Sun by day, fun by night

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 August, 2011, 12:00am


Directory's sojourn through the non-office world of Hong Kong's districts comes to an end with the spotlight on two neighbourhoods: Central and Southern.

For a city best known for its concrete constructions, Hong Kong's hidden side is as a sun lover's paradise. The sandy shorelines of the south of the island cater to every taste, whether it's fine dining to the lap of the waves, DJ parties, barbecuing or wakeboarding and kayaking.

While the busiest beaches are chock-a-block at weekends during the hot and humid summer, the dry, cooler autumn is the best time.

All beaches are usually fine for swimming, manned by lifeguards, have floating rafts to rest on and are fitted with shark nets after a series of attacks on bathers in the mid 1990s.

Some have odd rules such as no playing with balls, Frisbees and other fun-killing instructions.

Stanley Main Beach is great for those who want to be close to shops and restaurants, while St Stephen's has a water sports club run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department that offers inexpensive equipment hire to experienced seafarers with certificates and instruction courses in boating and windsurfing.

Travelling northwards through rural roads will get you to Hong Kong Island's nightlife haunts.

While Lan Kwai Fong, once the hub of the action in Central, is undergoing a makeover, the surrounding parts have boomed in recent years. SoHo, is now a destination in its own right, with dozens of standalone restaurants and bars having replaced the traditional printing houses and ceramics shops that gave the area its initial charm.

Many bars are open fronted and perfect for people-watching with designer boutiques dotted in between and open until as late as midnight.

Those who love the high life can find any number of rooftop bars offering supreme views across the harbour. Along Wyndham Street chic clubs pump hip-hop and house music into the early hours, as customers sip Champagne or whisky bought by the bottle.

Best known is Dragon-I, which each week flies in overseas DJs of the calibre of Boy George and where celebrities such as David Beckham and Naomi Campbell have been known to hang out when they're in town.

If that sounds too flashy there are more down-to-earth options a cork pop away at places like the Hard Rock Cafe in 'The Fong'.

Around the corner is the Fringe Club, where live bands play most nights and the venue has its own festival each year.

For culture-seekers, there are two cinema complexes and Admiralty lies close to the Arts Centre and the Academy of Performing Arts just across the Wan Chai border.

But for a really raucous night, book a room in one of the downtown karaoke clubs and croon the night away.