Instead, here are some tour guides that have gained the greatest plaudits for their Hong Kong tours. All of the below are individual or small tour guide agencies that focus on walking tours. The small groups and dedicated individual nature of their tours mean they don’t usually come cheap. If you’re looking to be bussed around the city ticking off the major sights, which will be less engaging but much cheaper, you should check out our Hong Kong tours page.
Little Adventures in Hong Kong TourIf you want to look past the skyscrapers and see a more honest picture of everyday Hong Kong then book yourself on a Little Adventures in Hong Kong tour. Run by travel journalist and National Geographic Traveler contributor Daisann McLane, there are no set itineraries, McLane instead invites you to send in your interests and builds a tour around you based on her encyclopaedic knowledge of the city and local culture.
Tours are designed to get you into the heart of the city, introduce you to experiences and sights that are purposefully low key but local and which let you put together a picture of Hong Kong’s chameleon character. From rickety boat trips out to forgotten Chinese villages to introductions to barbers and hawkers while slipping through suburban Kowloon; there is nothing hidden about this Hong Kong but to explore it and enjoy it requires the intimate knowledge of a passionate local like Daisann. Groups are restricted to three people and tours last between 3 and 8 hours. As you’d expect with a personalised tour, prices are not cheap.
Chris Rowthorn toursTour company run by travel writer and Lonely Planet guidebook author Chris Rowthorn which offers a couple of fairly standard tour itineraries that will tick all the major sights. While the tours themselves don’t feature Chris, the local guide he employs is knowledgeable about the city and engaging about its history.
Tours are run for individuals, couples and small groups, never mixed groups of strangers, and the concept is to have a friend who can walk and talk you around the city from picking you up at your hotel to talking you through the food. Like with a friend it means you don’t have to stick to a rigid itinerary and you can chop and change your day as you go along, if you see something interesting. They also offer a Macau tour. Prices for the full day Hong Kong tour are a pricey US$290 for a group of up to six people and there is no discount for smaller groups.
Big Foot Tours Hong KongPioneer of the 'see the city with a friend' approach, Big Foot Tours is run by passionate traveller and HongKongophile Ski Yeo. She promises to walk you around her favourite parts of the city and experience Hong Kong as locals experience it; from an introduction to the umbrella cart and its owner who has been mending parasols for the last 50 years to slipping into a hole in wall neighbourhood noodle bar, where you can taste the food that has made the Cantonese famous for just a few dollars.
There’s not much Ski doesn’t know about Hong Kong and tours are tailored to your individual tastes - showing you the parts of Hong Kong that are likely to spark your interest. In addition to the individual tours, which are restricted to 4 people and priced between HK$1,600 and HK$2000, Ski offers a regular Hong Kong Island Walking Tour itinerary which is open to groups. It’s priced very fairly at HK$600.