6 Best night hikes in Hong Kong
It can't be denied that hiking in Hong Kong is a great way to spend your days. However, hiking after dark grants a different experience entirely. Not only is night hiking significantly less gruelling without the sun beating down overhead, but a nocturnal trek also provides the most captivating night views of Hong Kong as the city's skyscrapers all light up, magically illuminating our beloved metropolis. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll that comes with harbour views or a challenging cliff-side climb, these are the best night hikes to try. RECOMMENDED: Also check the best Hong Kong hiking trails, and the 10 best country parks in Hong Kong.
48 hours in Hoi An
Hoi An radiates old-world charm. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City may grab the headlines but this quaint city in central Vietnam has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1999. Hoi An’s history as a trading port remains a focal point of its modern identity – examples of Vietnamese, Chinese, French and Japanese architecture abound – but to say it survives off of former glories would be a grave injustice. This town is alive and kicking – and the perfect city to hit up for a 48-hour break.
48 hours in Hoi An
Hoi An radiates old-world charm. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh may grab the headlines but this small town on the eastern coast of central Vietnam has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1999. The city’s history as a trading port remains a focal point of its modern identity – and old Vietnamese, Chinese, French and Japanese architecture abound – but to say Hoi An survives off its former glories would be a grave injustice. This town is alive and kicking. Things to do Acquainting yourself with the Old Town should be high on your agenda. Although it doesn’t span a vast territory, the narrow alleyways and their hidden wonders lie on both sides of the Thu Bon River. Popular sites include the 16th century Japanese Bridge and the area’s historical houses. Tickets from the tourist information centre allow you to enter and leave the sites at your leisure – a luxury given the spike in the number of visitors that appear later in the day. Evening boat rides along the river are the best way to see the lights and lanterns that dot the glistening waterfront. The historic My Son temple Two hours inland lies My Son, formerly the heartland of the Viet Cong army that fought United States’ forces during the Vietnam War. A day trip to the My Son Hindu temple ruins highlights the damage done to the region during the conflict: many of the 14th century Cham dynasty buildings were destroyed during air bombings and bomb craters remain visible to this day. Where to eat Local delicacies from the region incl
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Every summer, Hongkongers do their best to escape the suffocating air of the city. One popular local destination is Cheung Sha beach – a strip known for its bayside restaurants and clear (by HK standards) water. The spot’s latest offering, Long Island, is an airy space which opens up on to the beach where diners can lounge on plastic chairs and firmly dig their toes into the sand – a sign you’re truly away from the city. The cuisine on offer is a hodgepodge and we dive in with a portion of pan-fried dumplings ($95), which come highly recommended. With hearty fillings enveloped by thin pastry, these plump morsels are served with a tangy sauce that adds just the right amount of acidity to the dish. Next, we opt for the Long Island spring roast chicken ($158). Served whole and marinated in a fiery piri piri sauce, the chicken is perfectly cooked. A side salad and chunky chips fill the wooden serving board, making this quite the substantial portion. To conclude the meal, we order the pear tart ($60). While more fruit in the tart would help cut through the custard, the pastry is crisp and the berry coulis is tart enough to balance the plate. The food isn’t bad at Long Island but there’s nothing outstanding except for the restaurant’s charm. Even that lacks the atmosphere of nearby Beach House, which has a solid theme serving craft beer. Long Island needs to find its niche to become a destination on Cheung Sha Beach. Dinner for two: $600.
A large open terrace a few floors above the heart of Lan Kwai Fong isn’t necessarily easy to come by. When you do come across one of these elusive spots, you tend to expect a respite from the crowded streets below. Newly opened Charcoal offers one such space. A minimally decorated shisha bar, Charcoal hides a tastefully concealed venue with bamboo fencing shielding patrons from all that neon across the way. We skip the shisha, as that’s not our bag, but we do order a Charcold Fashioned ($90) – the bar’s own take on the classic tipple. Served ice-cold in a tumbler, the essence of charcoal adds a certain edge, setting this apart from your average old fashioned. It’s pretty decent. The next offering, is far from decent. We opt for the Adios ($120). It would be great if this drink referenced the fact that it could end your night in style. It doesn’t. It references the fact that we’d happily say goodbye to the cocktail after the first sip. The blue curacao is overly sweet and the generous slug of gin is way overboard and ruins the ensemble. Boozy? Yes. Tasty? No. From the light bites, we order a plate of spring rolls ($80). It’s a generous portion and not overly greasy, soaking up that Adios, but it’s hardly an incredible dish given the cost. In fact, it’s all a pretty penny here and just isn’t deserving of the price tag. An evening at Charcoal does mean missing the crowds, but it also means some sub-par drinks. Hopefully the team will iron out the kinks as there’s great potential
Beer & Fish
Beer & Fish, a new fish ’n’ chip shop on Staunton Street, boasts geometric white tiling inside its quaint interior. Small clipboards adorn the wall alongside an extensive range of craft beers (so hip they have to be served in mason jars) perfect for whetting your whistle. We put in our order and focus on the food. We opt for a portion of the original beer battered fish and fries – three generous pieces of Atlantic cod atop triple cooked, hand cut chips and your choice of dipping sauce. The fish is perfectly cooked and the beer batter crisp, devoid of the heavy layer of grease you might be accustomed to seeing this meal leave behind. The B&F veggie bowl includes an array of battered and crumbed vegetables. The seasoned crumbing is delicious, but in this case the vegetables don’t do much to break up the meal. To top it all off, we try the stout battered junk food – basically deep-fried chocolate bars and the like. We weigh the calories and go for the Snickers version. The tasty little nuggets are everything you’d expect, a crunchy bite on the outside, gooey on the inside – though not recommended for those without a serious sweet tooth. Almost everything is fried here at Beer & Fish and it’s all great, if that’s what you’re after. Be prepared for a heavy meal without a single break – except for the occasional swig of beer.