With millions of tourists swarming to the SAR every month, we've compiled the top 10 lies to tell them on arrival. Because sometimes it's just too entertaining not to...
1 “Every year on July 1, enthusiastic hikers race the tram to the Peak. Those who beat it receive two free passes to Madame Tussauds and a dinner at The Peak Lookout.”
The idea of unsuspecting tourists struggling up a mountain in the hope of free food in the middle of our sticky summer is slightly cruel, but also very funny. The task may require superhuman walking speeds, and the prize is completely fabricated, but at least those attempting it will be rewarded by the magnificent view and great exercise.
2 “The last placed horse in each Happy Valley race is turned into dim sum and served to Jockey Club members in their private rooms overlooking the course.”
Despite China’s notorious reputation for eating anything and everything – think Yulin dog meat festival – we like to think we’re relatively safe from an episode resembling the 2013 Tesco/Ikea horse meat scandal. But that shouldn’t stop you from messing with the tourists a little.
3 “There are many eligible girls to be found in the evenings on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai.”
Girls? Plenty. Eligible? Well, that’s up to the tourists to decide. How does the saying go again? To each his own? Are we bad people? Probably…
4 “Polygamy is legal in Hong Kong if the father of the bride agrees to it.”
Although Hong Kong magnate Stanley Ho’s marital status may beg to differ (his four wives and 17 children are perpetual tabloid fodder), polygamy is indeed unlawful here and has been since 1971. Thank goodness.
5 “LKF is named after HK’s very first DJ.”
Before becoming the mainstay of Hong Kong’s nightlife, LKF was home to warehouses and flower stalls, giving it the name Lan Kwai Fong, which translates as ‘Orchid Square’. How quaint (and misleading)! In a token gesture, there remains, however, a flower stall next to the 7-Eleven that operates during the day.
6 “Chungking Mansions is a great place to stay.”
Don’t get us wrong, Chung King Mansions has cleaned up its act somewhat, and it can be great if you’re hunting for authentic Indian food or you’re a big fan of Wong Kar-wai. But for accommodation? Best to stay away unless you’re ready to sleep on a questionable mattress in a grotty cupboard. Although it’s well known for hosting Hong Kong’s cheapest accommodation, cheap doesn’t always mean decent.
7 “When the MTR is crowded, it is completely acceptable to hold on to the person next to you.”
We’re really hoping someone falls for this one. What could be more entertaining during rush hour than seeing naive tourists pissing off slash confusing the hell out of HK commuters? MTR etiquette is nebulous at best, but despite the odd armpit in your face and elbow in your ribs, there are still some lines that shouldn’t be crossed!
8 “Monkey Mountain is the stone where the Monkey King was born.”
This one requires perhaps the biggest stretch of the imagination. Believing the popular character of Chinese folklore was actually born in Kam Shan Country Park, Hong Kong, seems a big ask. But who knows? Say it with a smile and they may just believe you!
9 “Victoria Peak was named after Queen Victoria, as she stayed there during her visits to Hong Kong.”
Although the first establishments on The Peak were built while she was still on the throne, Queen Victoria never set foot in any of her colonies, let alone Hong Kong. And who could blame her? At the time when Queen Victoria was our sovereign, the city was little more than a backwater, and the journey from London to Hong Kong still took weeks rather than hours.
10 “If you ride the tram the entire length of the line, the driver lets you ride up front while it turns around.”
The tramway has been part of the city’s landscape since 1904, making it a notable part of the city’s heritage. It remains an enjoyable and cheap way to see a slice of Hong Kong. However, seeing a queue of tourists waiting for their go in the cab at Shau Kei Wan or Kennedy Town would be a picture worth sharing.
Author: Rhoda Kwan