Hot Spot of the week: Hong Kong

Buddha's birthday is celebrated by scrambling up a tall tower covered in handmade buns. 
TYRONE SIU

Buddha's birthday is celebrated by scrambling up a tall tower covered in handmade buns. 

On Cheung Chau island, the Buddha's birthday is celebrated by scrambling up a tower covered in handmade buns. 

At the stroke of midnight on the big day, competitors clamber up a 60-foot tower, intent on grabbing as many buns as they can in three minutes for good luck. It makes sense to aim high: those at the top are said to bestow the greatest fortune. 

The competition marks the crux of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, which is unique to the island - just a short ferry ride from the city. 

But there's plenty more to check out during the week-long festivities, including the colourful altars with their offerings of fruit, buns and other sweet treats to the gods and the parade featuring lion dances, martial arts displays, floats and marching bands. The "floating children" are a highlight: kids dressed up as mythological Chinese deities are carried through the streets on long poles. 

While on the island, take time to explore the temples, sandy beaches, "Mini Great Wall" (a gorgeous coastal trail) and the former hideout of 19th century pirate Cheung Po Tsai, portrayed in local lore as a latter-day Robin Hood. And the green wooden hills are a perfect antidote to the city. 

The festival takes place annually in late April or early May. 

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