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Sea, Sweat and Sun: Alternatives to the Dragon Boating

Tuen Ng, also called the Dragon Boat Festival is coming up on the 14th of June. It is a public holiday and especially on this day we have loads of Dragon Boats, colorful boats built as large war canoes, competing against each other. The dragon boat crew, which can be unisex or mixed, paddle alongside the drummer who is sitting in the middle of the boat and beats on a drum.

This year due to the pandemic, Dragon Boating festivities have been scaled down. But no worries, we tried 3 alternatives to Dragon Boating that we recommend you to check out if you still want to do some sport and sweat it out in the water, albeit without the drumming 😊.



It has been 10 years that I have been in Hong Kong already and, until recently, I had not yet tried sailing! Probably too busy in LKF during my first years in town, hiking the following years (in order to evacuate the beers and the belly of my “LKF period”) and travelling the region the rest of the time.

Now that we have all been assigned to a permanent staycation in Hong Kong, it was time for me to take on the challenge and discover sailing. And let me tell you that my only regret is to have waited so long before getting onboard!

For beginners like me, you will have 3 main options in town: the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC), the Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC) and the Govt. related Water Sports Centres (LCSD). Despite this apparent wide range of choices, you will quickly realize you are not the only one willing to jump into the sea. Waiting lists are already long for most of the courses until summer. Luckily, I managed to make my way through and joined a Beginner class at ABC in early April.

My class took the form of a 5-day training at Middle Island, opposite Repulse Bay. We were 6 long-time hongkongers discovering sailing. I was expecting a relaxing time under the sun, discussing with my co-sailor while looking at the splendid landscape surrounding us. The reality was very different but for sure extremely fun: we were sent immediately on our own on a small dinghy boat in order to feel the wind, caress the boat and, when capsizing, dring sea water :) During the following days, we also realized that, when the weather becomes more windy, sailing becomes really intense!

After 5 days of fun, efforts and learning, all the neo-sailors were extremely excited with this experience and already keen to take up the next challenge on a boat.

So I can only recommend each of you to do the same and enjoy this other lovely side of Hong Kong!

Price: Not to forget the cost for a 5 day training is about 5000 HKD.

Pics courtesy: Arnaud Francillon

Some useful links:


Pics courtesy: Winnie@ Team LocalHood

Kayaking is a short form introduction to dragon boating. For around HK$160 per kayak per day, you can kayak as a beginner with paddle and lifejacket included. It's a relatively easy sport as long as you are a swimmer.

Put belongings in a waterproof bag and stash in the covered hole of the kayak. From Sai Kung Sha Ha beach, there are rentals for kayaks and a popular one is Blue Sky Sports Club. For families with children, there is an option to join the eco-tour with kayaking guide or to rent the two-person kayaks. For the more adventurous, try kayaking to Yim Tin Tsai, a former salt farming village which still has salt farms and a Catholic church for visiting.

Blue Sky Sports Club

Price: From HK$160 per day for single person kayak


Got a taste for rowing but just dont know where to satisfy that craving? Did you know that the professional rowing activities in HK are based out of Shatin/Fotan? Head over to the Shatin Rowing and Jockey Club Shek Mun Rowing Centre run by the Hong Kong, China Rowing association. These are where most of the rowing teams in HK practice and race.

Pics courtesy: Google images

There are some single boats that are even free! But as you increase in size (4-8 people) and style of boat prices can range from $195 - $770 per time. All you need to do is join their annual membership which is $1600. Once a member you are also entitled to use the facilities of these centres which include, viewing areas, rowing machines and meeting rooms.

Price: Cost would vary depending on the option you choose. Here is the Pricing grid.


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