Ask an Expat: Living in Hong Kong

Living in Hong Kong as an Expat: What Is It Really Like?

Hong Kong is one of the most popular expat cities in the World.

But what is this city really like? And how does it feel to move to and build a new life in Hong Kong?

In this Ask an Expat series I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for anyone thinking about moving abroad and information about what to see and do in the city, town or country the expat now calls home.

Expat Life in Hong Kong, China

life in Hong Kong
life in Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Name: Kay
Home country: India

Her story:

“I came to Hong Kong almost five years ago for University and ended up staying in the city after.

I’ve grown up in about four different countries, but Hong Kong was something I had never seen before. I didn’t think I’d end up staying here for this long, since I love to wander. But I guess wandering in a city of 7 million, isn’t too bad!”

Why Hong Kong?

“It’s a dynamic city where language isn’t really a problem.

In addition to that, China offers good economic and travel opportunities and Hong Kong is close enough to venture in, but not close enough to need to be fluent in Mandarin.

Living in Hong Kong is a great place from where to explore Asia, to learn about the culture and to meet a variety of people.”

What Do You Like About Living in Hong Kong?

living in Hong Kong as an expat

“There is so much to do here. Hong Kong is filled with vivacity and culture which makes it hard to get bored exploring. Every inch is something new.

Hong Kong smashes together people from corners of the world that wouldn’t have dreamed of meeting each other. It’s kind of like traveling across the world to get exposed to cultures through people- except, it’s all in one place.

It’s the same with the food. Being a foodie, I love how I can think of any type of cuisine and I can find it here.

There are loads of pubs and clubs as well and drinking and going out isn’t too expensive either (especially since there are lots of ladies nights across the city! 😉 ).

Convenience defines expat life in Hong Kong. Everything is efficient and quick. You don’t need a car to get around, you have the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) which goes to almost every corner of Hong Kong. Buses are just a hop skip and jump away, taxis are cheap. It’s easy to call into the bank or do things online for any avenue of your life.”

What Do You Dislike About Living in Hong Kong?

“Relationships can get a bit shallow, given the fast pace of life. Expats in Hong Kong seldom come to stay for longer than two years which means you’re forced to be comfortable with change.

Everything needs to be scheduled well in advance, especially with local friends.

Additionally, there’s a lot of privilege given to people of certain countries, and the opposite for minorities.”

What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Hong Kong?

“Sit on the rooftop of one of my favorite buildings and look at the sea (and maybe do some yoga)”

What Is Your Favorite Place to Eat in Hong Kong?

expat life in Hong Kong

“O God, it’s so hard to come up with just one name. There are so many great places to eat here, which I think is one of the great perks of living in Hong Kong.

Let me cheat a bit and give you two: Crystal Jade and 3 am Dimsum in Kennedy Town.”

What Is the Expat Community like in Hong Kong?

“There are so many expats living in Hong Kong. Ranging from new expats, often in their mid-twenties, to the people who decided to make Hong Kong their permanent home.

Most expats come here for stints of 2-3 years though.”

Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Hong Kong?

“I came here to study first so I figured most things out myself. But, Sassy HK is a pretty good source for young women moving here and Open Rice for food!

And join one (or all) of the Facebook groups for expats in Hong Kong. They are a great place to ask any questions you may have about life in Hong Kong and a good place to meet other expats.”

Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Hong Kong?

exploring while living in Hong Kong

“Yes, so much! A few recommendations:

  • Lan Kwai Fong: an area with lots of restaurants, bars, and clubs, popular among expats.
  • Sai Kung District (map), the second-largest district in Hong Kong in terms of area. It is known as ‘Hong Kong’s back garden’ because of the beautiful hiking trails and beaches. The village of Sai Kung is also noted locally for its seafood restaurants, many of which congregate on the seafront, known as ‘Seafood Street’.
  • the Chi Lin Nunnery, a large Buddhist temple complex located in Diamond Hill.
  • A hidden gem: the Sai Wan Swimming Shed (map). Swimming sheds were built along the seashore and provided changing rooms and wooden piers for swimmers. The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is the only shed that is still in service in Hong Kong.
  • Hike up to The Peak for a fabulous view. Victoria Peak is a mountain in the western half of Hong Kong Island. It is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak.
  • Take the Star Ferry!”

About Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China.

It is a place with multiple personalities. Its vibrant, densely populated urban center is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline.

It is easy to fly into Hong Kong as Hong Kong has become a major tourism destination for China’s increasingly affluent mainland population and it’s a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.

Hong Kong is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia’s World City.

Tip: if you have limited time to explore Hong Kong, take the hop-on hop-off busAsk an Expat: Living in Hong Kong as a convenient way to explore the city.

Moving Abroad: Moving to Asia

Are you thinking about moving to Asia? Then also read my interview with an expat living in Zhengzhou, China, an expat in Shanghai, an expat living in Vietnam and an expat living in South Korea.


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Interview about moving to and living in Hong Kong as an expat


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Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

4 thoughts on “Ask an Expat: Living in Hong Kong”

  1. Hong Kong is an Expat destination I’m seriously considering, but after the surpression of the pro-democracy demonstrations recently I’m a little concerned.
    How has this impacted on every day life for Expats?

  2. I have lived in Hong Kong for 16 years but I have not been able to become a resident as they will not accept my passport info as my stay in Hong Kong. I went for a few days in Bangkok and when I came back Immigration held me and asked why I come and go so many times. In the end they said I have to leave HK in one month. HK has been my home for 16 years and I have nothing in England. I will be more than grateful if someone can help me as to what I can do, or where I can go for help. I am 82 years and I feel as though everything is coming to an end.

  3. Thank you for the tip. The hop-on bus sounds like the perfect way to experience Hong Kong in a few days, just bought ticket! Great post!

  4. Great interview and great series! It’s so helpful to hear about expat life in Hong Kong from someone currently living there. My partner and I lived in China for a few years and have been in Cambodia for two years now. We love Hong Kong and have been considering it for our next move!


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