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An Evening at the Happy Valley Racecourse; Hong Kong

Happy Hong Kong 2

Rising to your feet, you see the horses round the final corner and head down the homestretch. Gripping a ticket in your sweaty palm, you feel your heart rate increase. “C’mon number 4, go number 4!” And…

Number 6 wins it by half a length.

Hmmm, how long until the next race?

A night out in Hong Kong can go in any number of directions. Tourists might seek a high place to check out the city lights, while partiers could hit up the metropolis’ many bars and nightclubs, hoping to catch a buzz and dance the night away. But what about those of us who fit into neither one of those generalized categories?

Well, you could go to bed early and get a fresh start on the next day. But that’s no fun. As an option that is both entertaining and intriguing, consider spending an evening at the racecourse.

Happy Valley Racecourse

Located in a well-to-do neighborhood on Hong Kong Island, the Happy Valley Racecourse is a horse track built for locals and foreigners alike. Having existed in some form or another since 1846, the track is steeped in history and is only improving with time.

With races running from September through to June, visitors will have plenty of opportunities to investigate the top-notch structure. And what would a trip to the track be without a little gambling?

Credit: kalleboo Credit: kalleboo

Hanging Out Around the Track

A far cry from a seedy race course filled with bookies and gambling addicts, the facilities at Happy Valley are so nice that even entering the grounds will cost you around $13US.

From that point on, it’ll be all entertainment. A slew of staff around the complex can aid first time betters, while races can be watched from a number of different balconies.

Don’t worry about food either. The Happy Valley Racecourse offers both simple meals and cheap beers, which should be more than enough to keep you satiated.

Credit: antwerpenR Credit: antwerpenR

Sha Tin Racecourse

Should Happy Valley’s schedule not match your travel itinerary, consider making a visit to the more inconvenient but equally impressive Sha Tin Racecourse. Situated in the New Territories region of Hong Kong, the track offers live racing two or three times a week.

Where Happy Valley is a large tourist draw, expect the serious betters to show up to Sha Tin. Every race will be a high energy affair resulting in mixed emotional outcomes.

As with Sha Tin, you should expect to pay $13 for the simple privilege of entering the grounds.

Credit: Bonnett Credit: Bonnett

When To Go

A trip to the track in Hong Kong is probably best saved for when the horses are running. Catch races between September and June.

Climate

Temperatures during pony season will range from winter lows of 57°F (14°C) to late-spring/early-fall highs of 82°F (28°C). Rains during these months shouldn’t be all that bad.

Getting There & Around

Having already arrived in Hong Kong, look to take the Metro to the MTR Causeway Bay Station to arrive at Happy Valley. Alternately, look to arrive at Fo Tan Railway Station for your evening out at Sha Tin.

Average Costs

  • Mid-range accommodations: $80-110
  • Meal: $9-18
  • Beer: $5

Do’s

  • Decide on a budget before you start gambling.
  • Buy a race program to figure out the schedule and pick your horses.
  • Go to Happy valley rather than Sha Tin if you’re looking for a casual race day experience.

Don’ts

  • Expect much to be happening at the track on off-days.
  • Forget your passport in order to get admitted.
  • Go to the track without first checking the schedule online.

Fun Facts

  • A massive fire at the Happy Valley track killed hundreds in 1918.
  • The Sha Tin Racecourse stables can hold up to 1,260 horses.
  • The Happy Valley Racecourse didn’t introduce night racing until 1973.

Feature Image Credit: keepwaddling1

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