Living in Hong Kong, an expats guide; Hong Kong is a great place to live, but if you’re a first time expat, you'll need to adjust.
19 March 2014| Last updated on 28 June 2017
Hong Kong is a great place to live, but if you’re a first time expat, there will be some adjustments to make. Firstly Hong Kong is crowded, very crowded and this will take some getting used to, especially if you don’t hail from a city centre. However, it is relatively easy to adjust when you move here and there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family occupied.
When you are first moving to Hong Kong you might have a lot of concerns about where to live, and what to bring with you. There is a lot of advice online with regards to this. It depends on how long you are planning to stay in Hong Kong, if only for a couple of years, it is not advisable to bring any furniture. There are places to buy furniture in Hong Kong and the apartments and houses are a lot smaller there then they might be in the USA or even in the outlying areas of Europe. All your furniture might not fit.
It is also not advisable to bring appliances from your home country. Chances are that you will need a transformer to work them; this will make your life more difficult. Appliances, of all sorts, can be easily purchased in Hong Kong.
The cost of living is quite high and housing is usually fully or partially subsidized by your company, even if you are a local hire. If you are planning a move to Hong Kong try to negotiate the housing and school allowances into your package as bot are pricey. There are a lot of international schools that teach primarily in English. Schools are dotted around the city and may influence where you choose to live.
We have a list of the school fees in Hong Kong right here>>
When you are choosing where to live, there are a couple of questions that you have to ask yourself. Do I want space, or an easily accessible MRT? How far am I willing to commute? Do I want to live close to the beach or do I want the city centre to be my home? Once you’ve answered these questions and looked at your budget, you will be able to decide what area you would like to live in, and if you would prefer an apartment or a house.
As we said before, Hong Kong is crowded and taxis are hard to find during peak hours so if you are planning to use public transport (which is recommended if you work in the centre) be aware that people will be packed into the MRT and the busses like sardines. But not to worry, Hong Kong is relatively safe and has a high police to civilian ratio, so you should feel safe during your commute, any time day or night.
Of course it’s not all work and no play. There are a number of ways in which to meet other expats in Hong Kong. 97% of the population is Chinese; however the expatriate circles are close and inviting. It is easy to fit in, no matter where you come from. You could join one of the many social groups, sports clubs or go to a coffee morning or two. Do not be afraid to chat to other mums at the school gates either, they are more than willing to help you make friends.
Thousands of Expats live in Hong Kong and love living here. Many expats grew up in Hong Kong and continue their lives there into adulthood, and then there are the newbies, the first timers. If you are one of those you may be interested in the cost of living in the city. Renting a one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost around 16,000HKD per month, while a three bed will set you back around 37,060 per month. Living outside the city centre is a little more cost effective, even though the commute might be longer. A one bedroom will cost around 10,000KHD and a three bed will cost 21,000HKD which is a vast price difference.
We hope that this mini guide to Hong Kong has helped you out loads with your move!!