Did you know Happy Valley was sarcastically named that by the British because of the thousands of malaria victims buried in the neighbourhood during the early days of colonial rule, in the 1840s? Or that the Bank of China building in Central, built in 1985, was criticised by feng shui masters for its negative sharp shapes?
These are just some of the stories Hong Kong Tramways is sharing with passengers on its TramOramic Tour, the city's first sightseeing tram tour.
Launched last month, the 1920s-style heritage tram, with open-top upper deck and vintage-style lower deck (complete with tram captain and an attendant dressed in period costume), is a stylish vehicle on which to learn about the city's history. Through headphones, passengers can hear tales of local life and history narrated in one of eight languages.
A video comparing past and present Hong Kong plays on-board the tram, which can carry 36 passengers, and there is a "heritage corner", with old pictures and tram souvenirs. Trivia from the 111-year history of the ding dings, as the city's trams are affectionately known, is also shared (in the absence of a food break, drivers would eat "red light meals", gulping down food only when stopped at traffic lights).
The tour on the No 68 tram costs HK$95 per adult and HK$65 for senior citizens and children aged four to 11. There's a discount for holders of a Hong Kong identity card. The fare includes a two-day pass for unlimited travel on the Tramways' regular services. The TramOramic Tour departs six times a day, 365 days a year, travelling between Western Market, in Sheung Wan, and the Causeway Bay terminus, and swinging through the Happy Valley loop.
Tickets are available onboard and at hktramways.com/en/tramoramic.