Hong Kong Travel Guide: Best Day Trip

Here's the one excursion you must take on your trip to Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Photo by Laurent Segretier.

In North America, horse racing is an anachronism that rears its head into view once or twice a year, and then goes back to something your grandfather used to watch. In Hong Kong, it’s big as it gets. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is the city’s largest employer and residents’ number-one pastime. And, unlike much of the city, it cuts through every social stratum. The moneyed class become actual members of the club and get preferred seating, while the common man packs himself into grandstands that seat 85,000 (Churchill Downs seats 50,000) and watches the ponies sprint in the wrong direction on impossibly green turf. To taste the upper crust, you can head to Happy Valley Racecourse’s Moon Koon restaurant (entertainment.hkjc.com). The food—solid, if expected, Cantonese—is secondary to watching the local gentry dine while overlooking arguably the most magnificent track racecourse in the world: smack in the middle of the city and completely penned in by skyscrapers. Or you can hitch a cab to the New Territories (the fare will be $25 or so), home to the Sha Tin Racecourse (sha-tin.com). It lacks the majesty of Happy Valley, but it’s home to the big races and crowds when the international horses come to run. Either way, you’ll wonder how racing ever faded back home.

Goods of Desire kit
Photo by David McIntyre

To a traveller reared on our domestic airlines, any of the Asian airlines are a big step up. But the best-kept secret is Cathay Pacific’s new premium economy. In December, the cost opposed to regular economy was only about a third more (it can be up to double), but you get what used to be a business class-calibre seat (before all this lay-flat bed hullabaloo), champagne when you sit down, hot towel service, and an amenity kit from cult-fave Hong Kong retailer Goods of Desire (god.com.hk) wl

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