Hong Kong — Pearl of the East, home of stinky tofu, dogs in prams, and everything in between. Love them or hate them, there are many quirky traits that make our city the weird and wonderful place it is — just take a look at these unique and slightly insane things that you’re likely to find #OnlyInHongKong.
1. Celebrity Tutors
Is it a movie promo? Is it a magic show? Nope! These are just a handful of some of the most famous celebrity tutors in Hong Kong. That’s right, whether it’s on the cover of a magazine, the side of a bus, or high up on a billboard, chances are you’ve probably come across these over-the-top advertisements for tutors schools, and wondered to yourself what in Jackie Chan’s name you were looking at. And while this is a weird concept to wrap your head around, the tutoring scene here in Hong Kong is really as serious as it gets. These rock stars earn mega bucks each year (think tens of millions of dollars), and often teach classes packed with hundreds of students, all ready to soak in some knowledge from their idols. But whether or not these guys are really worth the investment is a question that’s still up for debate. #RocknRoll
2. Queues, Queues, and More Queues
Nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Go walk around the city and find yourself a queue to join. What for? Who knows, who cares. It could be a line for the hottest new restaurant on the block, a special promotion for free ice cream, or hey, just a long line for the bathroom. Whatever it is, the queueing culture in Hong Kong is undeniably strong, though to be fair, we’ve all been guilty of standing in a few ourselves. After all, if there’s that many people lining up, it must be something good right? Come rain or shine, five minutes or an hour, it’s safe to say that Hong Kongers definitely have the patience to last a lifetime — well, in queues that is. #AllTheTimeInTheWorld
3. Taxis with a Million Dashboard Phones
Ever jumped into a cab and felt like you’d stumbled into the Fortress smartphone section? Well, in Hong Kong it wouldn’t really be a true local taxi without half a dozen phones stuck to the dashboard now would it. Why do they need that many? Well let’s see, usually there would be a few that are used for receiving taxi calls from passengers and taxi service centres, one could be used for GPS, one to keep track of the football scores, one for personal calls, catching the news, or… who knows, your guess is as good as ours! If you do ever find yourself inside a mobile Fortress, just remember to make sure the driver is actually keeping his eyes on the road! #PhoneJunkie
4. Date Nights in IKEA
If you’re running low on ideas for date night, we know a great little spot to snuggle down at — IKEA. I mean, where else can you enjoy free air-conditioning, meatball snacks, comfy sofas to kick back in, and a place to play on your phone? All you have to do is simply select your favourite sofa, make yourself comfortable, and relax. And if all the seats are taken, then head to the bed area, or better yet, a whole living room display. You might have to bat off some unexpected guests interrupting you every now and then, you know, like people wanting to buy stuff, but don’t worry, just stay where you are, keep your eyes only on your mobile phone, and don’t move no matter how much they say they want to see the price tag you’re sitting on. Read our full review of IKEA below. #ClubIKEA
5. People Sleeping Anywhere
Want to catch some z’s on your way to work? Need a power nap during your lunch break? Or have nothing to do while waiting for your friend to show up? Go ahead, close those droopy eyes, and snooze away — we won’t judge. Napping in public (NIP) is widely accepted in Hong Kong, so don’t be shy, get comfy on that park bench or pavement, and charge those batteries. Hong Kongers have the skills of a ninja when it comes to napping, just check out the pros at @illsleepanywhere and get some inspiration for your next snooze. All jokes aside though, we are known for our hectic work schedules and busy social lives, so it’s important to get some well-deserved rest, whenever, wherever, we can! #NoJudgement
6. The Cigarette Hotpot
If you’re ever wandering around the city and see a garbage bin on the side of the road smoking up like a chimney, don’t call the fire brigade just yet. Although originally intended as a gathering ground for smokers in the street, these not-so-appetising “hotpots” often become a dumping ground for burning cigarettes, tissues, and other flammable objects which slowly burn away. We know this isn’t the prettiest sight in Hong Kong but hey, no one (or city) is perfect right? #Fail
7. Vanity Plates (we have another word for them)
If you ever feel like letting the whole world (or at least Hong Kong) know what your favourite snack is, or who your favourite superhero might be, then why not spend thousands of dollars on a license plate and slap it on your car? Of course, vanity plates are a common sight in most parts of the world, but Hong Kong certainly has some of the most creative ones we’ve seen — Donkey, Batman, Seafood, Busy Bee, you name it, it’s probably on a car somewhere. Some of these plates may be completely cringe-worthy, but there’s no denying they can sometimes put a smile on your face, especially if you’re stuck in a traffic jam! #ThugLife
8. The Ridiculously Strong Elderly
Did you know that Hong Kong has been ranked with the highest life expectancy in the world for two years in a row, since 2016? It’s no surprise though, just take a look around. From visor clad grannies overtaking you on the hiking trail, to 90-year-old men carrying stacks of delivery goods on their shoulders, it’s difficult not to be completely amazed and impressed by their super strength. Just check out the super adorable granny on the go POPOpost (pictured above). We wouldn’t wanna mess with her! #SuperGranny
9. Dogs in Prams (with Goggles?)
If you’ve ever strolled around Sai Kung or Stanley on the weekend, you’ve probably noticed how well-pampered our furry little friends are in Hong Kong. With streets lined with doggie boutiques and canine-friendly restaurants, dog owners in Hong Kong really don’t hold back when it comes to splashing their cash on designer doggie gear, spa treatments, and yes — prams. Come Sunday afternoon, you’re likely to find more dogs in prams than children, which is understandable we guess, after all, you wouldn’t want your dog running around and having too much fun right? Certainly not when they’ve just had their fur trimmed and paws cleaned! #GoggleDogs
10. The MTR Morning Routine
So you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times and now you’re running late for work — what to do? Here’s a time-saving tip for you that many Hong Kongers have already mastered: just do your whole morning routine on the MTR! First, prep your face with a refreshing face mask, then carefully put on some makeup (steady hands are needed), and then enjoy your breakfast. Ok, we know we’re going a bit overboard with the sarcasm on this one, but really, the next time you’re on your way to work on the MTR, just take a look around you — we guarantee you’ll be able to spot a handful of these time-saving professionals at work. #MTRmakeover
And let’s not forget … Shop Cats!
Whether you’re a fan of these furry guardians of food or not, you’re likely to find one of them lurking around dried seafood stores, market stalls, or even on the countertop sprawled across today’s newspaper. These feisty felines are quite famous among locals, just check out Tsim Tung Brother Cream, a British Shorthair cat that quickly gained a lot of attention when he was reported missing back in 2012, triggering a Facebook campaign that ultimately lead to this cute chubby cat’s large fandom. Of course, Brother Cream was eventually found and the rest is history. He now has his own website, a huge range of merchandise, and has even been on local and international news like CNN! So next time you’re popping down to the shops, take a look around you — you could be staring at the next celebrity cat of Hong Kong.
Read more! Check out the Best Hong Kong Street Foods and Where to Find it, or take a look at the Top 10 Fun Things to do with Visitors in Hong Kong.