Why do expats love Hong Kong?

World Citizen, Ninja

Why do Expats love Hong Kong?

In my university years, I have seen an inspirational video, titled “Wear Sunscreen“. One of the cheesy life advice in there was to “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft”. Well, after two years in San Francisco, I got a call. A recruiter was on the phone, inquiring if I was looking for a change and if I was interested in Hong Kong. The truth is, I WAS looking for a job, but I had Dubai in mind (and still have). During the 3-month long interview process, Dubai got on the table as well, but the company decided I shall be based in Hong Kong after all. I can’t thank them enough, Hong Kong gave me so many memories, friendships and life lessons! Plus, I still have the dream of Dubai, I have something to work for! Will I ever get there? Maybe, maybe not. There are at least 10 other countries I would go to live for a few years. In case you are a recruiter, give me a call with an interesting enough position in a great location, I may skip Dubai again! All right, enough of this, back to Hong Kong! This intense 1.5 years gave me so much, I must share with you, no matter if you plan to live in Hong Kong or just spend 10 days as a visitor! I have collected you 11 things why do expats love Hong Kong! If you only have a few days for Hong Kong, here is a great article to give you a 4-day Itinerary. 

Why do Expats love Hong Kong culture buddhism

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the food!

Many of us are food driven, especially travellers, World Citizens, who are not afraid to leave behind their favourite Taco Bell, to experience something local to that region! In my first 60 days in Hong Kong, I have decided not to eat anything familiar, I’ll dive into the world of rice noodles, unknown sea-creatures, veggies I never heard of before. You can find pretty much any cuisine in Hong Kong, though it’s predominantly Asian, all different kinds of Asian! Shocker, right? I have to admit, after 60 days I was craving a good old burger, or a steak, which you can get as well! OK, Western food is super expensive and most of the time you get an Asian, broadly interpreted version of the dish you may expect! Don’t be surprised when your steak is made of small cubes of pork in a fancy restaurant, just take it with a smile:)

Why do expats love Hong Kong Foodie world citizen

Hong Kong is strong in all you can eat brunches, and high teas, and those deals are reasonably priced. All right, when I say reasonably priced, I am comparing it to HK standards. An all you can eat brunch at a good place can cost you HKD 400-800, (USD 50-100). one of my personal favourites was Pirata, where you had to book at least a week in advance, but the food was amazing with quality ingredients, a real indulgence!

Why do expats love Hong Kong Foodie world citizen

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the High Tea!

I’ll be honest I was not familiar with the concept of a High Tea. You have to try everything, and I became a fan! If you are meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen for years, and you have sooo much to talk about, a quick coffee is just not enough. However, a coffee with a plethora of sweet desserts, cakes and ice cream could take hours to finish off, so you have time to talk! The presentation is equally important, so High Teas are always in fancy places, waiters with excellent manners and every piece of decoration is well planned, gold plated chocolate, champagne, it’s all part of the show! Let me show you in a photo!

High Tea Hong Kong Expats love

Apart from the above, there are so many other types of restaurants, which could be a whole new post! Maybe it will be once! Hidden gems in less visited streets (LINK FOR VIETNAMESE at CENTRAL), Seafood restaurants, where you steam your crabs yourself, which was alive 2 minutes ago, my personal favorite, the hot pot restaurants, where you cook all sorts of meat, veggies in a base soup, in a pot at your table. The soup gets thicker and thicker, you are already full, but you NEED to order one more round of shrimp-balls!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the sky bars!

Strongly related to food, HK is full of Skyscrapers, so it’s natural they have bars and restaurants on the top levels! There are popular ones you read about in Tripadvisor Top 10 lists – well, it’s a good starting point, but if you work for it, you are willing to explore, you can find less touristy gems, where locals spend their time! My personal favourite was one a bit out of the city, but close to my office, spectacular views on the bay, more relaxed where you can enjoy a good cocktail with a few friends!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong sugar rooftop

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the Chaos!

There are people who like order, perfectly designed streets, every moment of their life planned. Hong Kong is not for them. It’s chaotic, always pulsing, there is always a party or some other gig is happening, the city never sleeps! People are always rushing somewhere in constant FOMO, you have to see every show, taste every new pop-up restaurant, meet more people! The good thing is, you can still have your own personal space (small though), no neighbour disturbs you at home, you could declare it your own country, no one would bother. It’s your choice if you take part in the chaos!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong chaos food

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the active lifestyle!

You would think Hong Kong is all about eating a lot and sitting at work! Well, locals and expats love sports here!  Hiking is a national sport, and you are never further than 10 minutes from a hiking trail! All right, again, when I say hiking, you might think a curvy road leading up around the hill, in a quiet forest, you can enjoy birds tweeting in nature, you are alone with your thoughts. Well, not in Hong Kong. As you arrive at the bottom of the hill, there are 3000 concrete stairs leading you straight to the top in the summer heat. 30 minutes later, you are grasping for air, consumed half of your water for the day, and you are truly on the top! Amazing views of the city, from every angle, no matter which trail you take! The good news is, you are over the hardest part, the path will lead you on the ridge with an easy walk, and stairs to the bottom. OK, if you are devoted enough and you go really far into the New Territories, you can find more traditional forest hiking, and it’s getting really quiet there, as most people don’t travel too far from the city!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong hiking active lifestyle

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the Dragonboat!

An active lifestyle is not just about hiking, there are hardcore groups of cyclists, and you can choose pretty much any sport, tennis courts in the city, horseback riding, paragliding. There are countless gyms and martial arts clubs around the city, and there is one more national sport we have to talk about, which is Dragon boat racing. Major companies, a group of friends, expat nations, universities have dragon boat racing teams. There are several major racing events throughout the year, with the most famous and prestigious race being the Stanley race in early June! If you get to live in Hong Kong, I would strongly advise joining a team, you’ll get to know a lot of people, get regular exercise, and get to paddle in the beautiful scenery around Hong Kong!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong Dragonboat Why do Expats love Hong Kong Dragonboat

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the first class health care!

When you consider moving somewhere, you start to check out things like Health care, taxes, all the boring adult stuff. I’ll be short: All companies offer private healthcare for their expats. It’s super easy to find the right doctor, you are mostly covered by your health plan, nothing to worry about! The good news is, Hong Kong has an excellent state healthcare system in parallel to the private doctors! As long as you are not an exception for any reason, you will be taken care of. Doctors all speak excellent English, hospitals have excellent equipment, enough nurses! Our little World Citizen was born in Hong Kong, in a state-operated hospital, and we were extremely satisfied with their efficiency!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the reasonable taxes!

I know, boring stuff again, but it feels great! Funny enough, whenever we moved to our next country, taxes always got lower, more favourable! It’s an awesome feeling seeing your salary increasing as you get more senior, and your tax rate going lower! Depending on your income level, Hong Kong offers around 5-10% taxes, which is pretty OK compared to Europe or the US! And as mentioned in the beginning, If I get to Dubai, it will get even better, down to Zero 😛

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the Junk boats!

Welcome back at the fun part! As you might know already, Hong Kong is built on hundreds of islands. Wouldn’t it be great to hop on a boat with your friends, and go around these islands? Jumping in the crystal clear water of the lagoons, getting that tan on the upper deck, sipping a cold beer in the shades of the lower deck? You are in luck, my friend! There are hundreds of boats for rent, from the cheap and cheerful to luxury yachts, with a crew! All you need to do is bring your buddies, booze, BBQ and spend an awesome day island hopping!

Why do Expats love Hong Kong junk boat

Why do Expats love Hong Kong? It’s the markets!

OK, not all expats love the markets, many of them hire a live-in maid, who does the shopping. The World Citizen loves shopping, especially it’s interesting, and the wet markets and grocery markets certainly are! There is an awesome selection of goods, veggies you have never heard of! Initially, I thought locally grown fruits will be cheap, but I could not have been more wrong! For some reason I still do not understand, fruits like Pineapples, Mango, Passion fruit and anything which grows in the region, costs even more than in London. In fact, all food is expensive, even rice costs more in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world! But hey, you need to eat, you budget it in, and go to the markets. It’s a fun cultural experience, as most expats don’t go there, vendors do not speak English. Unless you are fluent in Cantonese, you are left with your miming skills if you want to ask prices! In return, you get home with a bunch of produce, proudly, like you have hunted them yourself! Next step is to figure out what can you cook from them? I have tried to replicate the soups I have tried at my favourite local lunch place, and failed miserably! I kept trying, and I think I got close!

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