What is it like to live in Hong Kong?
I am from Nepal, and I have been staying in HK for 7+ years and following are my experiences:
Life is very fast paced here. Once you are engaged in professional life, you will have no idea how fast you have aged and time has flown away.
Foods are great. Its a cosmopolitan city so, you can see people from all around the world i.e, different races, different religion, culture and try different kind of cuisines.
Watch out for 24 hour pissed off taxi drivers and their attitude.
The apartments are too expensive to rent and even more exorbitant to purchase one and keeps on soaring!
“All that glitter is not gold, however, all that glitter can cost you and some time cost you dearly”.
Like anywhere around the world, you meet some good people and sometimes opposite to that. So, you will never know how your day is gonna start and how it’s gonna end. Just try to avoid the negativity!
I studied about humidity when I was in school but I really came to feel and know what humidity really is once I stepped into HK. What the hell man! during summer it’s better not to take shower as there is no point in it since you will be sweating almost immediately. During autumn, you have no idea if it is water dripping down your body or your sweat! Air Cons are your best pals during summer.
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Transportations are amazingly available. You have MTR(Mass transit railways), Buses with numbers, Mini bus( Siupas, thats what they call them) to save your money. Worse case, you have taxis available almost everywhere. HK is divided into 3 sections, HK side, Kowloon side and New Territories so transportation plays a vital role to connect them!
24 hrs McDonalds, 7/11s, OK or Circle K shops for emergency needs. Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance service are great and they arrive in jiffy.
Now this might seem racist, which may be not, but trust me, I have never seen any police man checking IDs to white skin people(doesn’t matter if they are from U.S, U.K or Italy or anywhere who has white skin)which they do quite check around people randomly in the street if they have dark skin or fair brown skins and check for their IDs to see if any over stays, Illegal entries, drugs related matters etc.
Language is tough if you are trying to learn from your present age or if you are not born and grown up or studied here. The pronunciation does matter when you are speaking Chinese. Man! let alone writing in Chinese. Thus, it can be difficult some times if you meet a Chinese person who knows no english and you have no idea about their language especially when you go out for grocery shopping.
After 7 years of stay , you can apply for permanent residency.
Rugby (Rugby7) and Football, Horse racing and Mark Six(Lottery) are very renowned. The latter two can change you into a millionaire or turn you into broke instantly if you do not spend wisely.
HK is also famous for shopping arcades. They have all the renowned brands like L.Vs Gucci, Miu Miu etc, you name it, for rich and also famous for local and cheap stuff for others like in Jordan night market and Day market in Mongkok.
I think most of the home in HK has maids in them. Payment through OCTOPUS is something new that I have ever came across in my life in HK!
I became a person in HK..Lots of memories Good, best, bad and worse ones as well.
I love HK
Isabelle Wong, lives in Hong Kong (2002-present)
Where do you live?
What do you drink?
What are we going to eat?
Where do you go with kids?
Where do you go to hang out?
Where to buy cheap stuff?
How do you get from A to Z?
What is required in every apartment?
What is the best food?
(The best is siu mai and cold ribena combination!!)
What is the wildlife like?
Who looks after the kids?
How do you get a day off?
This is too little money…
And lastly…. what is the cost of living?
Too… damn… high
Hey but at least taxes are low! That’s why all these billionaires are here.
Sathish Kumar, horticulturist and have got my hands dirty while growing food
I go to work and my immediate boss is from China and the big boss is from US. I have colleagues from Ireland , Bermuda, New Zealand and South Africa. My workers are from China, Nepal, Indonesia and Philippines. So, you get it. It’s pretty diverse. Did I mention that I work very far from HK Island. I’m closer to shenzen then to Kowloon.
1.It doesn’t take me more then an hour and half to get to any point in Hong Kong. If it takes you more the that then you’re lost. The transportation is on point and one of the things you will appreciate about HK.
2.People passionately hate mailand Chinese, Filipino, Indians , Pakistanis , Arabs, Indonesians, blacks etc., Not try to generalise the whole of HK but quite a few do. If your white you get the pass but even they get the hate from older generation.
3.Taxi is ubiquitous and taxi drivers are on the edge of nervous break down with 3 touch phones and head set on them. Watch out for them. You never know which one is angry and specially if they don’t understand you.
4.The government is pro sports and pro market. I love the idea of public sports arena, swimming pools, fresh market, parks ,cooked food center etc
5.There is so much to do in HK. From hiking to scuba diving to archery to ice hockey. Every sport you can think of you will find some one hosting a meetup
6.Gambling is leagal and you can bet on horses , football games etc. If you’re not satisfied you could always take a ferry to Macau and gamble until you burn a hole in your pocket
7.Rent is high but if people put comfort over pride or can put in little effort they can find a good place. People pay 10–20k HKD for a place in HK island but with the same money you can get an awesome village house with garden. All it takes is a willingness to put in that extra 45 minutes of travelling to and from work.
8.Maids/immigrants run Hong Kong . Just my observation but I fee if all maids go on strike for a week . The stock markets would plummet. It’s like a butterfly effect. So treat your maids properly.
9.Hong Kong is in such a spot that I could travel to Singapore, Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Philippines for a small vacation without planning a lot.
10.You sweat a lot in HK. It’s so humid and you would find people carrying mist bottles, battery operated fan etc
11.Hk is cleanliness freak. They carry tissue everywhere they go. It’s like a necessity. You can tell if someone had stayed in HK for a while if he whips that pack of tissue in a restaurant to wipe his chop sticks.
12.HK is superficial too. People will just he you based on your clothes , color, size and where you work and live .
13.Hk is convenient. The level of convenience is so high. I could never need a car and live my whole life and get everything I need.
Overall, I like living in HK. Even though there are so many people, high rent, angry taxi drivers , rude locals. The pure part of HK is beautiful. I love the skyline, water fronts, hiking trails , village house, small fishing island and the diverse people that you can meet once you get out there.
Shashank Gangil, lives in Hong Kong
This is coming from an Indian perspective.
Hong Kong is a interesting city. It looks too overbearing in the beginning but gradually it sinks in and you get used to it. Its very efficient and convenient city to live in. Everything is close by and public transport is fantastic. Things happen quickly here, as they say, time is money, it is, in Hong Kong atleast.
HK people are a mixed lot. Either they are too nice or downright racist. And it depends on your skin color. Black, brown, South East Asian are kind of looked down upon, white privilege is pretty visible here. But if you are well educated, dress well, speak good English and look sophisticated, people here will respect you.
Hong Kong is still a Chinese city, unlike there marketing motto “Asia’s world city”. Cantonese speakers are always preferred over others. So learning cantonese can take you long way in this city.
You have to get used to living in overpriced tiny apartments. I hate this about hong kong. The rents are just too high. They are unrealistic and I believe not worth the price, but this is the reality for all HKers. There lives revolve around buying apartment or atleast dreaming about buying one.
Hong Kong is strategically situated such that many nice tourist places are within 4 hours of flight, and HK airport is well connected. You can easily notch up your “countries visited” figure here.
The best thing about hong kong is that its very diverse when it comes to landscape. Its not a flat city, infact most of hong kong is mountainous and there are several beautiful hiking trails, beaches and camping area, all within short distance from the city centre. So if you are a adventure freak, its a great city for that.
Overall, i would say Hong Kong is amazing if you are single and no family to raise, but if you are not local, and want to raise a family, you have better options other then Hong kong.
Piotr Zembrowski, lives in Hong Kong
People live in small apartments, unless they are very rich. Often, two or three generations of a family share an apartment. Kitchens are tiny, and most come without an oven. Apartment buildings are 30-40-50-story high. You get used to heights quickly.
People eat out more often than they cook at home. It's cheaper that way and the variety of food is staggering.
Only rich people own cars. Public transit is among the best in the world, convenient, ubiquitous, efficient and inexpensive.
Raising kids is a competitive sport. Parents change religions or move houses just to have access to the best schools. Two-year-old toddlers learn three languages, two musical instruments, martial arts, ballet, swimming and art to get a leg up on the competition. Tutoring kids is among the best paying jobs you can have in Hong Kong.
People routinely hire household helpers, mostly Filipinas and Indonesians who live with their employers. Many apartments have a little bedroom besides the kitchen for the helper to sleep in. Their services are relatively inexpensive and virtually every family with kids has a helper, or two.
Many apartments don't have heat. Even though temperatures rarely drop below 10 C, you better have sweaters, jackets, warm blankets and an electric heater to make you comfortable in winter. When it gets warm, air-conditioning in public spaces runs full-blast, so you may need that sweater even in the middle of a sweltering summer, if you're indoors.
In addition to densely populated urban areas, 70% of Hong Kong are country parks and other nature areas. There are beaches and many hiking trails, some of them quite challenging. Hong Kongers like outdoor activities.
People socialise a lot. When invited to go out, you don't say no, unless you're working or sick. There are plenty of bars, pubs, cafes, eateries of all kinds so there are always places to meet.
Lawrence Gray, lived in Hong Kong (1991-2015)
There are very few cities in the world where people are always saying I LOVE THIS PLACE! Hong Kong is one of them.
There is a feeling that HK is in decline and that the 1970’s and 1980’s were its best decades.
The city is still a fantastic city and life there is good, if you can afford the rent. But living conditions are getting tougher. Optimism is in short supply.
Mrinal Saurabh, lived in Hong Kong
I lived in HK for some time and there isn't anything wrong, that I could find in that city - the system's too perfect that I feel like you can see human civilization at its peak.
Talking about cost of living, yeah, it is high, but it comes with certain advantages on its own - free medical, free newspapers, old age care, cheap and awesome city transportation, cheap clothes, and awesome trade fares!!
To cut the cost of living, you can do following:
1.Start cooking twice a day. Trust me - cost of living will go down so much!!
2.Buy stuffs from wholesale market places (North Point, Sai Wan Ho etc. etc.) You ought to know what to buy from where.
3.Don't buy everything from malls - they are damn expensive. Import electronics from Shenzhen. Veg food, and home groceries buy from Indian shops.
4.Try to take same route on Metros while travelling back - they offer 10% off!
5.Use ferries to travel where ever you can. Too damn cheap than metros and Trams.
Hope this helps!