CITY GUIDE 2020-2021


Hong Kong’s favourite hair salon and beauty spa for styling, facials and laser hair removal.

@glowhongkong @glowhongkong

8th Floor, Silver Fortune Plaza, 1 Wellington Street, Central 2525 5198 | 9680 2107 (WhatsApp)

WELCOME NOTE Ever changing, yet always full of life, Hong Kong is one of the most impressive places on the planet. With its incredible cityscapes, cultural highlights, gorgeous natural scenery, delicious food, quirky bars and interesting people, it continually surprises and delights us – and we’re sure it’ll do the same to you. We’ve created this guide to help provide options and advice for making Hong Kong your home. Newcomers will find it especially helpful, though we’d like to think there are valuable nuggets of info for the “old hands”, too! From choosing what neighbourhood to call home – and decorating that home once you’ve moved in – to healthcare advice, school profiles, activities for families, where to go for a cocktail, and everything in between, we’ve got it covered. Don’t just take our word for it either – there’s the inside scoop from our Panel of readers across a range of topics, too; keep an eye out for their tips throughout these pages. You’ll also find more great reading inside our quarterly magazine in Hong Kong, Expat Living . Each issue, we present real people’s experiences and discover the choices they’ve made. Plus, for on-the-go updates, our website ( is brimming with ideas for things to do around town and a host of savvy, timely content, from the best vegetarian restaurants to interviews with inspiring expats and more. We’re here to help you on your journey, from navigating the challenges that have presented themselves in recent times, to seizing the many opportunities that will doubtless come your way in Hong Kong. And don’t forget to stay in touch with us along the way on Facebook, follow us behind the scenes on Instagram or drop us an email at

Ready to explore?


Rebecca Bisset


Shamus Sillar

Managing Editor

Rebecca Simpson

Contributing Editor

Leanda Rathmell Nur Hanani Kamal Luddin

Client Services & Production

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Online & Digital Content

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Circulation & Administration

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IT & Web Support

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StyleUp YourSpace!

Stocks&Shares WhatNow?

We’re so muchmore than just amagazine. To discover everything that’s going on in your new home, check out this handy guide to how we can help.

Pregnancy Problems

Staycations Summer #HKHolidays

&News Living in KennedyTown SchoolViews


AMongolian Adventure

CONTRIBUTE! If you’ve enjoyed one of our articles and would like to write something yourself, send us a story about your Hong Kong life for our back-page opinion column, or a holiday tale for our travel section. Or just get in touch with us about anything on your mind! We’d love to hear from you at

JOINOURCOMMUNITY! From online decorating workshops and career talks, to fitness classes, we hold fun events where you can get to know other newbies (or Hong Kong veterans!) and, of course, say hello to our friendly team.

WIN STUFF! We’ve always got fabulous giveaways going on in our magazine, including style and beauty products, services, h o l i d a y s a nd l i f e s t y l e accessories. See what’s up for grabs in the mag or visit


In this annual CityGuide we give you an overview of life in Hong Kong to help you on your way! But remember, for updates and instant access when you’re out and about, we also have endless amounts of information on our website! From people’s reviews of their neighbourhoods and where to get good blonde highlights ( very important) tothebestnature spots and more, has everything you need!


• Fun things to do in Hong Kong • Best Sunday brunch spots

• A guide to international schools • 9 cool things to do with teenagers • Top beaches near you • Best public pools for families • 8 must-try traditional Hong Kong foods • Summer camps for kids • Top websites for grocery deliveries • Best vegetarian and vegan restaurants

• 10 places to buy alcohol online • Tropical island escapes for 2021

• Romantic getaways in Asia • Top salons for hair treatments • 21 fashion websites that ship to Hong Kong

... and that’s just for starters!

For more handy guides and tips, visit



Your basic survival guide |




Find out how much you really know about your current home! Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand, you’ll discover plenty of twists and turns in our Hong Kong trivia challenge. See howmany questions you can answer correctly out of 50.

Is the population of Hong Kong closer to 6 million or 8 million people? Which of Hong Kong’s islands is often described as being shaped like a dumbbell? Which of the city’s hotels is referred to as the “grand old lady”? Which month of 2020 saw the first recorded case of COVID-19 in Hong Kong: January, February orMarch? The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator covers a distance of approximately 800m, 1.1km or 1.45km? How did the Soho area get its name? Which of these items is not considered a “taboo” gift in Hong Kong: umbrella, fountain pen, green hat, handkerchief?

What popular Hong Kong sporting event was first held in 1976? Bruce Lee’s final completed performance prior to his death was in which 1973 film? What is the official flower of Hong Kong? What colour are New Territories taxis? Which started operating first, the Peak Tram or the Star Ferry? What does Kowloon mean in English? In1996at Atlanta, athleteLee Lai-Shan won Hong Kong’s only ever Olympic Games gold medal. What aquatic sport did she compete in? How old is the famous Duk Ling junk, 39, 65 or 118 years?

What is the symbol of the Hong Kong Tourist Board? Which common Hong Kong item features a Möbius strip as its logo? What shape are the unique rock pillars of Hong Kong’s Geopark? Hong Kong is said to be the city with the highest number of which type of car, per capita? Pui Pui is the name of what type of “celebrity” animal at Hong Kong Wetland Park? Which road, whose name consists of two English words, runs from Kowloon almost as far as the Shenzhen border, and is Hong Kong’s longest (51.5km)? Rank these islands in order of size of population, from biggest to smallest: Lamma, Lantau, Cheng Chau.

























Which popular food in Hong Kong translates to “touch the heart”? How many different tones are there in Cantonese? What was the name of the most recent “Signal 10” typhoon to hit Hong Kong? (Hint: It was in 2018.) How many steps lead up to the Big Buddha on Lantau, 268, 911 or 10,000? Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film The Departed (2007) was a remake of which famous Hong Kong film from 2002? Match each attraction either with Ocean Park or Disneyland: Mystic Manor, Mine Train, Raging River, Orbitron. Apron Cake and Dirty Lama are anagrams of which two MTR stations? (Hint: they come one after the other on the same MTR line.) Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares is thought to have been the first European to set foot in Hong Kong. In which century? What is the most expensive property on the Hong Kong monopoly board? Double-decker trams began operating on Hong Kong’s streets in which year: 1904, 1931 or 1955? The Noonday Gun, fired at midday each day in Causeway Bay, was the inspiration for which famous line by playwright Noël Coward?

How many athletes did Hon g Kon g s e nd t o compete in the 2018Winter Olympics in South Korea? Tower 2 of IFC has what unusual feature? (Hint: it helps shoppers get around.) HongKong’s lowest recorded temperature on record is: 4.8; exactly zero; or minus 2.7 degrees Celsius? What food is commonly eaten around the Dragon Boat Festival? Who a re t he cur ren t reigning champions of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens? Approximately how many blue Lantau taxis are in operation, 75, 195 or 245? What is the name of Hong Kong’s richest person? Only one chunk of the old Kowloon railway station remains, and it’s now a prominent monument in TST. What is it? Who was the last Governor of Hong Kong?

Tai Mo Shan is Hong Kong’s highest peak, and also the highest coastal peak in all of Southern China. Is it 957, 1,131 or 2,006 metres high? How many petals are on the Hong Kong flag? (We’ve given you a very obvious clue!) Hong Kong consists of approximately how many islands, 14, 81 or 263? The name of which three- word Hong Kong district means “sharp, sandy point”? A typical dragon boat has 20 paddlers, and two other crew members who do what two jobs? What kid-friendly name is Tai Yuen Street also known as? I n 2011 , Hong Kong ’s McDonald’s restaurants became the first in the world to offer what kind of special service? True or false: Hong Kong has more skyscrapers (buildings above 150m in height) than any other world city.



























the boat 48. Toy Street 49. Weddings 50. True (Shenzhen is second, and New York third)

Tsui 47. Drummer to keep paddlers in rhythm, and steerer (or sweep, helm, cox) to steer

spot) 41. The clock tower 42. Chris Patten 43. 957 metres 44. Five 45. 263 46. Tsim Sha


The Peak 32. 1904 33. “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” 34. One – alpine skier Arabella Ng 35. in the 2019 final, and the 2020 tournament was cancelled 39. 75 40. Lee Shau-Kee (for many years it was Li-Ka Shing, net worth around HK$250 billion, but in 2020 he lost top the temperature got down to exactly zero) 37.

Zongzi 38. Fiji; they defeated France 21-7

0.0 (on 18 January 1893,

Double-decker elevators 36.

Ocean Park, Ocean Park, Disneyland 29. Ocean Park and Admiralty 30. The 16th (1513) 31.

26. 268 27. Internal Affairs , starring Tony Leung and Anthony Wong 28.


Nine 25. Mangkhut

Dim sum 24.

Cheng Chau, Lamma 23.

Castle Peak Road 22. Lantau,


Crocodile 21.

Hexagonal 19. Rolls-Royce 20.

in 1955) 16. The Duk Ling , an authentic restored Chinese junk that we mentioned in the previous question! 17. Octopus card 18.

Windsurfing 15. 65 (built in Macau

before the Peak Tram in 1888 13. “Nine dragons” 14.

Enter the Dragon 10. Bauhinia 11. Green 12. The Star Ferry started in 1880, eight years

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens 9.

All the answers! 1. Eight million 2. Cheung Chau 3. The Peninsula Hong Kong. 4. January 2020. 5. 800 metres. 6. SOuth of HOllywood Road. 7. Fountain pen. 8.



Tomake your newHongKong life a success, you’ll need some insider knowledge. These friendly EL readers have been there, done that! They’ll be sharing their tips, tricks and recommendations in the pages ahead.

Ruth Benny is f r om t h e UK

and has been in Hong Kong for 25 years, where she lives with her husband and two children. She runs an education consultancy, working with families and schools

Julie Rout lives here with her husband, their three-year- old daughter and one-year-old son, and cats Bruno and Lily, who travelled with them from Australia. She’s co-founder of luxury baby brand Ben & Ellie Baby, which is about honouring the woman behind every mum; its products include an innovative nappy clutch that allows for seamless nappy changes on the go.

on all aspects of admissions, marketing and recruitment covering Hong Kong schools – and with a recent expansion to cover Singapore and the UK.



Aussie expat Cici Zhang has been in Hong Kong for six years, where she’s the co- founder of boutique brand Black Coral. She launched the brand – which features resort wear, swimwear and accessories for women – together withher best friend after studying and working in fashion as an apparel and lingerie designer for many years.

Alex Hunter has called Hong Kong home for 33 years – in fact, he was born and raised here! He’s the Director of ATP Personal Training, w h i c h u s e s a tailored approach to personal training, along with in-depth plans and follow- ups, to help provide fast results and long- term sustainable changes. Raised in Abu Dhabi, British expat Ross Collett has had two stints in Hong Kong, with some time in Singapore inbetween. H e ’ s F o u n d e r a n d M a n a g i n g Director of Roco Communications, wh i c h p r o v i d e s s p o n s o r s h i p , communications and event management services to the sports and entertainment sectors in Hong Kong and Singapore.



What are some of the positive and negative aspects of living in Hong Kong?


• You’re living in a city that can offer you everything at your fingertips! The convenience and speed at which everything moves can be dizzying but also very efficient. Asia has to offer … and the Western food isn’t lacking either. • The MTR and Airport Express – this has to be one of the best train systems in the world. Cici • The food! You can experience the best • I love the convenience and efficiency – things just work ! • I also love the work ethic. You can walk in for a facial, order some curtains, get something printed; no need to make an appointment. I love the entrepreneurial spirit. Ruth

• Hong Kong’s geography, with the proximity of the hills and beaches to the city, is unique and a game-changer in terms of the lifestyle you can lead here. • Expats are, by and large, here because they want to be here, and with that comes a positive and can-do attitude to life that I find wonderfully refreshing. Ross

• One of the things I love most about Hong Kong is its people. I have felt so welcomed by expats and locals alike. There’s a strong community feel and it’s been a terrific place to make new friends and start a new business. The expat community itself is big and broad with a range of remarkable people from all around the world. • A perk for me as a busy mum and entrepreneur has been that you can absolutely get by with English only and limited Cantonese. As much as I try to immerse myself and learn the local language, the fact that I can easily do my banking, shopping and day-to-day errands in English really does make living as an expat here a breeze. Julie

It’s a city of opportunities. There are so many people and so many connections to be made here. With the expat community being so strong and in such close quarters, it’s a great place to create good opportunities for yourself. Alex




I really love Hong Kong. There are so many positives! The only drawback for me is being away from family back in Australia and my kids missing out on building those close relationships with grandparents. Julie

One negative is the high cost of living. Aside from that, though, Hong Kong is really paradise. It has the buzzing city life, yet you can be close to nature, and it offers a great mix of East- meets-West culture. Cici

You’ll consume more alcohol in HK than anywhere else. The

I still can’t get on with the weather; 2020 was our hottest summer ever. You’ll need air-con! Ruth

drinking culture here, especially amongst the expat community, is so strong. Your belly and your wallet will be feeling it at some point! Alex

I find the overall attitude and response to sustainability and environmental issues in Hong Kong depressing. While positive moves balance sheet, the high educational standards and the relatively small population, it could and should be a world leader in the field. Ross are being made, considering the




4 ADMIN ESSENTIALS IN HK When it comes to logistics of daily life in Hong Kong, we have it pretty easy. Here are four of the key areas you need to get sorted as a priority when you land (or even before, if you can). #1 VISA About the Working Visa Unless you have a Hong Kong “right of abode” or “right to land”, a visa is required to work in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Having your company sponsor and issue your visa (and any dependant visas for your family) before you arrive is the most efficient way of entering Hong Kong. Most companies hiring foreign staff are familiar with the process and should get the ball rolling before you travel. Having said that, arriving as a visitor allows stays of between 14 to 180 days depending on what passport you hold. You’re not legally entitled to work without a visa but you can land and then set about getting your documents if necessary. Expect the visa process to take up to four weeks.

Working on a Dependant Visa If one of you has obtained a working visa, then dependant visas can be issued (and are necessary) for your spouse and children under the age of 18. Holding a dependant visa gives a wide berth for spousal work opportunities since no additional working visa is needed, and the dependant is not tied to one company. Minors all need valid visas for school and to access public facilities, like healthcare.

More: visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html

More: general_info.html




Applying for a Hong Kong ID Card Anyone residing in Hong Kong and aged 11 or over is required to hold a Hong Kong ID card, and an applicationmust be made within 30 days of landing if you’re planning to stay longer than six months. Details of the process are found on the HK SAR government Immigration Department website. It’s possible to make online bookings for an appointment, but be prepared to spend some time in person at the Immigration office when making your application. There are five locations where applications can be processed; Immigration Tower in Wan Chai is the busiest but most frequented by expats. On the day, you’ll need:

Using Your Card You should keep your ID card on you at all times, and it’s a good idea to have the number memorised, since it’s routinely used as an identifier when calling banks or arranging services. Cards are fitted with a smart chip and as such can be used in place of a library card, as well as ensuring a swift exit through automatic gates at Hong Kong Airport and in Macau. Upgrading your Current HKID If you’re returning to Hong Kong and already have a HKID from your last stint, you might need to update it. HKIDs are being upgraded to newer cards, and replacements are being managed by year of birth. Check the government website ( en/) to see if your card needs replacing.

• Passport • Valid visa

• Completed application form • Child’s original birth certificate

Photos are taken during the application, and no fee is required. HKID applications are usually processed and ready for collection within 10 days.

More: general_info.html




Opening a local bank account in Hong Kong can seem slow and old-fashioned for many expats. A physical visit to a branch is usually required. Which Bank Should I Choose? Hong Kong has a mix of international and local players. If you need to shift funds between countries, choosing a bank that also operates in your home country can reduce costs associated with transfers and exchange rates. Popular banks among expats include Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered, and it’s also worth considering Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and DBS. What Account? Most common personal banking accounts in Hong Kong include checking, savings and multi- currency accounts. Credit cards can be linked to an account, as can an EPS card, which acts like a debit card. View the charges on credit cards, which can be high, and do not neglect to order a chequebook, since these are still a frequently requested form of payment in Hong Kong. What Should I Bring? Check with the particular bank, as each has slightly different requirements, but it’s likely you will need the following; • Passport: Both are needed for joint accounts. • Letter of employment, issued by your employer: If you’re in Hong Kong on a spousal visa, you should apply at the same time as your partner. • Hong Kong ID or temporary ID: If you plan to open a joint account, you must both hold ID. • Proof of address in Hong Kong: A copy of your rental agreement or a utility bill. • Copy of a permanent address in your home country: Use your last address, or that of a relative who is still resident there. • Social security number: Required for American citizens opening accounts with American banks.

The Process At the branch, take a ticket and wait to be called. This can take 30 minutes or more in busy locations. A bank representative will check your documents and guide you through the set-up. Double check that you’ve brought all requested documentation or your application will probably be rejected and you’ll need to return at another time to begin the process again. Funds You need a nominal amount to open the account, around HK$1,000 in most cases. Check bank charges on minimal monthly balances and consider having your wage paid into the account to avoid additional costs. If you bank with the same bank as your company, you may be paid quicker.



Was it easy setting up your bank and phone accounts, internet services and so on?

TAP AND GO! One of Hong Kong’s great innovations is the Octopus card and it’s a good idea to get one for each member of the family. The card is micro-chipped, allowing you to make cashless payments on public transport – but it has many other uses, from buying groceries or things from vending machines to paying for parking or even for services at public hospitals. A standard card comes with a refundable HK$50 deposit. Children are required to start paying fares from age three; they don’t necessarily need their own Octopus card from that age – you can buy tickets at MTR stations or pay on the bus. Pick up a card at a range of authorised distribution outlets including almost all MTR stations, plus various light rail and ferry customer service centres.

It wasn’t easy but it’s doable. Just be prepared for long wait times and paperwork! Cici

It’s so long ago! I have to say, banking here has been painful. I think it’s improved with the increased automation. Part of the pain is also the language barrier – my Cantonese doesn’t extend to banking. Internet services have also been painful at times, depending on where you live. Ruth

Thankfully, I outsourced all that boring (yet essential) life admin work to my husband! (Thank you, husband – I love you!) I would highly recommend this option of outsourcing to your other half or getting help from a relocation specialist. One piece of insider info I can share is that it’s helpful to have at least one utility bill in your name, because it’s often requested as an identification document to prove your address. Julie


Not as easy as it could have been. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things that you have to work through; it often requires you to have a crystal ball to know where you’re going to be in two years’ time, when you might feel like you don’t know what you’ll be doing in three months! I recently returned to HK having spent three years in Singapore and have found it no better second time round, so I welcome any advice on this one myself! Ross




Unless you’re staying in a serviced apartment, as a tenant it’s your responsibility to sign up for water, gas and electricity. Do ask your agent about any existing supply when you sign the lease, and then use this nifty resource to make connections. Water Supplier: Water Supplies Department of the Water Authority Signing up: index.html Documents: Applications should be sent with a copy of your Hong Kong ID; they take about a week to process. Bills: Sent quarterly Enquiries: 2824 5000 (Press 3 for English) Gas Supplier: Towngas, unless you are living in remote areas that use bottled gas, or in Discovery Bay where it is a private contractor. Signing up: OpenCloseAccount/OpenGasAccount Documents: For homes with a previous gas supply you should make note of the meter reading when you move in. A deposit (about HK$600) is taken for registration, which is used against any outstanding balance when you close the account. If a gas meter is installed but has not been connected previously (as with a new build) you will also need a copy of your lease. Bills: Sent every two months, with a breakdown of monthly use. Tip: If you get your gas bill and it seems very large, check the meter reading is correct; sometimes instead of a factual reading, the company just estimates. If you can call with the correct reading, the bill will be revised. Enquiries: 2880 6988

Electricity Supplier: Hong Kong Electric (For Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island) Signing up: Transferring your account from a previous address takes one working day; new connections can take up to two weeks. Documents: Hong Kong ID or passport, and deposit (equal to 60 days estimated consumption) Bills: Monthly Enquiries: 2887 3411, 9am-6pm, Monday-Sunday Supplier: CLP Power (For Kowloon and the New Territories, including Lantau, Cheung Chau and most other outlying islands aside from Lamma) Signing Up: Documents: Hong Kong ID or passport, and a deposit (equal to 60 days estimated consumption) Bills: Every two months Enquiries: 2678 2678 Bill Payments Making payments is fast and efficient and may be done via a number of channels. Bills can be paid through your bank’s ATM machines, as well as by phone and online and at most convenience stores including 7Eleven and Circle K if you have the bill present. Direct debits are often called “Autopay” in Hong Kong and require a trip to your bank to set up.



15 APT APPS We asked our panel members to list the apps they find most useful in Hong Kong. So, grab your phone and download these must-haves!

PayMe: Send money to friends instantly with this peer-to-peer payment app from HSBC Deliveroo , Foodpanda and UberEats: For restaurant food delivery HKTaxi: Pre-book a taxi with this app (“can’t live without it!” says one panellist) MTR: Helps plan your MTR journey Moovit: Another way to make your public transport commute more efficient OpenRice: Bookmark your favourite and recommended HK restaurants MUMZ: To meet parents in your area and make new friends Air Visual: For the latest air quality index (know when it’s safe to open windows!) Carousell: Community marketplace for buying and selling Octopus: Top-up cards, check value and tap your phone rather than a card Hong Kong Movie: Cinema schedules and information MyObservatory: You’ll need this, especially in typhoon season GOGOX: Hire a man in a van to move items



What are three things you ’ d advise any newcomer coming to live in Hong Kong?

#1 Housing is likely to be your

first priority and while there is always a huge desire to get it sorted as swiftly as possible, I’d strongly advise to test the water first. What may be right for a colleague, friend or relocation agent may not be right for you. Find a short-term let and do your own research when you get here. #2 Be patient. It takes time to adjust to a new life and new home, and make new friends. Accept that it won’t happen overnight, communicate well with your other half, look after each other and enjoy the journey! #3 Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses… There’s always a temptation to compare your situation with others wherever you are, but especially when arriving in an unfamiliar place. Salaries and housing allowances (if you’re lucky enough to have one) vary wildly in this part of the world, and comparisons are likely to end in disappointment. Focus on the important things and live within your means.

#1 Don’t stay in an expat bubble. #2 Learn some Cantonese and get lost in Mong Kok or Yuen Long to experience the real Hong Kong. #3 And, of course, get some good school advice! Ruth

#1 Be open to lots of new experiences and meeting people from every culture! The best parts of living in this city include being able to tap into a network of such vastly different and interesting people and opportunities that you won’t find easily anywhere else. #2 Be aware of the crazy rental prices (or crazy prices in general!) and don’t be shocked by how small the spaces are. #3 Say yes to everything (within reason) and don’t get stuck in the “expat bubble” of Hong Kong Island – there’s so much more to HK than just Central! Venture out into Kowloon, Sai Kung, Lantau, Macau… even China for the adventurous! Cici




#1 Join all the groups: your building WhatsApp group; the expat Facebook groups; the GeoBaby mothers’ groups. Find the ones relevant to you and connect with that community. They’ll open doors and be the support you need when settling in and beyond. #2 You can find almost everything you need in Hong Kong, or shop online and have it shipped here. But for anything you can’t get here, buy from your home country and use a freight forwarder like Buyandship! It’s so cheap and has been a lifesaver for things like my favourite makeup and skincare items that I just can’t get in HK. #3 If you have kids and can afford it, get a helper; it’s worth it and not a decision you’ll regret. Coming from Australia where live-in help is not a thing, I was on the fence about getting a helper, felt uncomfortable about having someone live with us and questioned the dynamics of it all. However, with no family support and no traditional childcare options, our helper has been a godsend! Julie

#1 Make sure you leave the island! I know people who have lived here for years and haven’t been to places like Sai Kung and explored the amazing beaches and hiking trails. It’s very easy to get caught up in the convenience of living on the island. Hong Kong has so much to offer; make an effort to see it all! #2 Learn the lingo. Even if it’s just a few sentences or phrases. It gives you the opportunity to explore an amazing side of Hong Kong many expats stay on the fringes of. #3 Go local! It’s very easy to fall into the convenience of the expat bubble and just go to the same places to wine, dine and shop. Explore outside a little and you’ll find the same if not better at a better price.




MOVING How to keep calm amidst all those cardboard boxes!

In the inventory of life’s most stressful events, moving home must rank right up near the top, right? That’s why choosing the right relocation service to help shoulder the strain can truly make a difference. Asian Tigers Group is a global relocation service that provides bespoke moving solutions and a comprehensive end-to-end service that’s dedicated to ensuring your transfer is smooth and stress-free – and that’s the case whether you’re moving within Asia, across continents, or just locally in Hong Kong. A WORD FROM THE TEAM “More than 16,000 families relocate with us each year, building on the wealth of experience that Asian Tigers Group has to offer. We have offices in 14 territories, more than 1,400 dedicated professionals, and a global network of moving and relocation companies giving you unparalleled access to the top movers in the world. Asian Tigers is also a favourite of major corporations, with more than 400 of the Fortune Global 500 companies looking to us for their moving, relocation and mobility needs.”

A WORD FROM CUSTOMERS Excellent service for an extremely short-notice move, with multiple locations. It was all rather complicated and I’m very impressed by the speed and efficiency. The coordinators and the packing team did a tremendous job. Everyone was polite and very professional. – Yiu Ming K . We’ve been a big fan of Asian Tigers and have used their services three times in the past five years. – Sachiko A. I used Asian Tigers in my move from Bangkok to Hong Kong; the team and organisation were highly professional and affordable. I was happy to use their services again when moving from Hong Kong to the United States. – Jessica G.

For more information, call 2528 1384, email, or visit




PLANES Whether you’re arriving in Hong Kong for the first time, or you’re an old hand who comes and goes frequently, it’s likely you’ve been impressed at the facilities and operations at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). While 2020 was obviously an aberration for the aviation and tourism industries, in 2019, over 71 million passengers were handled by HKIA; and there’s rarely a bad word spoken about the facility by those who travel regularly.

When it comes to travel logistics, Hong Kong hits a home run. Along with an amazingly efficient airport, there’s a world-class public transport system, plus some cool ways of getting around the city and beyond.

THIRD RUNWAY Expansions are planned at HKIA, and a third runway was originally to be completed by 2024. It remains to be seen how the global pandemic will impact scheduling.

Great eats HKIA is regularly voted World’s Best Airport for Dining at the annual Skytrax awards – in fact, it has claimed the title seven times in the past decade. So, if your flight is delayed, don’t fret – dig in!



You never have to check when the next train is coming; one will always be there within a few minutes. The MTR is fast, reliable, safe, clean and efficient. The in-town check-in for the Airport is such a good idea; more countries should have this! Cici Are you a fan of Hong Kong ’ s public transport?


MTR TheMTRnetwork consists of 11 lines, including the South Island line, which opened inDecember 2016. It also includes a service to Disneyland and the Airport Express. A light rail system runs between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the New Territories and you can also take a train to the mainland, crossing the border at Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu.

In theory, I love it. I don’t use it! When I used to, I loved the efficiency and the air-con of the MTR. The Airport Express was a total life changer when it opened – so easy. Ruth

New in 2020 The latest MTR station to open is Kai Tak, on the Tuen Ma line. It began operations on 14 February 2020, a Valentine’s Day event that attracted plenty of attention from train enthusiasts.

I’m a fan. It’s clean, efficient and cheap. It can seem daunting at first, but I highly recommend it. Ross

High-Speed Rail If you fancy a trip up to mainland China, the new high-speed rail system is the perfect way to do it once travel restrictions are lifted. The service was opened in 2018 and connects Hong Kong to 44 cities around China. Remember, all foreign travellers require passports and China visas, even for the shortest journeys. Tram Hong Kong trams, known affectionately as “ding dings”, may not be the fastest way to travel, but sitting on the top deck provides a great view. You board at the back and pay at the front as you exit at the end of your journey (using an Octopus card or the correct small change). Trams operate between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan from about 5.30am to midnight.

I’m a huge fan. It’s clean, reliable, affordable and well connected. I only wish there was an MTR station near me! Taxis are also reliable, safe and affordable, so a big thumbs-up from me! Julie

Who isn’t a fan? What’s not to like? It’s cheap, efficient and always faster than sitting in a car stuck in rush-hour traffic. It’s also an amazing place to people-watch! Alex




Taxis Hong Kong’s taxis are cheap compared to many other major cities. They’re also generally reliable, though do keep Google Maps open on your phone and a Cantonese translation of your destination on hand. There are three different coloured taxis: • Blue taxis are only permitted to travel on Lantau island. • Green taxis don’t leave the New Territories. • Red taxis operate on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, but be aware that if Kowloon cabbies drop someone off on Hong Kong Island, they can only pick up customers heading back to Kowloon and vice versa. You can work out if a taxi can take you by doing a wave-like gesture with your hand to let the driver know you want to cross the harbour. Also note that it can be difficult to get a cab during morning and evening rush hours, when it’s raining, or when many drivers are making their daily shift change between 4 and 4.30pm.

Appy days! HKTaxi is a basic ride-hailing app where you enter your pickup location and contact number and wait for a driver to contact you. Uber is available in Hong Kong but it will normally cost more than a taxi.



On the surface of it, a taxi is a taxi wherever you go, and in Hong Kong that means a relatively convenient and affordable mode of transport. But there’s no question that there is a code of conduct when it comes to taxis here, which, if you know, might just take you further. For example, know the difference between an Island taxi and a Kowloon taxi, along with the rather peculiar wavey hand-movement that indicates the latter. Particularly if you’re living in the New Territories, it pays to know some basic Cantonese: left, right, straight on, stop here, thank you and so on. Most importantly, wear a seat-belt! Let’s just say there’s a broad range of driving styles. Ross

• There are different taxis for different regions – for Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, for instance. Check the signs at the taxi ranks, as it’s not fun to get caught waiting in a long queue for the wrong taxi! • When you first move here, carry around a card with your home address written in Chinese to show your taxi driver – your building reception desk should be able to provide one. Learning how to say your address in Cantonese is also helpful and a nice way to integrate a little into the community. • In a city that’s a financial hub of the world, HK is still a very much cash- based economy in many ways. Taxis accept cash only, so be prepared! • Everyone has a price. If it’s a busy time of day and you can’t seem to get a taxi, offering an extra $10 to $20 on top of the going rate will usually do the trick! • Tipping isn’t required but taxi drivers often work long hours for little pay so if you can afford to round up a few dollars, it really means a lot to them. Julie

Learn the lingo! A couple of sentences is all you need, but it makes a world of difference. Alex

Taxis seem to have deteriorated a lot over the years. Carry a sick bag at all times or avoid. Uber is your friend! Ruth

Always try to be polite; some cab drivers can be grumpy – just take it in your stride. Download the free HKTaxi app to get a cab faster during peak hours, in busy areas or in areas further away that don’t have many taxis. And be aware of the toll rates for all the harbour crossing tunnels to avoid any surprises! Cici



BUSES A strong network makes bus travel in Hong Kong reasonably easy – though buses can get crowded. In addition, more than 4,350 minibuses are in service across the city, each carrying up to 19 passengers. Green minibuses have set stops, but red minibuses will stop anywhere along their route. Once the bus is full, the driver will not accept new passengers. You need to pay when you get on the bus with either cash or an Octopus card. Shouting “ yau lok ” tells your driver in Cantonese that you want to get off if you can’t see a bell.


Boat Ferries remain an active and necessary form of transport in Hong Kong. Aside from Hong Kong’s famous Star Ferry, which still shuttles commuters and tourists from Central and Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Clock Tower, other vessels provide regular services for residents of the outlying islands. Lamma, Cheung Chau, Discovery Bay, Ma Wan’s Park Island, Mui Wo and Peng Chau have dedicated daily services leaving from the Central Ferry Piers. Other ferries shunt from Aberdeen, Wan Chai, Hung Hom and North Point.

Ferry to Macau Ferries are available frommultiple places in Hong Kong to Macau – from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan, from the China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon and (only for those transferring through Hong Kong, not people originating in Hong Kong) from the SkyPier at Hong Kong International Airport.

Bridge to Macau At 55 kilometres long, the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau bridge (opened in 2018) is the fastest and most convenient way to get to

Escalators The outdoor escalator in Mid-Levels is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. And while it may be a tourist destination in its own right, it’s also a functional method of traversing a very hilly part of Central. While this particular escalator gets all the glory, there are others in Hong Kong, such as on Centre Street in Sai Ying Pun. The escalators are free to use.

nearby Macau. Various bus companies run shuttles across the bridge and back – prices vary, depending on the company running the service, and a trip one way should take about 45 minutes, excluding immigration.



BEHIND THE WHEEL To drive or not to drive? It’s a big Hong Kong question. Here are our tips on buying a car. DO YOUR HOMEWORK First, make sure you’re legally able to own a car and drive on Hong Kong roads. You’ll need a valid HKID card, a local address for car registration, and a valid HK driver’s licence. Transferring your home country’s driving licence to a local one is usually straightforward; just visit the Transport Department at Admiralty and apply. Registration varies in price depending on the type of vehicle and where you’ll be driving. Licencing fees are based on engine size; a private car with a 1,500cc or lower petrol engine can cost around HK$4,000 a year; bigger 4,500cc engines are nearly three times that. Also consider the cost of fuel, annual vehicle examinations, tolls and parking fees around town (which can be exorbitant!). CHOOSE YOUR RIDE For a tiny island, Hong Kong has lots of cars – and lots of options when buying. Do you want brand new or second-hand? New cars are appealing for the excellent condition and the manufacturer’s warranty, but they can be expensive thanks to high import taxes. Most big-name brands have car dealerships in HK, so just choose what you want, pop in for a test drive, and make the purchase. Second-hand cars are often quite affordable, but unless you buy from a reputable dealer or someone you know, there’s no way of knowing the car’s history. Look at dealer websites and keep

your eye on expat forums for deals. Insist on a test drive, always ask for a vehicle history report (via the Transport Department) and get a pre-purchase check (the Hong Kong Automobile Association can help, or ask your own mechanic). READY TO GO? To own a car in Hong Kong, you must take out insurance. The minimum required coverage is third-party, but this only covers damage to other people’s property if you’re involved in an accident. A more comprehensive plan, while more expensive, will cover damage to your own vehicle.



I didn’t have a car for the first 13 years or so but have had one for the past 12 and couldn’t do without it. It’s not necessary for most able-bodied people, as public transport is excellent. But I love my car and I love driving. Parking… not so much! Ruth

If you live in the city, definitely not. Public

transport here is fantastic and so cheap!. You have all your needs covered without needing your own car. If you live off the island, in Sai Kung or elsewhere and have more space, having a car would be a convenience. Alex

It really depends on where you live. The public transport system is a dream and most places are well connected. If you’re in areas like Mid-Levels, Wan Chai or anywhere within walking distance to an MTR, don’t bother with car. If, like me, you have small kids and live in an area without an MTR, then yes, your own set of wheels can be a game changer. A car certainly makes carting around the 357 baby items I need (maybe not quite that many, but it sure feels like a lot) with a baby and a rambunctious toddler much easier. Julie

GOING ELECTRIC If you choose electric,

suppliers like PCCW can fit your parking space with a charger. Or, use the free super charging stations at shopping centres; you just pay for parking.

USEFUL WEBSITES Transport Department: Hong Kong Automobile Association : HK Car Trader: DCH Quality Used Car Company: The Automall: 328car:

For convenience, if you have a family, I’d say yes. If you’re on your own or just with a partner, I struggle to see the need, as public transport and taxis work very well. Running a car in Hong Kong is more expensive than in Europe (though still not a patch on Singapore!) but additional parking costs are a consideration. But for the petrol heads out there, there are some great deals on second-hand cars at the moment! Ross




Ready for a job? Moving to Hong Kong opens somany professional opportunities – it could be a great time to advance your career or even start a new one! Here are a few things to know. PERMISSION TO WORK

FINDING WORK You might decide to further your present career or perhaps to explore something new. English teachers, for example, are in perennial demand, and a short course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can start you on that path. Depending on the industry you work in, you may have trouble having your qualifications recognised, so it’s worth doing some research before you start applying Recruitment agencies, online sources, classifieds and expat associations can all be helpful when it comes to finding work, although many jobs are found through networking – even Facebook groups can be very useful for this!

The first thing to check is that you have permission to work. Fortunately, if you’re on a dependant visa, you’re automatically allowed to apply for work, with no extra visa required. If you’re not on a dependant visa, you’ll need to find an employer to sponsor you to work here legally. This can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

Useful websites


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