Get Up and Get Out! The HK HUB Round-Up of Hong Kong’s Best Tours
It’s that time again. The jumpers are being folded and stashed away into whatever storage space you can find in your cramped Hong Kong apartment. Dehumidifiers and fans are now leading store front displays, replacing the heaters and electric blankets.
With the warmer weather, there is no need to stay cooped up at home binge-watching the latest hit Netflix series. It’s time to leave the confines of your cosy flat and discover (or re-discover) this great city.
No need to wait for your relatives to come into town for an excuse to have a potter around. Our round-up of the best tour guides in Hong Kong will get you out and about, whether you want to be a tourist in your own city, or Aunt Bernice is in town and you need to get her out of your living room.
Get to know this eclectic city through a variety of tours by boat, tram or simply putting one foot in front of the other with Hello Hong Kong. Laura, founder and principal tour guide, along with her local staff, have put together a number of tours which show off the city’s distinct culture. Their small group food tours (maximum eight people) run every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, offering you a delicious opportunity to stuff your face with Hong Kong favourites like milk tea and egg tarts.
Prices for the approximately four-hour tour are HK$650 per adult, HK$525 for under 15s and free for children under the age of six. If you have a bigger budget, their unique boat tours let you set sail on Hong Kong’s beautiful waters on a luxury catamaran, yacht or traditional wooden junk or for the truly adventurous, what about a helicopter ride? If you prefer to stay on dry land, why not ride a vintage Ding Ding? Hello Hong Kong offers three hour private hires of their green or red antique tram, complete with cocktails and music. Prices vary for the tram and boat tours, so check online.
If you are an avid shutterbug or just enjoy taking photos of your holiday, Nina de Vries’ photo walks are an interesting way to see the city.
Hailing from the Netherlands but a Hong Kong resident for more than 14 years, Nina combines her passion for photography with walking tours that capture Hong Kong’s varied lifestyle. From the “Walk in the Park” tour, where you can shoot images of birds and waterfalls in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, to the hustle and bustle of the “Street Photography” walk, which takes you to the street markets of Wan Chai and dense housing of Sham Shui Po, there are great opportunities to document Hong Kong’s vivid sights, and improve your photography skills with Nina’s hands-on guidance.
Day and night tours are priced at HK$500 per person for a minimum of three people (maximum six) and run around three hours. Consult her website for upcoming tour times, as dates are sporadic.
3. Jason Wordie
Local historian and writer Jason Wordie will take you on foot to well-known touristy areas like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), but he discusses the history of these famous districts (did you know Hullett House in TST used to be the home of the Marine Police Headquarters?).
If you’re more adventurous, his “Reservoirs and Redoubts” walks traces the series of wartime sites in Shing Mun, with lots of scenic treks and some uphill walking. Wordie can also take you across the water on a 12-hour walk of Macau; by the end you’ll be an expert on the former Portuguese colony. His weekend Canton tours take you to the fascinating city of Guangzhou from Friday to Sunday evenings. Local half-day walks include both morning and afternoon start times and cost HK$395 per person, while the bigger day trips start at HK$1495.
Offering daily public and private tours, Big Foot Tour guides Ski Yeo and Joe promise to show you Hong Kong by travelling like a local. Their “Real Hong Kong” public tour for a maximum of eight people runs every Tuesday at 9am and is priced at HK$650 per person.
For four hours, they will take you through the back alleys of the Central and Western Districts, including a peek at one of the last “survivors” of the Mid-Levels. Prices for a private tour are a little steeper (HK$2000 for up to two guests) but they let you change the route/focus during the tour based on your interests, which anyone who has followed a tour for hours of dry commentary will know can be a blessing. They also offer private food tours, customising the bites on your food preferences and/or dietary restrictions.
Calling himself “just a regular guy,” Jamie of J3 Tours will bring you all over Hong Kong, from Kowloon to the outlying island of Cheng Chau. Originally from Yorkshire but having called Hong Kong home for more than 39 years, Jamie shows visitors around on foot and public transport to get a real feel of the city with his first-hand knowledge and experience.
All his tours are private, ranging from three to eight hours, and are priced from US$260-510 per person, with different rates for day and evening tours. This is definitely one for those who like to keep away from crowded coach tours and is suitable for solo travellers or those with kids. (Note the prices are in US$ not HK$).
Another one in the pool of expat-turned-expert, Amy of Hong Kong Greeters will show you around the city no matter what your time frame is, promising to pack in as much as possible whether you are between flights or have an entire day to indulge.
A Hong Kong resident for the past five years since leaving her native UK, Amy provides public and private tours, rain or shine. Her three-hour public walking tour held on most Wednesdays is a good fit for families, couples or solo travellers, offering an authentic Hong Kong experience with visits to local temples, wet markets, etc. for HK$475 per person. The Wednesday walking tour ends up at the Happy Valley Racecourse, which is a must-do for any visitor to HK. Check out her online calendar for other tours.