Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Night on the Town

Okay, actually we had a bit more than one night on the town in Hong Kong, but for me there were a few highlights, which you could just about fit in if you had just one night in Hong Kong.

18:00 Early evening - dinner & drinks
There is no limit to the dining opportunities in Hong Kong. Start your night early with a beer and early bird's special at the Scandinavian restaurant "FINDS" or one of the city's countless other world cuisine restaurants. Or go to a simple Chinese restaurant to eat where the locals do.

That's me enjoying a beer at the terrace of "FINDS". The food was great, but not cheap

Nitoli enjoying a very simple and cheap noodle soup in a local restaurant. I don't really like Chinese food (in China) but she loves it

In the swanky restaurant-bar Lotus run by one of Nitoli's old school friends

20:00 Watch Symphony of the Stars
Every night the city of Hong Kong gets transformed into a giant sound and light show, which is best observed from the Avenue of the Stars promenade across the water in Kowloon. It is one of the very touristy, yet cool things that any visitor to the city just has to see once.

Symphony of the Stars

20:45 Horse Racing at Happy Valley
Horse racing is one of the biggest spectator sports in Hong Kong partly for cultural and historical reasons and partly because it is legal to bet. Attending a race at one of the city's race courses - of which Happy Valley is the smaller, but more centrally located - is a great experience. Nitoli and I both made a few bets and we each scored a win and a couple of losses, but of equal interest was to watch people. Based on our observations it seemed to us that two very distinct crowds come to the races. Firstly there were those who came exclusively to gamble and sit with their various race papers and other systems for keeping track of where to place their money. They seem to mostly come alone and they are predominantly of Chinese descent. And then there were the socialites who come to meet others and be seen in their swanky outfits. There are definitely people of Chinese origin in this group also, but people of Western descent tend to be very strongly represented in this group.

Horses and jockeys nearing the finish line

The grand stand at Happy Valley with plenty of exclusive VIP lounges and balconies. The floor between the stands and the race course is filled with beer tents and food stands where people can mingle

Happy Valley has a grandstand on one side, but is surrounded by Hong Kong's trademark skyscrapers on the other side. Wonder if these people sit and view the races from their balconies?

22:00 Hit the nightlife district, Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is the exact kind of place you miss when living in a city like Delhi, whose night life is spread out, expensive and all very much closed onto itself. By contrast this entertainment district on Hong Kong Island is filled to the brink with bars and restaurants most of which are open onto the street - and it's just one entertainment district of many in HK.

Don't like the crowd or vibe or music in your Delhi bar? Get into your car, drive 20 minutes and pay 1000 rupees to get get into a better place. Don't like those same things in your Lan Kwai Fong bar? Finish your drink and walk 15 metres to the neighbouring bar. And the bars don't close at midnight either. Hong Kong nightlife is simply fantastic.

One of the streets in Lan Kwai Fong seen from above

Another part of Lan Kwai Fong seen at street level

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