May and June is a fun and exciting time of year to be in Hong Kong as the city celebrates some of its most unforgettable festivals from the quirky Cheung Chau Bun Festival, to Buddha’s Birthday celebrations and, the Dragon Boat Carnival. Showcasing Hong Kong’s cultural diversity, these festivals capture the colour and lively spirit of the city for visitors and locals to enjoy. Here’s what’s happening in Hong Kong…

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From 9 to 13 May 2019, Hong Kong celebrates the ancient Cheung Chau Bun Festival on the charming island of Cheung Chau. Every year, the people of Cheung Chau get busy making papier-mâché effigies of deities, preparing costumes, steaming tens of thousands of ping on bao, aka ‘lucky buns’ and building a bamboo tower. They’re preparing for thousands of people to descend upon their tiny island to celebrate one of TIME Magazine’s “Top 10 Quirky Local Festivals”. The story behind this ancient festival is that the villagers summoned Pak Tai, a powerful deity to parade through the streets, warding off evil spirits and protecting them from a devastating plague. For more than a century, the villagers have celebrated the festival with the vibrant Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade, Chinese opera performances, lion dances, and delicious food. These rituals are still performed today keeping local customs alive. www.discoverhongkong.com/au/see-do/events-festivals/chinese-festivals/cheung-chau-bun-festival.jsp

From 6 to 12 May 2019, Hong Kong marks Buddha’s Birthday with a week of carnivals and spiritual experiences. A common ritual is ‘Bathing the Buddha’, where worshippers wash Buddha statues with water to show respect. Then there’s the Celebration Carnival for Buddha’s Birthday in Victoria Park, the Buddhist Birthday Charity Concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum, and various events at Po Lin Monastery on the lush Lantau Island. www.discoverhongkong.com/au/see-do/events-festivals/chinese-festivals/birthday-of-buddha.jsp

From 14 to 16 June 2019, now in its 10th year, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival celebrates this action-packed three-day annual festival with a series of competitive races and cultural activities. Expect to witness vigorous battles among some of the world’s strongest dragon boat teams as they compete by invitation only on Victoria Harbour. Don’t miss out on the fun at Central Harbourfront where spectators line up to cheer on the teams, there’s a ‘Fancy Dress Competition’, a fun-filled playground with a man-made beach, a ‘Splash Area’, the Street Food Gala and the newly introduced Artisanal Market – and entrance is free for everyone! www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/events-festivals/highlight-events/dragon-boat-carnival.jsp

Eat

The newly opened eat darling eat represents modern-nostalgia based on nostalgic memories of Hong Kong’s quintessential street treats, snacks and desserts which are being revived with a trendy modern twist by Executive Chef Jason Luk – a dessert specialist from internationally acclaimed Zuma in Bangkok, Shanghai and Miami. The menu features retro specialities with a healthy, contemporary twist and intriguing variations of traditional Hong Kong hawker food – all complemented by the bold, surreal restaurant design which is reflective of the menu’s creativity. www.mingfathouse.com/ede

House 1881 is home to five new dining concepts, each one designed to honour the historic destination which was the former Hong Kong Marine Police Headquarters and is now a cultural landmark and a reminder of a bygone era. Arriving at House 1881, guests enter an historic haven of manicured gardens, colonial architecture and elegant surroundings. The five venues are Fortune Villa for Cantonese fine-dining serving authentic dim sum from traditional recipes and locally-sourced ingredients, Stable Steak House for steak connoisseurs, Stable Bar is the perfect spot to unwind over a cocktail or two, Café Parlour is an all-day eatery with balcony views of the central courtyard and The Sergeant’s Bar for a laid-back hub to enjoy craft beers and delicious bar snacks. www.house1881.com

Igloo Dessert Bar, located at Pier 7 in Central, is celebrating its third anniversary with more than 80 all-natural and gelato flavours created by founder Larvina Wong to evoke nostalgic and festive childhood memories. Flavours such as White Rabbit Candy, Horlicks and Maltesers are always popular. This spring, Igloo will be launching its vegan line with refreshing flavours including blood orange, pineapple, lime, coconut water, dark chocolate and charcoal black (toasted dark chocolate, charcoal and coconut water). www.facebook.com/Igloodessertbar

Lee Ho Sing is a new modern takeaway and snacks eatery situated on Lyndhurst Terrace in Central. Translated directly to mean ‘You’re So Smart’, Lee Ho Sing cleverly draws inspiration from Hong Kong’s unique cosmopolitan culture to reinvent traditional street food using premium ingredients to create an inspiring marriage of flavours at affordable prices. www.facebook.com/LeeHoSingbyzs

Moon Lok Chinese Restaurant, housed in the new Xiqu Centre, is the first dining establishment opened in this strikingly-designed structure, and presents the best classic culinary creations that are a perfect match for gourmets and visitors alike. With the meaning ‘Full of Happiness’, the restaurant brings classic Chinese regional cuisine into a theatrical and serene ambience where it evokes the atmosphere of a Chinese garden and invites guests to relax and enjoy signature dishes, including Honey-glazed Barbecued Pork, Baked Crab Meat Stuffed in Crab Shell and Double-boiled Pig’s Lung and Almond Soup. www.buick-hk.com/restaurant/moon-lok-chinese-restaurant

Nhậu is a contemporary, new Vietnamese restaurant and bar that sees Chef Que Vinh Dang, born in Vietnam and raised in New York, cumulating his heritage, culinary experience and passion for constant innovation. Chef Que takes authentic Vietnamese ingredients and flavours to the next level with what he views as a progression and evolution of Vietnamese food beyond overly familiar offerings such as pho and bahn mi. Diners can expect sharing plates that pair well with wine, cocktails and beer with a modern, understated and chic restaurant design. www.nhau.hk

Sichuan Lab brings a new and exciting, experimental gastronomic experience to Hong Kong helmed by Executive Chef Kenny Chan – an internationally-recognised veteran chef with more than 50 years’ experience. Chef Chan has elevated traditional Sichuan cuisine to the next level with his own style creating unique flavours that are truly unforgettable. In English, the name Sichuan Lab embodies the innovative and meticulous approach of the restaurant – from food preparation to interior design, everything is executed with vigilant attention to detail while reflecting the concept of ‘Connecting East and West’. www.lhotelgroup.com/en/hotel/lodgewood-by-lhotel-wanchai/Wine-Dine/sichuan-lab

Silencio is the latest venture of Le Comptoir’s and Californian native and Executive Chef Sean Mell from the famed Japanese-Peruvian Nobu restaurant chain.  It’s Hong Kong’s only contemporary izakaya featuring live jazz music. The cuisine showcases a sophisticated take on Japanese izakaya favourites that respect tradition but are not bound by it, paired with a curated selection of junmai sakes and handcrafted cocktails. The sleek wood panelling, black marble and leather details accented in gold set a sultry atmosphere for guests to dine and imbibe against the backdrop of live music. www.silencio.hk

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong will reopen its famed two Michelin-starred restaurant, Amber helmed by culinary pioneer Chef Richard Ekkebus and unveil three new culinary concepts SOMM – a casual all-day dining restaurant; Sushi Shikon – a quintessential Ginza sushi experience by Master Chef Masahiro Yoshitake, the first three Michelin starred Japanese chef in Hong Kong, limited to eight seats and Kappo Rin – a sophisticated yet relaxed counter dining experience featuring modern Japanese cuisine, also by Chef Masahiro and with just eight seats. www.mandarinoriental.com/hong-kong/the-landmark/fine-dining

Drink

The SEA by The Old Man, opened in March 2019, is brought to life by the founders of The Old Man (ranked 10th on World’s 50 Best Bars, ranked 5th on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and winner on DMBA 2018’s Asia Bar and Bartender of the Year Awards). It’s a sister venue of The Old Man paying homage to the life and legacy of Ernest Hemingway and his 1952 hit novel The Old Man and the Sea. Think rustic décor and serious cocktails built with some of the most inventive techniques in food and drinks today such as fermentation, sous-vide cooking and rotary evaporation. www.facebook.com/theseabytheoldman

Rejuvenation

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has unveiled a Breathe and Detox suite experience to celebrate the first revolutionary dry salt inhalation ‘halotherapy’ and infrared sauna to strengthen respiratory health and encourage detoxification exclusively at the award-winning Mandarin Spa. Until 30 June 2019, the Mandarin Spa is offering a 120-minute Breathe and Detox suite experience. For further details, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/hong-kong/victoria-harbour/luxury-spa

Sleep

Newly opened on 11 April 2019, The St. Regis Hong Kong reflects the vision of interior designer André Fu of a Hong Kong mansion, blending the timeless elegance of the St. Regis brand to the silhouettes of Hong Kong’s architectural and cultural diversity. Thoughtfully-designed accommodations featuring 129 rooms and suites are complemented by East meets West elements that provide the perfect setting to offering personalised St. Regis Butler Service. L’Envol French restaurant and Rùn Chinese restaurant feature culinary highlights by Michelin-starred chefs, while The Drawing Room hosts a redefined Afternoon Tea experience, and every evening at The St. Regis Bar signature cocktails are complemented by live jazz music. www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/hkgxr-the-st-regis-hong-kong/

Rosewood Hong Kong, a magnificent new ultra-luxury property situated within the Victoria Dockside arts, design and conceptual retail district opened on 17 March 2019. The 413-room Rosewood Hong Kong is located at a prime Victoria Harbour waterfront location at the former New World Centre on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon. The ultra-luxury hotel occupies 27 floors of a multi-use tower, already destined to become a landmark on the world-famous skyline. Eight restaurants and lounges are complemented by recreational facilities including Asaya, Rosewood’s holistic wellness approach for mind, body and inner self as well as a fitness centre and 25m outdoor swimming pool boasting panoramic views of Victoria Harbour. The Manor Club executive lounge provides exclusive privileges while The Pavilion, the brand’s signature residential-style meeting and function space, can host corporate events, conferences and social celebrations. Also on offer are 186 luxury Rosewood Residences for guests choosing longer stays with a dedicated lounge, indoor swimming pool and fitness centre along with special services and amenities. www.rosewoodhotels.com/hongkong

The “Carnivale of Stars” at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort has returned until 29 June 2019 to all three resort hotels with spectacular offerings and vibrant decorations to celebrate spring for a truly memorable holiday. Hotel guests will receive a complimentary spring-themed souvenir set in each room, including an amenities box and Disney slippers. There will also be brand new spring-themed recreational activities and arts and crafts workshops for little guests to enjoy throughout the day. Download the Hong Kong Disneyland mobile app for free: iOS users: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1077550649 and Android users: https://goo.gl/ZbHHbP