10 things you must know before moving to Hong Kong

foto hk old airport.jpg

by Violetta Polese

Local knowledge by the co-author of the City Trail Guide to Hong Kong

  1. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world, especially in terms of accommodation. If you can negotiate with your employer, ask them to provide an accommodation allowance. If you can’t and are on a budget don’t despair as there are ways to spend less if you are willing to make some concessions: approach landlords directly, choose areas that are less popular with expats, rely more on estate agencies that target local Hong Kongers, don’t limit your online searches to just English sites.

  2. Estate agencies work in a different way from most European countries: you can appoint several estate agents to help you look for a flat at the same time. However if one estate agent shows you one flat you can’t rent that same flat with another agent without paying the first agent his commission. So always check before you visit a flat if you have seen it already or not. The commission’s agent is taken by both estate agent and landlord. There are differences too that you should be aware of.

  3. Hong Kong isn’t just a city of skyscrapers: 40% of Hong Kong consists of country parks and Hong Kong is a great destination for hiking, water sports and beaches.

  4. Hong Kong has no import tax on food and wine so if you find that the prices for foreign goods in supermarkets are too high, you will be pleased to know that there are certain supermarkets and several local shops where you can find European brands for a fraction of the price.

  5. Transport in Hong Kong is very affordable. A ride in the subway can cost as little as £0.50, and the full-price bus fare to and from the airport is between £2-5

  6. Many apartment complexes have communal areas with facilities such as you might find in a popular holiday resort: swimming pools, kids’ play areas, gyms, libraries, saunas and sports grounds.

  7. Get to know the culture – you’ll fit in more. People feel free to sing, dance and do gym while walking or running on a promenade. When eating in a local restaurant never put the chopsticks standing up on a bowl of rice or any dish because it this is reminiscent of incenses stick that are used to commemorate a death. And don’t use your own chopsticks to serve yourself from shared plates – special ‘shared chopsticks’ are reserved this.

  8. Despite its appearance Hong Kong is a children’s paradise for the number of activities, playgrounds and playrooms that are available.

  9. English is an official language in Hong Kong, along with Cantonese. But the level of English varies depending on the area of Hong Kong and the level of education.

  10. Hong Kong is made up of 262 islands and a peninsula that is attached to mainland China. Don’t limit your explorations on Hong Kong Island: there is so much more to see

Interested in learning more about how things work in Hong Kong?

Get hold of the City Trail Guide to Hong Kong

Our guidebooks go beyond the classic tourist spots and take to many less well-known local secret gems.

The authors of the City Trail Travel guides have not only visited but also lived in the places they write about. They have been several times in every place they talk about and have a deep understanding of the local culture.

In our guides you will also find plenty of reliable and practical information to be used by anyone who wants to understand how things work in terms of transport, the pros and cons of which area to live in, local and international schools, nannies and helpers and where to find foreigners products at attractive price.

Communication is an important aspect of any trip, which is why we always include downloadable audio files to learn the basics of the local language, useful for the every-day life and for less well-known explorations.

Would you like to find out all there is to do in Hong Kong for families and children?

In 2019 a brand new City Trail book, Hong Kong With Kids – Fun Family Outings, is coming out: more than 90 ideas of what to do in Hong Kong with children, organized by weather, age and location.

The author has travelled all over Hong Kong for the past years, road-testing everything to make sure to offer readers hassle-free experiences.

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