10 things to do at the midnight hour in Hong Kong

(CNN) — Hong Kong is one of those rare cities that is even livelier and more interesting at night than it is during the day, yet most people's nocturnal activity consists of the same old, same old: dinner and drinks then off to bed.
That's fun, but it gets old after a while. Here's our pick of alternative activities for the witching hour and beyond:

1. Go squid fishing

Failing a fishing trip, squid can always be easily obtained at Hong Kong's wet markets.
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Like a nighttime version of the popular daytime junk trip, squid fishing is an excuse to get together with a bunch of friends, rent a boat and spend the evening drinking, talking and enjoying the particularly peaceful experience of being at sea after dark.
Squid and cuttlefish only come out at night; seasoned with a bit of garlic and soy sauce, they make for delicious eating.
You'll be given a simple line and hook; dip it in the water, pull it back to imitate a fish moving around and you'll hopefully catch a small squid, which the boat staff will then pan-fry for you.

2. Visit the 'gwo laan'

Every night, just as the Temple Street Night Market is packing up, the Yau Mai Tei Wholesale Fruit Market is only getting started.
Known informally as the gwo laan, the market is a shambolic collection of century-old buildings set along narrow alleyways near the corner of Waterloo Road and Reclamation Street. Though it starts operating as early as 10 p.m., the action doesn't reach a fever pitch until 4 a.m. when retail buyers negotiate with vendors and tattooed shirtless workers haul crates of apples and lychees.
Though the market has a sketchy reputation, it's a perfectly welcoming place to wander around. Just don't get in anyone's way.

3. Take a red minibus to Mongkok

As far as red minibuses go, all roads lead to Mongkok, especially in the wee hours of the morning when the buzzing neighborhood acts as a transfer point between routes heading to every part of Hong Kong. There's plenty to keep you interested after midnight: street food, late-night clothing stores, snooker halls, DVD hawkers.
Fuel up with a bowl of noodles at the 24-hour Aberdeen Fishball and Noodles (139 Tung Choi St., +852 2787 6678) or the Sea View Congee Shop (103 Argyle St., +852 2787 7330) and hit the streets for a late night of entertainment.

4. Get lost on Cheung Chau

Loading up with fish on Cheng Chau.
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Sleepy outlying island this is not. While Peng Chau, Lamma and Mui Wo tuck into bed early, Cheung Chau plays host to a miniature night market that gets started after 10 p.m., with delicious treats from sushi to tong shui.
Weekend holidaymakers, meanwhile, keep the beach busy well into the night. But even with all of these activities, it's still possible to escape: try wandering along the picturesque Peak Road. Ferries return to Central at 11:45 p.m. and 2:20 a.m.

5. Go for a midnight run in the park

Many of the exercises in Hong Kong's parks have been invented by their practitioners.
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In a city where there's no private space, the city's parks become an easy extension of everyone's living rooms. If it's not someone's uncle going for a power-dawdle in his pyjamas, there'll be aunties walking their lapdogs in prams or kung fu masters plying their art on the exercise bars on the jogging track.
The action goes on until deep into the night and is highly democratic. If you feel like jogging in a ratty old vest and a pair of flip flops, no one will pay you the blindest bit of attention.

6. Hang out at the beach

Day or night, Hong Kong's beaches are always a delight.
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Innocently fun in the daylight, the beach takes a more seductive turn under the moon, which makes it the perfect place for a romantic date or a chilled out get-together with friends. Bring a mat, some candles and a bottle of wine -- there's no better place on a hot summer's eve.
If you find yourself at a non-gazetted beach, such as Lamma's Power Plant Beach, kick it up with a bonfire. Just remember to douse the embers and pick up the trash before leaving.

7. Eat at an all-night dai pai dong

Dai pai dongs are a cure for the midnight munchies.
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Late-night hunger pangs are never a problem in Sham Shui Po, where several of the neighborhood's 14 dai pai dongs are open around the clock.
Head to Yiu Tung Street, near the corner of Shek Kip Mei Street, where So Kee dishes up pork chop noodles and milk tea 24 hours a day, Hung Fat satisfies congee cravings and Cheung Fat does fantastic fish ball noodles until 4 a.m.

8. Get middle-of-the-night dim sum

Party people and shift workers sit cheek by jowl at Sun Hing.
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There's nothing quite like a radish cake and some cheung fun to soak up a night of excess. In Prince Edward, One Dim Sum (15 Playing Field Road, +852 2789 2280) serves the Tung Choi Street bar crowd until 1 a.m. every night.
But for a truly exceptional dim sum experience, head over to Kennedy Town, where Sun Hing Sik Gah (Shop C, G/F, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, +852 2816 0616) opens for the day at 3 a.m. This is a steamy, white-tiled, fluorescent-lit kind of place. With dirt-cheap prices, the crowd of early birds and late sleepers get along just fine.

9. Walk with the ghosts

An urban explorer in Hong Kong shows a lucky charm she uses to protect her from ghosts.
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You'll never see Hong Kong the same way again after taking the Wanchai Livelihood Museum's nighttime ghost story tour, which visits several haunted sites in the city's most ghostly neighborhood.
Tour guide Wong Sau-ping explains that the abundance of ghosts stems from Wanchai's long history and high rate of casualties.
With the flair of a natural storyteller, Wong delves into the stories behind the ghost stories. You'll leave the tour with goosebumps and a richer knowledge of Hong Kong's history.

10. Go for a bike ride

Daytime biking is an urban grind, but by night it's a different story.
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All of cycling's most sensual qualities are enhanced after dark, when the Sunday cyclists have gone home and there's nobody but you, your bike and the cool night breeze. Our favorite destination for nighttime biking is Tai Mei Tuk, where you can ride at high speed along the Plover Cove Dam, the city's lights on one side of you and the moon's reflection on the other.
Editor's note: This article was previously published in 2011. It was reformatted, updated and republished in 2017.
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