Where will you let yourself loose - in the Thai capital blazing with neon signs or in the Japanese city that invented karaoke? Our experts help you decide.
By Mal Chenu
Dinner, dancing, music, street markets, bars and clubs. As the 1984 chart-topper advised: "One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster... "
As Asia's evening entertainment capital, the Thai metropolis promises a night to remember. Well, hopefully you remember it.
But before that, let's eat! Bangkok is a paradise for foodies and the street tucker is outstanding, from the rickety pushcarts to the old shophouse restaurants, like the famous crab omelette at Jay Fai or the fabulous roast duck at Prachak, to name two of thousands.
And if Michelin stars are more your speed, fine dining awaits at Mezzaluna, Cadence, Canvas, Sorn, Gaa, Suhring, R-Haan and dozens more.
The variety is astonishing, the quality supreme and the menus are longer than the names.
Rooftop bars are de rigueur in Bangkok and the city boasts many an elevated place to enjoy a Singha with a view, or a tropical cocktail if that's what floats your paper parasol.
Flute A Perrier-Jouet Bar, Vertigo and Moon Bar, Sirocco & Sky Bar and Alfresco 64 are all 60-plus floors above the street.
Tokyo is a city of nighttime niches. Whether your thing is prisons, ping pong or penguins, cats, Celts or canned food, there's a bar for that.
And if you're afraid of heights but not prices, Diplomat Bar and the 1930s Parisian-chic One Two Two Bar are classy, moodily lit alternatives.
As the night unfolds, Bangkok develops an energy level that makes the Large Hadron Collider look like an Easy-Bake Oven.
The streets heave, the neon signs blaze, the go-go bars go off, live music venues rock hard enough to make a reclining Buddha sit up and partay and riverside nightclubs doof doof till dawn.
If you're in Tokyo and your world is rocking this much, it's probably another earthquake. Or you might have had a win at the Pachinko parlour.
Late in the evening, when you've decided that too much fun is barely enough, check out Brown Sugar or Foojohn for cool jazz, The Stranger Bar for top-end drag queens or The Club for international DJs.
Who cares if your morning breath could kill a local elephant and you can't remember how you got the tattoo of Tweety Bird holding a curling wand? On balance, it was still a great night, right?
And if you don't consider The Hangover movies your definitive "how to party" guide, you can embark on a civilised evening dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River or pick up moonlight bargains at Patpong Night Market.
Bangkok has so many nightlife adventures, a wonderful time is assured. Whether you choose the refined sophistication of The Bamboo Club, the uber-cool shabby chic of Havana Social or a disciplined, leather-filled evening at Spanky's is up to you. We're not here to judge.
By Amy Cooper
One night might be enough in Bangkok, but you'll need a lot more than that even to scratch the surface of Tokyo's after-dark delights.
In this city of 36 million night owls, sunset is when the fun really begins - and whatever your pleasure, it's somewhere in that galaxy of neon.
I once found a tiny izakaya where only music from 1976 to 1982 is played. My friend ended up in another where he was hand-fed dumplings by the resident opera singer. Tokyo is a city of nighttime niches. Whether your thing is prisons, ping pong or penguins, cats, Celts or canned food, there's a bar for that. You can be served beers by monks or ninjas, or sip sake among railway fanatics in a subway car. In Shinjuku's Golden Gai more than 280 pocket-sized izakaya include the tome-lined Open Book, famous for its lemon sours and run by the grandson of a famous Japanese author. Deathmatch in Hell celebrates old-school horror movies, and you really can nurse a drink at hospital-themed Tachibana Examination Room.
Fancy some rhythm and booze? Tokyo's famed listening bars, with their massive vinyl collections and sublime sound systems are a revelation for digital natives. Bar Martha, in Ebisu, has more than 6000 records and a strict no speaking and no social media policy.
But there are also massive nightclubs like AgeHa, with four dance floors and an outdoor pool, or four-floor Womb - a sprawling playground with top-tier sound systems and world-renowned DJs. And when it comes to getting high, I'll see your 60-storey Bangkok bars and raise you (yup!) the 230-metre-high Shibuya Sky's rooftop bar, The Roof, with its glass walls, cool DJs, Magic Hour purple pale ale (made with butterfly pea flowers) and dazzling skyline 360s.
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Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world - 263 in all. From sushi to soba to shabu shabu to sukiyaki, culinary techniques are perfected over generations. From Michelin monuments like Den (where master chef Zaiyu Hasegawa isn't too serious to carve smiley faces into his carrots) to tiny gems like seven-seater Sushisho Masa, where chef Masa-San's omakase can stretch to 40-plus courses, the scope, quality and variety of Tokyo dining exhausts your superlatives.
The live performance scene is no less dazzling, with shows spanning everything from classical kabuki at 400-plus-year-old Kabukiza Theatre in Ginza to the avant-garde versions at neo-Kabuki Roppongi Kingyo.
Tokyo invented karaoke and offers thousands of places to massacre your favourite song - including Karaoke Kan, where Lost in Translation's party scene was filmed. Even that movie's mournful main characters cheered up once they hit the town in Tokyo - and the real-world nightlife is even better.