LIVING IN
HONG KONG

Discover the beauty of Hong Kong through a teaching job. Proudly make the city your second home! Here you will find a beginner’s guide to living in Hong Kong which can help you enjoy and explore the city the a local!


Housing in Hong Kong

Located in the heart of east Asia, Hong Kong is one of the busiest and most densely populated cities in the world. You will find a mixture of cultures here, thanks to the colonial history and the culture diversity in Hong Kong. It is definitely an interesting place to live in.

In Hong Kong, housing options are diversified – from small stand-alone studio flats to luxurious multi-storey detached houses with varying costs of rent ranging from HK$5,000/month (approx. USD$640/month) to more than HK$150,000+/month (approx. USD$19,000/month)!

Living in Hong Kong can be quite expensive, and you get what you pay for. That being said, there are always ways to live comfortably on a tight budget. If you are looking for cheaper options, you may consider living in new towns in the New Territories or older districts on Hong Kong Island. Also, there’s always the option to share flats with one or two roommates. Either way, you will be able to find something as cheap as HK$5,000 per month per single bedroom or $12,000 per month per flat that accommodates 2-3 people.

 

The Three Main Regions in Hong Kong Are

Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

Hong Kong Island

is home to many tourist attractions and commercial areas such as Central and Wanchai. The island is further divided into Central and Western, Wan Chai, Eastern and Southern districts. Due to the rich cultural diversity and vibrant nightlife it offers, the Island is popular amongst expats. Some popular and affordable residential areas are:

● Sheung Wan
● Sai Ying Pun
● Kennedy Town
● Causeway Bay

Kowloon

is another busy region, with the biggest population in Hong Kong. Where you can find plenty of cultural venues, food hotspots and street markets of clothes to bargain for! Some popular and affordable residential areas are:

● Prince Edward
● Tai Kok Tsui
● Mong Kok
● Yau Ma Tei
● Sham Shui Po

The New Territories

can be an area where you can get away from the city life. Although you will still find plenty of shopping malls and food vendors all along the streets, you can make your way to the surrounding wetland parks in the area. Or you could find yourself hiking along trails in Tuen Muen and catching sunsets in Ha Pak Nai. It’s now becoming increasingly popular to live in these areas of the New Territories, as it provides larger homes for an affordable price:

● Tai Po
● Shatin
● Tsing Yi
● Tsuen Wan
● Sai Kung
● Yuen Long
● Tuen Muen
● Tin Shui Wai

Food in Hong Kong

Living expenses can be high in Hong Kong, one of the reasons being the numerous restaurants, cafes and bakeries surrounding you. These mouth-watering food stalls will make yourself lost in tasting the local delicacies of Hong Kong. If you fancy eating out, check out this popular website for dining options: https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong. However, you can also find some of the freshest meats, vegetables and fruits in the wet markets scattered all over Hong Kong. Here, you will be able to buy lots for less, saving you a good few hundred dollars each week compared to eating out! You can mingle with the locals, asking them for local ingredients to make tasty local dishes; this way you won’t miss out on the quality food which Hong Kong has to offer!

Budget Breakfast
Description:
Having local delicacies of bread buns, congee, noodles, breakfast sets
Price in HK Dollars ($):
10 – 40
Price in US Dollars ($):
1.5 – 5.0

Budget Lunch
Description:
Traditional noodle shops, cafes with lunch sets, street stalls
Price in HK Dollars ($):
30 – 70
Price in US Dollars ($):
4.0 – 9.0

Budget Dinner
Description:
If you intend on getting seated you could opt for cheaper street stalls or average priced chain restaurants
Price in HK Dollars ($):
50 – 150
Price in US Dollars ($):
6.5 – 19

Beer (pint)
Description:
Sitting down for a pint in a bar or pub won’t be as cheap as purchasing from a convenience store
Price in HK Dollars ($):
25 – 55
Price in US Dollars ($):
3.5 – 7

 

 

 

Cocktails (glass)
Description:
These will be more on the pricey end in most bars and restaurants
Price in HK Dollars ($):
50 – 120
Price in US Dollars ($):
6.3 – 15

Dessert
Description:
Very often locals go to dessert shops after a meal – could try some Chinese style desserts
Price in HK Dollars ($):
30 – 80
Price in US Dollars ($):
3.8 – 10

Transportation in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a compact city with a highly developed transport network that makes commuting and travelling easy, safe and affordable. Payment of transport fare is also made convenient by the Octopus Card, a rechargeable smart card that is used to pay for rides on public transport as well as for payment in many retail outlets in Hong Kong. There are plenty of ways to get around Hong Kong. The most common modes of transportation are:

MTR

Tram

Light Rail

Bus

Taxi

Ferry

Mini-bus

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is also known as Chek Lap Kok Airport. In 2018, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been ranked fourth in the world for best airport. The airport is conveniently connected with the Airport Express, which is a high-speed rail link operated by the MTR rapid transit network. This allows airport passengers easy access to the city centre of Hong Kong.

 


Outdoor Recreations

When people talk about Hong Kong, the first thing that springs to mind is often the city’s sprawling cityscape. While Hong Kong is truly a hectic metropolis, don’t forget the fact that it is mostly composed of mountains, agricultural and semi-rural area. So, if you are craving a hike or a rejuvenating encounter with nature, there are plenty of country parks and hiking trails to explore. You will also find cycling lanes alongside some downtown areas where you get to appreciate the fascinating cultural landmarks in the midst of greenery. If you miss the sun, there are a plenty of beaches in town as well. Getting tired of the main areas in Hong Kong which you frequent? Get on a boat and take yourself to an outlying island! On these islands, you will be able to experience village life in a relaxing pace, and immerse yourself in traditions and folk cultures that are rarely heard of in the urban area.


Arts and Culture

If you are into arts, culture and heritage, take a tour around Hong Kong and you will find architectural types which embody a mix of Chinese and British colonial characteristics. That is a cultural experience in itself. If you are lucky, you might even find yourself looking into the eyes of Buddhist, Taoist and local deities while standing in the mist of aromatic incense wafting in a traditional Chinese temple! For art lovers who want to go deeper into the arts scene of Hong Kong, there is an attractive variety of cultural happenings such as exhibitions, art sales, live performances and festivals flourishing in the city. Here are some of the major locations and recurring events we recommend you to look out for:

 

West Kowloon Cultural District

Ready for a leisurely weekend? Go to West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) and you will have plenty to do! Located at the waterfront, it is a developing cultural quarter – a public space blending art, education and leisure. If you fancy jamming on the grass, you can; if you would like to see an art exhibition, you can too in the M+ Pavilion! There are even more buildings coming up which will be dedicated to fascinating themes such as Xiqu (Chinese opera) and life in the Imperial Court. 

Art Basel Hong Kong

Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre annually in spring, Art Basel Hong Kong is a crossroad for galleries from over 32 countries and territories, with at least half of them from Asia and Asia-Pacific. If you are an art expert, or simply someone who enjoys exploring the artistic aspect of the city, visiting the art fair could easily satisfy your heart’s desire. Art Basel also caters for cinema lovers by featuring a programme of short films and special screenings by and about artists. If you get the chance, do treat yourself with a feast for the eye at this world-class art event!

Hong Kong International Film Festival

Are you a cinephile? Look out for HKIFF’s programmes! As one of Asia’s oldest and most reputable film festivals, HKIFF is a platform for filmmakers, film professionals and filmgoers to launch new work and experience outstanding films. If you would like to learn a thing or two from your favourite filmmaker, you can even join their master classes!

Le French May

Interested in French culture? This arts festival is not in France but will give you a taste of French culture in Hong Kong. It has a diverse and abundant programme across two months ranging from heritage and contemporary arts, paintings and design, to classical music and hip-hop dance, cinema and circus. Since its objective is to reach as many people as possible, you will find yourself exploring different corners of Hong Kong by the lead of their events.


Quick Facts About Hong Kong

Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

(Hong Kong has completely separate legal and education systems to China)

Chinese and English

(The dominant spoken language in Hong Kong is Cantonese)

Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)

There is a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism.

7,428,887

UTC/GMT +8 hours

Hong Kong’s climate is sub-tropical, with an average temperature of 29 degree Celsius. In summer (May – August), the temperature can often exceed 30 degree Celsius. During winter, on the other hand, it’s not uncommon for the temperatures to go single digit. 

There are 18 districts in Hong Kong:

Useful Links for Expats

Discover Hong Kong: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.jsp

Expat Living: https://expatliving.hk/

Hong Kong Expats: https://www.expats.hk/

Hong Kong Immigration Department: https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/

Hong Kong Observatory: https://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm

Lonely Planet (Hong Kong): https://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/hong-kong

Openrice: https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong