Dazzling, exotic, bustling, vibrant Hong Kong… it’s a city that never sleeps, 1100 square kilometres of magic and delight, fascinatingly foreign yet oddly familiar in many ways thanks to years of British colonisation. If you’re thinking about paying Hong Kong a visit but you’re bored stiff of air travel and on the look-out for something different, you’ve landed in the perfect place. Why not take a yacht to Hong Kong… in fact, why not buy a boat share for sale and discover the world in an entirely new and different way, a way that delivers an ocean-going thrill every minute?
Here’s what you need to know about the city, its surroundings, and the waters you’ll sail to reach it.
A potted history of Hong Kong – A city that’ll blow your mind
Perched on China’s south east coast, Hong Kong island sits on the strategically important Pearl River Delta, a gateway between the East and West. Hong Kong’s terrain is mountainous, a place of incredibly steep slopes, and much of the land it sits on has been reclaimed.
The city as we know it dates back to China’s Qing dynasty, whose government was defeated in the First Opium War during 1842 and gave Hong Kong Island to Britain. Within 60 years of the First Opium War the UK’s leased territory in the region had increased dramatically to include Kowloon, the New Territories and more than 230 outlying islands. The land Hong Kong stands on, though, has a much older history, pre-dating the Qing dynasty by more than a thousand years.
Britain handed the island back to its rightful owners in the 1980s, and in recent years the city has transformed itself yet again. Now it enjoys a thriving service-based economy as well as being one of the world’s most desirable city break destinations. It also just happens to sit on the fringes of the world’s biggest economy, China, which makes it a crucial economic hub that straddles both the Western and Eastern economies.
Hong Kong offers remarkable international shopping, fantastic varied cuisine, and entertainment of every imaginable kind. It’s home to any number of exceptional attractions including The Peak – the city’s highest point and wealthiest area – Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park, The Ladies’ Market, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Golden Bauhinia Square, Lan Kwai Fong, the Hong Kong Pulse Light Show and the Avenue of Stars.
Victoria Harbour, once lined with tiny traditional fishing villages, is now the city’s beating heart, surrounded by extraordinary and sometimes bizarre architectural triumphs, the like of which you won’t see anywhere else. And there’s harbour itself of course, perpetually fluttering with flocks of gorgeous, butterfly-like, scarlet sailed junks.
The seas around Hong Kong
The narrow strip of water separating Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Peninsula, called Victoria Harbour, is one of the world’s deepest natural maritime ports. The city itself and its 260 islands and peninsulas are all in the South China Sea, but Hong Kong’s prime location also lets shipping access the Taiwan Straits and Pacific Ocean with ease, making it a strategic channel for ocean traffic from all over the world, and a place you can access by yacht via all sorts of exciting and varied routes. An impressive 733km of coastline is yours to explore.
You might want to time your arrival to catch the brilliant annual Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Around the Island Race, one of the island’s biggest and best-loved inshore events and a full 26 miles of fast-racing keelboats, dinghies, beach cats, monohulls, racing yachts and cruisers. If you love boats it’s a sight for sore eyes. And don’t miss the fantastic Hong Kong Maritime Museum, complete with 15 galleries and thousands of artefacts telling the amazing story of the city and the waters surrounding it.
The weather in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate, which in this case makes the weather dry and mild, sometimes cloudy with rain, but rarely heavy rain. Summers are very hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, thanks to warm air pouring in from the south west. There are sometimes typhoons in summer, and the winters are mild and sunny, cloudier towards February with the odd cold front bringing chilly winds from the north. Spring and autumn are the most temperate seasons, and snow is extremely rare, only found at high altitudes. You can expect an enjoyable 1,948 hours of sunshine per year.
Sea conditions around Hong Kong
Weather in the seas surrounding Hong Kong is tropical, strongly affected by monsoons. Through summer hot, wet winds blow from the south west, in winter from the north east. Annual rainfall can be anything from 80 – 120 inches, particularly around the southern basin. Close to the island nation of Taiwan, Eastern China, and in the Hong Kong area you’ll often get local channelling, also called funnelling, where the high winds and fast-building seas can make progress on the water tricky.
The south west monsoon season gets going from mid to late spring and carries on through the summer, with mostly south to south westerly winds, often force 4-5 across the northern South China Sea, past Taiwan and into the Luzon Straits. You might also come across localised funnelling thanks to the south to south west winds in the Taiwan Strait, with potentially very high winds near to and sometimes exceeding gale force.
When the south west monsoon disappears, winds drop back to north easterlies reaching force 4-5. These winter winds are influenced by a Siberian high, encompassing Eastern China, the Yellow Sea, and the Sea of Japan. As this high beds in and gets stronger, you may come across powerful northerly surges across the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, sometimes creating winds as strong as gale force 8 or 9, with surges as high as 15 feet.
During winter you’ll run into the north east Monsoon season, with strong northerly and easterly winds averaging anything from force 3-5, dropping lower the farther south you sail. In southern areas of the South China Sea high wind surges build to the south and east following cold fronts passing to the north, combining to reach 10-12 feet in the central South China Sea, dropping lower and lasting for longer the farther south you go.
Is Hong Kong on your horizon?
Maybe you can’t quite afford a yacht of your own. Maybe you don’t want the hassle of yacht ownership. If you’d love to take to the high seas the easy way, make it simple with yacht share. Let’s explore the potential.