香港賽馬會 – visiting Hong Kong Jockey Club

Back in 2012 when I visited Hong Kong I really wanted to visit Hong Kong Jockey Club (which is one of the image (11)oldest institutions in Hong Kong, dated back to 1884!), but since the weather in summer is very hot and humid, the horse racing does not take place during that period. That’s what I’ve been told so Sing better prays that no one informs me the other way in comments.

So when we went to Hong Kong in December there was no way I could skip it! Especially since Sing had never been to one before as well. To make it more funny Wah Wah, my father-in-law, was pretty frequent guest there when Sing was a little child. I guess Sing wasn’t his lucky charm.

But how to make that visit inexpensive? When you think of horse racing, how many of you think of the fancy dressed crowds and ladies wearing those huge and extraordinary hats? The VIP zone in Hong Kong Jockey Club requires money, that’s true – but there’s also an option for cheapa… good money managers like Sing and I.

HAPPY WEDNESDAYS. I’m pretty sure some of you will be as surprised as we were – I read it on one of the blogs and I immediately texted my husband that there’s no way we’re going to miss this. Why is it so great?image (12)

First of all, it’s cheap. The entrance fee is just 10HKD and there’s McDonald’s inside so if you’re on a really tight budget with your last 50HKD on your Octopus card, you can have a really nice evening.

Second of all, there’s variety of affordable food and snacks. Besides McDonald’s there are plenty of stands with beer, snacks, even whole meals. I don’t know if those food stands change, but at the time we were visiting HKJC there was a Japanese themed food court.  Too bad I was already after a meal, because the takoyaki they were serving looked really delicious! When they don’t have any themed-party they offer hot-dogs and BBQ items in their food kiosks for a really good price!

Third of all, alcohol was pretty affordable too. And by alcohol I mean beer. From the pictures I can see that Belgium beer Hoegaarden cost 54HKD for a big cup, but I’m SURE there was much cheaper beer like San Miguel because I know Sing and he would not pay that much for beer. I can only guess it was between 35-40HKD. You would expect more from a jockey club, wouldn’t you?

image (5)Fourth of all, besides the horse racing, HKJC hosts other events at the same time. You pay 10 HKD to see running horses but in meantime you can enjoy live music, food, take some photos or look at pretty models. In December they hosted matsuri-like party. You could dress up in yukata and take pictures, there were some other small contests as well. I have to say that all the Asian girls went for yukata photos and most of foreigners went for beer and gambling. I wanted to take a yukata photo too but I was too shy! You don’t know how much I regret that!
The next party will be hosted in less than a week and it will be Easter themed!
If you’re curious about the current events during your trip just click here for the information!

Fifth of all, you can win money! But only if you know what you’re doing or at least you listen to your significant other. I told Sing to bet on horse X, but he was too busy eating his BigMac. Didn’t even share with me so I decided not to help him anymore. My horse won, I stuck out my tongue out to show my dominance and asked him to bet himself. Two horses he bet on were a disaster – one of them didn’t even start, the jockey just quit and the other one was one of the last one to finish. We lost 20HKD but it was fun anyway.image (4)

The betting was pretty easy, staff working at the betting centre was really helpful and willing to show you how to make a bet. You can get a newspaper with the results or bring one with you. We picked really random horses because all those tables were too difficult! But I wouldn’t ask ‘the serious locals’ for help because they play to win and trust me, they won’t want to share their win with you or might even trick you into picking the worst horse – Wah Wah used to be an ass.

With the affordable cost, variety of food and entertainment Hong Kong Jockey Club is my favorite pick for Wednesday entertainment. If you’re visiting Hong Kong and you never been to a horse race, you should definitely book the one afternoon! And the best thing is – even if you don’t know Cantonese, there’s English commentary and most of the staff around you speaks English. No more Canto-struggle! 😉

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Have you ever been horse racing? Or maybe you’ve been Jockey yourself? Is horse racing popular in your country? Share your stories and experience! 🙂

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27 thoughts on “香港賽馬會 – visiting Hong Kong Jockey Club

  1. When I was studying in Hong Kong we used to pre-drink (not that we ever snuck in our own alcohol as cheapskate students ofc…. errm) at the horse races, before heading on the tram to Wan Chai for ladies night. I never won much because I’m an incredibly cautious gambler – I think if you averaged out all my trips I about broke even. They were great nights!

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    1. That can save you some money as well! Next time if you have a chance just bet 10HKD for the horse with the prettiest name – worked for me haha Sing tried studying those tables but he was only like WTF is that 😀

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  2. It’s hot and humid ALL YEAR LONG in Malaysia, and if I’m not mistaken, our horse races go on all year long too. So I don’t see why Hong Kong needs to take a summer break. I’m not saying Sing lied to you though, because I know nuts about Hong Kong horse racing, maybe he is right, maybe the horses are bred and trained differently.

    Still, funny that his name is Sing (Win, right?) but he loses all his bets! 😀

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    1. His name is an irony in both Cantonese and English – he never wins when he gambles (but somehow I always win when I’m with him :D) and he is a terrible singer but claims that when he was young he was the best in female high parts in those old Chinese songs 😀

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  3. Gonna have to check this out, almost stayed in hotel near the tracks last time but for some reason did not… Do you have ideas on good hotels in HK? Don’t need super cheap would like it better then our apt in Shenzhen…

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    1. We first stayed with the family – terrible hotel service 😉 but seriously – last time we chose to stay in a hotel, it was really hard to chose since we didn’t want a tiny motel room in Mong Kok, but a proper hotel room for a decent price and the best choice we had is the hotel we chose: Bonaparte, close to Wan Chai ferry, Sogo, HKJC and he kitty cafe haha 🙂 price was decent too, but if you go with your SO and want to sleep in one bed you need to pay extra. We chose to sleep separately haha 🙂

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  4. I’ve never been at a horse racing or anything similar. I do not even know whether to go there in HK but after reading this post it might be worth it for all the other things you can experience it.
    Betting on things is not really my strongest part. Tried it and failed 🙂

    But good that there is beer, me needs beer with spicy Chinese snacks!

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    1. Think of it this way: if you win enough money you can hire a nanny or just let you and your wife sit at home all the time without MIL’s help or you can have enough to get her a separate place so she won’t destroy yours 😀 I think Nathan would love the horses too!

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  5. This is a fabulous blog! I wish I’d read it before my visits to Hong Kong. If I’d read this blog on the HK Jockey Club I would have taken a visit there and gorged myself on the cheap food. Incidentally, I suppose your husband may have already mentioned to you about the Irish connection to the Cantonese people back in the mid 1800s. The self-proclaimed brother of Jesus named Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) almost overthrew the Qing Dynasty back then during the Taiping Rebellion. When one day the British arrived at one of his Kingdom of Heavenly Peace camps, they discovered Irish mercenaries already there among the rebels. The Qing royals hired another soldier of fortune, the American Frederick Townsend Ward, to quash the rebellion, which was eventually accomplished by his successor. Ward later died in battle. His successor was the British officer Major-General “Charlie” Gordon, later of Khartoum fame. Some things don’t really change. Thanks for a fun and informative read.

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  6. I would never think of horse races and Hong Kong. I live very close to Kentucky and all the horse farms and Kentucky Derby events. It’s a big part of my area of the world, so we go to the horse races fairly often. I was a big winner once. Only once.

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  7. i have always wondered about this place whenever i find myself in HK. never known anyone who has been there or encourage me to visit the place. i also don’t speak chinese and so never made the attempt to visit the place on my own, fearing i would get lost and not understand a thing. but now i know it’s still possible to do a little adventure there. thanks for sharing. by the way, is a wednesday the special day with cheaper entrance?

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    1. as far as I remember it was wednesday but you can always check on their website, I remember I read it on some travel blog and I told Sing we have to go on Wednesday so the cheapass inside him won’t feel too bad 😀

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