When expats want to relocate to a vibrant destination on the other side of the world, with lucrative jobs and a whole host of things to see and do, then Hong Kong is usually high up on the wish list. But before taking the plunge and putting your home up for sale there are some different aspects of Hong Kong life that you should be aware of. For instance, how easy is it going to be when you want to use public transportation for getting around? And what kind of weather should you be expecting at certain times of year? To help you out we’ve compiled a list of 5 important things that you should know before making the move to Hong Kong.
Octopus cards are rechargeable, contactless smart cards that can be used on most forms of public transport in Hong Kong. This means that whether you want to take a bus, MTR train, tram, ferry or minibus then you can do so very conveniently as long as you have your Octopus card handy. Fares with an Octopus card are sometimes between 5% and 10% cheaper than ordinary ones, and you can even use them to pay for goods in major convenience stores and supermarkets. Always bring your Octopus card if you’re heading out in Hong Kong!
Expats can expect to feel very safe when arriving in Hong Kong. As with everywhere else in the world, there are cases of petty theft and other crimes but Hong Kong Island and its surrounding areas generally have a low level of crime. Walking around at night is perfectly safe and there are no particular areas of Hong Kong that are singled out as being places to avoid. People of all nationalities should feel very comfortable whenever they are out and about in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has everything, which is why it’s little wonder that so many people want to permanently relocate here. Unfortunately this means that housing comes at a premium, and it can be extremely hard to find affordable places to live on Hong Kong Island. For the average expat you’ll probably have to search a bit further away from the centre of things if you want to get on the property ladder. Other options for more affordable housing can be found in the New Territories or on one of the outer islands, which are typically available at a lower price and with larger rooms.
Hong Kong’s climate can reach different extremes. This means that expats will have to adjust to cold winters as well as hot, humid summers. There’s also a rainy season, which runs from spring through to summer, so the climate may take a bit of getting used to. Typhoons can occur between August and November, so this is something you will have to prepare for. Before a typhoon the news and radio stations will warn residents to get ready, and sometimes they can result in shops and businesses closing for the day, but things are usually back to normal soon afterwards. The best time to be in Hong Kong is generally regarded as the autumn, with comfortable temperatures, sunny days and low humidity.
Shopping is taken very seriously in Hong Kong. Whether it’s clothes, gadgets, food, works of art or a whole range of other things, you will be able to find it in Hong Kong. Most goods from all around the world, apart from wine and cigarettes, are tax free, so you should be able to find a good few bargains when you’re eager to shop. You can head to some of the renowned shopping areas of Hong Kong like Causeway Bay, Sheung Wan or SoHo, or try the different street markets where you can find virtually anything if you look hard enough. Shopping in Hong Kong isn’t just an act of buying things, it’s also a form of recreation.