With over seven million people constantly on the move, life in Hong Kong can be challenging at times. To ease the stress of our busy lives, lifestyle guru Jodee Fong has been hard at work sussing out the most essential apps for 2016. From taxi translators to fitness motivation, and a guide to the tastiest restaurants – we don’t know how we survived without them!
In this techno-obsessed city, our eyes have become glued to our phones, 24/7 – even when crossing the road! If we are going to get honked by grumpy drivers, why not do it for the cause of using great and useful apps, instead of wasting it on overrated, addictive games (I’m looking at you, Candy Crush)?
I have downloaded, tried, and tested a whole library of different apps, and boiled it down to the six most essential. They will make our lives so much easier. Download them – and thank me later.
1. FeedMe Guru
Even with new restaurants popping up literally every week, we still seem to have trouble finding a good place to eat. Sure, we can open Google and read through reviews online, but who has the time for that? For all you busy, hungry foodies out there, FeedMe Guru is a godsend.
Providing expert-level recommendations from popular foodies and acclaimed chefs, this app has quickly earned one of the most precious spots on my homescreen! It is a comprehensive, digital food guide that makes sure you are in the know about the best restaurants in Hong Kong, both new and old. Ever since I started using this app, my friends have been amazed by how many great places I know.
Much like the food version of Rotten Tomatoes, FeedMe Guru is the first platform in Hong Kong that goes through thousands of professional reviews across magazines and food blogs to gather the best results in one centralised place. Users can easily see the most up-to-date list of Hong Kong’s hottest restaurants, and search by different criteria. With a whole range of food critics and executive chefs onboard, FeedMe Guru is a force to watch in 2016.
Free to download
Available on iOS
2. Hong Kong Air Pollution
As much as I love the beautiful harbour, the jaw-dropping skyline, and the occasional fishball, it is hard to forget the fact that Hong Kong is one of the most polluted places in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that pollution is now more deadly than Malaria and HIV, and Hong Kong is in the danger zone. Over 1.6 million people in China died prematurely due to air pollution in 2013, and with our coal, gas, and diesel fuelled power stations relentlessly pumping emissions into the atmosphere, it is no wonder.
To keep you in the know, Hong Kong Air Pollution shows you the city’s most up-to-date air quality statistics, so you know when to skip that hike and binge on Netflix instead (for your health, of course). Using data from monitoring stations throughout the city, the app provides insightful analysis, comparing our air quality to the benchmark of seven other countries, and organisations including WHO. With their special algorithms, you can even compare air quality on a day-to-day and area-to-area basis. It’s a great tool to check if it’s safe to take your kids out for a field day (that is actually why the founders created this app).
Free to download
Available on iOS and Android
3. Hong Kong Movie
Whether you are a cinema fanatic, or just visit once in a while, you will find Hong Kong Movie helpful. With features including embedded trailer videos, synopses, and movie ratings, you can determine whether you want to watch a movie at first glance.
The app also provides clear information including showtimes, a seating plan, cinema locations, and ticket prices, so you can quickly suss out the availability and book a ticket within seconds. Popcorn at the ready!
4. Hong Kong Taxi Translator
This is one for the non-Chinese speaking among us! Cantonese is a challenging language, but also essential when it comes to getting around by cab. I am sure you have been there – getting blank stares from drivers when they hear you mutter the destination, or realising that he is taking you to Sai Wan Ho instead of Siu Sai Wan. Avoid these irritating mishaps with the help of Hong Kong Taxi Translator.
The app lets you punch in an English address, street name, or even common location, and instantaneously translates it into large Chinese text. The driver can easily read it at a glance instead of grumpily hovering around your dropped pin on Google Maps.
Available on iOS and Android
There are millions of Hong Kong transport apps, but very few of them get it right. Citymapper is one of only a handful that have reinvented the game, and it really stands out as a result.
It is the most comprehensive source for successful navigation around Hong Kong, gathering information for all kinds of transport: MTR, KMB, Citybus, First Bus, Green Minibus, ferries, light rail, trams, cycling, Uber — you name it. On top of that, it provides a live ETA with real time information which takes disruptions, delays, and the weather into consideration.
With an unbeatable data bank of their own, combined with open data from Google, Apple, and Foursquare, Citymapper is a must-have for efficient Hong Kongers.
Getting fit and staying healthy can be hard, especially when you are cuddled up on the sofa, indulging in hot chocolate. So what if I told you you can get cash for working out? I am not joking! With their tag line “Earn Cash for Exercise”, Pact motivates users to fulfil their weekly exercise goals, and stick to their healthy eating plan. Once you have completed your pre-determined fitness goals, the app distributes cash rewards for each day committed, paid by other members who didn’t make it.
Pact also boasts a series of additional functions including GPS tracking of your workouts and an accelerometer. Plus, it is compatible with a bunch of popular third-party health apps such as Fitbit, UP and Moves. So next time when you’re feeling a little lazy and reaching for the snack box, just remember money is on the line! That is sure to get you going.