The Best Smartphone Apps for Hong Kong
Our top picks for iPhone and Android apps to make life in Hong Kong easier. Including a taxi translator, MTR and bus routes apps, apps to monitor air quality and weather, apps for food delivery, grocery shopping, restaurant booking, beauty booking, meeting new friends and more.
From navigating Hong Kong’s various modes of transportation, monitoring the weather and air quality to ordering takeaway food and groceries, these apps are as useful as they are easy to use. Whether you live in Hong Kong or are just here for the weekend, we think you’ll find them a huge help. As an added bonus, most are free and are available in both English and Standard (sometimes also simplified) Chinese.
Never be lost in Hong Kong again! Simply tell it where you want to go and it will figure out your whole journey on public transport and give you a street map for any walking that needs to be done too.
This app is designed to eliminate confusion and break down communication barriers between taxi drivers and passengers. Hong Kong Taxi Translator has thousands of places in Hong Kong, translated from English into standard Chinese characters and displayed on a large “taxi card” that a driver can read at a glance.
Us Hong Kong-ers move around a lot, whether it’s moving in, moving out, relocating or upgrading – we can always use a man with a van. But that’s pretty hard to find (many of us don’t even have ovens, let alone vans.) This super convenient app gives you the flexibility of not needing to plan ahead and locates your nearest driver by GPS at any time. Just set your route and requirements and the app will show you which driver is closest to you and ready to move your stuff. So easy.
For a simple way to skip the taxi queue or the wait for a bus, use ridesharing app Uber. Tell the app where you want to go and you’ll be given a quote before you book, the cashless system means that your fare is automatically deducted from your credit card. Choose between uberX for your best value ride and uberBLACK for when you want to travel in luxury.
This is a simple and effective taxi hailing app, and with around 30,000 taxis registered there’s a good chance there’s one near you. Just enter your pickup point and contact number and a nearby driver will call you to arrange the ride.
Direct from the MTR Corporation themselves, MTR Mobile helps riders plan their journey, as well as to identify locations of all sorts of useful facilities – barrier free exits, lifts, toilets, shops, emergency call buttons, exits near popular destinations, and more.
Traffic Hong Kong allows users to select from a list of traffic cameras (sorted by district) to check on traffic conditions in dozens of busy trouble spots throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon, the New Territories, and Lantau before hitting the road. Keep a list of favourite cameras for quick access to a peek at the roads you travel most frequently.
HKeTransport gives users a myriad of options for travelling between any two addresses in Hong Kong. Results can be sorted by cost, time, or number of transfers, and filters allow you to show routes that involve MTR or busses only. You can even adjust your walking threshold and search for special rush hour or late night route options. The eTransport app also contains a helpful reference section on tram, ferry, bus, and minibus routes, as well as a list of locations of taxi stands and cross harbour taxi stands.
We all know HK is a city that loves to dine out, and Chope is the easy way to browse through 100s of restaurants, sort them by location or cuisine, check out the prices and menus and then instantly book your table. Even better, there are regular discounts and deals to be found too.
Hong Kong’s most popular dining guide – you’ve probably already stumbled across it if you’ve typed in anything with the word ‘food’ and ‘Hong Kong’ in the title. A huge online community of self-proclaimed ‘foodies’ share their honest opinions on the restaurants and food around the city. These reviews are not sponsored by the restaurants.
Grocery shopping is super simple with honestbee’s shopping concierge app and website. Browse products from 20 different Hong Kong stores, including Park N Shop, Profood, The Fresh Grower, The Butcher’s Club and Baby Central. A concierge ‘bee’ collects your goodies for you and they guarantee same day delivery on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon for a small fee. This is the perfect app for any hungry, busy city dwellers looking to save time.
Connecting users to all of the best restaurants available in the city, Foodpanda makes it easy to get your favourite foods without having to leave your home or office. All you have to do is search through the list of vendors, pick your items from the menu and order online (you can pay on the app or on delivery) then sit back and wait for your bundle of goodness to arrive at your selected location. You can even track the process from ordered to delivered if you are getting impatient.
Another food delivery app – but this one prides itself in delivering to your home or office within 32 minutes. With a different selection of restaurants than Foodpanda it is worth having both of them on your phone. There is a flat $30 delivery charge from all vendors, however keep a look out for deals of the day and promo codes that offer free delivery and money off.
Want to squeeze a mani pedi in between meetings? A last minute blow dry before a dinner date? Or just try somewhere different for a facial or massage. BloomMe is a beauty booking app that shows you spas nearest to your location, and gives you review feedback from other users. You can check availability and instantly confirm appointments, and there are lots of special discounts and offers too. Looking fabulous just got a whole lot easier!
The Great Outdoors
Hong Kong is known for being one of the world’s major financial hubs, but what makes the territory even more appealing is its breathtaking hiking trails. One app which allows users to plan and track these great trails is TrailWatch. The app also enables the public to contribute towards protecting Hong Kong’s beautiful country parks. Users can record any incidents that they see while out hiking or even walking round the city such as vandalism and then share this on the TrailWatch website and the associated Facebook page.
The Hong Kong Observatory manages this comprehensive weather app, which is updated throughout the day with data from monitoring stations around Hong Kong. Beyond a basic 7-day weather forecast (covering temperature, chance of precipitation, humidity, and cloud cover), information is available on UV index, radiation levels, tide. Storm trackers, rainfall distributions, lightning locators, photos from local weather cameras, and satellite images will satisfy even the biggest meteorology buff.
This app displays the current air quality in Hong Kong using a variety of different air pollution indexes from around the world. The pollutant information from multiple reporting stations around Hong Kong is run through the air pollution indexes of other countries to produce a more accurate picture of the current air quality. Sounds scientific, but all you have to do is open the app and take a look at the expected air pollution – giving you time to plan your outdoor activities.
Worried about pollution? Find our tips on coping with pollution here.
Get under the skin of some of Hong Kong’s most rapidly changing districts by delving into these fascinating city walks. Explore Aberdeen, Sai Kung, Sham Shui Po, Wan Chai, Kowloon City or Sheung Wan. As you walk the app gives you background info. on the area, including tips on where to eat like a local, history and culture, and some surprising hidden gems. It’s like having an in-the-know friend show you around. The app is free to download and the walks cost $15 HKD each.
Hate listening to “press 1 for this” and “press 2 for that” whenever you call a hotline? Before you know it, you’re trapped in a labyrinth of voice recordings with no escape in sight – Skipmenu solves that. The app helps you skip through automated hotline menus in seconds, see all the menu options on your screen, quickly tap through them and get connected directly to customer support. The app reads over 800 hotlines in Hong Kong, including your “favourites” like HSBC, Hang Seng, Cathay Pacific, PCCW, the Immigration Department and more.
SpotHelp is not an app, but a chat-based service over WhatsApp that operates as your personal virtual assistant. Their ‘Task Heroes’ will help you with ANY task you may need, and we really mean any (obviously as long as it is legal and achievable). Just Whatsapp them on +852 6190 7100 and ask them what you like.
Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in Hong Kong – with up to 70% off normal retail price. Check here first if you are looking to do any experiences, or are looking at doing any shopping here in the city.
View screening times, buy tickets from over 40 cinemas (with its one-of-a-kind, real-time seating plan), browse reviews and share comments on this nifty movie app for everyone from movie buffs to Sunday night cinema go-ers.
Use Meetup to connect with like-minded people and make new friends. Find an established ‘meetup’ with people that share your interests, or be bold and organise your own group. There’s an active meetup community in Hong Kong and it’s a great way to build your social network.
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This guide was revised and updated in December 2016.