Take a Virtual Tour of Hong Kong with Us

Yes, you read that right. It’s now possible to take a virtual tour of Hong Kong with Hong Kong Greeters. We always like to think we’re ahead of the curve and in this case we’ve been working on getting this up and running since last year, pre-pandemic. Moreover, we’re thrilled to be offering this top drawer virtual experience through the brand new Amazon Explore. As Amazon Explore is currently only available to the US market, we are able to offer separate virtual tours via Zoom to our customers based elsewhere.

This post contains an affiliate link.

The Amazon Explore Virtual Tour of Hong Kong

This is a live private tour. You will be able to see your guide, chat to them, indicate things that interest you along the way and also take photos.

However, your guide won’t be able to see you, so you don’t need to worry about what to wear! You also don’t need to remember to put on sunscreen or mosquito repellant. Equally, there is no need to carry heavy rucksacks through the humid streets of Hong Kong.

For an Optimal User Experience

  • Suitable for desktop or laptop (not for tablet or phone).
  • Internet speed 5 mbps minimum.
  • Headphone or speakers.

 

 

Hong Kong Virtual tours

What you’ll see and learn

Old Hong Kong: Where Trends meet Traditions

  • Virtually tour the Sheung Wan district and learn about the start of colonial Hong Kong
  • Visit the Pak Sing and Man Mo Temples
  • See the Mid-Levels Escalator and Tai Kwun complex

“Let’s show you where it all began on this old town Hong Kong tour. We’ll trace the steps of Hong Kong’s beginnings, where traditional Chinese temples and colonial era buildings have been repurposed, blending trends and traditions. Starting at Possession Point, where the British first landed and raised their flag to take possession of Hong Kong, we’ll move through the low-rise and leafy streets of Sheung Wan where you’ll enjoy learning about the cultural landmarks from the city’s colonial past. We’ll also visit bustling temples heavy with incense smoke, enjoy a few ghost stories, and see how Hong Kong has developed whilst stubbornly interweaving its traditions as it has moved forwards into modern day.”

US Customers

For the time being the Amazon Explore experiences are only available to the US market… That’s right, if you’re in the USA, you can now visit Hong Kong from the comfort of your armchair. Our private virtual tour lasts 75 minutes and takes you through the fascinating old neighborhood of Sheung Wan.

Booking

We can tell that you’re on the edge of your seat. Bookings for this experience are through Amazon Explore.

BOOK HERE

 

hong kong greeters tai o outlying island Lantau tours

Rest of the World

Although our tours via Amazon Explore are only available to US customers, we are able to arrange alternative Hong Kong Greeters virtual tour experiences for customers anywhere in the world via Zoom.

Bookings

BOOK HERE   Please note, times shown are Hong Kong time, so your will need to check how many hours ahead of/behind Hong Kong you are to find the equivalent time in your location. 

Enquiries

Our zoom-based tours are more flexible and can be customised in terms of location and length. Moreover, they are suitable for both individuals or larger groups such as schools. To discuss options, please get in touch with us directly. CONTACT US

 

Alternatively, you can armchair travel to Hong Kong with these gorgeous coffee table books, or to neighbouring Macau with our Macau Bookshelf.

This post contains an affiliate link.

 

Top Tips for Visiting Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak (or just “The Peak”) is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent tourist highlights, and a must-visit destination for visitors and locals alike. Towering over Hong Kong at 552 metres above sea level, people have been flocking to its summit for decades to capture one of the world’s most awe-inspiring cityscapes from Hong Kong Island’s highest point. We’ve picked our must-see spots on The Peak for those looking to enjoy a more in-depth exploration of the area with the whole family in tow.

The Peak Galleria

Peak GalleriaAs it also houses the bus station, most guests arriving at The Peak will enter the Peak Galleria shopping mall as they alight. Operated by Hang Lung Properties, the Galleria underwent a huge refurbishment in 2019 and is now (almost!) totally reopened.

It is well worth a visit – if only to use best public toilets available in the area! 

Peak Galleria Playground

boy on yellow slide at peak galleria playgroundThe state-of-the-art new Peak Galleria playground on level one features slides and climbing apparatus galore. Situated outside on level one, this play area boasts fantastic panoramas across to Cheung Chau and Lantau Island, with ample seating spots for parents to enjoy the views.

Suitable for children aged from four to 12, we’d recommend visiting earlier in the day, as the sun can be pretty ferocious after lunch. 

Build-a-Bear Workshop

This famous American toy brand now has its own Hong Kong outpost at the Galleria, where kids can create their very own friend or build a unique Hong Kong souvenir. The Workshop is open daily from 11am-8pm and no advance booking is required.

Observation Deck

Peak Galleria Observation deckThere are plenty of viewing points at Victoria Peak, but the Galleria’s newly refurbished rooftop is one of our favourites. Best of all, it’s completely free! Just keep following the escalators upwards. You can’t miss it.

Tai Cheong Bakery

This famous Hong Kong bakery has outlets all around Hong Kong; their newest is located on level two of the Peak Galleria. Their freshly-baked egg tarts really are melt-in-the-mouth and are an enticing pitstop for any visit to the Peak.

Egg tarts are a big deal in Hong Kong, find out more about them here.

Monopoly Dreams

monopoly dreams hong kongThis is a brand new attraction for Hong Kong and an Instagrammer’s dream come true!

You can read all about Monopoly Dreams here in our dedicated blog post.

Peak Tower

The Peak TowerThe Peak’s most-visited building is home to the Peak Tram station, along with many retail, and food and beverage outlets. You’ll find a Madame Tussauds waxwork museum and one of our family friendly Hong Kong restaurant recommendations. The Sky Terrace is another great viewing spot, however there is a charge to visit this. 

Walk a little further

Most visitors stick to the developed area near the bus and tram terminuses and don’t venture further. However, if you’ve got a little time and energy to spare, there are a couple of short strolls that are less crowded and well worth your while. Obviously if you have a lot of time and bags of energy there are more strenuous hikes to enjoy around Hong Kong.

The Peak Circuit

Leave the Peak terminus behind you and take a right onto Lugard Road. You’ll find that this circular walk is pleasant, easy, mostly in the shade. Approximately 4km long, this leisurely walk takes around 1.5 hours. There are several view points, some crazy banyan trees and you’ll also pass the supposedly haunted Dragon Lodge.

Mount Austin

Walking uphill from The Peak’s main piazza area, head up to Mount Austin for a family friendly picnic spot and playground. This area was redeveloped in 2007 and encompasses the gardens of the former Mountain Lodge, which was the Governor of Hong Kong’s summer house up until 1946. You’ll also find the excellent Mount Austin playground just here. 

Mount Austin Playground

Something of a rarity in Hong Kong, Mount Austin Playground features a safely enclosed space in which you can spend time as a family. The park has play equipment for children from two to 12 years, and plenty of paths for scooters and bikes. Another rarity – plenty of inviting lawned spaces that are perfect for picnics or even an alfresco birthday party!

Victoria Peak Gardens

Victoria Peak Gardens pagodaRight at Victoria Peak’s summit –  also known as Mount Austin – you’ll find Victoria Peak Gardens. These include beautiful landscaped gardens that once formed part of Mountain Lodge, the Governor’s summer residence which was demolished in 1946.

Some remnants such as steps and tiles remain from the 2007 refurbishment, and the striking Gatehouse is an original feature. 

Barker Road

If you fancy a change of scenery, a walk down Barker Road definitely offers an experience that is a little off the beaten path. Accessed via Findlay Path, which is next to the Peak Tower, descending via this road takes you past one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. Look out for Headquarters House, home to the head of the People’s Liberation Army in Hong Kong.

Next door to Headquarters House you’ll see Victoria House. Formerly a maternity hospital, it is now the official residence of the Chief Secretary for Administration – at time of writing, Matthew Cheung. Currently under refurbishment, is 22 Barker Road, Jack Ma’s Hong Kong property, which he paid in excess of HK $1.5 billion for back in 2015. 

Following Chatham Path, you’ll take a zig-zag route down to May Road where you can pick up the Peak Tram from its steepest station for a fast-track ride back down to Central.

Other Hong Kong Highlights

Check out our other Hong Kong guides.

Guide to Mong Kok’s markets,

Guide to Hong Kong’s Best Parks

Guide to Repulse Bay.

Alternatively, if you’d like a little help exploring Hong Kong, book a fabulous private tour with Hong Kong Greeters.

The Best Hong Kong Christmas Events 2020

Here’s our pick of 2020’s Hong Kong Christmas Festive Fun and Events. Our list is a little different to last year’s as many of the usual events have been cancelled or scaled back. Nevertheless, we have family friendly events, Christmas markets, charity fundraisers and also tips on where to buy your all important Christmas tree. Also, a sure sign of the times, is that for the first time ever, we have several virtual events on our list.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, events could be cancelled at short notice. 

Family Friendly Christmas Events

Bedtime Stories with Santa

This is the first virtual experience on our list. Let Santa read your children a bedtime story, on Fridays from 4-18 December 2020.

Prices range from HK$200-600 depending on the number of stories you book. Find out more here.

Nutcracker Ballet

In Hong Kong, Christmas almost isn’t Christmas without the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. At time of writing, this event is still going ahead. Enjoy this timeless Christmas classic, set to Tchaicovsky’s famous score, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from 17 December – 27 December 2020.

UPDATE 11.12.2020 VENUE HAS TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO CORONA RESTRICTIONS. THE NUTCRACKER WILL NOT BE GOING AHEAD.

Ticket prices start at HK$180 and range up to HK$1000 per person.

Going Viral: The Online Pantomime

Hong Kong Players have been entertaining Hong Kong audiences with their Pantomime Christmas gold for years. This year, they’re going digital. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this seasonal genre, Pantomime is a completely family friendly, slapstick show based loosely on our favourite fairy tales, with plenty of audience interaction, smoke, mirrors and magic. The humour tends to work on two levels, with a combination of child friendly jokes and hidden double entendres for the adults to chortle at.

Tickets are available now and range from HK$150-500 and the show will be available 10-13 December 2020

Disney Christmas

Have yourself a Disney little Christmas

Obviously, The Magic Kingdom is already sprinkled with fairy dust, but with Christmas coming, there is even more sparkle. This year A Disney Christmas – Treasure your Traditions runs between 14 November 2020 and 1 January 2021. Plenty of Christmas fun is planned, but please check the official Hong Kong Disney website for up to date booking and event information.  UPDATE 11.12.2020 DISNEY HAS TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO CORONA RESTRICTIONS

NYE Clock Tower TSTPacific Place Santa’s Grotto

Pacific Place in Admiralty is THE place in town to visit Santa. However, this year, this lynchpin of Hong Kong Christmas has also gone virtual. According to their website tickets go on sale from 11am on 19 November 2020. Normally, these tickets are like gold dust, so if you’re interested, we recommend booking as soon as it opens to avoid disappointment.

UPDATE 11.12.2020 THIS IS STILL GOING AHEAD, HOWEVER DUE TO CORONA RESTRICTIONS ONLY TINY GROUPS ARE ALLOWED TO UNDERTAKE THE EXPERIENCE WHICH MAY AFFECT YOUR PLANS

Hong Kong Christmas Lights

The annual Christmas lights on Hong Kong’s skyscrapers are free, just take an evening stroll along Tsim Tsa Tsui promenade for a spectacular view. Nearby Harbour City and 1881 Heritage are also known for impressive Christmas displays, so we suggest starting or finishing your promenade walk here. Alternatively hop aboard the Star Ferry for just a couple of dollars and see the lights from the water.  

 

Christmas Shopping in Hong Kong

Christmas Markets

Handmade Hong Kong

Christmas markets are mighty thin on the ground this year in these Coronatimes. Nevertheless, Handmade Hong Kong still has markets pencilled in for 22 November and 6 December 2020 showcasing many local vendors. We’re crossing our fingers that they will go ahead, please check their website for updates before setting off.   UPDATE 18.11.2020: Market on 22 November has been cancelled. Please check to the Handmade Hong Kong Facebook Page – links to vendors are provided so that you can shop online. Tentatively, the 6 December market may still go ahead.

Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway

Currently, there is also a Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway planned at the Pulse in Repulse Bay on 12 and 13 December 2020. For further details and ticket prices, check here.

Treasure Island Christmas Market

Visit Pui O on Lantau, for their annual Christmas Market Festival on 12 and 13 December. Find out more here.

 

hong kong giftsGift Suggestions

We’ve put together a Homegrown Hong Kong Gift Guide with plenty of ideas to help you with any last-minute seasonal shopping. This year in particular, we are keen to support local Hong Kong businesses. We’ve included, our brand new Hong Kong Quests, which make perfect stocking fillers and also our popular veggie food tour, which will run on selected dates during the Christmas holidays.

Charity Events

Christmas Concert

The Fayre of Maggie’s is going to be a virtual event this year and will take place on Thursday 10 December at 7pm. The event includes Christmas carols, festive readings and special performances. Additionally, there will be a “live” (virtual) auction and raffle. Individual tickets are HK$1500 and family tickets are HK$5000. Funds go towards Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre .

Secret Santa

Christmas is the season of giving and their are plenty of wonderful charities helping the less fortunate. You could give a Secret Santa gift which will go to an underprivileged child in Hong Kong, through local charity Angels for Children.

AWA Christmas Charity Bazaar

The usual physical bazaar cannot go ahead, instead there is a virtual Silent Auction, Lucky Lai See Prize Draw or you can donate to the Giving Tree. For further details, visit the American Women’s Association website.

Where to Buy a Christmas Tree in Hong Kong

With limited travel options over the 2020 Christmas period, be sure to order your Christmas tree well in advance.

  • Sophie’s trees has been supplying Hong Kong residents with Christmas foliage for 20 odd years.
  • Sai Kung’s Wah King Garden is ready for Christmas shoppers, supplying Christmas trees and a beautiful crop of poinsettia plants.
  • Head to Mongkok’s flower market for your Christmas tree and decoration needs.
  • Ikea sells affordable real and artificial Christmas trees and also supplies decorations, gift wrap and a few edible festive goodies. Outlets are in Causeway Bay, Kowloon and Shatin.

 

Skip the line at the Peak Tram Tours

Seasonal Offers

We love visiting Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. Until mid December there are discounts if you have 1 or more of the following letters in your name  P E A K. Also, from now until the end of January, take ride up on the Peak Tram and receive vouchers to spend at the shops at the top. More details are here.

 

 

 

Christmas pandaOther Festive Fun

Santa Tracker

There are several great Santa Trackers to choose from in the lead up to Christmas Day. Check out the following to find out what Santa’s up to, where he is and to discover fun games and activities for younger kids. Google Santa Tracker, Santa Update and Norad are all great options.

Elf Yourself

After such a serious year, we all need a good laugh. In case you’ve never heard of it, the very silly Elf Yourself enables you to put the faces of you and your loved ones on the cartoon bodies of dancing elves. It’s childish, but weirdly hilarious.

 

If you know of any other special events taking place in Hong Kong during the 2020/2021 Christmas and New Year festive season, please let us know so that we can update our listings: CONTACT US.

 

 

 

 

Armchair Travel: Macau Bookshelf

If you’re looking for books about, or set in Macau, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be honest, this has been a tough list to pull together as relatively little has been written about Macau in English. Nevertheless, here are our top recommendations.

This post contains some affiliate links. Should you click through and make a purchase, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Macau Fiction

As you’ll see from the list, the majority of books are thrillers with storylines featuring gambling, gangsters and prostitution. There is of course more to Macau than this, but with casinos being the main draw it’s not surprising that most books fall into the thriller/noir genres .

The King of Macau

Jake Needham’s The King of Macau is book 4 in the Jack Shepherd series. From his Hong Kong base the main character heads to neighbouring Macau to investigate possible money laundering at one of the many casinos.

It turns into a thrilling fast-paced adventure as he realises that he has become entangled in something far more sinister and dangerous than he imaged with North Korean hitman and a defector added into the mix. 

Each book in the series is a standalone novel, so you could read this with or without reading the others which are set in various locations including Hong Kong. 

 

 

City of Broken Promises

Published in the late 60’s, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a little dated. However, as one Amazon reviewer (N.Madsen) put it, City of Broken Promises by Austin Coates is: “The Best (only?) attempt to portray old Macau in fiction…” This rags to riches tale is set in the late 1700’s and follows Martha Merop, a baby abandoned at birth, who is later sold into prostitution before eventually becoming tremendously weathly.

Martha da Silva Merop was a real person, but the story woven about her in City of Broken Promises is mostly fiction.

 

 

 

The Red Pole of Macau

In the Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton, a multimillion-dollar real-estate deal in Macau goes South, it gets even worse when it turns out the developers are gangsters.

Ava Lee is a dauntless forensic accountant. She steps in to try and untangle the subsequent mess that her half-brother and his business partner find themselves in.

The stakes are raised even higher, when her brother’s business partner is kidnapped.

There are several other ‘Ava Lee’ books in the series.

 

Heart of Glass

Heart of Glass by Malaysian author Ivy Ngeow is set in the 1980’s. Con artist Li-An is ready to move on from her shady existance where she lingers in bars with her partner in crime, first drugging and subsequently robbing wealthy men that they meet.  She is also a talented musician and when she is offered the opportunity to relocate to Macau to work as a piano-player she grabs the opportunity.

However, things don’t go smoothly when she meets compulsive gambler Ben, who hatches a plan to kill her boss….

 

 

The Ballad of a Small Player

Lawrence Osborne’s The Ballad of a Small Player is described as “A riveting tale of risk and obsession set in the alluring world of Macau’s casinos, by the author of the critically acclaimed The Forgiven.”

Although this is a slim novel, Osborne expertly employs his background in travel writing to bring Macau to life.

Main character Doyle is in self-exile in Macau. He’s there to avoid prosecution for embezzlement and is burning the candle at both ends. As he steadily gambles away his ill-gotten gains at the baccarat tables his past returns to haunt him.
 

 

The Living Room of the Dead

This is the first book in the Ray Sharp series, by Eric Stone. Essentially,  The Living Room of the Dead is a detective thriller and seemingly is based on real events.  American detective Ray Sharp gets caught up in murky underworld of the Russian white slave trade, so much more than he bargained for when trying to do a good deed and help someone out. The story starts in Hong Kong, before moving to Macau and finally to Vladivostok. 

 

 

Macau Guide Books

As Macau is so small, a little over 115 square kilometers with a population of around 650,000 souls, it has been a challenge to find a dedicated Macau guide book.

Generally, Macau guides are included in Hong Kong Guide Books as a small chapter towards the back, nevertheless we’ve found two options for you.

Explore Macau: A Walking Guide and History

 

Happily, after much searching, we’ve discovered Explore Macau: A Walking Guide and History by Todd Crowell. Although the title sounds a little dry, the reviews are quite encouraging.

If you are looking for a guide book that exclusively covers Macau, this is a solid contender.

Published in 2011, it’s still recent enough to be relevant.

 

Strolling in Macau: A Visitor’s Guide to Macau, Taipa and Colane

Alternatively, you could try Strolling in Macau: A Visitor’s Guide to Macau, Taipa and Colane by Stephen K. Bailey. Reviews are mixed. This book provides several walking routes, primarily in the World Heritage area, but is seemingly light on instruction detailing how to get to the start point.

 

 

Discover our favourite Hong Kong Coffee Table Books and Hong Kong Children’s Books.

Book a private tour of Macau or Hong Kong.

Understand the difference between Hong Kong Egg Tarts and Macau Egg Tarts.

 

This post contains some affiliate links. Should you click through and make a purchase, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.