06 Nov Happy Valley’s History of Horses and Hearses
Happy Valley is Hong Kong’s original race course, have you ever thought about going to the races while you’re in town? Horse racing is a big deal here and there are so many different ways to enjoy it. We shared our top tips and the inside scoop with Hong Kong Hub in a recent article. We provided a breakdown of all the different ways to enjoy a trip to the races, whether you’re going as a couple or a group. Our tips are useful for both the novice and the seasoned pro. Find the link to the full article at the bottom of the post.
While we were researching the article we learned about Happy Valley’s History.
Why Happy Valley is Ironically Named
There are two racecourses in Hong Kong. The original Happy Valley racetrack was founded in 1846 on what was the only flat land on Hong Kong Island. Previously a malarial swamp, the naming of Happy Valley was ironic. Many people fell victim to tropical maladies, meaning that Happy Valley was once anything but. To this day there are cemeteries adjacent to the racecourse. They serve as a reminder of the areas’ history.
It’s possible to visit the cemeteries. There are a number of cemeteries all in close proximity including a Roman Catholic cemetery and a Muslim one. There are also Jewish, Hindu and Parsee ones too. They date back to Hong Kong’s early days and are the resting place of many of the movers and shakers of times gone by.
Despite these not so happy beginnings, the racetrack has flourished since the swamp was drained. Nowadays the track is surrounded by skyscrapers, which add to the atmosphere on race nights when they are lit up.
The newer Shatin racecourse in the New Territories opened in 1978. This is the racecourse for the more serious racing fans.
Want to go to the races? We’re here to help.
If you are interested in adding a trip to the races to your itinerary when visiting Hong Kong, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. To find out more about Hong Kong’s darker side, enquire about our Sin City Tour. Please note that as a rule our tours and outings are family friendly, however the racetracks are strictly for over 18’s and the Sin City tour is for over 16’s. Therefore, if you are travelling with children, perhaps consider alternative evening entertainment, such as a trip to the Xiqu Centre to watch Cantonese Opera or visiting a night market and watching the light show as part of one of our night tours.