Walking Tours Through Vanishing Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island's flavorful old neighborhoods are fast disappearing into history. On these half day tours, your guide will take you to see some of the quaint remaining sections of Cantonese culture that have managed to dodge the bulldozer so far.
Old Neighborhoods Losing a Battle With Progress
An easy half-day tour for any morning or afternoon. First stop is the tiny, unimposing Tai Wong Temple (called Hung Sing by the locals), wedged between a hillside and a busy avenue, and shaded under the canopy of an enormous tree. This dim, diminutive shrine is a microcosm of much larger temples. Funerary pictures from past eras glow from dusty frames beneath the light of a single bare bulb, yet incense continues to glow faithfully for the long-departed. Negotiate a rickety stairway to view another miniature shrine to the tree in back and then upstairs to the little office of a wizened fortune teller who reads the facial physiognomy of his clients to help dispel their bad luck.
Just down the block and across the street are a number of old traditional shops where life continues at its own pace--a pharmacy with a doctor on duty to take your pulse and dispense hand-made potions to balance your hot and cool elements, a street-side snack stand with its very own built-in merchant shrine, a gold shop where the elderly proprietors giggle oblivious to the passing traffic, colorful street signs layered like geologic strata, pawn shops, blacksmiths, clock repair shops, and more.
Wander through colorful Spring Garden Lane, with its market stalls stuffed with fun and frivolous gifts that appeal to local whimsy. There are endless opportunities for stuffing yourself as well, in a variety of hole-in-the-wall snack shops. Try a bowl of "Supernatural Miracle Tea" or other herbal concoctions guaranteed to "supplement hormones, promote gastrointestinal peristalsis, or get rid of pimples." Tastes good, too! No visit would be complete without a stop at the Refuse Collection Point and Public Toilet where homosexual recyclers can visit the famous "tearoom" at the top of the stairs.
We have enough in Hong Kong to keep you busy for days. These are suggestions abour what is possible in half a day or a full day of touring. Ultimately, your actual program is built around your interests. Let us know what sounds most interesting to you and we will inform your guide. At the beginning of the day you will have a discussion with him about the plan, and then you are off! We include the guide only. You get around on public transportaiton (double decker buses, taxis, ferries, etc.) and pay as you go. If it's a full day outing your guide will suggest "local" lunch paces that leave you with tantalizing memories.
Snack Time in the Western District
Over in the Western District, take an unstructured walk along Queen's Road to see lots of local shops sporting all manner of dried goods, heaps of sausages, ceramic jars piled with pickles, apothecaries, dripping roast ducks, gold foil-wrapped candies, herbal teas made from flower blossoms, incense and ghost money suppliers. Drop by the Shek Tong Tsui wet market and the food hawker court another floor up. We recommend sipping the local specialty of blended tea AND coffee with sweetened condensed milk! You will certainly be tempted by all the simple and savory snacks that continue to delight local palettes despite the mushrooming McDonalds and Starbucks.