Part of planning a trip to Hong Kong is sussing out the best time to visit. For a sub-tropical city like Hong Kong, the “best time” falls between the autumn season in October and December, when the notorious humidity falls to all-year lows, skies are cloudless (but not oppressively sunny) and weather is relatively constant.
You can actually visit Hong Kong at all times of the year, but plenty of factors hang on the time you choose to visit: airfare and hotel room pricing, the holiday calendar, and the climate, which swings from nippy to downright sweltering throughout the year.
Before planning a visit to Hong Kong, consider the pros and cons of your travel schedule. Read on for more information on Hong Kong’s seasons, its holiday calendar and what to do in Hong Kong from month to month.
Weather in Hong Kong
Thanks to Hong Kong’s subtropical climate, locals experience temperate weather for most of the year. Weather extremes occur during the winter months of January and February, with occasional sub-zero temperatures; and the summer months of June to August, where the relentless sun and rising humidity are only occasionally interrupted by rain and typhoons (called tropical cyclones in Hong Kong).
The temperature in Hong Kong ranges from 55 F (13 C) lows in January to 88 F (31 C) highs in July. June brings the year’s highs in heat and humidity, turning a walk outdoors into a positively sweltering experience. Relative humidity reaches a high of 87 percent between June and August.
To deal with these climatic extremes, most buildings and transportation in Hong Kong enjoy all-hours air-conditioning. For more details about the month-to-month humidity levels in Hong Kong check out this article.
The summer months also coincide with tropical cyclone (typhoon) season from May to September, the latter month being particularly infested with these storms. Luckily, Hong Kong locals have had plenty of practice dealing with these storms, implementing a warning system that lets everyone in Hong Kong know what intensity to expect and how to hunker down. For more information, read about tropical cyclones in Hong Kong.
All that considered, autumn in Hong Kong as the best time to visit: the fall weather lets you escape these temperature extremes, going no higher than 75 F (24 C) and 74% relative humidity.
Low humidity, bright skies and moderate temperatures make fall the best time to visit Hong Kong. Sudden changes in weather are not likely in the autumn months; the rainy days come few and far between, with just 20-30 mm of rainfall throughout the season.
The humidity begins dropping during the fall months from 83% to 74%; combined with average temperatures of 75 F (24 C), the climate at this time will put a smile on any tourist’s face.
Events to check out:
- Mid-Autumn Festival that commemorates the Chinese victory over Mongolian hordes (September 13, 2019).
- National Day commemorating the birth of the People’s Republic of China (and the kick-off of Golden Week) with a massive fireworks display over Victoria Harbor (October 1).
Expect no White Christmas in Hong Kong; the rare frost aside, temperatures rarely drop below zero in Hong Kong’s winter months, settling for averages of 63 F (17 C) throughout. With low rainfall averaging 30-40 mm and low humidity averaging about 74%, Hong Kong during the winter months can be a pleasant (if slightly nippy) experience.
Events to check out:
- Christmas in Hong Kong, a secular yet festive time that actually extends through the whole month of December.
- Chinese New Year, a three-day celebration in Hong Kong that climaxes with a firework display over Victoria Harbour (January 25, 2020).
Sunny weather plus low humidity (at least at the outset) makes spring a fine time to visit Hong Kong. Temperatures start to crank up as the season progresses, with average maximums of 64 F (18 C) in March to 77 F (25 C) in May.
As spring progresses, the humidity starts to rise, too, as does the likelihood of rain. By May, expect half the days of the month to be drenched by spring showers.
Events to check out:
- The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, the equivalent of the Superbowl for local rugby fanatics, taking place over three days in early April.
- Ching Ming Festival, which signals the beginning of spring with families visiting ancestral graves and leaving offerings (April 4-6, 2020).
- Tin Hau Festival, where hundreds of wildly-decorated fishing boats visit the Tin Hau temples around the territory to ask for luck in the coming year from the goddess of the sea (April 15, 2020).
The Hong Kong humidity in the summer months feel like a suffocating invisible blanket, combining with the steady sunshine to turn any clothing into sopping heaps by days’ end. The heat is only occasionally interrupted by short summer showers and the odd tropical cyclone.
Heat-shy tourists should avoid visiting during the summer months; the average maximums of 88 F (31 C) at the peak of summer in July will make a sweaty mess of any extended journey outside.
Events to check out:
- The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival pits eight-man dragon boats against each other on Victoria Harbour (June 14-16, 2019); and
- The Hungry Ghost Festival, when Hong Kong locals appease restless spirits with Chinese opera, food, and family get-togethers (August 15, 2019).
For a more complete run-down of major events throughout the year, read our list of month-by-month guide to the best Hong Kong festivals.
Crowds & School Holidays in Hong Kong
Thanks to the steady stream of tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong has no discernible “off-season;”; there is no season when everything shuts down and prices plummet to basement-bargain level.
Not that there aren’t significant seasons for lower prices; your chances for discounted rates improve in the summer and winter months, when hotels and destinations tend to offer affordable packages.
There are two super-peak seasons for tourism in Hong Kong, during which hotel rates have been known to quadruple thanks to the influx of tourists from the mainland. If you want to avoid crowds and high prices, don’t visit during Hong Kong’s two “Golden Weeks”, clustered around Chinese New Year in January/February and National Day on October 1.
International Labor Day (May 1) sees a smaller influx of mainland tourists, though enough to affect prices and slots on bookings.
Conventions and trade fairs are a regular occurrence in business-friendly Hong Kong, particularly during the spring and autumn months. Depending on the size of the convention, they may cause room shortages in areas local to the event.
School holidays in Hong Kong generally coincide with significant cultural festivals like Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter. Plan your trip around the following months and festivals to avoid school holidays:
- Mid-October: 1 week half-holidays
- December: 3-week Christmas break, lasting till after New Year
- January/February: 1 week half-holidays, coinciding with Chinese New Year
- April: 2-week Easter holidays
- End of June to mid-August: 6-week summer vacation