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6 alternative city tours to go on in Hong Kong

By Localiiz 24 February 2016 | Last Updated 19 January 2024

Header image courtesy of @walk.in.hong.kong (via Instagram)

Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Celia Lee. 

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 guidebook.

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For culture vultures

People 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. Its weekly tours around Central, Sham Shui Po, and the heart of Kowloon offer insight into the day-to-day life of Hongkongers 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, Walk in Hong Kong’s tours will take you on a unique adventure into the heart and soul of Hong Kong and show you the distinctive characteristics of each colourful neighbourhood.

In intimate groups of eight people or fewer, you will discover what lies behind closed doors in Sham Shui Po, admire the jaw-dropping architecture in Central, ignite your senses at a local wet market in Mong Kok, and grab a bargain in Kowloon’s buzzing markets after dark. You will get a flavour for everyday life in our city as you wander through the bustling streets with residents, dine at local hangouts, and listen to their stories and dreams for the future.

Photo: iDiscover.Asia

For technophiles

If you’re mad about apps, then iDiscover City Walks is the tour for you. Armed with this slick smartphone app, you can take a trip out to Sai Kung and soak up breathtaking countryside views or unlock the city’s hidden secrets in Wan Chai, Sheung Wan, and Sham Shui Po—all at your own pace!

Whether you are a speed walker or a laid-back stroller, simply follow the clear, colourful maps and discover speciality shops and cultural attractions steeped in history and excitement. Each tour is designed to take roughly two hours and offers insider tips on where to find the best local cuisine. If you are concerned that the data-roaming bills will be rather unsavoury, think again! This app is fully functional offline, so all you need to do is 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. The app is free to download! Download via Apple Store and Google Play.

Photo: @hkalacarte (via Instagram)

For thrill-seekers

If you are all about the strange and the uncanny, then Hong Kong a la Carte’s spooky ghosts and local superstitions tour is the perfect way to segue into the city’s unexplored history. On the tour, your guide will share some of the most spine-chilling ghost stories, urban legends, and unsolved mysteries as you wander through the dark and meandering streets of Wan Chai, Central, and Sai Ying Pun—districts rife with history. Whether you are a spiritualist or a non-believer, this walking tour is guaranteed to change the way you view the city forever. Contact Hong Kong a la Carte via WhatsApp.

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Photo: @hktramways (via Instagram)

For history buffs

It's no secret that Hongkongers love their trams, so what better way to explore the city than by hopping aboard a vintage “ding ding”? The TramOramic tour invites both locals and visitors to climb onto the top deck of a charming 1920s-style heritage tram for a one-hour adventure through the city. Decked out in retro décor with photographs from days gone by adorning the walls, the elegant tramcar is a cut above the morning commute. As it meanders through the streets, passengers can marvel at stunning architecture and take in breathtaking views of our city from a new vantage point.

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, Hongkongers and travellers have plenty of opportunities to experience the more glamorous side of trams.

Photo: @hongkongfoodtours (via Instagram)

For foodies

Hungry to learn more about Hong Kong? Hong Kong Foodie is a tour guide company dedicated to exploring the culinary culture of the city, offering 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 several tours to choose from, each exploring one of the city’s diverse culinary districts—Central, Sham Shui Po, Temple Street Night Market, or Tai Po. Your foodie friend will highlight the rich culture of each area as you browse through the buzzing markets of Sham Shui Po, tuck into egg tarts fresh out of the oven in Central, or feast on roast goose and local desserts at a Tai Po market. These tasty tours run multiple times per week, with groups capped at eight or 12 people. Are your taste buds tingling yet?

Alternatively, check out Humid with a Change of Fish Balls Tours, another company that specialises in food tours.

For nature lovers 

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 spring to life. From deserted beaches to secret temples enshrined in history and culture, there are 15 tours to choose from which cater to 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 countryside living side by side in Hong Kong.

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