Apr 16

Hong Kong Guide : Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

 

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden - Hong Kong Walking Tours - Big Foot Tour

Image courtesy of our lovely guest, Jessica Corson

 

When was the last time you took your pet out for a stroll?

In Hong Kong, bird lovers walk their pet birds often, believing that fresh air and sunshine will keep the birds healthy and lively. As the men swing the birdcages gently, the birds grip the perch tightly, resulting in smoother feathers that aren’t easily shed. This is a tradition that has continued since the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911)!

Here’s where you can listen to some beautiful birds singing in Hong Kong: 

Place to visit: Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

Nearest MTR Station: Prince Edward Station, Exit B1

Want to know more about Chinese culture and traditions? Come join us for a Hong Kong walking tour! We make it fun and easy for you to explore Hong Kong and see what this dynamic country truly has to offer! Visit Big Foot Tour – Hong Kong for more information.

0
comments

Mar 13

Big Foot Tour – We are Hiring!

Hello there,

At Big Foot Tour, we promise to bring our guests on lovely Hong Kong walking tours. As such, we are always on the lookout for sincere and sociable people, with a BIG love for Hong Kong, to join us in making it fun and easy for our guests to immerse in a real Hong Kong environment. We are hiring FULL-TIME Hong Kong walking tour guides now!

Here are some of the key qualities that we think you must have:

  • A passion to share and inspire
  • Great relationship-building skills
  • Fluent in English
  • Possess an in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong’s history, culture and cuisine

Here are some of the key benefits that we provide:

  • Meeting awesome people from all over the world
  • A friendly working culture
  • Regular learning & development courses 
  • Flexible working hours
  • Strong and sexy legs – obviously! 

If all of these sound great and you would like to be part of our team, we would love to hear from you soon. Please get in touch with our founder, Ski Yeo, via email – hello(‘at’)bigfoottour.com – with the following documents and information:-

  1.  Resume AND your cover letter.
  2. A short description, in English only, on:
    • Why do you think you will be a great Hong Kong walking tour guide?
    • What do you like most about Hong Kong and why?
  3. Our tours run on a daily basis. Which days of the week would you be available to work?

Only completed application will be considered. Suitable candidates will be notified via email.  For more information, you can visit: http://www.bigfoottour.com/

Good Luck!

0
comments

Feb 09

Hong Kong Guide : Victoria Peak – Our Secret Spot!

Heading to Victoria Peak for the most awesome view from the top? 

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Sky Terrace

Victoria Peak – Sky Terrace 428, Hong Kong

Well, we’re sharing our tips with you here, so that you can get the best value for your trip. This includes our secret spot, which rewards you with a breathtaking (and guess what, FREE) view of Hong Kong’s charming skyline!

Ready? Let’s go!

Victoria Peak is a very popular attraction. Often, there will be a very long line at the Lower Terminus Peak Tram station for the ride up to the top, which sometimes means a 3-hours wait for a mere 8-minutes ride. Gasp! Is it really worth the effort? We say, use our tricks, get to the Peak earlier and then use the extra time for a therapeutic stroll around the Peak instead. If you want to experience the cool Peak Tram ride, we would suggest taking the Peak Tram from the Upper Terminus back down to the Lower Terminus instead. (Psst… the line for the tram at the Upper Terminus is usually shorter – typically around a 30-minutes wait – and we think it is actually more exciting to experience the tram when it’s moving backwards and down!)

How to get there?

Option 1: Take Bus 15 from Central Bus Terminus for a scenic ride. The fare is HK$9.80 per adult. Victoria Peak is the terminus station, so when the bus driver switches off the engine, you know it’s time to alight. Sit tight!

Option 2: Alternatively, catch a taxi. Taxi goes strictly by meter in Hong Kong. From Central to Victoria Peak, the taxi fare should not cost more than HK$100.

Your bus or taxi will stop at the Peak Galleria (see pictures below). 

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Bus 15

Bus 15 Terminus Stop at the Peak

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Taxi Stand

Taxi Stand at the Peak Galleria

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong - Peak Galleria

Follow the arrow!

Once you make your way out from the bus terminus or taxi stand, you will spot the famous Sky Terrace 428, where you can pay to be on the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong. That said, if you prefer a more panoramic view of Hong Kong that doesn’t cost a cent (hurray!), do what the locals would do! Walk towards the left side of the Sky Terrace (see images below). There lies a secret pathway that will lead you to our favourite spot!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong - Secret Spot

We lead you to our favourite spot at the Victoria Peak!

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Lugard Road Entrance

Once you walk past “Peak Tramway Company Limited” (image below), you know you are on the right track! Continue walking on this flat pavement for around 20 minutes at a leisure pace and you will get to our secret spot! We’ve included some landmarks below –  in sequential order – to guide you along. A quiet oasis, you will be in the lovely company of singing birds and scent of flowers. Who says Hong Kong is nothing but a concrete jungle? =D

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Lugard Road 2

Peak Tramway Company Limited

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

From this point onwards, the walk will take another 20 more minutes.

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Around 10 minutes into your walk, you will hit this junction. Stay on the path.

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong KongVictoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Notice how the walk is no longer lined with forests on one side? We’re almost there!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

You’ll start to notice the gorgeous view on your right!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour

Keep Walking. Just a minute more & an unobstructed view of Hong Kong will welcome you!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour

This is it! The best place to be at the Victoria Peak!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Our favourite spot for the best wide-angle shot of Hong Kong’s charming skyline!

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour - Great view!

Quick, grab the chance to take as many photos as you want!

Ski (our founder) and her guest, Jan, say hi!

Victoria Peak - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong Walks

Looking for more insider tips to Hong Kong? Come join us on our Hong Kong Walking Tours! We have got plenty to share!

0
comments

Feb 08

Hong Kong Guide : Big Foot Tour, as Featured on TurboJET Horizon

Our Hong Kong walking tours were featured on TurboJET Horizon, February 2014 issue!

Come and join us for a walk and be immersed in a real Hong Kong environment. We offer both private and group tours that allows you to gain deeper insights into this fascinating country. Visit Big Foot Tour for more information today!

Big Foot Tour - Media - Hong Kong Tours

0
comments

Feb 07

Hong Kong Guide : The Minority Life

We are very lucky to connect with Kooky (pseudonym), who struck a chord with us when she shared her story on growing up as an ethic minority in Hong Kong. Numbers aside, they are, nonetheless, the locals in Hong Kong. Have you seen Hong Kong through their eyes?

Here’s Kooky’s story, verbatim:

In Hong Kong – where over 90 per cent of the population is made up of Chinese – there aren’t many opportunities for people to learn more about the lives of ethnic minorities that live in this urban jungle. Sure, we have newspaper articles that report the latest row between foreign domestic helpers and their employers, and the very occasional RTHK special that follows the lives of ethnic minorities (which are usually presented in Cantonese by the way), but these have never been enough to truly portray the realities of living as an ethnic minority in Hong Kong. They have so far only served to show but a small fraction of this already small group of people.

I am a Filipino girl, born and raised in this city. My mother immigrated here because she was offered a job after the company she was working for shut their offices down in Manila. My father and older sister followed shortly afterwards. According to the 2011 population census, there are about 133,000 Filipinos living in Hong Kong – one of the largest ethnic minority groups, yet still only accounting for a little less than two per cent of the population. Filipinos always stick together so it wasn’t too long before my parents found themselves a group of friends and a nice church community who managed to help them learn some of the ins and outs of the city, enough to survive. My parents decided to have another child after a religious retweet. That’s how I came to be.

Growing up as an ethnic minority is tough, especially in a city where few understand our situation or genuinely care about the inequality we face. Perhaps the biggest of all problems was – and is still – the language barrier. Without the ability to communicate in the most widely understood language, ethnic minorities are unable to have a voice and unless you’ve gone to a school with a lot of Chinese or have been able to persevere in studying the language on your own, chances are you’ll never have a level of Chinese that will allow you to fully communicate with the locals because the Hong Kong education system lacks a proper curriculum for non-native speakers. For most of my schooling, I went to schools that were filled with ethnic minorities. In kindergarten, we had no Chinese classes whatsoever. In the primary school I went to, we were taught very basic Cantonese but back then, many of us didn’t take that class seriously. When I got to secondary school, our language curriculum constantly changed: we had Mandarin in our first year; French in our second; French and Chinese in our third; and by fourth year we were given the chance to choose which language to focus on in order to fulfill the second language requirement needed to continue past fifth year into sixth and seventh year since we were the last batch before the introduction of the 3-3-4 scheme. It was a mess.

Those who took Chinese in my secondary school were split into classes according to their skill levels. The first three classes were for basic Cantonese and the very top class for elite students was taught in both Putonghua and Cantonese. In my third year, I was placed in the top class for basic Cantonese, where we were given textbooks that were created by teachers themselves. In each chapter of those textbooks, we were given poems that seemed to be for young children with basic vocabulary to memorize and practice writing. Getting a good grade for the oral examination was based on being able to recite these poems in front of a teacher. Coming from a primary school that taught me these in grade 1, these basic Cantonese classes were a piece of cake. I performed so well that when I told my Chinese teacher that I was considering taking French instead because my parents thought it was the safest option, he personally called them to convince them otherwise.

In my fourth year, a few of my friends and I were moved to the elite class taught by a teacher who could barely speak English and relied on my good friend Michael to translate words and sentences for her. It was a small class with less than 20 people and the textbook that we were required to have had actual paragraphs with complex sentence structures that I had never come across before. It was a huge jump in level and for the first few months, our teacher was frustrated at how the newcomers in her class were way below her expectations. Some of us were unfamiliar with the differences between Cantonese’s spoken and written forms, and had trouble writing essays. We also couldn’t keep up with how fast she was speaking in Chinese during class and couldn’t speak in Chinese fluently enough to communicate with her seamlessly. It was difficult for us to constantly receive the harsh criticism and I was reduced to tears at one point, but we continued to do our best. In the end, she acknowledged our rapid rate of improvement and finally became worthy in her eyes. Despite the initial difficulties, we really did learn a lot more from her than we did in the basic Cantonese classes. If it wasn’t for that class, I would not be able to understand most of the Cantonese I hear every day, nor would I have gained the confidence to speak in Cantonese when the situation calls for it. I still speak in English for the most part and my Filipino accent likes to kick in when I speak in Cantonese, but at least I am able to communicate a lot more than I used to.

My other schoolmates, who were stuck in the basic Cantonese classes, were not so lucky. Chinese is a requirement for most of the jobs you can find in the city, especially many of the higher-paying ones. Chinese is also a requirement to get into university and although we were given concession of using our results from the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) Chinese exam – a UK-based assessment catering to foreigners – to replace what is normally required from local students, there is very little hope of being accepted into any of the universities in the city. As a result, many gave up dreaming of getting a Bachelor’s degree in Hong Kong. They never had any motivation of getting more than a mere pass in all their subjects because that was all they needed to get into a vocational training school or into a university in the Philippines. School was just a chore that had to be dealt with and only a small minority took it seriously. With this mind-set, many of my schoolmates fooled around and spent a lot of their time either playing sports (basketball, soccer or cricket were preferred) or rough-housing in the hallways in between classes. Most of these schoolmates were placed in classes located on a floor that our school seemed to designate the “troublemakers” to. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see students running around or pushing each other in the hallways whenever you’d pass by that area during recess or lunch. Sometimes, music would be blasted using the in-class computer and speakers and students would turn off the lights in their classrooms. Prefects were terrified of having to deal with that floor because there was no way even an army of them could be able to maintain discipline students there and were actually ridiculed for the most part. Violence was not uncommon either: a mere bump on the shoulder could illicit a full-blown fist fight between groups and there have been cases where students had to be taken to the hospital. Most of our school assemblies consisted of discussions on our students’ behaviour in school and outside. With the chaotic nature of our school mixed with the various minorities that studied there, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to compare it to Chungking Mansions.

Although growing up as an ethnic minority in Hong Kong has not exactly been smooth sailing, I’m still glad that my parents chose to immigrate to this country. Growing up with other ethnicities, I’ve learned about a myriad of other cultures and have grown fond of the differences between them. Growing up as a minority, I know what it’s like to be marginalized in society, and have learned not be ashamed of receiving help from others in situations where I need it and to be thankful for any assistance that I get. Had I lived in the Philippines, I wouldn’t have had a chance to have experiences like these and wouldn’t have grown up to be the multi-cultural person that I am today. The language barrier is of course still a problem but I’m trying my best to learn as much as I can from my Chinese peers in college and have recently enrolled in Mandarin evening classes. There is also hope for future generations to overcome this hurdle as progress is being made with ethnic minority advocacy group Hong Kong Unison continuously pushing for change and Chief Executive CY Leung pledging to strengthen education support and employment services for ethnic minorities. If all goes well, ethnic minorities will be able to integrate better in this city that they call home.

Thank you, Kooky. =D

Hong Kong is a city with various pockets of culture. Have you wondered what a local thinks of Hong Kong and how do they live? What is the real Hong Kong, as seen by different locals? Come join us for a thought-provoking Hong Kong walking tour! We go beyond guide-books and tourist attractions by immersing you in a real Hong Kong environment. Check out Big Foot Tour today for more information on our top-rated Hong Kong tours!

0
comments