FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

“It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you often get it.”
— W. Somerset Maugham

WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE BOOKED MY PRIVATE TOUR?

After you book your premium tour on my Contact/Booking Page, I will confirm your tour by email within 24 hours latest.

On the day of the tour, I will pick you up at your hotel (or at another mutually agreed location) at the agreed time and then drop you off at the conclusion of the tour if you wish. I usually arrive 30 minutes to one hour early and then call to let you know I am already there waiting for you to arrive at your leisure.

I am able to plan a tour very quickly depending on what you want to see and in the time you have available.

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As far as the itinerary goes, clients are usually more than happy to leave it to me, particularly first timers to this magnificent and fascinating city.  I normally work out the itinerary in my head once I have met you to give you a rather unique, highly personalized cultural and historic experience.

In keeping with Eastern philosophical principles, there will always be an element of spontaneity and surprise in my tours.

Finally, I invite you to go to my Flickr stream and Instagram (linked in the navigation bar) to see what my Streets of Hong Kong are all about. Indeed many of my clients use my site links to decide what they want to see.

HOW MUCH CASH WILL I NEED ON TOUR?

You will need HK$ cash for your tour as we will need this for transport, minor purchases, refreshments etc.  Most large shops and restaurants will accept credit cards but if we go off the beaten track cash is needed as many local style restaurants, food stalls and market stalls work on a cash basis only.

As a guide HK$400 – HK$500 cash per person should cover most eventualities (excluding airport transport and attractions such as the Nong Ping Cable Car on Lantau Island) and it is better to purchase an Octopus Card™ for transport rather than use cash.

EXACTLY HOW MUCH WALKING IS INVOLVED?

I endeavor to structure the pace and walking length of my tours around your ability. Please be realistic when you communicate your ability to me. I know all of the options for moving around and will maximize your comfort (or pain), depending on your personal preferences.

Common sense rules of walking apply. Be prepared and make sure you wear appropriate clothing and shoes, water and soft drinks can be purchased at the thousands of convenience stores found on the streets in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a special needs friendly city and I welcome tour bookings by persons who have special need requirements. If I do not believe that I can adequately address your special need, I will be honest with you. But I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate you.

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If you are a step counter (e.g. fit-bitter), on a typical 6 hour walking tour of Kowloon you can expect to log between 12-15000 steps. On a typical 8 hour all day tour you can expect to log over 20000 steps. My personal record was 36000 steps in one day spread over three consecutive 4 hour tours.

Finally and to emphasize – all tours are done at a reasonable leisurely pace, do not worry about this too much, the tour is part walking / part hopping around on public transport with plenty of rest periods and refreshments as required. 

I am not a drill instructor. My job is to make sure people enjoy themselves!

DO YOU DO PRIVATE CAR TOURS?

I am not a commercial driver. But I can arrange a luxury van service, maximum passenger capacity 6 persons. The additional charge is generally USD 50 per hour. Somewhat expensive, but nevertheless less expensive than the cost of booking a vehicle via a hotel concierge.

 

ARE YOU ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE CLIENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

I consider it an honor to assist clients with special needs. Please send me an inquiry detailing your particular requirements and I will do my absolute best to configure a truly memorable outing for you. 

WHAT ABOUT FOOD TOURS?

I am a lover of great food, particularly great Asian food! My Mom was a great Japanese and fusion cook. My wife is a fantastic Thai cook. My family ran a seafood restaurant in Manhattan and I have sought and found the best local style food wherever I have ventured throughout Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan and, of course, my adopted home city Hong Kong).

However, for reasons related to personal fitness and health, I do not do specialised food themed tours. There are other high metabolism guides who specialise in eating for 4 hours straight. Imagine what would happen to my BP and cholestrol numbers if I gorged myself on Cantonese style pastries, dumplings and noodles all day long! My Doc would castigate me!

A typical dim sum spread in one of my regular local joints.

Nevertheless, I love great food and I do accommodate all requests for street snacking, refreshments and meal stops along the way, time permitting. I have personally scouted all of the establishments I frequent and have settled on those that I know provide my clients with my high standard of safety, quality and service.

I can also take you into great local and mainstream eating establishments (my favorite joints). I regularly manage the menu and ordering process and my clients have been very pleased with my decisions. While I am not afraid of unusual food, I have certain culinary boundaries which I prefer not to cross and in virtually all cases my culinary boundaries match those of my clients.

If you have a specific food challenge in mind such as snake soup, entrails, stinky tofu or chicken feet dim sum, just yell and I will lead you to your prey. Enjoy yourself!

IMPORTANT: If you have any kind of allergy or similar food issues, it is imperative that you inform me straight away. I cannot take responsibility for the kitchen practices of various eating establishments and it is better to be safe than sorry. I am the first to admit that I don’t know what a gluten free diet is!

Finally, if you want my input on restaurant choices, I am happy to provide same. In this regard,  I will only recommend a restaurant if I have personally dined there.

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What Scott did not mention in the foregoing review excerpt is that he actually has a dim sum restaurant in his portfolio!

DO YOU ORGANIZE LARGE GROUP TOURS?

I routinely accept bookings for up to eight participants. Bookings involving a greater number can be arranged by agreement.

I do not organize or execute prepackaged or free public group tours. This is an entirely different type of service from my personalized premium tour experience. My premium service is is designed to cater to small groups optimally with participants who know each other fairly well. This way I know we can reach a quick consensus on how to configure the tour, i.e., where we will go, what we will see and what we will do. If you want to change the tour mid-stream no problem. If you have a question you want answered you can ask because you will have 100% of my undivided attention.

Remember, premium client service delivery. That is my specialty! 

DO YOU DO AIRPORT TRANSIT/LAYOVER TOURS?

The answer is yes. I will go to meet you in the airport arrival hall in front of the McDonalds or at one of the airport hotels if you are staying there.

I will arrive at the scheduled arrival time of your flight. Upon exiting baggage claim, I will show you where to stow you luggage and bags if they have not been checked through. Then we will head straight off on tour either by taxi to Victoria Peak, Airport Express to Central or even a bus or MTR train directly to Kowloon.

At the end of the tour I will either accompany you back to the airport or I will see to it you are safely on your way with plenty of time to spare. I have done numerous 4, 6, and 8 hour airport layover tours.

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DO YOU DO CORPORATE TOURS AND EVENTS?

Yes I do.

I have done presentations for corporate events in Hong Kong and Kowloon. My presentations can be geared to provide a business/socio-economic overview as well as history and local culture. This is what I did as a lawyer so it is a natural for me as a premium guide.

I have also done many tours for groups of corporate executives and I have provided limited advice on planning as well (Note: I do not provide travel agency type third party booking services of any kind).

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I also provide photographic event services which are included in my overall fee.

For further information please email me or send an inquiry using my Contact/Tour Booking Page.

DO YOU CATER TO FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN?

Absolutely!

I specialize in family tours since I am a family man with kids of my own (and I connect well with kids, that is why I am regularly invited to be a guest speaker at events at the local American School).

Remember, kids 16 and under at the time of booking are FREE OF CHARGE!

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

Generally tours will go ahead unless we have some serious issues such as heavy rain or we are caught up in a typhoon. In other words I will normally follow guidelines issued by the Hong Kong Observatory.  In a nutshell tours will be cancelled at the start of the tour, if:

The red or black rainstorm warning is in effect; or
The No. 8 Typhoon Signal is up;
For up to date weather information, it is always best to refer to the Hong Kong Observatory.

In addition, I always give clients the option to cancel or reschedule their tour if we have persistent heavy rain. I recognize touring in heavy rain can be just plain miserable for some. But I will always cheerfully proceed in tropical rain and I know how to make sure you have a good time umbrellas in hand. After all, rain is embedded in the local culture as well.

We get odd weather patterns here as well. This past January 2016, we had an ice storm on the Peak,  a 65 year event!

Please also take into account that from May through September it is always hot and humid (with or without the rain) in Hong Kong, we are talking 80% – 90% humidity!  No wonder Hong Kong’s very cool MTR trains are so popular!

Cool Kowloon transport back in the day...

HOW BEST TO REACH YOU?

I do not engage in email communications or telephone calls when I am out on tour.

That is because when on tour I am 100% focused on my clients!

Your best alternative for reaching me during business hours or otherwise is via email communication. All of my contact details are on my Contact/Tour Booking Page.

If voice communication is absolutely required, early morning (after 6AM HK Time until 8AM ) or in the evening (after 7PM HK Time).

I have a Whatsapp account, but I will only use that for short message communications immediately preceding a tour or if email is unavailable.

IS IT OKAY TO TIP ME, YOUR PERSONAL TOUR GUIDE?

Tipping is always optional. Nevertheless, if you have had a terrific time and want to thank me in this manner, then I will be honored and your gratuity sincerely appreciated!

Let me be clear, however, I will never ask for and I will never be offended if you do not offer a tip!

Any other questions? Please feel free to contact me via my Contact/Tour Booking Page.

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