Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner, a time for family and friends to come together to eat mooncakes, light lanterns and gaze at the full moon.
This year the full moon falls on Friday and, as always, the moon viewing experience will depend on the weather, so check the Hong Kong Observatory’s platforms.
The festival traditions can be traced back to China’s Tang dynasty (618 to 907), when people made offerings of food and drink to the moon goddess, Chang’e, to give thanks for the harvest.
Whether you decide to do some moon gazing under city lights or out in nature, these are some of the best places in Hong Kong to see the satellite this Mid-Autumn Festival.
1. Aqua Luna
Cruising Victoria Harbour on the red-sailed junk Aqua Luna, refreshing drink in hand, is a fun way to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival. Operated by the Aqua Restaurant Group, the 92ft junk’s Evening Harbour Cruise (HK$270 per adult/HK$170 per child) offers a special vantage point for moon watchers.
The top floor of H Zentre in Tsim Sha Tsui is not a bad place to be if you want to combine moon gazing with good food.
Hutong’s 10-dish dinner features tiger prawn with golden garlic and sautéed Angus beef. A highlight is its chocolate mousse, a moon-like dessert prepared specially for the festival.
Hutong’s Mid-Autumn Festival dinner (September 28 and 29) is priced at HK$1,280 per person. Guests get to take part in Chinese lantern-making and can take home their lanterns.
Hutong, 18/F, H Zentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.
3. Po Toi Island
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to watch the moon while fully immersed in nature, then head to Po Toi, Hong Kong’s southernmost island, accessible from the city by ferry.
The 3.69 sq km (1.4 sq mile) island used to have many more residents than it does now. They made a living by fishing and harvesting seaweed. It is known for its Bronze Age rock carvings dating back more than 3,000 years, which are believed to have been created to appease the sea spirits.
Getting there: Ferries from Hong Kong Island to Po Toi leave from Aberdeen and Stanley.
4. Tap Mun
Also known as Grass Island, Tap Mun, off Sai Kung in the northeast of Hong Kong, is inhabited by a few hundred Hakka and Tanka people – and lots of feral cattle.
Popular with campers, the island – reachable by ferry – is also good for temple spotting. Pack a picnic, pitch a tent on some of the best grassy areas Hong Kong has to offer, and pray for a clear night.
Getting there: From the Sai Kung bus terminus, catch the 94 bus to Wong Shek pier. During the week, the ferry runs every one or two hours. Ferries also operate from Ma Liu Shui ferry pier, but less regularly.
5. Hong Kong Space Museum Astropark
The Hong Kong Space Museum’s Astropark – which is inside the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre, in Sai Kung – offers access to Chinese and Western astronomical instruments, and is an ideal spot from which to observe the full moon, and other celestial occurrences.
If your moon gazing is of the more old-fashioned kind, there are reclining benches.
Covering about 1,200 square metres (12,900 sq ft), the theme park is divided into an educational zone for daytime visitors, a naked-eye observation area, and a telescopic observation area for amateur astronomers.