Expat Parent Feb 2017

Page 24


My Hong Kong the tour guide If you’re looking to uncover Hong Kong’s best bits, Amy Overy of Hong Kong Greeters is your woman. I came to Hong Kong in 2010 because of my husband’s job; a two-year stint soon rolled into another two years and now we both love it here and have no plans to move. We started out in Pok Fu Lam but then a second baby arrived, rents shot up and we decided to find somewhere bigger for less rent. Tai Wai was a great choice for us as my husband works in ICC - it doesn’t matter where I am as I start in a different location every day.

Most of my clients are those passing through Hong Kong on their way to another destination, but don’t want to miss the chance to stop here too. I get a lot of family bookings (maybe because I’m a mum myself), but also couples and single travellers. Sometimes I have to embrace my inner teenager with younger clients - they tend to love Mong Kok with all the markets and street-wear for sale, but I’m left feeling my age! I’ve also led quite a few large corporate and educational groups - they’re great as you can organise one-off experiences with those numbers. It could be a class with a Chinese medicine doctor, hiking Dragon’s Back or a cruise through the harbour with lunch at Pui O. At Chinese New Year and during the Christmas festivities I arrange firework cruises - the harbour is just stunning. 22 expat-parent.com

Photo courtesy of Jill Carter.

When I arrived here I had so many questions - I started keeping a diary of all the interesting and quirky things I found. I remember being astounded by the bamboo scaffolding, the random smells as you walk down the street, and becoming a complete dim sum convert. I would make itineraries for visiting friends and family and after a while thought maybe they were something that could benefit other visitors. And so Hong Kong Greeters was born. I wanted people to get the most out of the city and not leave disappointed. I listed myself on TripAdvisor and within a few weeks was taking bookings. Private tour guide Amy Overy walks around 10kms every day showing off the city to visitors.

The tourist board markets the big attractions, but I find what really inspires people is to see how Hong Kongers actually live. I try and embrace this - I take visitors to see fish being gutted in the wet markets, fortune tellers at the temples, food tastings that they would not usually attempt. Some of my best tours have involved interacting with the local residents, shop keepers or temple caretakers en route. Hong Kongers love their city and are always eager to share. I’ve learnt what the gall bladder is used for in cooking, why the Bank of China is on a square base as opposed to a triangular one, and have been given a group blessing in the Pak Tai Temple - all added to the tour by local people working day-to-day.

My most unusual tour request came from a group wanting only to visit indoor locations. I thought it was a bit strange, but said I was happy to lead them. It turned out to be an exploratory trip with a group of 10 employees from Google headquarters in San Francisco. They were testing their new street view technology which shows you inside buildings and pedestrian routeways. They chose Hong Kong as we have such a high rate of public transport usage and residents making their way by foot rather than car. I was very proud to have been involved, albeit in a tiny way! I have witnessed one marriage proposal during a tour so far, it was in front of the God