When people visit Hong Kong, they are often advised by guide books and travel websites to visit popular tourist attractions such as Victoria Peak, the Big Buddha, and so on. And while these places are fun to visit, there is so much more to explore in the 852 – if you know where to look. Thankfully, we are blessed with a plethora of local tour operators which strive to offer something unique and special when it comes to experiencing our vibrant city. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or avid foodie, these tours will give you plenty of reasons to put down the guide book and see the real Hong Kong.
Sam the Local
Whether you’re a budding photographer, a shopaholic, or you live to eat, Sam the Local has the perfect match when it comes to tour guides. This local tour operator provides unique customised experiences of Hong Kong through vetted locals who share the same interests as you. To find your match, all you need to do is pop onto their website and check out their carefully vetted team of 70 diverse locals, who boast a colourful range of professions, interests, and backgrounds. A fews clicks later, and it’s over to your new local friend to create a customised outing shaped by your interests and desires.
What we love about this service is the diversity of experiences it offers and the sharing of passion between the locals and guests. You can 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 with a pro like Michael Kistler, or take a walk on the wild side and discover secret waterfalls and breathtaking views outside of the city.
Sam has recently launched a new line of experiences called Sam the Expert, which invite you to embark on a tour with local experts and trade masters to learn about topics that are culturally significant to Hong Kong, but are either dying off or extremely hard to access. The Localiiz team recently had the pleasure of venturing to an unchartered village in Yuen Long with our knowledgeable guide, Dellon, who taught us all about traditional Chinese traditions that still exist in the village today – absolutely fascinating!
Sam the Local, (+852) 5415 6405
Tours start from $400 an hour
Little Adventures in Hong Kong
Another tour operator which invites guests to immerse themselves in the life of the real Hong Kong is Little Adventures in Hong Kong. Founded by award-winning journalist and travel writer, Daisann McLane, the company offers private food tours and walking tours hosted by savvy local professionals, who enable guests to look beyond the skyscrapers and see the city’s real culture and traditions. You could be chowing down won ton noodles or dim sum in the atmospheric backstreets of the city with a chef or a food journalist, or discovering hidden villages off the tourist trail that even many Hong Kongers don’t know about. These smart, insightful, and adventurous tours have garnered the company acclamation from international media such as National Geographic, The New York Times, and CNN Travel. Little Adventures was also featured in season two of the Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown television series back in 2013!
Little Adventures in Hong Kong, (+852) 9853 6746
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 popular 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 the tram 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.
TramOramic Tour, (+852) 2118 6338
Tour costs $95 for adults and $65 for kids
Wild Hong Kong
If you fancy veering off the beaten track and discovering the untouched parts of Hong Kong that boast natural beauty and overgrown charm, then check out adventure and eco tour company Wild Hong Kong. Led by experienced thrill-seeker Rory Mackay, you will discover a bountiful array of wild places to explore in Hong Kong such as waterfalls, beaches, and gorges. His epic tours will take you to the secluded oasis and dazzling waterfalls of Yellow Dragon Gorge on Lantau Island, the breathtaking slopes of Tai Mo Shan mountain, and Hong Kong’s most prestigious summit, Lantau Peak. As well as hiking, Rory offers cycling adventures and kayaking experiences which invite you to explore Hong Kong from a totally different point of view – quite literally. Along the way, you will discover some of Hong Kong’s best kept secrets that you didn’t even know existed. There are lots of family safe options on offer too at Wild Hong Kong, meaning you can take the kids with you as you embark on your adventure in the great outdoors. Need some inspiration? Read our article on Rory’s Top 5 Wildest Hikes.
Wild Hong Kong, (+852) 6087 1439
Tour costs vary but are around $500 for adults and $300 for kids
Walk in Hong Kong
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. 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 can even take part in a Stanley Murder Mystery Tour! The expeditions are designed to take you on unique adventures that show you first hand the heart and soul of Hong Kong as you meet the locals and listen to their stories and dreams for the future.
Walk in Hong Kong, (+852) 5511 4839
Tours cost between $480 and $650 for adults, and $240 to $325 for children
Read more! Find out more about the Sham Shui Po home tour
iDiscover Hong Kong
If you’re mad about apps, then iDiscover Hong Kong 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 – 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.
iDiscover Hong Kong, (+852) 2214 0011
Tour app is free to download
Walk Hong Kong
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. You could be hiking through stunning landscapes, catching a glimpse of former village life, or finding yourself in unique natural areas with special geological, natural, and cultural significance. These tours promise to 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. They cater to all tastes and fitness levels, and cost around $800 per person which includes transport. Check out the upcoming schedule of guided tours.
Walk Hong Kong, (+852) 9187 8641
Tours cost around $500 to $800, including transport
Hong Kong Foodie
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?
Hong Kong Foodie, (+852) 2850 5006
Tours cost $720 to $890 for adults, and $520 to $640 for children (including all tastings)