While Hong Kong is known for many things, the food stands out as one of its main draws. To put it simply: it’s amazing. Unique, creative, and sometimes intimidating to those unfamiliar with delicacies like jellyfish tentacles and fried pigeon tongues, the food in Hong Kong has drawn culinary aficionados from around the world thanks to its unique blend of flavors, textures, and ingredients. Home to some of the most famous restaurants in the entire world, there’s no question that Hong Kong is a real foodie’s paradise. If the food weren’t enough, there’s also the food culture – the Chinese living in Hong Kong share everything, which is an excellent way to try new dishes and enjoy a communal eating experience. Once you get past the culinary traditions of Hong Kong, you’ll realize that there’s something else to love about this unique and bustling city: its’ welcoming to expats from around the world. Thanks to its low taxation numbers and high quality of living, Hong Kong has succeeded in attracting expats from all over the world, carving out a position for itself as one of the most expat-friendly destinations in Asia. Because of this, Hong Kong remains a popular expat destination and is consistently ranked as one of the best places expats can find to live.
To move to Hong Kong, one of the first things you’ll have to do is secure your visa and other relevant paperwork. While this guide can provide you with necessary information, it’s always wise to consult the Hong Kong Immigration Department website before you begin the visa process. As a general rule, anyone who wants to come to Hong Kong to study, work, or join a business will need a visa. Because of this, it’s essential to begin getting your paperwork in order long before the time to move befalls you. Unlike many other countries, Hong Kong doesn’t have specific entry criteria, but immigrants will be expected to be able to demonstrate the following things:
These things are helpful for securing a job in Hong Kong and are critical for anyone moving to Hong Kong to work. Moving through the visa application process is time-consuming, and new expats should be advised that the process can take up to eight weeks to complete. This timeframe may be extended if the immigration department rules that they need additional paperwork or documentation to get started. Once your visa has been granted, you’ll also need to secure a Hong Kong identity card, which is essential for living in Hong Kong. Talk to the Immigration Department for additional information on how you go about doing this once your visa is issued.
Finding housing in Hong Kong can be a challenge. As the 3rd most expensive major city in Asia, Hong Kong boasts an incredibly competitive and expensive housing market, so it’s wise to hire a qualified real estate agent to assist you right off the bat. If you’re looking to buy, a real estate agent is a true necessity. Purchasing property in Hong Kong is expensive and difficult to do, and it’s wise to hire a professional to guide you through the process. If you’re hoping to rent a property in Hong Kong, it’s still wise to hire a professional. In addition to helping you locate a property that works for you and anyone else that may be living with you, hiring a professional can also ensure that you get a fair rental price and succeed in finding a property in the area you want to live in.
1. Wan Chai
Wan Chai is known as one of Hong Kong’s most on-trend residential neighborhood. Located in the heart of the city’s restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment, Wan Chai boasts an outdoor food market and dozens of trendy shops and stores. While it may seem like this nice neighborhood would be hugely expensive, there’s actually a reasonable range of real estate here, stretching from budget flats to ultra-luxurious penthouse suites.
2. North Point
North Point is popular among those looking to live in Hong Kong without breaking the bank. While North Point lacks the accommodations and shopping of Wan Chai, it’s a favorite residential neighborhood with easy access to supermarkets, wet markets, and a few tasty restaurants. What’s more, the housing in this area is generally affordable and well-kept, and transport to the other parts of the city is simple and accessible.
3. Repulse Bay
While many expats find the name, well, repulsive, Repulse Bay is the closest thing Hong Kong has to a ritzy sea-front resort town. The play place of many of Hong Kong’s most powerful business families, Repulse Bay offers palm-lined beaches, ample shopping opportunities, and greats schools. While public transit from Repulse Bay is limited, this quiet neighborhood is perfect for kicking back and relaxing.
4. The Peak
Hong Kong’s version of San Francisco’s Knob Hill, The Peak is the tallest point on the island of Hong Kong and offers beautiful, high-end homes for expats interested in a room with a view. While the real estate here is anything but affordable, the lofty views and ample amenities (think swimming pools and tennis courts) are worth the extra cash. Keep in mind that while The Peak is beautiful, the humidity here can be unbearable and residents often keep dehumidifiers in their homes.
5. Happy Valley
One of the most sought-after residential neighborhoods in Hong Kong, Happy Valley, is popular among expats for its easy access to Causeway Bay and all of the attractions therein. The real estate here ranges from simple flats to high-end high-rises. An excellent place to raise a family, Happy Valley offers a high quality of life and affordable housing, which is a rarity in this city.
When it comes to Hong Kong’s weather, expats from cool, dry climates are in for a surprise. Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, and it’s common to experience cold winters and hot, humid summers, with humidity levels regularly reaching 80%. Hong Kong has a distinct rainy season, which extends throughout the summer months. During this time, it’s wise to carry an umbrella and be prepared for rapidly changing weather patterns. In the fall season, the temperatures dip to cooler levels and the city often experiences sunny days and breezy times that offer a break from the heat of summer. When winter rolls around, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to dip into the low degrees Celsius. While snow is incredibly rare in the city, the weather is often dry and cool.
The Pros and Cons of Living in Hong Kong
When it comes to living in Hong Kong, there are many wonderful things and many difficult things, and expats who are prepared for the move will understand the ins and outs of both. With this in mind, here’s a breakdown of the most common pros and cons of moving to Hong Kong:
Hong Kong is a glittering, diverse, and complicated place. A city of extreme potential and huge opportunity, it’s also a city that doesn’t retain many residents for long. A place of incredible beauty and pristine outdoor environments, it’s also a city plagued by air pollution and overcrowding. Despite these things, Hong Kong is a highly sought-after destination for expats from around the world. Beloved for its vibrancy and promise, Hong Kong is an excellent place to live, work, and raise a family. While expats should not dive into a Hong Kong move unprepared, those who take the time to think about the move and navigate all of the complex aspects of setting up a life in this challenging city will be rewarded with a high quality of life and ongoing enjoyment of Hong Kong and all of its charms. From the unique nightlife to the quirky tourist traps and historical culture that’s made Hong Kong a city among cities, this is a unique place. Ideal for families, professionals, and students alike, Hong Kong is truly a place unlike any other – difficulties, challenges, and one-of-a-kind attractions and all.