Guest Post: Weave Living
So you’re moving to Hong Kong. Congratulations! You’re going to love it.
Moving to a new country can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. If you’re moving over to start the next phase of your career, there’s bound to be a lot of things that you need to consider, often all at once. That’s why we’ve put together a few must-know facts and tips about Hong Kong to help you get ready and make the transition easier.
Hong Kong is a notoriously expensive city when it comes to real estate (a fact that you probably already know), but it is also a reasonably transient city with people moving to and from the city regularly. That means finding a permanent home in the city isn’t just a question about supply but also about finding the right fit.
A hotel for a few days to a week after you land is a good option as it gives you some time to explore different areas before deciding on a permanent solution.
Co-living spaces and serviced apartments on the other hand are a great longer-term option as they’ll be furnished and come with an in-built social network to kickstart your life in Hong Kong. Weave Living, for example, provides homes that are move-in ready and fully furnished with design-forward furniture and appliances, a hotel-quality bed, and generous storage. You’ll enjoy flexible leasing terms that range from short-stay to forever, at a price that includes all utilities, high-speed WiFi, and a smart TV – installed and waiting for when you move in.
Whether you’re studying, still on the job hunt, have started the job or simply need a place to work outside the office, you’ll find yourself needing a quiet place to sit down to get work and calls done. Rather than try to concentrate in at a loud coffee shop or take important phone calls from the street, why not try a QUBIC Smart Booth? These booths are currently available in several locations across Hong Kong, with many more coming soon!
If an ultra-cool work pod doesn’t sound like your thing, there are many great coworking spaces dotted around and are a great option for individuals and companies alike.
Cantonese has nine tones which can be confusing for the untrained ear. Mispronouncing a single word of a street or building name could land you halfway across the city. For example, Kowloon (gau lung), Kowloon Station (gau lung zam), Kowloon Tong (gau lung tong) and Kowloon City (gau lung sing) are very different destinations!
So, unless you have complete confidence in your ability to pronounce words correctly in Cantonese, having your home or office address printed out in traditional Chinese and kept in your wallet could save you a lot of trouble, and an unnecessary taxi bill!
Whilst digital payments are widely used in China, cash is still the main form of payment in Hong Kong. Credit cards are a good alternative, but they’re not accepted everywhere. Opening bank accounts can also take some time for new arrivals as banks require a proof of address before they approve your request.
On the plus side, ATMs are widely available throughout the city so you should have no problem withdrawing cash from your overseas accounts (at a fee of course so do take note of your withdrawal limits). Our advice —have a couple days’ worth of cash with you on arrival.
Consider getting an Octopus card as soon as you arrive, you can top it up with cash and use it on most public transport (excluding taxis), to buy groceries or even a cool beverage at 7/11 on a hot summer's day.
We know, you didn’t move to a foreign country to eat at the same fast-food joint. There are a lot of places for food in Hong Kong that stay open overnight. But a word of caution, a lot of these places serve local delicacies and may not even have an English menu – so it’s a good time to brush up on some Cantonese.
Having said that, most local store owners will often be delighted to see a foreign face trying local food and will go out of the way to help you out.
So, head on out to one of the cha chaan tengs (local HK cafés), dim sum or fish ball stall to try mouth-watering delicacies. Alternatively, if you are craving some comfort food, there are plenty of 24-hour McDonald’s and other fast-food joints to satisfy those late night hunger pangs.
Depending on the time of year, Hong Kong weather can be a bit unpredictable. It can go from summer to winter or vice versa in about a week’s time. In the summer, it could be 30°c and 90% humidity out but the air-conditioning is on at full blast in most indoor areas.
Clothing like a hoodie or cardigan should definitely be on your packing list so you can be ready to layer up or down as needed, and don’t forget to have an umbrella ready during monsoon season. When it rains, it pours!
In winter, weather forecasts may say 10-15°C, which sounds manageable, but it doesn’t account for wind chill, lack of centralized heating and no insulation in most residential buildings.
So there you have it! We weren’t able to cover absolutely everything in this guide (we’d have to write a book!) but we hope the tips shared will help you make your move to Hong Kong all the easier.