I was surprised that the free walking tours are available in Hong Kong. I joined many free walking tours when I was travelling in Europe and they were so great, so I decided to give it a try in Hong Kong. It was amazing. 👍🏼
What is free walking tour and why should you join it?
The concept of a free walking tour is no new but I realised that some people have not heard of it yet. Let me explain.
How does it work
The free walking tour usually last about 2-3 hours where you will explore the city by foot with a free tour guide. The tour guide will show you what he/she thinks is best (mostly the popular attractions); sometimes you can find the itinerary online and sometimes you can’t.
You just need to show up 5-10 minutes earlier at the meeting point or reserve online to ensure you have a spot. It is a tips-based tour so is different from the conventional tours – that you pay the fee upfront then later find out that you do not like the tour. With a free walking tour, you only give tips after the tour ends; the amount of tips depends on how much you think the tour worth. I like this concept.
Key benefits of free walking tour:
- No obligation to pay
- A very good way to get to know the city
- A good way to get some exercise too… When is the last time you walk for 2-3 hours?
- Meet new people
- The tour guide is usually passionate and helpful because they want to earn your tips! 😛
- Easy to join and flexible as you just show up when you are free (except during busy travel period then it is better to reserve a spot online)
But, the tour is not totally free in my opinion. Although there is no obligation to give tips (in fact many people didn’t give), I feel guilty for not giving because I respect their job as a tour guide. Well, it is totally up to you whether you want to give and how much it is.
Hong Kong Free Walking Tour
I found a few Hong Kong free walking tour companies and I don’t think there is much quality difference between them. They provide free walking tours on different date and time, so I would recommend finding a tour that suits your schedule and better still, has a good ranking on TripAdvisor.
List of companies providing free walking tours in Hong Kong:
Reviews on HK Free Walk for my visit
I can only review this company because this is the only one I joined. I chose HK Free Walk because it has the highest rating on TripAdvisor (schedule is not my concern since I am staying in Hong Kong for 2-3 months). This company offers free walking tour in Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island – I joined both tours on two different dates.
The Tsim Sha Tsui tour guide is a real local; she covers everything a little bit, such as history, culture, religion, food, landmarks and etc. The downside is that it is a bit hard to follow (physically) because there are too many people walking in the street. So you have to follow very closely or otherwise, you will get lost.
The Hong Kong Island tour covers more about the history and general stuff. It started in Central and ended in Sheung Wan. The tour guide speaks very clear and it is easy to follow. This tour is very good for those who are staying in Hong Kong for a longer period. Since I am staying in Sheung Wan for 3 months, this tour is very useful for me and Ben.
Join both if you can, otherwise pick one
Both tours are very good and I had a great time. These two tours are quite different, so it is best to join these two Hong Kong free walking tours if you can. If you have limited time, I recommend the tour in Tsim Sha Tsui because I think the place itself is a more interesting place of Hong Kong, and also you get to know a little bit of everything about Hong Kong. 🙂
I gave tips of HKD$50 for the Tsim Sha Tsui tour (I joined alone) and HKD$100 for the Hong Kong Island tours (I joined with Ben). It is totally up to you how much you want to give.
Hong Kong free walking tour is a must-go in my opinion
In summary, I really enjoy free walking tours in many places including Hong Kong. It is a very good way to get to know the city, especially if you are here for the first time. It is an advantage for tourists since there are a few Hong Kong free walking tour companies, so you have a few choices. ☺️