Just because the sun sets, that doesn’t mean the fun stops in Hong Kong. This is one of the world’s great 24-hour cities, with an abundance of nighttime activities. From late-night wining and dining to dancing, hiking and high-intensity workouts, the city has you covered. Hong Kong nightlife goes beyond the bars and clubs, expanding out to the harbour, the hills and into a variety of neighbourhoods for some unique, unexpected things to do after dark. So plan to expand the scope of your evening pursuits, and we won’t blame you for the lie-ins you’ll need the morning after.
Do a Bar Crawl Through Lan Kwai Fong and Soho
Party playground Lan Kwai Fong (often abbreviated to LKF) has come a long way since its early days as a haven for street hawkers. Today, LKF refers to the blocks surrounding D’Aguilar Street and the L-shaped lane the area takes its name from, all filled with bars and restaurants of every variety, from restaurant-rooftop bar Aria to fashionable late-night club Volar. The party stretches all the way up cobblestoned lanes to Wyndham Street (where you might spot a celebrity or two at legendary club Dragon-i) and onto Soho (short for ‘south of Hollywood Road’), a warren of streets with a more laidback vibe, packed with cute restaurants and bars including Michelin-starred bistro Belon and so-hip-it-hurts wine bar Shady Acres.
Hit a Karaoke Bar
Karaoke is without doubt one of the most popular pastimes throughout Asia, and a key part of Hong Kong nightlife. Unlike karaoke joints in the West, where singers typically perform in front of a crowd of strangers, in Hong Kong they offer a chance for you to show off your musical skills to friends in the privacy of your very own room. There are a string of karaoke chains around the city all catering to this much-loved activity: Red Mr, which has multiple branches, offers wallet-friendly packages with a minimum charge per head that includes the use of a private room for several hours of terrible renditions of My Heart Will Go On and Tiny Dancer, along with drinks and snacks.
Head to Wan Chai for Live Music
Whether you’re looking to discover the sounds of local indie artists or just want to belt out Living on a Prayer along with a cover band, Wan Chai is the place to go. A mainstay of the rock scene for more than 30 years, The Wanch might be small but the bar hosts one of the largest line-ups of live bands, seven nights a week with no cover charge. Elsewhere in Wan Chai, Amazonia, Carnegie’s and Dusk Till Dawn also have amazing cover bands performing classic rock and pop hits.
Dig into a Night Brunch
Boozy brunches have become a staple of laidback weekend mornings in Hong Kong – and now you can recreate that indulgence in the evening. On Fridays and Saturdays, Japanese restaurant Zuma offers yashoku, a ‘night brunch’ experience that comes from the Japanese for ‘midnight snack’. The generous spread features sushi, sashimi, grilled skewers and signature main courses like pork gyoza (potstickers), black tiger prawns, vegetable tempura and salmon teriyaki, along with free-flow champagne, sake and beer, and DJs spinning tunes.
Eat at Late-night Diners
Late-night dining is a feature of Hong Kong nightlife: Hongkongers love midnight feasts or siu yeh, literally meaning ‘stay up late’. Open from 3am to 4pm, Sun Hing Restaurant is a dim sum joint in Kennedy Town that’s popular with late-night workers and cab drivers on the overnight shift (and the occasional reveller from LKF). Then there’s Tsui Wah, a local chain serving Hong Kong favourites like noodles and fried rice, best washed down with dong ling cha – Hong Kong-style iced lemon tea. Handily, its flagship restaurant on Wellington Street in Central is open 24 hours.
Shop at Night Markets
The city’s famous night markets offer a sensory overload of colour, noise and affordable souvenirs. In Kowloon you’ll find Temple Street Night Market, which is lined with stalls selling tourist trinkets, cheap gadgets, toys, handicrafts and antiques; while the Ladies’ Market is a mecca for clothes, accessories and jewellery; and Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po is the go-to spot for affordable electronics including mobile phones and second-hand cameras.
Hike Hong Kong’s Trails
Hong Kong is a hiker’s paradise: about three-quarters of the territory is greenery. But hikers might not realise that it can be easier to tackle the trails by night, when the weather’s cooler and the lights of the city paint a pretty picture. Just remember to dress appropriately, and bring a head torch and plenty of water. On Hong Kong Island, Sir Cecil’s Ride – a three-kilometre trail that starts at Mount Butler Road, five minutes’ walk from Quarry Bay MTR Station Exit A, and goes to Braemar Hill – is a picturesque route affording nighttime views of Victoria Harbour. On Kowloon’s southeastern tip, the 4.4-kilometre route from Lei Yue Mun fishing village, 20 minutes’ walk from Yau Tong MTR station, to Devil’s Peak is slightly tougher, but rewards you with historical military installations along the way and fabulous views.
Try Your Luck at Happy Valley Races
Most Wednesday evenings during the horse racing season from September to June or July, Happy Valley Racecourse becomes a hotspot for evening merriment. Entrance is cheap, as are beers and snacks, and it’s quite a spectacle watching the horses fly by – and the gamblers furiously flip through racing tips and cheer on the horses. Be sure to grab a spot by the tracks at the lively grandstand. If you’re feeling lucky, pick up a copy of the South China Morning Post’s racing supplement on the day to check out the odds and get tips on in-form jockeys and trainers.
After-dark Boat Experiences
Hong Kong nightlife isn’t limited to the land. Experience its world-class harbour on a 45-minute evening cruise on the Aqua Luna, a traditional Chinese red-sailed boat, during the Symphony of Lights show, when buildings either side of the harbour are playfully illuminated. The Peninsula Hong Kong has a glitzy 90-minute Symphony of Lights harbour cruise aboard its private yacht – complete with champagne and canapés – that’s open to non-guests. For something a bit more rough and ready, ask your hotel concierge to help book a meal at Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter Seafood, a dinky wooden sampan-turned-floating restaurant, moored on the Causeway Bay waterfront, that serves seafood dishes like crab covered in mountains of fried garlic, and clams in black bean sauce.
Go Boxing – in a Nightclub
Looking for a knockout experience to spice up your evening? Lights Out Boxing Club offers boxing and high-intensity circuit workouts in an environment that resembles a nightclub more than a sweaty gym: think moody, dimly lit interiors, pumping music and energetic boxers working out to the beat. Free trials are available for first-timers, after which single classes or packages are available.
This story was originally published in October 2019 and updated in December 2020.