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When you’re visiting Hong Kong, these are the essential Hong Kong apps for tourists. Some you might already have and some you’ll have to download.
Let’s get started!
1) Google Maps
You probably have Google Maps already installed on your phone but if you don’t, download it immediately.
Google Maps will be immensely useful for your first time in Hong Kong. I’ve had people ask me if Google Maps works in Hong Kong and it does! The information on the app is pretty accurate too.
In some other places like South Korea and Mainland China, there are restrictions on the app. They have their version of Google Maps but in Hong Kong, I, too, rely on Google Maps if there’s somewhere new I need to go to and have no idea how to get there.
Hong Kong visitors will definitely pull up Google Maps when they’re out and about in the city.
2) City Mapper
Speaking of helpful transportation apps, next up on the list of essential Hong Kong apps for tourists is City Mapper.
City Mapper is a trip planner app.
When you need to get from one destination to another, simply put in the address of where you are at now and where you want to go. The app will show multiple options of how to get there, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.
You might be wondering, ‘If I have Google Maps already, is it necessary to install City Mapper?’
The answer is yes you should and let me tell you why.
Google Maps doesn’t tell you the fare amount from one place to another like City Mapper but it is useful for directions when you’re within walking distance.
City Mapper is better to use when you need to get from one place to another via public transportation. I find City Mapper to be more accurate with the bus and train times but sometimes, it’s Google Maps that’s precise.
In addition, City Mapper and Google Maps are also available in other countries like Italy, Japan, USA, France, Spain, Canada, Germany, and more.
So when you visit another city in one of these countries, you can still use both. I’ve had these two apps on my phone for years now and will keep them forever!
The local options are MTR Mobile and KMB app.
MTR mobile tracks how long it will take for the next subway train to arrive.
The KMB app is pretty much the same as the MTR Mobile app but it’s for buses instead of the subway. The KMB app tells you the bus routes and the wait time for the next bus.
Although both of these apps are useful, they can only be used in Hong Kong. Hong Kongers do have these downloaded on their phones so they’re great local options.
Everyone has heard of Uber by now. It is an app that allows you to request rides with multiple car options.
In Hong Kong, most people tend to take UberX and taxis.
You’ve read that right.
Taxi is an option on the Uber app.
What’s the difference?
UberX is like your regular Joe who wants to make extra cash on the side so he drives passengers from one location to another.
Taxi is like hailing a cab on the street except right from the start, this taxi driver will know your destination immediately and there’s no need to use cash. Other than that, there’s no difference.
Uber has made a name for itself globally although demand isn’t as high in HK. There are a ton of transportation options like the MTR, tram, ferry, minibus, and double-decker bus.
With all these ways, locals and tourists tend to use Uber less but it’s still available for those in need.
I mainly use Uber when I have a lot of stuff with me and have to get to the airport and train station by a certain time. Uber has this nice feature where you can reserve a car in advance with an extra fee. This saved me many times when I needed to get to the airport for an early morning flight.
It’s a better option than rushing to get a cab or worrying about if there are available Ubers at 5 am.
Local Option – HK Taxi
If you are a regular Uber user then there’s probably no need for you to download HK Taxi, a taxi calling app.
Being in Hong Kong, you can usually flag a taxi down on the street when you’re out and about. But if you’re caught in rush hour and/or taxi drivers changing shifts, that’s the hardest time to get a cab. Pull up HK Taxi and it will let you order a cab, input your destination, and pay the fare all within the app.
You can argue Uber is the better option but while you might be constantly worried about your Uber rating, you don’t need to for this app because you’ll only use it while you’re in HK.
Openrice is like Yelp in North America. You use this app to discover nearby restaurants and check out customer reviews.
It’s a platform locals use to research nearby restaurants no matter what district you are in the city.
The best feature of Openrice is customer photos. You discover the restaurant menu and want to try a certain dish but when you look at the food picture online, you could very well change your mind and be like, ‘eh, this isn’t my cup of tea.’
This has happened to me too many times before.
Openrice is also convenient to see the menu especially if the restaurant doesn’t have its own website. It is likely that a customer has taken at least ONE menu picture and posted it.
As a selective eater or travelling with picky eaters, this app will be your best friend.
All the information you need to know about a restaurant is available including opening hours, address, telephone number, etc.
You can even book a table at a restaurant there through this platform.
5) Food Delivery
Hong Kong has restaurants everywhere. If you want, you can go to a new restaurant every meal for the entire year without doing a repeat and plenty leftover.
That’s how many restaurants there are, to give you an idea.
Hong Kongers sure know how to enjoy food.
But there comes a time when you feel like lounging at your hotel or Airbnb and don’t want to go outside. Introverts can relate to this, am I right?
That’s when food delivery apps come into place. It’s one of the best things invented, in my opinion.
The Hong Kong apps for food delivery here are Food Panda and Deliveroo.
Download both apps as some restaurants are only exclusive to one company. There will be different restaurants although some might overlap.
(Oh, you might be wondering why Uber Eats is not an option. Once upon a time, Uber Eats was in HK but the company decided to close it down. It couldn’t compete with Foodpanda or Deliveroo I guess.)
6) My Observatory
Those with an iPhone might rely on their weather app but the weather in Hong Kong can get pretty unpredictable. There are no snow storms but we get typhoons and intense rainstorms over here, especially in the summertime.
Your phone’s weather app might tell you it’s raining but the details will be fuzzier compared to the information provided on My Observatory.
Even locals have this app installed to be updated on the weather. It’s the official weather app here.
If you’re outside when it’s black rain, the highest and most dangerous level, you’ll want to know about it. It would be extremely difficult to find your way back to your hotel.
The HK government tends to inform its citizens of a rain or typhoon warning a few hours in advance so that everyone can go home safely before the weather conditions get too dangerous. Buildings and shopping malls might have a sign-up informing people of the weather condition but you might miss it. Looking for signs will not be as reliable as the app.
Critical information will be on My Observatory so it’s one of the must-download Hong Kong apps for tourists, especially during the summer months.
7) Cantonese by Nemo
For an Asian city, a majority of tourists can get by in Hong Kong without speaking a lick of Chinese. The younger generation has solid conversational English skills but you might run into language barriers when speaking to the older generation.
People tend to use Google translate but it’s Mandarin which is NOT the same as Cantonese. Most Hong Kongers can speak Cantonese Mandarin and/or English. It’s quite impressive, isn’t it?
Cantonese by Nemo is your app when you want to converse with a local in their language. Or if you happen to bump into a local who can only speak Cantonese and cannot communicate, Cantonese by Nemo will help.
Hong Kongers will respect you so much more if you attempt to speak their language. You’ll get to show off to your friends and family how to say something else in a different language and locals will appreciate the attempted effort to learn.
It’s a win-win situation.
A part of the Hong Kong lifestyle is relying heavily on their Octopus cards. EVERYONE has an Octopus card here. This little card is used on public transportation, to pay for parking spots, and to buy low-cost items. The reason I said low-cost items is because the limit is only a few thousand dollars so it’s not equivalent to a credit card.
It can be annoying to carry change around so if people need to grab a drink at a convenience store, that’s when you’ll see them whip out their Octopus card.
I tend to use the physical card and while I recommend tourists get a physical Octopus card too because it’s great to keep as a souvenir, there are benefits to downloading the app.
On the Hong Kong Octopus App, you can check the balance of your card anytime anywhere, top up your balance, and check transaction history all in one place.
You can do all of these on a physical card too but you need to find and rely on different machines to figure out the answer to these questions.
9) Wi-Fi. HK
This app tells you where you can access WIFI in the city.
Wi-Fi HK lets you know WIFI locations so you don’t have to blindly look for places with free WIFI.
You might have bought a SIM card already before your trip to Hong Kong or are planning to use your local phone network from back home.
But things can go wrong.
You could use up the data on your SIM card or find that your mobile data is not working properly or you tried to save expenses and bought a SIM card without data.
Whatever the reason is, there might come a time when you’re looking for WIFI.
Looking for WIFI when you’re out and about can be annoying because you need to look for places. It’s also time-consuming and frustrating.
It’s best to have backup even if you have access to your mobile data in case something goes awry. Being in this day and age, it’s almost impossible to travel without it.
Locals have a mix of using different phone brands.
It’s not all iPhones over here.
WhatsApp is free and anyone can use it no matter what kind of phone you have.
Download the app and verify your number quickly to get you started.
WhatsApp might be the main method of communication between you and whoever you’re with on your trip to Hong Kong because the only thing you need is to have access to WIFI and/or data.
It’s convenient to call someone using WhatsApp even if you don’t have a local number. And with Wi-Fi HK also downloaded to your phone, you’ll know where to go for WIFI.
Final Thoughts – Hong Kong Apps for Tourists
The list might seem long but I promise these are all the important apps for Hong Kong tourists. The best part is that quite a few of these apps can also be used in other cities and countries so they have a long lifespan on your phone.
I highly recommend you download these from the app store as they will make your life more convenient.
Now to You – Hong Kong Apps for Tourists
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