Night activities don't have to be limited to going for dinner, catching a movie or hitting the bars anymore. Particularly when on vacation, there are so many exciting options that don't start til the sun goes down -- and I'm not just refering to Vegas. From climbing volcanoes to hitting the slopes in the dark, to observing nocturnal animals come to life, checking out night shows or scouring exotic markets by moonlight, the world offers many exciting alternatives for entertainment under the stars. The Age Australia picked their favourites:
Stromboli, off the coast of Sicily, is the ideal volcano to start with if you've never hiked a lava-spewing rock before. It takes about four hours to get to the crater's edge at the summit. "Every few minutes, fiery cannonades of lava boom into the night sky and moments later a soft rain of ash drifts down to skitter on your helmet." In a hurry to get up there? Try Vulcano, which is close and only takes an hour to get to the top. Other great places? "Mount Fuji for a Japanese dawn, Mount Batur for a Bali breakfast of boiled eggs cooked in steam vents, and Hawaii's Kilauea for magma jets and steam clouds."
"Skiing at night means lower prices for lift tickets and usually no queues." Most people are surprised to find out that it's almost easier to ski at night - flood lights cast shadows on uneven terrain that is often unseen when blinding sun hits the snow. "Flying downhill through pools of illumination with the twinkling lights of lodges and the village below is a memorable experiment, and even a chairlift ride seems like a fairytale adventure."
Nocturnal Animal Observation
The only time you get to spy on some of the world's most exotic animals is after the sun goes down. Africa is a favourite destination for checking out lemurs, leopards, lions, elephants and other night-dwelling beasts. The Spiny Forest on Madagascar "has adapted to withstand extreme arid conditions. Trees are covered in spikes and have bulbous trunks, and the forest is home to several species of lemur, including sifaka, which like to sashay across the sand like ballet dancers."
"One of the most atmospheric outdoor shows in the world is the Sound and Light Show at the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The two-hour spectacular recounts the history of the pyramids and pharaohs. (They) light up in greens, oranges, blues and reds, lasers zip through the darkness, loud speakers boom, and a kaleidoscope of colours and symbols flash across the ancient stone walls." Can't quite make it to Egypt? The biggest light show on earth is put on nightly in Las Vegas -- check out the dispalys at the Egyptian-themed Luxor hotel and casino. Just one more reason to head down to the city that never sleeps!
Beat the heat of the day time and skip the hoards of tourists when that urge to do a little shopping hits you in Asia. Hong Kong is known for Temple Street and boasts a huge array of counterfeits, from fake Chanel bags to Ray Bans, to iPods, this is the place. When looking for knock-offs in Thailand, pop by the night market in Bangkok's Patpong district. In Singapore, make a point to visit Chinatown Night Markets. In Morocco, check out the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech. But you don't need to leave the Western world! Germany and Austria are famous for their Christmas markets which display festive, twinkling light, seasonal music, and hot mulled wine served on every corner to keep you warm!