Hong Kong New Arrivals Survival Guide
Hong Kong can definitely be a daunting place to live, with everyone seemingly on their way somewhere very important all of the time.
Here are some of our top tips for those early days, some serious, some less so, that will help you to manage the transition with ease and to quickly fit into Hong Kong life. We love Hong Kong, but it takes some getting used to at times!
1. Learn your address in Cantonese by heart – it will make taking a taxi much easier. Check out this The Hong Kong Taxi app which translates all street names in Hong Kong.
2. Talking of taxis, they are hard to find between 3.45-4.30 as it’s change over time, and drivers are heading home. Expect big queues and either go and have a coffee and wait for the next one, or take the bus/MTR. Check out our favourite apps to help you navigate your way around town.
3. Make contacts as soon as possible. Hong Kong is actually a really friendly place, particularly amongst the expats, but also across the whole community. The expat world is small and once you start making acquaintances, you will no doubt find mutual friends, friends of friends and others who have been there and done it. With this in mind though, be careful what you say, you don’t want the wrong person to hear your gossip!
4. Don’t join in to competitive parenting. It’s rife, particular with conversations about school waiting lists and more so here than the majority of other places in the world due to the pressure on school places. It can be pretty overwhelming for new parents to Hong Kong, but it’s a fact of life and no amount of talking about it will find your child a place at school – just do the applications!
5. If you have kids (and even if you don’t), hire a helper to make the life of domestic chores a thing of the past.
6. Explore! Hong Kong is a great place, small, easy to travel around and very safe. Head out on some hikes, discover new beaches and islands, there is so much on the doorstep.
7. Be aware that walking in a straight line is tricky for most here. Don’t be surprised to struggle to walk past someone who is going slower than you but weaving from one side of the street to the other. You will get used to it, but it’s infuriating!
8. Try not to get iPhone/iPAD rage – refer to point 7 above but add into that people walking and reading at the same time, down some of the busiest streets imaginable. It happens constantly, and soon you will be you doing the same!
9. Get used to average coffee. There are some good places opening up all over Hong Kong, but the plethora of Starbucks and Pacific Coffee mean that sometimes a good brew is hard to come by. For some great coffee places, check out our directory.
10. Take lots of holidays. Hong Kong is such a great hub for places including China, The Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, make the most of it, and escape the frenetic nature of this amazing city!