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6 Alternative City Tours

By Sophie Pettit 24 February 2016

When people come to Hong Kong, they are often told by tour books, hotel concierges, and friends to visit tourist attractions like Victoria Peak, Stanley, the Big Buddha and so on. Sure, these places are fun to visit, but there is so much more to explore in Hong Kong, and these local tour operators have some other ideas up their sleeve. Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or avid foodie, these alternative tours will give you plenty of reasons to put down the guide book.


1. For Culture Vultures

5 Senses Tour in Sheung Wan_2-2 They say the best way to learn about a place is through the eyes of a local, and Walk in Hong Kong couldn't agree more. Their weekly tours around Central, Sham Shui Po, and the heart of Kowloon offer an insight into the day-to-day life of grassroots Hong Kong, and unlock the gritty, quirky secrets of our buzzing city. From the vibrant markets of Sham Shui Po, to the eclectic backstreets of Sheung Wan, their tours will take you on a unique adventure into the heart and soul of Hong Kong, and show you the distinctive characteristics of its colourful neighbourhoods. In intimate groups of eight or less, you will discover what lies behind closed doors in Sham Shui Po, admire Central's jaw-dropping architecture, ignite your senses at a local wet market in Mongkok, and grab a bargain at Kowloon's buzzing markets after dark. You will get a flavour for every day life in our city as you wander through the bustling streets with local residents, dine at local hangouts, and listen to their stories and dreams for the future. Tours cost $480 to $650 for adults, and $240 to $325 for children. Walk in Hong Kong, (+852) 5511 4839

2. For Techy Types

2 girls cat st If you're mad about apps then iDiscover City Walks is the tour for you. Armed with their slick smart phone app, you can take a trip out to Sai Kung and soak up the breathtaking country views, or unlock the hidden secrets of the city in Wan Chai, Sheung Wan, and Sham Shui Po - and all at your own pace! Whether you are a speed walker or a laid-back stroller, simply follow the clear, colourful map, and discover speciality shops and cultural attractions steeped in history and excitement. Each tour is designed to take roughly two hours and offers insiders tips on where to find the best local cuisine. If you are concerned that the data-roaming bills will be rather unsavoury, think again, as this app is fully functioning when offline, so all you need to do it download it before you set off. And if that's not enough to put a spring in your step, all proceeds of in-app purchases go straight towards local businesses and heritage sites, so you can help give back to the community at the same time. Tour app is free to download! iDiscover City Walks, (+852) 2214 0011

3. For Passionate People

sam the local Whatever floats your boat, Sam the Local have the perfect tour guide match for you. Whether you're a budding photographer, a shopaholic, or you live to eat, they have a friendly local with the same interests who is dying to show you our city. Treat your taste buds to an explosion of flavour as you explore the hidden gems of Hong Kong's backstreet cuisine, look at the urban jungle through a different lens with a morning of iPhone photography, or take a walk on the wild side and discover secret waterfalls and breathtaking views outside of the city. To find your perfect match, all you have to do is pop onto their website and check out their carefully vetted team of 50 diverse locals, who boast a colourful range of professions, interests, and backgrounds. A couple of clicks later, and it's over to your new local friend to create a customised outing shaped by your interests and desires. Could it be any easier? Tours start from $200 an hour. Sam the Local, (+852) 5415 6405

4. For History Buffs

tram-tour It's no secret that Hong Kongers love their trams, so what better way to explore the city than by hopping aboard a vintage "ding ding"? The newly launched TramOramic tour invites both locals and visitors to climb onto the top deck of a charming 1920s style heritage tram and embark on a one-hour adventure through the city. Decked out in retro decor, with photographs from days gone by adorning the walls, the elegant tramcar is certainly a cut above the morning commute. As it meanders through the streets, passengers can marvel at the dimly-lit hideaways and jaw-dropping architecture that normally slip by unnoticed, and take in breathtaking views of our city from above. Mind-blowing facts, quaint stories, and intriguing trivia come to life as historian Cheng Po Hung delivers his vibrant audio tour in eight different languages through headphone sets. With six tours running every day between Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay, Hong Kongers have plenty of opportunities to experience the more glamorous side of trams. Tour costs $95 for adults and kids ride free until the end of February (usual cost $65) - simply input the code TRAMCNY when booking your tickets online. TramOramic Tour, (+852) 2118 6338

5. For Foodies

foodie tour

Hungry to learn more about Hong Kong? Hong Kong Foodie is the only tour guide company dedicated to exploring the culinary culture of the city, and offer the perfect solution for those who live to eat.

With a foodie expert by your side, you will discover the tastiest backstreet hangouts, learn how to order like a local, and sample a whole range of mouth-watering dishes and delicacies. There are three tours to choose from, each exploring one of the city's diverse, culinary districts - Central, Sham Shui Po, or Tai Po.

Your foodie friend will highlight the rich culture of each area as you browse the buzzing markets of Sham Shui Po, tuck into custard tarts fresh out of the oven in Central, or feast on roast goose and local desserts at Tai Po market. These tasty tours run multiple times each week, with groups capped at eight or twelve people. Are your taste buds tingling yet?

Tours cost $720 to $890 for adults, and $520 to $640 for children, including all tastings. Hong Kong Foodie, (+852) 2850 5006

6. For Nature Lovers

tour Did you know that WWII battlefield sites still exist in our territory? Or that Hong Kong boasts over 530 species of birds? Take a walk on the wild side with Walk Hong Kong, and you soon will. With a passionate expert leading the way, you can embark on a half or full-day adventure into lesser known parts of our city, where breathtaking views and fascinating stories will spring to life. From deserted beaches to secret temples enshrined in history and culture, there are 15 tours to choose from which cater for all interests and fitness levels. Get back to nature with a bird-watching tour in the New Territories, spread your hiking wings and tackle a hilly climb, or take a cultural stroll around the city. These tours will open your eyes to the beauty that lies beyond the skyscrapers, and show you the contrast between urban life and country side that live side by side in Hong Kong. Tours cost around $500 to $800, including transport. Walk Hong Kong, (+852) 9187 8641
Read more! Check out 5 Niche Museums to Visit in Hong Kong or take a trip down memory lane with these 5 Things I Miss About Hong Kong.

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Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.

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