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Night Tours

If you have only 1 or 2 nights in Hong Kong and you're uncomfortable roaming around on your own, I recommend taking an organized night tour. Watertours (tel. 852/2926 3868; www.watertours.com.hk), Gray Line (tel. 852/2368 7111; www.grayline.com.hk), and Splendid Tours & Travel (tel. 852/2316 2151; www.splendidtours.com) all offer evening tours. Gray Line's Aberdeen and Harbour Night tour, for example, includes dinner aboard the Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant in Aberdeen and the Sky Terrace on top of Victoria Peak, while its Highlight of the Night tour takes you to the Temple Street Night Market, on a ride on an open-top bus, and a harbor cruise with a buffet dinner, live music, and the Symphony of Lights laser-and-light show (see "Night Strolls"). Both tours last about 5 hours and cost HK$680 and HK$580, respectively. Similarly, the Splendid Night of Delights tour for HK$580 takes in the Temple Street Night Market, dinner aboard Jumbo Kingdom, and a stop at a scenic overlook midway up Victoria Peak.

Watertours, an old Hong Kong company that specializes in boat tours, offers a 2-hour Lei Yue Mun Seafood Village Dinner Cruise for HK$400, which includes a junk cruise with an open bar and dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in the village of Lei Yue Mun, while the 1 1/2-hour Symphony of Lights Cruise offers complimentary drinks while you watch the night light and laser show (HK$310 adults; HK$210 children). In addition, the Star Ferry (tel. 852/2118 6201; www.starferry.com.hk/harbourtour) has 2-hour cruises that include the Symphony of Lights for HK$150.

Night Strolls

One of the most beautiful and romantic sights in the world is surely from Victoria Peak at night. The Peak Tram, which costs HK$36 round-trip and runs daily until midnight, deposits passengers at the Peak Tower terminal. From the terminal, turn right, and then turn right again onto a pedestrian footpath. This path, which is lit at night and which follows Lugard and Harlech roads, circles the Peak, offering great views of glittering Hong Kong. This is definitely the best stroll in Hong Kong, and it only takes about an hour.

On the other side of the harbor, a promenade lines the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. It stretches from the Star Ferry terminus all the way through Tsim Sha Tsui East, with romantic views of lit-up Hong Kong Island across the choppy waters. Best of all is the nightly Symphony of Lights, from 8 to 8:18pm, an impressive laser-and-light show projected from more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor. The Guinness World Records says this is the "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show." The best vantage point: between the Avenue of Stars and the Cultural Centre, where music and English narration is played Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights; another top viewing spot is Bauhinia Square in front of the Convention Centre in Wan Chai.

The Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront is very safe at night, as it has lots of people. As for Victoria Peak, I have walked it alone several times at night, but to be honest, it's probably best with someone else.

Night Markets

If you're looking for colorful atmosphere, head for the Temple Street Night Market, near the Jordan MTR station in Kowloon. Extending for several blocks, it has stalls offering clothing, accessories, toys, watches, sunglasses, household items, crafts, and more. Be sure to bargain fiercely and look over merchandise to make sure it isn't going to fall apart in 2 weeks. This is also a good place for an inexpensive meal at one of the dai pai dong (roadside food stalls), which specialize in seafood.

The most wonderful part of the market, however, is its northern end, to the right, around the parking garage. Here, near the Tin Hau temple, are palm readers and fortunetellers, some of whom speak English, as well as street musicians and singers. You'll have to hunt for the tiny alleyway of musicians, where groups set up their own stages and are surrounded by an appreciative audience. Get there before 9pm to see the musicians. Otherwise, although vendors set up shop as early as 4pm, the market is in full swing from about 7 to 10pm daily.

Farther north, near the Mong Kok MTR station, is the Ladies' Market, which stretches along Tung Choi Street between Argyle and Dundas streets. It's a great place to shop for inexpensive women's, men's, and children's fashions and accessories, including watches, handbags, T-shirts, and other goods. It's not quite as touristy as the Temple Street Night Market, and the atmosphere is fun and festive. It's open daily from about 1 to 11pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.