While mobile apps are great, the huge variety on offer can often leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here to help you out, we've selected some of the most essential apps that you simply cannot live without in Hong Kong. From booking a spa day with the girls, to finding the nearest toilet in your time of need, these handy apps will definitely make life a little easier.
Don't think we need to explain much with this one. As one of the most popular apps in Hong Kong for eating out, OpenRice has everything you need to know about where to go and what to eat – from basic contact info and food reviews, to price range and menus, plus images to help you decide. You can even make reservations through the app, and get a special discount on your meal depending on your booking time. Not overselling this app or anything, but you definitely need this one on your phone.
Delivering meals from all your favourite local restaurants straight to your door, foodpanda helps you find the best restaurants near you. Whether you're craving some spicy Thai food, or in need of a healthy salad fix, foodpanda's wide selection of eateries means you'll easily find something that can help tame your growling stomach. Best thing is, you can pay however you like – credit card, Paypal, or even cash on delivery.
Similar to foodpanda (but yet so different), Deliveroo allows you to search for restaurants around the area based on cuisine, location, delivery time, and even tags such as "Perfect for Sharing", "Local Gems", and "Guilty Pleasures". Before you place your order, be sure to make a note of any food allergies for the restaurant to be aware of, as well as delivery instructions for the riders.
Whether it's a birthday celebration, anniversary dinner, or just a regular meet up with the squad, FeedMe Guru can help you find the perfect restaurant and make a booking in advance. Inside the app, you'll find exclusive set menus from over a hundred top restaurants around Hong Kong to choose from. Not only that, you can book tickets for F&B events such as Taste of Hong Kong, Marco Polo Bierfest, Hong Kong Wine & Dine, and other various wine tasting workshops through the app too.
With just a few taps on your phone, Chope helps you make an instant reservation at whatever restaurant you fancy, for whatever the occasion. Not only can you browse through a large range of restaurant recommendation guides, you can also earn loyalty "Chope-Dollars" with each reservation and redeem them for an exciting array of deals and promotions. So the more you use it, the more you'll get rewarded!
Dining out in Hong Kong can often be expensive, but with eatigo, you can get time-based discounts of up to 50 percent off your whole meal when you make a reservation through the app. From small-scale local eateries to fine dining, simply select the restaurant you would like to dine at, pick a time, date, a discount on offer, and you're good to go.
Instead of waiting for hours queuing up at a restaurant, get your phone to do it for you! THE GULU app allows you to remotely get yourself a queuing ticket with real-time queuing status, and push notifications to remind you when it's almost time for your ticket to be called. You can even see restaurant menus and place your meal orders in advance. So you can use the app to get a ticket while you're still at home, and have your table and food ready for you as soon as you arrive. Brilliant.
For all you coffee addicts out there, we're sure this app is no stranger. For those of you who aren't so familiar, Beanhunter is more or less like OpenRice, but strictly for cafes and coffee shops. With this app, you can browse and discover the best coffees around town, see photos, menus, and reviews for each location. Available in over 180 cities worldwide, you can guarantee you'll be able to find a great cup wherever you are in the world.
Grocery shopping can be a real chore sometimes, that's why honestbee is your best friend when it comes to stocking up your cupboards without the hassle. Simply add whatever items you need to your shopping basket, make a payment, and your personal honestbee shopper will pop down to the shops and handpick the best products for you. Once that's done, all that's left for you to do is wait for your goods to arrive during a one-hour time slot previously chosen by you. Easy Peasy.
Whether you run out of wine at your dinner party, or want to stock up before the guests arrive, Hong Kong’s first one-hour wine delivery service will come to your rescue. With no minimum order or delivery fee, a speedy driver will deliver delicious European wines to you wherever you are, in under 60 minutes. Trust us – we timed them!
Need a quick fix-me-up spa day? Then BloomMe is the app for you. With more than 1,000 partnering spas and salons throughout the city, this is one of the first apps in Hong Kong that lets you book all types of beauty appointments and treatments while you're on the go. All you have to do is choose an available time slot, even if it's only minutes away, and it's yours if you want it. You can even pay ahead of time by credit card, so you can fully relax and enjoy a good pampering, completely stress-free.
Getting a massage in Hong Kong can be treacherous even if you have the best intentions. If you walk into the wrong place you could get caught in a seedy situation – which isn’t ideal if you're just hoping for a bit of stress relief. Wholly focused on massages, Diyi provides a range of reputable parlours within walking distance of wherever you are, and allows you to request a male or female masseuse too, meaning you’ll never have to second-guess what you’re in for before you walk through the door. A godsend.
With the hectic schedules that are synonymous with living in Hong Kong, it's never easy trying to find a little me-time for some pampering, but with WeCut, the salon comes to you! Created by a group of top stylists in Hong Kong, WeCut provides beauty services at home, in the office, at the hotel – basically anywhere within reason. When booking a haircut, you can specify things such as the current length of your hair, or any dying requirements, making it much easier for you and the stylist to understand what you're after.
Download for free on the App Store
Whether you're a fitness fanatic, or just curious to try something new, GuavaPass is the perfect go-to app when it comes to keeping your exercise regime fun and exciting. By using the app, you can check out all-day schedules at some of the most premium boutique fitness studios around town, and book a class based on your preferred time, location, and activity. From Pilates to Muay Thai, GuavaPass is just like a gym membership, but with all the flexibility you need to cater to your lifestyle.
KFit is a similar app that connects you to a wide variety of fitness and wellness activities in Hong Kong. By downloading the app, you can book in advance and allow yourself to plan out your fitness schedule days, or even weeks, ahead of time. You can also make bookings for salons and spas through the app too, so after sweating it out at a hot yoga class, you can wind down and treat yourself to a massage that you most definitely deserve.
Of course there are plenty of taxi apps out there, but we can confidently say that the HKTaxi app is by far the best. Available in both Chinese and English, simply enter your location, phone number, along with anything you wish to notify the driver, then tap on "Get a Taxi", and the app will begin to search for the nearest available taxi. The app also has a real-time tracker so you can see where your driver is and the estimated time of arrival. With the HKTaxi app on your phone, you no longer have to fight off barging old ladies trying to steal your cab!
Ever hopped onto a taxi only to end up in a game of charades because you and the driver can't understand each other? Well, the Hong Kong Taxi Cards app can solve that. With more than 9,000 Hong Kong addresses translated into Cantonese, you can search and browse your destination by category, save the address, and request additional addresses to be added in. So you can pretty much get around everywhere, without having to worry about any communication issues ever again.
Download for $15 on the App Store or Google Play
Hong Kong's MTR system is relatively easy to understand, but did you know that the MTR Mobile app can offer you so much more than just traveling time and train fares? With handy information such as which exit to take, where to shop, what services to find inside each station, traffic news, and so much more, this app has everything you need.
PokeGuide is basically your MTR app on steroids. Not only does the app tell you which exit is closest to your destination, which carriage door to board the train for the quickest escape, and which side of the doors will open, it also has panorama maps that enable effortless transit in maze-like stations that you’re not so familiar with. Not only that, there’s also an AR feature where you can type in where you want to go and arrows will appear on the screen indicating which way you should go to reach your destination. As an added bonus, you can choose different travelling modes such as Quickest, No-stairs, and Lift-only, making it super handy for those with large luggage, pregnant women, or wheelchair users.
If you live in Kowloon, this bus app is one you can't be without. With just a few taps on your phone, you can find the nearest bus stop, an estimated time of arrival for each bus, journey times, and which stop to get off at. There's also the option to bookmark specific bus routes and locations so you can easily navigate the app. Even if you don't exactly remember the bus route number (there are so many!), the smart bus route keyboard can automatically predict which bus you're looking for. Perfect for those who need a little guidance around the Kowloon area.
CitybusNWFB provides specific information on Hong Kong Island buses. While the app is not as sophisticated as the KMB app, it does have a few functions that stand out. For example, you can choose to push the "red light" at a certain bus stop within the app, and a push notification will be sent to you to remind you that it's time to get off. The app also gives you a street view image of what each bus stop looks like, which can be particularly useful if you don't remember where you're supposed to get off.
Now, instead of having all these different transportation apps on your phone, having them gathered in one single app sure makes things a lot easier, and that's exactly what the HKeMobility app does. Providing you with commuting routes on various public transport, journey times and fares, as well as real-time traffic news, the app lets you arrange your traveling route more efficiently and with ease.
Let's face it, Hong Kong isn't exactly the most affordable city to live in, especially if you want to have an exciting social life. That's where The Entertainer app comes in handy. Inside the app, you'll find all sorts of amazing deals at restaurants, spas, gyms, as well as leisure attractions, travel destinations, and so much more. The app also has a savings calculator where it can track all the money that you've saved from deals and promotions. To put it in other words, the more money you spend, the more you get to save – sounds good to us!
Looking to get rid of some clutter around the house? Or hunting for a second-hand bargain? Whatever it is, Carousell can help you do just that. Just like your regular online shopping platform, Carousell offers everything from vintage cameras, to the latest beauty products – only everything is second-hand. Whether you're buying or selling, Carousell guarantees that there will be no listing fees, commissions, or unexpected charges. What better way to declutter your home than by giving your things to someone who needs them? And the best thing is, you’ll get to make a few bucks along the way too!
Not everyone has the luxury of unlimited data packages, and with all these apps that we've mentioned so far, it can really take up a lot of data. That's when the Wi-Fi.HK app definitely comes in handy. Indicating all the Wi-Fi hotspots around Hong Kong, the app allows you to connect to the internet completely free of charge. Not only will you have access to at least 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi, there's also no registration or download requirements beforehand. A very useful app for those with small data mobile packages.
Download for free on the App Store or Google Play
If you're as sick of telemarketers and junk calls as we are, then we highly recommend the Whoscall app. All you need to do is download the app, enable the caller ID function in your phone settings, and you're all set to go. With a huge database that can help you identify unknown calls, the app warns you if there is a suspected spam call coming in, and where the call is coming from. Even if you missed the call, it will still indicate who the call is from in your call history. Goodbye junk calls!
Download for free on the App Store or Google Play
We know most of you would hate to admit it, but we've all had moments when we're bursting for the toilet, and yet there's nowhere for you to go. Well lucky for you, Toilet Rush is an app that can help you locate the nearest public toilets around so you can go and relieve your ... “stress”. We know public bathrooms here in Hong Kong are not always the cleanest sanctuaries for you to do your business in, but hey, what other choices do you have?
With the increasing trend of living a plastic-free, zero-waste lifestyle in Hong Kong, we're loving this app, Water for Free. Giving you all the locations of water fountains, restaurants, and cafes around the city where you can go and refill your water bottle for free, there's really no more excuses for you to buy bottled water from 7-Eleven. Come on, it's free!
You can binge-watch Netflix all you want but there's really nothing that compares to watching a movie on the big screen. With the Hong Kong Movies app, you can easily see what's showing in theatres right now and check out upcoming movies, trailers, and reviews. You can find out the available showtimes and seating plans in real-time, and locate the closest cinema to you. It's everything you need for a completely stress-free movie night.
If you've lived in Hong Kong long enough, you'll know that air pollution in this city can get highly hazardous at times. With the Hong Kong Air Quality app, you can see ahead of time which areas around Hong Kong have the highest level of pollution, according to assigned colour codes. And if you really want to get into the details, there's even raw data available dissecting the pollutant concentration of different emission gases around the city. Perhaps then you'll understand why so many people wear face masks all the time!
There's no doubt that hiking is a hugely popular activity here in Hong Kong, but if you're not exactly a pro or don't know anyone who is, finding the right trail for you can be quite a task. Luckily, TrailWatch can help you with that. Inside the app, you can check out various trail routes that other users have conquered, plan your route, and customise existing ones to suit to your needs, track your path in real-time using GPS, and even help surveil the countryside by reporting unusual incidents. It’s the perfect app for those who love the great outdoors.
Read more! Check out 5 Totally Ingenious Inventions That We Need in Hong Kong, or explore the rest of our Tech section.