It is often said that the best way to experience a new place is to go local. It’s fantastic advice, often a lot easier said than done. Luckily for newbies to Hong Kong, entrepreneurs Anita Chan and Maggie Lau (pictured) founded Sam the Local, an online business that matches anyone who wants to explore Hong Kong with local experts to provide the ultimate experience.
After moving to Hong Kong in 2011, we had the pleasure of traveling around Asia. Before heading off to our destinations, we would always contact any friends and/or family that lived there to ask them for suggestions on things to do/eat and to see if they’re available to show us around.
With our local by our side, we would get to see our destination through their lens, taste food through their palette, and learn about culture through their perspective. We dubbed this the best way for us to travel because it’s not rigid and impersonal like a tour group, and it’s easier and more educational than a tour book.
On the other side, our friends and family do the same thing to us when they visit Hong Kong. We take them to our favourite local finds, answer any questions, and tell them about all of the crazy things that happen in and around Hong Kong. They really enjoy the ease of having someone to direct them where to go but also having the flexibility to see the things they want to see.
So then we realised, dude, what if we travel somewhere where we don’t know anybody? Who would we ask then? How can we make this naturally occurring process available everywhere we go? And that’s how Sam the Local was born. Our vision is to give people access to a local friend anywhere in the world.
Sam the Local is a platform for a community of individuals, whether it’s the local or the explorer, who are passionate about sharing their experiences. Anyone who wants to explore the hidden gems of Hong Kong, and see what’s underneath just the surface level (this can be a tourist or a person who lives in Hong Kong), can come onto the platform to browse the profiles of our carefully vetted locals. The “Explorer” lets us know which Local they would like to hang out with, we connect them, and then the Local creates a customised Outing for them to go on. It’s that simple.
Our Locals have different professions, interests, backgrounds, price points, and districts/areas of Hong Kong that they know particularly well; and we’re always adding more. We want to provide a wide range of Locals so every Explorer can find something they’re interested in learning about.
We hope to change the way people explore cities one trip at a time.
Could Sam the Local revolutionise the way people experience Hong Kong? Only time will tell.