By: Manvel Keshishyan

Lan Kwai Fong

When it comes to night life, LKF, as it is universally known, is the  destination that both locals and foreigners long for. This is a district in the central area of Hong Kong, where more than 100 bars, clubs and restaurants are located. LKF is one of the most international places in the city and is always crowded, especially on Friday nights.

”All the people just drink and have fun. They mainly drink a lot of beer,’ said Michael, a guard of a club in LKF, by adding-”Yes, fights also happen, but very rarely.’

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3am. LKF

A Finnish tourist said he was in Hong Kong for six days and that he would be spending most of his time in Central.

”I spend at least 100 dollars per day”, he said, indifferently.

”Hong Kong dollars ?”I asked.”Are you kidding? US, of course ” he said in surprise, with a smile.

Lan Kwai Fong is not a place for only the wealthy. Most are young  – students, professionals who enjoy Hong Kong night life at cheap prices. For instance, they do not buy beverages at the clubs. They say it is expensive. Instead, they take beer from 7-Eleven Stores and chicken barbeque or a slice of pizza from the ‘’Big Pizza’’ shop. The seller of Big Pizza is Ali Goli, 32, who came to Hong Kong from Pakistan three years ago.

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Ali Goli at work

“During these years the number of tourists definitely decreased.  Two years ago they were so many. I can say that based on the profitability of our business,” he said.  People used to come for longer periods, but now, for most visitors, the maximum stay is a week.

Thus, Hong Kong, the Asian New York as westerners call the city, with a currency that has appreciated along with the US dollar and steep food and hotel bills, faces real challenges from other Asian cities including Bangkok, with equally raucous night life, and growing destinations in China including Shanghai – or just across the border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen. If that happens, Victoria Peak and Lan Kwai Fong are going to continue to suffer.

Photos and text by Manvel Keshishyan, who is a master’s degree candidate in journalism at Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. He is an Asia Sentinel intern.