Where to See Lion and Dragon Dances in Hong Kong

| © Myrabella / Wiki Commons
Matthew Keegan

Nothing is more symbolic of Chinese New Year celebrations than the colourful and captivating lion and dragon dances. Here’s where to catch them in Hong Kong.

The tradition of lion and dragon dance dates back more than a thousand years. As well as being a visual feast and a dazzling display of acrobatics and rhythmic drumming, in Chinese culture these dances are performed as a ceremony to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and fortune. Typically, lion dance is more common, as it requires less performers, but you can see both lion and dragon dances — especially during Chinese New Year and other major events.

Spot the difference

Lion dance and dragon dance are often confused, but there is a difference. The easiest way to spot the difference is that lions usually have two performers (one to operate the head and the other the tail), while dragons require several performers to manipulate their much longer bodies. Dragons range from 80 feet long to a record-setting three miles long, and can be operated by as many as 15 performers. The longer the dragon the more prosperity and good fortune they are said to attract.

Dragons require several performers to manipulate their much longer bodies

During the Chinese New Year, lion and dragon dances are performed all over Hong Kong. A good place to see them is at the Chinese New Year Parade on 16 February 2018 (Chinese New Year’s Day). Aside from the main parade, mostly lion dance troupes will give multiple shows over the two week celebration at various shopping centres, hotels, restaurants, and theme parks in the city.

Another popular spot to see the traditional dances is at Ngong Ping Village Sqaure – the home of the Big Buddha statue. Reaching the village requires you take a 25-minute scenic cable car ride – it’s worth it for the views alone.

Lion dancers perform in Hong Kong’s Kowloon area

Chinese New Year Parade

Where: The parade starts at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Plaza and continues along major roads in Tsim Tsa Tsui and Kowloon.
When: 16 February 2018, 8-9:45 p.m.
How much: Free

Ngong Ping Village Square Chinese Dragon and Lion Dance Performances

Where: Ngong Ping Village Square
When: February 16 – 23, 2018 12:30pm (except for 19 and 23 February) and 3:30pm
How much: Free

Hong Kong Dragon and Lion Dance Festival

Aside from the Chinese New Year celebrations, if you happen to be in Hong Kong on the Western New Year’s Day, January 1, then you can catch the Hong Kong Dragon and Lion Dance Festival. This event is the biggest annual celebration of lion and dragon dances in the city. It’s really grown in popularity since 2011, when they organised the largest lion and dragon dance display in the world with a record-breaking 1,111 dragons and lions – this achievement set a new Guinness World Record.

On festival day, January 1, public squares and venues all over Hong Kong host lion and dragon dances before the festival culminates in a big parade. The parade typically features over 200 lions and dragons and usually begins in early afternoon in Kowloon at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Plaza in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article