Last night, I had an entertaining evening out with my colleagues. Every Wednesday evening (except during summer months), one unique form of entertainment in Hong Kong is to go to the horse races in Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island. Even though I had this image that the horse races are mainly for gamblers, that’s not true at all. You don’t have to be interested in gambling to enjoy it. In fact, I’d highly recommend to do it at least once, as it’s a great night out, with something to watch, lots of drinks and a great party atmosphere.
In this high density city which is cluttered with high rises, the Happy Valley race course is one of the few protected areas. It is located in prime property, close to the Causeway Bay shopping district and properties in this area are some of the most expensive in Hong Kong. However, the government has agreed to preserve the race course which is literally surrounded by high rises.
There is a very relaxed and almost festive atmosphere with thousands of people chatting, drinking and placing bets. There is around 25 minutes break between races and during this time, there was even live performance by a Western rock band, belting out songs like ‘Come Together’. There are multiple stories in the complex, with the VIP boxes higher up, followed by a restaurant, a bar and finally the ground level right by the race course. We stayed at the ground level where it’s the most lively and we get to see the horses up close and personal.
I ended up betting on a few races and even won some money but alas, not enough to cover my capital. Oh well, considering that the entrance fee was only HK$10 (US$1), it still ended up being a very affordable and entertaining evening.