Looking for a social event for Wednesday nights but without having to line up at a club? Try out the Happy Valley Race Night delivering not only the thrill of horse racing and betting, but at the same time one of the biggest parties for locals, expats and visitors in the open air.
It was the idea of my dear co-worker Stephanie who I happened to eventually fly with again after quite some time on my recent Hong Kong rotation. Being much better in networking than I am, she had already a fixed date with one of her Chinese friends for the second night of our layover and asked me, if I was interested to come along.
Of course, I did not have to think twice. Being normally extremely active during the day, I tend to regularly neglect the joys of the Hong Kong nightlife with all of its amazing bars and clubs and prefer to play sleeping beauty in my hotel room. But this event just did sound too exciting to be missed.
So we agreed of meeting around 7 pm at the main entrance of the race track over on Hong Kong Island. A great time to take the Star Ferry over from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai and experience the marvelous sunset from the boat.
The most traditional way to continue to Happy Valley Race Track is the authentic double-decker tram from Hennessy Road just a few blocks inland from Wan Chai ferry station. Look out for the tram that says “Happy Valley” on its signage, enter at the rear and pay upon leaving (2,60HK$) in coins or with the overall accepted Octopus Card. Conveniently, this tram´s final stop is not too far from the main entrance and you will not have to worry to miss the right stop!
The first race will begin around 7.15pm, so allow some time for queuing or waiting for friends before entering the race course. If you are a foreigner like me, take your national identity card or your passport as admittance is in this case free of charge!
Other than that, the 10 HK$ charge can either be paid in cash or again with the omnipresent Octopus Card.
The atmosphere seemed at first a bit calm, but as the evening proceeded, the air was filled with energy and excitement. I am not into betting nor horse racing, but just enjoying the view and the energy that the masses of people radiated were so much fun to watch.
While some people definitely came for the thrill of winning some money, for others this was apparently a social show-off catwalk and delivered therefor a wonderful scenery of fashion, attitude and self-marketing to enjoy. Like a telenovela.
So reason enough to pay visit on your next Wednesday overnight in Hong Kong. And who knows? Maybe it is upon you to find luck or love or both…