5 things you should know about Hong Kong – Before you Move There
5 things you should know before moving to Hong Kong.
Learn the right language!
When moving to Hong Kong it’s essential to remember that you aren’t, strictly speaking, moving to China. Hong Kong may be part of China, but as a Special Administrative Region it’s also separate from it. Consequently Hong Kong has its own currency, laws, language and social attitudes.
Traditionally, residents of Hong Kong speak Cantonese and not Mandarin, which has been the official language of mainland China since 1982. The two languages are quite different so make sure you learn the right one!
It’s also important to note that an increasing number of residents of Hong Kong are speaking out about their right to retain autonomy and separation from the mainland and can resent being broadly classed as ‘Chinese’.
It won’t be cheap
Many people assume that by moving to Asia they’ll be able to live on practically nothing and save lots of lovely money. Well, while this may be true of some regions it certainly isn’t the case with Hong Kong. Yes, wages for skilled foreign workers are often high in Hong Kong, but so is the cost of rent, food, drink and amenities. Make sure you do your research before you go so you have a realistic idea of how much it will actually cost you to live there.
Although Hong Kong is far from a cheap place to live, there are some bargains to be had if you’re willing to work for them. When shopping in local markets for example never, ever accept the first price offered to you. They expect you to haggle and will probably reach a deal with you at about half the price originally offered. And remember, the more interested you seem in buying something the more likely it is that they’ll hike the price up, keep excited exclamations to a minimum!
You’ll be uncomfortably hot in July and August
In July and August Hong Kong isn’t just super hot but almost unbearably humid, making walking around outside a bit unpleasant. And while you’d think that the fact most buildings having their air conditioning on full blast in these months would be a welcome relief, the contrast between hot and cold can take some getting used to, and some crafty clothes management. Sleeveless tops might be more than enough cover outside, but you might find you need to wear a scarf and cardigan in a restaurant!
Invest in an Octopus Card
If you’ve ever used a UK Oyster card this is a similar deal. It can be used on any form of public transport and although you’ll have to pay out a 50 HK Dollar deposit and top it up on a regular basis, it’ll save you some serious money in the long run. Octopus cards can also be used to buy snacks/drinks in certain convenience stores. You can get your tentacles on an Octopus card at any Metro station.