Seven best things to do at the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens

The Hong Kong Sevens is more than just a rugby tournament -- it's a candidate for the best annual sporting party on the planet.

Now in its 42nd year, HKSEVENS is now bigger and better than ever, offering a week of non-stop activities and parties catering for everyone.

Here's seven of the best things to do when the razzle-dazzle action on the field pauses.

1. HKSEVENS Central

Introduced for the first time last year, the HKSEVENS Central party at Chater Garden is already one of the biggest runaway hits of the festival and a must-do for every fan, running all week long from Monday 3-Sunday 9 April.

Chater Garden is being transformed into a mini Hong-Kong Stadium, complete with a purpose-built rugby pitch for patrons to show off their skills.

There will live entertainment from 6pm every night and celebrity chefs serving up the best food and drinks in town.

For anyone without tickets, fear not -- all the matches from the stadium will be shown continuously live on a giant screen and best of all -- you'll get the chance to rub shoulders with past and present star players, including Waisale Serevi, Ben Gollings, Jean de Villiers, Justin Harrison, Gareth Thomas and Huriana Manuel, who will all be at Central party ready to sign autographs and pose for photos.

2. HKSEVENS Fanwalk

Every intrepid adventurer knows that getting to your destination can sometimes be the best part of any journey and the HKSEVENS is no exception so make sure you build in plenty of time for the trip to the stadium.

The route through Causeway Bay to the stadium is being converted into one enormous rugby-themed partyland with the shopping centre at Lee Garden One offering fans and visitors a unique taste of the international experience that makes the HKSEVENS the best celebration in rugby.

In addition to the endless supply of fantastic merchandise, food and beverages, the non-stop entertainment along the passage will feature a stunning array of varied talent representing the diverse teams competing at the tournament, including circus and street acts, such as jugglers, unicyclists and stilt walkers for the kids, plus can can dancers, breakdancers and Samoan dancers and music from African drums, as well as a piper, a trumpeter and guitarists belting out your favourite tunes.

3. After-Party Bars

Finding a great bar to go to the after the action on the field wraps up will be the least of your problems at the HKSEVENS -- because this is one city that knows how to throw a party.

There are two areas you just can't miss: Lan Kwai Fong -- or LKF -- and Wan Chai.

Booze is a big part of the attraction -- guzzling beer has always been a part of rugby culture -- but this is a fun-loving crowd, so don't be shy, and there's plenty of choices, from sophisticated cocktail bars to singalong sports bars packed with party-animals still cheering on their teams.

You'll be spoiled for choice at both venues. Don't forget to explore the Western District and take a detour off the main roads to try out some of the new hip bars hidden on the side streets.

4. Late-night eats

From fancy dining to cheap street food, Hong Kong is a food-lover's paradise.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has made it easy for the discerning customers this year, establishing its own Bars & Restaurants Club, with more than 100 participating venues offering great discounts and deals throughout the week. Just download the HKSEVENS mobile app for the details.

The choices are limitless but check out the Globe, Champs Bar, The Dog House, Inn Side Out and The Canny Man.

5. Dressing up

The HKSEVENS is not Twickenham or Murrayfield so leave the tweed jackets, scarves and wool hats at home and let your hair down.

The only rule about dressing for the HKSEVENS is that there are no rules so let your inhibitions go and slip into your most outlandish costume.

Super heroes are always popular, so you'll see plenty of Batmen, Spidermen and Hulks in the crowd. Elvis impersonators are a mainstay, as are Egyptian pharaohs, stormtroopers, geishas, leprechauns and surf lifesavers.

Fans go to enormous lengths to find the wackiest outfits and wake before dawn to get the best seats in the raucous South Stand for the Saturday -- the wildest of the three days.

The South Stand is the only stand where patrons can drink beer in their seats but it's not for the faint-hearted, and is a test of endurance as much as fashion.

6. Tram to Victoria Peak

No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a trip up Victoria Peak.

This might be one of the most common bucket-list items for all tourists visiting Hong Kong but there's a perfectly valid reason -- the panoramic view of the city takes your breath away and is like nowhere else in the world.

Built in the late 1800s, the Peak Tram takes people from the Central District to the summit of Victoria Peak, a nostalgic climb of about 1.4 kilometres that is every bit as magical as the view from the top.

Best seen at night when the city's skyscrapers are lit up and ferries are skimming across the harbour, the view from up top is a quaint reminder of what makes Hong Kong so unique and a brief chance to catch your breath over the week-long party.

Free Tai Chi in the parks

If the tram trip up the mountain doesn't clear your head, there are plenty of other things to do during the HKSEVENS weekend that didn't involve shots or bellowing out rugby chants.

While Hong Kong may be one of the most congested cities in the world with a backdrop rivalled only by New York, it also boasts some beautiful natural features.

There are plenty of nature parks in the city to stroll around, including the tranquil Hong Kong Park. All rugby players need to stretch properly and with many parks offering free Tai Chi classes for anyone wanting to join in, why not take them up on the offer.