Coming from all walks of life, Hong Kong Pals are volunteers who are eager to share their personal recommendations and tips so that visitors can explore Hong Kong like a local.
Need a break from Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle? Hop on a minibus or into taxi and find yourself in the verdant countryside in the blink of an eye! Three-quarters of Hong Kong’s land area is in fact rural, abound with hiking trails suitable for all levels. Our pals Amy and Esther have left their footprints on most of these trails and they are more than happy to recommend hikes that will suit your needs and interests.
Watching butterflies may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you are in Hong Kong, but the fact is, due to its mild climate, the city is a butterfly haven. Records show that Hong Kong has a cumulative total of over 280 butterfly species, many of them classified as rare or very rare. Butterfly enthusiast Terina will show you her precious butterfly photo album, and share with you her favourite spots to admire these dainty, dancing creatures.
Hong Kong is not only home to more than seven million people, but also a refuge for over 90,000 migratory birds. In addition to the famous Mai Po Marshes, there are many good bird-watching places, including parks in the busy districts of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. Ask Alan, an avid bird watcher, for tips on spotting these beautiful winged animals in what appears to be a concrete jungle.
You’ll be amazed at what people have come up with using paper during Chinese festivals! From intricate lanterns during Mid-Autumn Festival to colourful flower banners for Tin Hau Festival and even lifelike offerings for ancestors during Ching Ming Festival, creativity has taken paper art to a whole new level. Come and meet Eva, a lover of Chinese handicrafts, and let her tell you where to find traditional paper knick-knacks and the interesting stories behind them.
A cemetery may be quiet and solemn, but it can tell you a lot about a city. Talk to KC, a guide for Hong Kong Cemetery Walk, to learn more about these resting places of souls that are silent bearers of Hong Kong’s local customs, beliefs and multicultural characteristics.
One beautiful feature in Hong Kong’s cityscape is the juxtaposition of buildings old and new. Learn to appreciate Hong Kong’s historical buildings and the uncanny congruity between them and their sky-scraping neighbours with Canny, an urban designer by profession. She will also give you some ideas on where to eat after a tour to the heritage sites.
If you are curious about the grassroots lifestyle of Hong Kong people, and at the same time interested in value-for-money electronic goods and clothes, Sham Shui Po is the place for you. Ernest will not only offer you tips on finding little treasures in the district, but also tell you how these treasures connect with the everyday lives of the local people.
Sai Kung offers a welcome breather for urban denizens, with its pristine beaches and hiking trails, dainty cafes and relaxing bars, and fresh ‘sea-to-table’ seafood. Winna is more than willing to share with you her favourite eateries, and how to order seafood like a local. She will also be able to tell you a thing or two about the local historical sites and the culture of this ‘seafood town’.
There is an end to every journey but the photographs of it last forever. Sit down with Sanford and Michael, two camera buffs with keen eyes for capturing the charm of Hong Kong. They will show you their own works and offer tips on getting the best shots in photogenic Hong Kong.
Moon cakes are for the Mid-Autumn Festival while rice dumplings are for the Dragon Boat Festival. But why? Let Alice tell you all the love stories, historical events, myths and symbolic meanings behind Chinese festive fare. What’s more, she will tell you where to try them!
With over 12,000 restaurants to choose from, you may want some help to decide where to begin your gastronomic journey in the culinary capital of Asia, especially if you feel like eating like a local. Feel free to ask avid foodie Johnson for recommendations on the cha chaan tengs (Hong Kong-style cafes), Chinese noodle shops and street food stalls that the locals cherish. Be prepared to gain a few pounds though!
Travellers looking for eccentric and unique urban experiences should not miss the Central-to-Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest covered outdoor escalator. It takes you on a long ride across several main streets to SoHo, a neighbourhood of hip restaurants and shops with traces of old Hong Kong. Agnes will share with you some of the history of the areas near the escalator and let you know how to uncover hidden gems as you saunter along the zigzag streets of Mid-Levels.