When it comes to mobile phone apps, we don’t mess around in Hong Kong. The number of accidental pedestrian casualties has (probably) sky rocketed in the aftermath of Candy Crush and Angry Birds – we’re that serious. Here at Sassy, we decided to round up some of the best Hong Kong apps that you won’t be embarrassed to have (looking at you, beer chugging app!). If you’re going to be glued to your phone anyway, you might as well have something new to play with! Get ready to ignore Instagram for a while ladies…
Our public transportation is usually unbeatable. You know you’ve got something good on your hands when you’re miffed about a 2-minute MTR delay! But there’s so much more than just our flawless rail system! Check out these essential apps and start exploring new ways to get around the city.
Hong Kong Taxi Translator
It’s happened to us all: jumping into a cab and telling the driver an address, only to be kicked out because he has no idea what you’re talking about. To avoid embarrassing taxi mishaps, download this app and have all the Cantonese names of streets and common locations at your fingertips! It’s not a map, so it doesn’t take forever to load, which is an extra bonus as GPS’ are notorious for misbehaving at the worst of times.
If you haven’t tried Uber, you are missing out! It’s a personal driver service that will pick you up and take you wherever you want to go. Once you’ve set your location, you can see a map of the closest cars to you. You can even choose the type of vehicle you want, from something small and low cost to something bigger or a little more luxurious for those nights when you just gotta be a baller. Once you’ve arranged your ride, the app will send you real time updates and even a picture of your driver so you know whose car to get into (even adults should practice Stranger Danger). Uber always has promotions on, so keep your eyes open to score some great deals!
Usually train apps are for delays, but as mentioned, that’s just not a problem for the 852. So of course this app does so much more than tell you the train times! It can help you plan your train or bus trip, tells you what services are available at every station (like post boxes, toilets, MTR Fare Savers, free Wi-Fi and information centres) and it even shows you what facilities it has for the disabled!
Citybus/NWFB Easy Rider
This is probably the most necessary app on my phone, as I am constantly getting lost on HK buses. While I still do get lost, thankfully it’s not as often anymore! You can use this app to find bus routes near you, look up route numbers, and do a point-to-point search. They’ve even put up pictures to help you find the right bus stop!
Cost: Free. Available on Android here.
Easy Van/Go Go Van
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a daily form of transport, but you can’t beat these apps when you need to move something big. You just type in your location, what size van you need and within minutes you’ll be called by a driver to arrange a price. Sometimes the drivers will even help you move stuff up to your new apartment! If you’re moving sometime soon, you need these on your phone.
JUST FOR HONG KONG
These are the apps you need if you’re going to live in the SAR. Yeah, you’ll survive without them, but why make things hard for yourself?
The most up to date and detailed weather forecast you can get in the 852. It has local weather, regional weather, UV index, and even a storm tracker for those pesky typhoons. This app will also alert you to any sudden changes in the weather, so you won’t be caught off-guard when that black rainstorm rolls in!
Hong Kong Air Pollution
In addition to fish balls, the ding-dings and some pandas, Hong Kong is the home of smog. HK Air Pollution monitors the air quality and lets you know when you should skip that jog and watch Netflix instead (for your health, of course!). It also shows the air quality in other countries like France, the UK and Australia. If you sometimes wonder why you ever left your home country, I would avoid that part of the app.
Discover Hong Kong Apps
There is a whole series of ‘Discover’ apps and they’re perfect for visiting friends and family, or if you’re looking to explore your area some more! Each app has four walks to choose from, and each one highlights a specific aspect of Hong Kong life or history, like clan life, HK food, classic architecture, etc… If you can’t decide which one you want to do, the app gives you a detailed overview with pictures of the locations, and the time it should take to finish.
Don’t be fooled by the name, this app has nothing to do with the MTR. It’s actually way better than that: it lets you use your Octopus card to pay for things online! There are only a few online retailers that you can use this for, but one of them is Taobao (see our guide to using Taobao here), so that should keep you covered for a while! Sadly, this app is only available for Androids. But our iPhones can dream!
An app that literally delivers food from nearby restaurants is pretty much what dreams are made of. FoodPanda does just that. It shows you all the places in your area you can order from, you can read over their menu and check out reviews. Placing orders is incredibly simple too – the hardest part is waiting for your food to arrive!
We are big fans of The Entertainer at Sassy, so of course we have the app on our phones! They have tons (literally over 1,000!) of exclusive buy-one-get-one deals for restaurants, spas, drinks, and activities. You really can’t afford to miss out on this one – but if you don’t believe us, you can try it out free for 14 days!
If you’re bored of trying the same old places again and again, then Sugar is the ideal to app to make your life a little sweeter. Carefully curated, Sugar offers users the chance to discover somewhere new – whether it’s for the funky decor, incredible food or delicious coffee. The whole point of this app is to try something new – simply browse what’s in your area and you can get a one off offer at a new hole-in-the-wall that you never even knew existed. It’ll always keep you on your toes…
Foodies – this is the app for you. If you love trying all the coolest restos in town (and you love Instagramming what you’re eating too…) then you’re sure to fall in love with this social dining app. Think of it like Facebook and Instagram and so much more, mixed with food reviews and recommendations. The search option allows you to search for your favourite cuisine in your area, and you even see where your friends have eaten! The sleek design is clean and easy to use, and advert free (yipee!).
JUST FOR FUN
When I said you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have any of these apps on your phone, I lied. Oops! Apps are supposed to fun though, so go ahead- get a little silly.
1 Second Everyday
Make a mini-montage of your life with this adorable app. It’s pretty self-explanatory: you film 1 second of each day. The app takes all these moments and puts them into a movie for you! It’s easy to edit and share, but it does take up a fair bit of room in your memory. Having a slow phone is definitely a fair price to pay for having your own memory reel. It’s perfect if you’re planning a big event, like a wedding or a pregnancy, but it’s also a great way to keep you aware of the beautiful moments in each day.
These inappropriate emojis dance the line between crass-yet-adorable and downright disgusting, so proceed with caution here. That being said, nothing spices up a conversation like a pair of fuzzy handcuffs! Simply copy and paste these bad boys to your lucky recipient…
Cost: Free for the basic ones, but you can pay to upgrade!
This app is so stupid but so addicting. You just choose a sound clip and then record yourself lip-syncing to it. It’s easy to send to your friends, though I still don’t know why I want to… Just try it, it’s hard to explain.
APPS FOR LIFE
These apps will keep you healthy, mind, body and wallet.
Quest – fun task manager
We all lead crazy lives in the 852, and with so much going on it’s hard to keep track of it all! Instead of lugging around a massive diary, or constantly scribbling your life on a Post-it, use this fun app to keep yourself organised! Quest is different from other task managers because it’s a game! You have a little avatar, and each time you complete a task you get points, and eventually you can level up and even collect items. You can create categories for your lists too, so you can separate your work ‘to-do’ list from your grocery list. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of, but once you do, you’ll be hooked.
Cost: Free. Available on Apple here.
Obsessed is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings towards this app. It teaches you languages in a fun, immersive way. If you already have some knowledge, you can ‘test out’ of the beginner stages, or you can start completely new! There are 10 languages to choose from including Spanish, French, German, and even Swedish. Sadly they don’t have any Chinese, but you can try ChineseSkill if you want to practice your Mandarin!
Brought to you by the geniuses behind Rosetta Stone, Fit Brains keeps your mind sharp. Just playing a few games a day will improve your memory, concentration and so much more. The difficulty will increase or decrease depending on your scores, so you know that it’s constantly tailoring itself to fit your needs (even on those off days!)
This app is probably the only reason I own trainers. It stands for ‘couch to 5 kilometers’ and was created to go from no running ability to running a 5K in 8 weeks. In your first week you’ll alternate between 1 minute of jogging and 1.5 minutes of walking, and each week you’ll run a little bit more. By the end of the 8 week schedule (or however long it takes you, you can always repeat weeks if you’re not ready!) you’ll be running for a full 30 minutes! Once you’ve mastered that you can start their other app, and begin training for your first 10K.
Is your account a little sad at the end of every month? If you can force yourself to use it, this app will keep your bank balance as healthy as you (well, as healthy as you will be once you have all these apps!). You can set up a budget for the month, and categorise each expense so you know exactly where you’re spending, or overspending as the case may be.
Happy downloading ladies!