17 Jul Explore Hong Kong After Dark
Hong Kong after dark offers so many fantastic options for nighttime outings and entertainment. Once the temples, museums and other tourist spots wind down for the day you need a different checklist. Here is our top pick of things to do when the sun goes down. Whether your looking for a bite to eat, a night out, an activity, a tour or a view, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for you.
Our world famous Hong Kong skyline is the stuff of picture postcards during the day, but after dark the night time view is equally spectacular as the buildings turn neon. We think the best time of the evening to enjoy the skyline is leading up to 8pm when the Symphony of Lights kicks off. In case you don’t know, the Symphony is when the iconic skyscrapers sky become the canvas for stellar laser light show.
Drink in the View
Here are our favourite spots to enjoy your after dark tipple in Hong Kong.
We have two sweet options, a fab social enterprise and a bar that’s so high up that it’s practically in the clouds.
Hong Kong Island
On Hong Kong island is Sugar at the East Hotel in Quarry Bay. Many people go for the most obvious contenders in Central and Wan Chai, but they often have a minimum spend, which doesn’t work so well if you just want a quick drink. Sugar bar is just off the well-beaten bar circuit, yet still an easy MTR ride away and is both pretty spacious and offers great views.
Alternatively, Cafe 8 is only spitting distance from the Star Ferry in Central, tucked away by the Maritime Museum. However, most people have no idea it’s there so it’s a bit of a hidden gem. It’s only open until around 8pm, so it should be your first port of call of the evening to watch the sunset. Nevertheless, we think it’s worth a visit as there is a lovely outdoor terrace with excellent views and it’s also a social enterprise empowering adults with learning disabilities.
On Kowloon side, we love Red Sugar at the Kerry Hotel. Again, it’s a little of the tourist track. Rather than the ever popular Tsim Sha Tsui area which boasts staples such as the lobby bar at the Intercontinental, Red Sugar is in Whampoa and has a great terrace.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling fancy, you could have a drink at the Ritz Carlton’s Ozone, the highest bar in the world on the 118th floor of International Commerce Centre. Reservations are recommended. Another contender is the Ocean Terminal Viewing Platform, easy to access from the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, yet usually more quiet.
If however, you would prefer a full-on tourist experience, get yourself booked on the Aqua Luna for a sunset drink under traditional red junk sails as you sail across Victoria Harbour. This classic junk boat is one of the only original ships left running in the harbour, and is truly a lovely way to enjoy the harbour during the evening. Our recommendation would be to book their ‘sunset cruise’ to watch the city-skyscrapers as they first light-up – book this activity through us as an additional activity to your Hong Kong Experience.
Gaze at the Stars
Despite light pollution in the thick of the city, which limits night sky viewing, some of Hong Kong’s more remote areas offer better options. You can book a stargazing tour at Hong Kong’s Astropark in Sai Kung.
Cape D’Aguilar down on Hong Kong Island is a favourite spot for those wanting to capture a star studded sky on camera.
However, we rather like the idea of a night under the stars at Sai Yuen Camping Park on Cheung Chau. They offer a selection of unusual accommodation including safari tents, teepees, tree cocoons and geodesic domed tents with see-through ceilings, perfect for falling asleep under the stars.
Go Night Fishing for Squid or Cuttlefish
Squid fishing is a seasonal activity, so please check whether tours are running before booking. Usually, from May through August, you can take a night cruise to catch squid/cuttlefish. Not only do you get to see the sparkling Hong Kong skyline from the water, you’ll head somewhere a little more remote to catch a few squid and then eat them freshly cooked. We found this family-friendly option here.
Laugh your Socks off
Hong Kong has plenty of comedy clubs. Our favourite has to be Take Out Comedy on Elgin Street in Soho… very easy to find from the Midlevels Escalator. Not only do we understand that it’s the first full-time comedy club in the whole of Asia, it’s owned by one of our very own tour guides, Jameson.
Sing Your Heart Out
In case you didn’t know, karaoke bars are pretty popular in Hong Kong. Mr Red is a chain and a pretty safe bet, they have several venues across the city and have private rooms available if you want to warble tunelessly in peace or host a private function. However, if you fancy a bit of Cantopop, Temple Street is the place to go.
Take in a Cantonese Opera
Even if you’re not sure that Cantonese opera will be your cup of tea, everyone should try it once. Hong Kong is the perfect place to enjoy this ancient and traditional form of theatrical entertainment. The most popular venues are probably Yau Ma Tei theatre or the plush new Xiqu Centre. Both offer some shows with subtitles in English, but please double-check before booking.
Have a Flutter on the Horses
Hong Kong’s Happy Valley racecourse runs race nights on Wednesday evenings during racing season. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the races from trackside where you can experience no-frills race night for a nominal fee, to some of the more upmarket drinking and dining options offered within the stadium. Find out more about Happy Valley’s history and ways to experience the races here.
Shop ’till you Drop
Hong Kong is a highly prized international shopping destination. In fact, it’s Hong Kong’s last remaining night market. In the early evening meander through the Flower and Goldfish Markets in Mong Kok. Then catch the neon signage switching on in Sai Yeung Choi Street and bargain hard at double-height market stalls at the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street.
So many shops stay open relatively late and the infamous Temple Street market is a vibrant night market which spans the neighbourhoods of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. This is sometimes referred to as the “poor mans nightclub” and as well as the night market you can enjoy taste some local treats, or stop for cold beer and late-night Cantonese Opera.
Go on a Snake Safari
Depending on your point of view, Hong Kong is blessed or cursed with a wide variety of snakes, including several venomous ones. Enquire about joining a snake safari hike with local snake expert. The tours take place at night because the snakes of Hong Kong are much more active after dark. Please be sure to enquire in advance as the tours are seldom and guest numbers are limited.
Book a Night Tour of Hong Kong
Of course, we’d love to show you around. At Hong Kong Greeters we offer Night Tours where we can include the best views of the Neon Skyline, check out the street food scene trying local eats such as fishballs, stinky tofu or egg waffles and take in the likes of Temple Street night market where you can stock up on souvenirs. Alternatively, we also offer at Sin City Tours which explores the darker side of Hong Kong’s history.
Watch the Fireworks in the Harbour
Most years there are several firework displays over Hong Kong harbour. Towards the end of January or beginning of February there are fireworks for Chinese New Year. Additionally, there are fireworks on Chinese National Day (October 1st) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st). The best place to see them is from the comfort of a luxury boat with food and free-flow drinks. Please contact us to enquire about availability for any upcoming fireworks cruises.
Hong Kong after dark, which adventure will you choose?