Where to Watch Fireworks Hong Kong New Years Eve is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report.
Did I miss the fireworks? That’s what I found myself asking after standing out in the cold for two hours at the Central Pier in Hong Kong for NYE. Before I get into that, here’s background info that I wish I knew before going.
Inspired by Rush Hour, I thought a cruise on Hong Kong Bay would be a great way to usher in the new year. Instead of standing around the harbour with thousands of people jostling for a spot, I would have unobstructed views of the fireworks. I chose not to go because the only cruise available was $200 and lasted for four hours. That’s way too much time to be on a boat and way too much money to joyride around the harbour. For less than 50 cents, I have taken the ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. That’s one of the best deals in the world and a must do if you go to Hong Kong.
Fireworks Hong Kong Island
I chose to stay on Hong Kong Island in order to watch the fireworks and then go to Lan Kwai Fung for the festivities. There are many options for viewing the fireworks, but I went to the Central Pier because of its proximity to the Courtyard and LKF.
What time to arrive?
I Googled “When should TPOL go to the Central Pier on NYE to get a good spot for the fireworks?” Surprisingly, nothing came up. The only advice was to get there early. I called the concierge who said to arrive between 8 or 9. Hitting the snooze too many times, I didn’t leave the hotel till well past nine and arrived at the pier around ten. That was way too early. If you’re Googling this, I can confidently tell you that you can arrive just before midnight and find a good viewing spot. You won’t be up in the front directly overlooking the harbour but 1.) I suspect those people arrive quite early in the evening. 2.) Fireworks are in the sky. Unless you are standing directly below Mr. Larson from Happy Gilmore, you’ll see everything just fine. 3.) There’s absolutely nothing happening before midnight.
The Lead Up
There was no music, no light show, absolutely nothing before midnight. The Internet said that there would be a baby fireworks display at 11PM. Standing in silence, I waited. 11PM came and went. Nothing happened. I stood in the same spot, too cold to consume my Tiger beer, which was only the second in my abbreviated 7 Eleven Game (see How to Explore Hong Kong on Foot).
The countdown clock was on the ICC building, but it only counted down by the minute. I recall yelling, “Two minutes!” to the quiet, orderly, subdued crowd then, “One minute!” After that, I didn’t know it was midnight until the fireworks went off.
Over the years, I’ve seen the Hong Kong fireworks on CNN and how they impressively consumed Hong Kong Harbour. In person, I regret to say that I was disappointed. Maybe I’m spoiled by Disney because I didn’t see anything special that night. There was no Bellagio fountain production. It was just blast after blast culminating in more blasts.
The crowded seemed to share my sentiment. When the bombing stopped, the crowd let out a satirical ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’. Then everyone made his/her way from the harbour in search of warmth and beer.
To quote Big as I often do, “I don’t get it.” The pictures show the nice colors of the fireworks and how the colors reflect on the water with the same boat in the foreground. The crowd size shows how this is a notable event that people from all around the world come to see. But the show itself was not worth coming out early to see even if the night were not so cold.
In retrospect, am I glad I went? Yes. Would I recommend going? Probably. Will I return? No. My firework watching days are over, no matter where in the world I am.