Winner: Hong Kong
From sports bars and live music joints to craft brew houses and cocktail lounges, from opulent clubs to underground venues and LGBTQI+ spots – and not forgetting the Temple Street night market – Hong Kong has an after-dark venue for every occasion.
‘Hong Kong is a sleepless city. The day-to-day pressure is high – no wonder the nightlife shines so brilliantly.’ – Vincent Wang, creator of the WeChat account Vincent’s Hotel Lab and part of our panel of travel experts
With a reputation for a wild night out, Bangkok has areas famous for high jinks as well as a more sophisticated scene. Khao San Road’s backpackers, and Thonglor’s hipsters go on to arresting rooftop bars, and the city’s superclubs.
When the sun goes down over the Andaman Sea, the lights come on in Patong, where there are beach clubs, bars, classy cocktail joints and nightclubs. Cultural shows, night markets, cabaret and muay thai matches round out Phuket’s after-dark offering.
Rowdy Kuta caters to a wilder crowd than the more sophisticated Seminyak, which is home to a host of hipper venues, but pubs and clubs abound across Bali, from casual bars to places to see and be seen.
From vibrant Hongdae to trendy Itaewon to high-end Gangnam, Seoul’s nightlife offering covers the whole spectrum. The city’s party animals start with craft beer, live music or cocktails, head for sophisticated lounges and clubs, then kick it up a notch with karaoke.
Tokyo has its opulent bars and clubs, its red-light entertainment, its gay district and its karaoke, but the tiny hole-in-the-wall bars found across the city – famously in Golden Gai – lend a night out true local flavour.
From underground dives and casual sports bars to sophisticated cocktail lounges and flashy clubs lit up by champagne sparklers, you’ll find plenty after dark in Shanghai. For more, there’s The Bund by night, acrobatics shows and night markets.
Singapore is home to many of Asia’s best bars, each bringing something different to the table. Creative cocktails, craft beers and rooftop bars also reign supreme, while night markets and night safari are attractive alternatives.
Ho Chi Minh City
Backpackers flock to the pubs in Districts 3 and 5 for beer and banter, while in District 1, rooftop bars and flash nightclubs draw a classier crowd. A growing craft beer scene, underground techno nights and live music venues add diversity.
Kyoto is known for its ancient side, but it’s modern, too, with sake bars, karaoke joints and big club nights. There’s live music spanning jazz, reggae and rock, while traditional theatre productions also take to the stage.