By many counts Hong Kong is an efficient city, however living in Asia’s World City is not always easy if you are not ‘in the know’. While word of mouth and friendly suggestions might be one way of surviving, relying on some of the most useful Hong Kong apps available today is probably a better way of reducing stress levels.
Whether holding precious knowledge of the whereabouts of hidden public toilets in shopping centres, being aware of the almost complete lack of taxis between 3 and 4 pm every day, or where exactly to catch a minibus, life in Honkers becomes easier once you get to grips with some key information that is common knowledge to locals and those of us who have simply found out the hard way.
However technology in this case is our friend and, although you still cannot find an app for public toilets, there are a multitude of very useful applications out there that have made expat life in Hong Kong just that little bit easier for many of us.
Here is a list of some of the most useful Hong Kong apps being used today (April, 2012). Most are available for Apple & Android, although some are country specific, meaning you have to have a Hong Kong account to download them.
This collection has been tried and tested by myself and other expats in Hong Kong. If you know of any others not listed here, please drop me a line.
NOTE: This is not a list of the most downloaded apps and there is no specific order, simply a list of applications found to be most useful by expats living in Hong Kong. To find these apps, just do a search using their names in the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
Transportation & Maps
- Hong Kong Taxi: a tool for finding and translating addresses in Hong Kong into written and phonetic Cantonese. Contains streets, residential buildings, places of interest and sightseeing spots. Internet connection is only required for the map function.
- Cab Meter: Calculates the cab fare between two destinations with support for the red, green and blue taxis.
- Go Taxi: International app that includes Hong Kong for booking taxis without having to make a phone call
- HKe Transport: the app from the public transportation authority that provides a one-stop service for journey planning in Hong Kong. Includes MTR, light rail, franchised busses, green minibuses, ferries, trams, Peak tram, Cross Boundary coach, bus to Man Wa and Discovery Bay.
- Hong Kong Ferries Timetable: As the name suggests, this app allows you to check ferry schedules.
- CX Mobile: the Cathay Pacific app allowing check-in, flight schedules, booking retrieval, city guides, e-coupons etc.
Eating & Dining
- Openbar: Bar & Club interactive app directory with Happy Hour locator, Ladies night finder, Real time action finder, Events guide etc.
- Openrice: A Hong Kong dining guide with a directory of 30,000 restaurants and reviews, including photos, favourite section and search.
- Cooking-China: Chinese food recipes.
- Chinese Food Facts: Nutrition guide including calories and fat grams for all your favourite Chinese dishes.
- XE.com: Not specifically a Hong Kong app but nevertheless very useful as it allows users to set favourite currencies and it works off line. This is especially good when travelling as it converts multiple currencies at once.
- Hong Kong Movie: a complete movie listing of all Hong Kong cinemas with show times, real-time seat plans, ticketing, cinema information and reviews.
- Now TV: The nowTV program guide with other functionalities such as alerts, favourites and channel changing through the app. Particularly useful is the fact that you can set your own favourite channels for a quick what’s on guide only of the channels you like to watch. Much faster then using the on screen menu function.
- My Observatory: The Hong Kong Observatory app for up to the minute weather forecast, 7 day weather forecast. Has a good selection of Hong Kong web cams all updated every five minutes.
Asia Miles: The app for those wanting to keep track of their Asia Miles membership points. Particularly useful for the partner locator function that allows you to find restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and other partners that offer points to Asia Miles members.
- Pleco: An integrated Chinese dictionary / document reader / flashcard system and live camera base character recognition.
- Geoclick Mobile: Allows users to access the online community (forums, classifieds etc) for Geobaby.com and Geoexpat.com.
- Hong Kong Post: on the go information about the Hong Kong Postal service including tracking history of posted (registered) items, postage calculations etc.
- TownGas: Allows you to report your gas meter readings as well as offering a number of other items such as recipes and games.