Do you dream of living in a city with 24/7 shopping malls, restaurants, and bars? A city where the subway is clean and efficient and the view from your apartment is amazing? You’ll find all of these things in Hong Kong.
The country has one of the highest standards of living in the world — its citizens live in spacious homes; have access to top-notch education, healthcare, and leisure activities; and affordable housing.
Whether you’re just starting your research or you’re ready to make the move, read on for everything you need to know about relocating to Hong Kong.
Table of Contents
Hong Kong Quick Facts
Population: 7.4 million people
Official language: Cantonese, Mandarin, and English
GDP per capita: $55,000 USD
Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD). The exchange rate is approximately 7.8 HKD to 1 USD.
The Pros of Moving to Hong Kong
- Economic opportunity
Hong Kong is one of the most economically free places in the world, and its economy is booming. The city has a very low unemployment rate, and job opportunities are plentiful. If you’re looking for an exciting and lucrative place to start or further your career, Hong Kong is definitely worth considering.
- Exciting city life
Hong Kong is a truly cosmopolitan city with something to offer everyone. From world-class shopping and dining to a vibrant nightlife scene, you’ll never be short on options.
- Diverse culture
Hong Kong is a melting pot of cultures, with people from all over the world calling it home. This diversity lends itself to a rich and vibrant culture, which can be seen in everything, from food to the arts. Whether you’re interested in exploring your own cultural heritage or learning about new ones, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so in Hong Kong.
The Cons of Moving to Hong Kong
- Cost of living
The cost of living in Hong Kong is one of the highest in the world.
- Limited housing options
Housing options are limited in Hong Kong, and competition for apartments is fierce. Many people live in small apartments or “flats” that can be cramped and uncomfortable. There is also a lack of green space and parks in Hong Kong.
- Air pollution
Air pollution is a serious problem in Hong Kong. The air is often thick with smog and pollutants from factories and cars, causing respiratory problems, headaches, and other health issues.
Tips for Living in Hong Kong
- Learn some Cantonese
One of the best ways to make the most of your time in Hong Kong is to learn some basic Cantonese. Not only will this allow you to better communicate with locals, but it will also help you navigate your way around the city. There are a number of resources available to help you learn Cantonese, including online courses, apps, and books.
- Get to know your neighbors
Another great way to enjoy your time in Hong Kong is to get to know your neighbors. This can be done by attending local events, joining community groups, or simply striking up conversations with people you meet every day. Getting to know your neighbors will not only make your time in Hong Kong more enjoyable, but it will also help you feel more connected to the community.
- Explore the city
Hong Kong is a truly unique and fascinating city, and there is no better way to experience it than by exploring it for yourself. Whether you prefer to wander aimlessly through its streets or plan out each step of your journey in advance, taking the time to explore Hong Kong is an essential part of making the most of your time here.
- Embrace the culture shock
Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. One of the best ways to make the most of your move to Hong Kong is to embrace the culture shock that comes with it. From trying new foods to exploring new neighborhoods, embracing the unfamiliar can help you truly experience all that Hong Kong has to offer.
Food in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, with the majority of people being Cantonese Chinese, who consume a balance of Chinese, Western, and other Asian food.
Food-wise, you’ll find lots of authentic Chinese cuisine, such as dim sum, as well as Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Western food. Restaurants and supermarkets are all over the city, and you’ll also find a wide variety of food carts and street food.
Due to Hong Kong’s British colonial past, you’ll also find many Western-style cafes and restaurants, as well as British-style afternoon tea. Chinese staples, such as rice, noodles, fish, and meat, are traditionally eaten with chopsticks, while Western-style food, like sandwiches, is eaten with a fork and knife or with your bare hands.
When meeting new people and they invite you to their home for dinner, it’s polite to bring them a small gift, such as flowers or chocolates. Also, it’s common for people to share food and drinks, so don’t worry about double-dipping!
Cultural Tips for Living in Hong Kong
As with all major cities, a few cultural tips will help you fit in, avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, and make new friends more quicker:
- Shake hands
When you meet someone new, shake their hand. If they don’t shake your hand, they may be Buddhist or Taoist and may not want to touch you.
- Avoid touching your face
You may be tempted to scratch your nose or itch your face, but avoid touching your face when you’re speaking to someone, as it’s considered rude.
- Don’t point your finger
Pointing is considered rude, so use an open palm to indicate something or someone.
- Be mindful of eye contact
Avoid prolonged eye contact, as this could be interpreted as staring.
- Be patient
The pace of life in Hong Kong is fast-paced and impatient. Give people time to respond to emails, questions, and directions.
Taxes in Hong Kong
There are a few things you need to know about taxes in Hong Kong. First, there are no capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, or gift taxes in Hong Kong. There are also no taxes on profits from the sale of stocks, bonds, and real estate. Hong Kong has a progressive tax system, and income is taxed based on residency.
If you’re a non-resident, you only pay tax on income sourced from Hong Kong. If you’ve lived in Hong Kong for more than 7 months, you are considered a resident. Hong Kong has a very low corporate tax rate of 16.5%, which is the third-lowest in the world. You’re also allowed to deduct 80% of your expenses and can claim tax credits for education and research.
Employment in Hong Kong
Like all other major cities, Hong Kong has a thriving job market, with expats from all industries and backgrounds finding work in the city. One of the best resources for finding a job in Hong Kong is the classified ads section in the newspaper called the “Job Cafe.”
You can also check expat websites such as InterNations to find job listings. Hong Kong is a work-hard, play-hard kind of city, so you won’t be bored by a lack of things to do on the weekend. If you’re new to Hong Kong, joining a social club or a Meetup group first is a great idea to meet other expats and make new friends.
Moving & Shipping Costs to Hong Kong
The cost of moving and shipping to Hong Kong will vary depending on several factors, including the size of your shipment, the distance to be traveled, and the mode of transportation. However, some general estimates can give you an idea of what to expect.
The average cost of shipping a 20-foot container from the US to Hong Kong is $3,500. This price includes both sea and land transport. If you’re shipping by air, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 for a standard-sized shipment.
As for the cost of moving your household belongings, it will again depend on the size and distance of your move. For example, it would cost around $2,600 to move a one-bedroom apartment from New York City to Hong Kong. This estimate includes packing, shipping, and insurance costs.
When budgeting for your move to Hong Kong, be sure to factor in additional costs such as customs fees and duties. These can add up quickly and should not be overlooked when estimating the total cost of your move.
Hong Kong Housing Costs & Best Places to Live
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong is $3,300 per month. The average price for a three-bedroom apartment is $8,300 per month.
The best places to live in Hong Kong depend on your budget and preferences. For those who want to be close to the action, Central and Sheung Wan are good choices. For families with young children, Discovery Bay and Sai Kung are popular expat communities. If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider districts like Kwun Tong and Sham Shui Po.
Cost of Living in Hong Kong
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong is around $3,300 per month, while utilities can add an additional $200-$300 to your monthly expenses. Food costs also tend to be higher than in other cities, with a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing around $80.
The cost of living in Hong Kong is relatively high, but it is still possible to live comfortably on a budget. Here are some tips on how to save money while living in this expensive city:
- Housing costs:
Rent in Hong Kong is notoriously expensive, so it is important to budget carefully when looking for a place to live. Some areas, such as Causeway Bay and Central, are much more expensive than others. It is important to do your research and find an affordable place that meets your needs. There are many websites and forums where you can find information on the best places to live in Hong Kong.
Utilities can also be quite expensive in Hong Kong. Again, it is important to budget carefully and shop around for the best deals. Many companies offer discounts for signing up for multiple services, so it is worth considering this option if you need to use more than one utility provider.
Public transportation in Hong Kong is efficient and relatively affordable, so this is a good option for getting around the city. If you plan on using public transportation regularly, it may be worth getting a travel pass that gives you unlimited rides on all modes of transport for a set period of time. Taxi fares can add up quickly, so this should only be used as a last resort or when traveling with multiple people.
- Food costs:
Eating out in Hong Kong can be expensive, but there are ways to save money on food costs. If you cook at home, you can take advantage of the many cheap and delicious ingredients available at local markets. Eating out during lunchtime can also be cheaper than dining in the evening, as many restaurants offer special lunch menus at reduced prices. And finally, taking advantage of happy hour specials can help you save money on drinks and snacks while enjoying some quality time with friends or colleagues.
Transportation in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has an extensive and efficient public transportation system that includes buses, trains, trams, and ferries. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the primary mode of transport in Hong Kong, with over 90 stations across the city. Bus services are also widely available, with routes covering most areas of the city.
There are several ways to get around Hong Kong, depending on your budget and needs. For those who want the most convenient option, there are taxis and private car services available. However, traffic in Hong Kong can be congested, so it is important to consider this when making your travel plans.
For those who prefer not to drive, there are plenty of other options. The MTR is fast and reliable, and there are also a number of tram and bus lines that criss-cross the city. Walking is also a great way to get around – especially in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, where everything is within easy reach.
Education & Schooling in Hong Kong
One of the many reasons why people move to Hong Kong is for its world-class education. The city offers a variety of international schools that cater to expatriates, as well as local schools that follow the Chinese curriculum.
The cost of schooling in Hong Kong can be expensive, depending on the type of school you choose. International schools tend to be the most expensive, with annual tuition fees ranging from HKD 80,000 to HKD 250,000. Local schools following the Chinese curriculum are typically cheaper, with annual tuition fees starting from around HKD 30,000.
There are many factors that contribute to the high quality of education in Hong Kong, such as small class sizes, dedicated teachers, and ample resources. Another big advantage is that English is one of the official languages in Hong Kong, which makes it easier for children whose first language is not Chinese to adjust and succeed in school.
If you’re moving to Hong Kong with school-age children, you’ll need to consider a few things when choosing a school. Below are some important factors to keep in mind:
Depending on where you’ll be living in Hong Kong, you’ll want to choose a school that’s conveniently located. For example, if you’re going to be living on HK Island, then it might make sense to send your child/ren to school on the island as well. This will save you time and money on transportation costs.
As mentioned above, there are several different types of curricula offered at international schools in Hong Kong. Do your research ahead of time and decide which one would be best for your child/ren based on their learning style and needs.
If your child’s first language is not Chinese, then you’ll want to send them to a school where they can receive instruction in English. However, if you think your child would benefit from learning Chinese as well, then there are also bilingual schools that offer both English and Chinese classes.
Healthcare in Hong Kong
Hong Kong boasts a world-class healthcare system, and its hospitals are some of the best in Asia. Healthcare is affordable and accessible, with both public and private hospitals providing high-quality care.
There are three main types of hospitals in Hong Kong: public, private, and mission:
- Public hospitals are run by the government and provide free or low-cost care to residents
- Private hospitals are run by for-profit companies and charge higher fees for their services
- Mission hospitals are usually run by religious organizations and provide free or low-cost care to those in need
No matter which type of hospital you choose, you can be confident that you will receive excellent care. All hospitals in Hong Kong must meet strict quality standards set by the government, and they are regularly inspected to ensure compliance.
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to receive treatment at a private hospital. However, most insurance plans will only cover a portion of the cost, so you will likely still need to pay out of pocket.
Weather in Hong Kong
Hong Kong lies in the subtropical zone, and its weather is characterized by hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters. The average temperature is 22.6 degrees Celsius (72.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
The summer months (June to August) are extremely hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher. Heavy rains are also common during this time of year.
The winter months (December to February) are much cooler and drier, with temperatures averaging around 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit). Snow is rare in Hong Kong, but it does occasionally occur at higher elevations.
Hong Kong experiences a number of tropical storms and typhoons each year. These can bring heavy rains and strong winds, so it’s important to be prepared if you’re living in Hong Kong during typhoon season (July to October).
Moving to Hong Kong Alone
If you’re considering moving to Hong Kong alone, you should keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, the cost of living in Hong Kong is notoriously high.
You’ll need to make sure you have a steady income stream lined up before making the move. Additionally, housing options in Hong Kong can be limited and expensive. Be prepared to either pay high rent or live in a small space. Finally, air pollution is a reality in Hong Kong due to the high density of buildings and lack of green space. If you have respiratory issues, this may not be the city for you.
That being said, there are also many reasons why moving to Hong Kong alone can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The city is full of opportunity, both economic and otherwise. You’ll never find yourself bored in Hong Kong, thanks to its vibrant nightlife and diverse culture. There’s always something new to explore in this bustling metropolis.
So, if you’re ready for an adventure, don’t let the challenges of going solo stop you from experiencing all that Hong Kong has to offer.
Moving to Hong Kong With a Family
If you’re moving to Hong Kong with a family, there are a few things you need to know.
There are many great neighborhoods in Hong Kong, but some are better suited for families than others. Once you’ve found the perfect neighborhood, you’ll need to find a place to live. The cost of living in Hong Kong is high, so finding an affordable place to live can be challenging. There are a number of housing options available, but most expats choose to rent an apartment or villa.
Once you’ve found a place to live, it’s time to start planning your everyday life. One of the biggest challenges of moving to Hong Kong with a family is getting around. The public transportation system is excellent, but it can be crowded and chaotic during rush hour. If you have young children, you may want to consider sending them to international schools. There are many great schools in Hong Kong, but they can be expensive. Another option is homeschooling, which allows you more flexibility and control over your child’s education.
Moving to Hong Kong with a family can be a challenge, but it’s also an exciting adventure. With careful planning and a positive attitude, you can make the transition and create a happy home for your family in this vibrant city.
Moving to Hong Kong From the United Kingdom
Moving to Hong Kong from the United Kingdom can be a costly affair. The average cost of moving to Hong Kong from the UK is between £8,000 and £10,000. This includes the cost of shipping your belongings and the cost of flights and accommodation.
When considering a move to Hong Kong, it is important to factor in the cost of living. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world, with rent prices averaging around £3,000 per month. Utilities and other bills can also be very expensive.
However, there are ways to save money when moving to Hong Kong. One way is to ship your belongings via container instead of by air. This can be much cheaper, although it will take longer for your belongings to arrive. Another way to save money is to find furnished accommodation that includes utilities in the price.
Moving to Hong Kong From the United States
The average cost of moving to Hong Kong from the United States is $4,500. This includes the cost of shipping your belongings, as well as any fees associated with obtaining a visa.
There are a few different ways to ship your belongings to Hong Kong. The most popular option is to use a container shipping service. The cost of this service will vary depending on the company you use and the size of your shipment.
Another option is to use an airfreight service. This type of service will ship your belongings by plane. The advantage of using an airfreight service is that it is usually faster than using a container shipping service. However, it is also more expensive. The cost of this service will also vary depending on the company you use and the size of your shipment.
If you are moving to Hong Kong from the United States, you must obtain a visa before entering the country. There are a few different types of visas that you can apply for, depending on your reason for moving to Hong Kong. The most common type of visa for people moving for work is the employment visa.
You can also apply for a dependent visa if you are moving with your family or a student visa if you are planning on studying in Hong Kong. The cost of applying for a visa will vary depending on your visa type, but it is generally around $200.
Moving to Hong Kong From Canada
In Hong Kong, the cost of living in Hong Kong is about 30% higher than in Vancouver.
Assuming you are moving from a furnished two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver to a similar apartment in Hong Kong, your monthly rent would be approximately CAD 4,800. Your other monthly expenses – such as food, transportation, utilities, and entertainment – would amount to an additional CAD 2,500. So, in total, you can expect your monthly expenses to be around CAD 7,300 in Hong Kong.
As for shipping your belongings to Hong Kong, it would cost approximately CAD 1,200 for a 20ft container and CAD 2,000 for a 40ft container. Keep in mind that these estimates do not include insurance or any potential import duties or taxes that you may have to pay upon arrival in Hong Kong.
Moving to Hong Kong From New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful country, but if you’re looking for an exciting new place to live, Hong Kong is definitely worth considering. Here’s everything you need to know about moving and shipping to Hong Kong from New Zealand.
Obviously, the cost of moving will depend on how much stuff you have and whether you’re hiring professional movers or doing it yourself. However, as a general guide, expect to pay at least NZD 7,000 (US $5,000) for a one-way ticket and shipping costs for a typical three-bedroom home.
All visitors to Hong Kong must have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival. Nationals of most countries can stay visa-free for periods ranging from 7 days to 180 days, depending on nationality. However, if you’re planning to stay longer than this or work in Hong Kong, you’ll need to apply for the appropriate visa before your trip.
If you’re planning on shipping your belongings to Hong Kong, it’s important to be aware of the restrictions on what can be imported into the country. For example, all food items must be declared and may be subject to inspection by quarantine officials. There are also restrictions on importing certain items such as weapons and drugs.
Customs regulations also require that all items being shipped must be listed on a detailed inventory. This inventory should include information such as the value of each item, its purpose (e.g., personal effects or household goods), and where it was purchased. Be sure to keep copies of all documentation related to your shipment so that you can present it to customs officials when required.
Moving to Hong Kong is an exciting adventure. It’s a city that comes alive with neon lights, buzzing nightlife, and a fast-paced lifestyle. It’s a city that offers lots of opportunities, like free education and a wide variety of career choices.
But before you pack up and head off to your new home, make sure you know what to expect when you get there. This will help you make the most of your time there and leave with great memories and stories to tell.
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of Mover Focus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go.