship
International Cancer Survivors Championship


Open Championship
Mixed Championship
Women’s Championship
Junior U23 Championship
Inter-Company Championship
Banking Championship


Hong Kong Districts Race
Professional Bodies Race
Disciplinary Forces Invitational Race
Uniformed Youth Groups Championship
Post-secondary Schools Championship
Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association 25th Silver Jubilee Large Boat Invitational Race


President Shield Race
Chairman Shield Race

Races take place on;

Friday 10th June - noon to 5-30pm
Saturday 11th June - 8-30am to 5-30pm
Sunday 12th June - 8-30am to 5-30pm


Dragon boats competing in front of the packed promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui East waterfront in the 2015 Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races. The 2016 event has been moved to Central Harbourfront.

The SAN MIGUEL BEERFEST is located at Central Harbourfront Event Space and is open from 11am to 10-30pm on 10th and 11th June (Friday & Saturday) and 11am to 9-30pm on 12th June 2016 (Sunday) with beer booths and food booths, games booths and stage performances. Further details to be announced.

Other events featured in the carnival include a fancy dress race on the 12th June, a Dragon Boat Display and Drums Parade which features an 11-metre long dragon boat and offers visitors the opportunity to take selfies, music party with local and international singers on stage at the San Miguel BeerFest, family zone with free interactive games and activities including giant inflatable and mini rowing, roving performances by acrobatic clowns, marching bands, drummers and samba dancers, and a charity row race open to both locals and visitors.

For further information regarding Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival see;



Champions : Windsor Arch Nanhai Jiujiang Men's DragonBoat Team
Runners-up : Singapore National DragonBoat Team
Third place : Southern District Council Dragon Boat Team

The 2016 carnival was expected to be attended by about 160,000 spectators over the three days