By Maggie Lau | When you travel to another city, you strive to soak in all that that city has to offer and experience as much as possible during your stay. You try local food, learn the city’s history and culture, explore the outskirts, and maybe even meet some of the locals. A good trip would mean that you left feeling like you knew more about the city and the local culture.
Although that is how people commonly behave when they are traveling, they rarely carry this same inquisitive attitude towards their own city. As we go about our everyday lives, it’s easy to get sucked into what we’re comfortable with and not explore anything beyond our day-to-day routes to work, school, or meeting friends. We get it. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
With our new line of experiences called Sam the Expert, Hong Kong residents can explore their city through curious and refreshed eyes and rediscover all that it has to offer. Sam the Expert works with experts and trade masters to curate these experiences revolving around dying industries and arts.
There are currently six experiences, including practicing traditional lion dancing with one of the few remaining associations, meeting an award-winning milk tea master and learning how to make Hong Kong-style milk tea, learning how to hand carve mahjong tiles from one of the five masters left in Hong Kong, getting an introduction to traditional Chinese medicine concepts with a seasoned practitioner, learning how to play a classic Chinese string instrument with an accomplished guzheng performer and teacher, and seeing areas of a traditional village not normally accessible to the public with the village’s Deputy Director of Welfare who also grew up in the village.
We want people to be able to jump in and get a deeper dive on cultural elements that are undeniably Hong Kong. Sometimes they may be more difficult to access or find, and they may only speak Cantonese. We have sifted through to ease these roadblocks and curate the most interesting experiences with masters who love their craft.
We also ensure that if English translation is needed, it would flow along smoothly as well. We want to allow people to continue exploring the city, but also bring exposure and sustainability to these dying industries and arts.
So next time when you’re pondering activities for the weekend with friends or a birthday celebration, consider picking one that allows you to be a tourist in your own city.
About The Author
Maggie is the Co-Founder and CTO of Sam Experiences. Their two product lines, Sam the Local and Sam the Expert, allow people to explore Hong Kong through Locals and Experts. Launched in 2015, Sam the Local is a platform that connects people to Local Insiders for private, customized Outings to experience Hong Kong through their own interests. They already have more than 75 Locals who cover 12 languages, 10 interest categories, and come from 8 countries from around the world. Just recently launched in 2018, Sam the Expert gives people access to experts and trade masters to learn about dying arts or industries that are culturally significant but hard to access. The company has partnered with key industry leaders, such as Swire’s The Upper House, Cathay Pacific, and Uber.
Born and raised in California, Maggie moved to Hong Kong in 2011 because of her love for the city. She has not stopped exploring all that this city has to offer since then and hopes to share it with the rest of the world.