By Edward Chan: The Hongkonger known by everyone as the human GPS
Edited by Holly Stark
Home to 7.4 million people and 16,000 restaurants, Hong Kong is a vibrant city that thrives when the sun goes down. With its people often out until dawn - eating, drinking and exploring the city’s nightlife and undiscovered gems - there’s plenty of things to see, taste and do. I love the city, the contrast between eastern and western cultures, the merging of different identities and cuisines. Different areas of the city offer a different vibe, so get ready for an adventure across the city, and discover some of the best things to do in Hong Kong at night.
For me, the food scene is one of the best in the world. There’s so much choice. Here in Hong Kong we have small kitchens and don’t really cook at home. It’s all about going out and enjoying the atmosphere and vast choice of bars, restaurants and street vendors. If you’re wondering what to do in Hong Kong at night, start in Central, the epi-centre of the island. It is known for its nightlife and never sleeps, and is perhaps most spectacular at night when the skyscrapers illuminate the sky. Hidden slightly further away from the city is the shopping mall Kwai Chung Plaza, situated by Kwai Fong MTR Station. It has a truly local vibe and is perfect for anyone looking to try different types of food and browse small shops and stands. It provides fusion food and street food – just not on the street. The small eateries on each floor offer Korean dishes, dim sum, Chinese hotpot, nibbles such as nuts and dried fruit, noodles, rice and soy milk. The menus aren’t in English, so it’s a great place to go with a guide. I visit different places depending on what mood I’m in, but my favourite, as a foodie, is probably the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant, Tim Ho Wanin in Hong Kong Airport Express Station. The BBQ pork bun is the best I’ve ever eaten!
Beyond food, there’s plenty to do. Victoria Peak is a must-visit if you want an exceptional view of the island from above. The Peak Tram Ride takes about 5 minutes, but you may be waiting for up to an hour so it’s a good idea to buy your tickets in advance. The cable-hauled railway has been reaching the highest point on Hong Kong Island since 1888 and runs every 10 to 15 minutes from 7:00 am to midnight. Sky Terrace 428 is a viewing platform which offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the island’s skyline. Alternatively, see the skyline at sunset from across the harbour after taking the Star Ferry to Kowloon to get that perfect Hong Kong Instagram shot. For Hong Kong’s local scene, Kowloon has a completely different vibe to offer at night; authentic Kowloon night markets, late cafes, street food and stunning island views. Explore Tsim Sha Tsui, a shopping and nightlife district in Kowloon with casual eateries, wine bars, eclectic local shops and neon-lit roads.
Art and Heritage
For anyone who loves history, architecture and art, Tai Kwun: Centre for Heritage and Arts, situated in the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison, is worth visiting. As the biggest restoration project ever undertaken in Hong Kong, Tai Kwun Contemporary has more than 1500 square metres of exhibition space, performance spaces for theatre, music, dance, film and designer studios and shops. It’s open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm every day, with exhibitions throughout the year, and delivers a great public space at the heart of Central.
Hong Kong is known for its night markets. But the Ladies’ Market is often too crowded. If you want a taste of local life, Fa Yuen Market and Temple Street Night Markets are the places to go, and for something different, the Dry Seafood Market offers the traditions of dry seafood. Sham Shui Po Market is the most local market and a great place to visit if you’re wondering what to do in Hong Kong at night. It’s one of the best places to find local clothes, toys, electronics and traditional Chinese pastries. Here you can really feel the vibe of the industry.
The Ultimate Hidden Night Time Jewel
If an average tourist were to walk by The Iron Fairies & Co they wouldn’t notice it because the entrance is hidden. This eccentric venue, situated at 1 Hollywood Road, Central, has an extremely unique décor; iron fairies and 10,000 butterflies hanging from the ceiling, timber beams and furnaces. It also has soulful live music, a cosy atmosphere, comfort food and cocktails. It’s a must-do if you want a one-of-a-kind experience in Hong Kong. It’s opening hours are 6:00 pm - 2:00 am from Monday to Thursday, 5:00 pm - 3:00 am on Friday and Saturday and 5:00 pm - 2:00 am on Sunday.
Good to know
There’s no need to tip in Hong Kong. The service charge is included on the bill. When it comes to transport, the MTR (Mass Transit Railway, Hong Kong’s public transport system) runs until just after midnight. After that, rely on taxis, but make sure to always pay by the metre. If your destination means crossing the harbour, make sure the taxi driver is happy to cross first. Hong Kong is very safe at night and there is a low crime rate, but as with any major city be sure to be aware of pickpockets and keep your valuables out of sight. And most importantly, enjoy!
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