Getting Settled and Accommodations

Settling into Hong Kong for a fast-paced lifestyle may take a while depending on how well-planned your move has been and whether you have previously visited and stayed in the city. Picking the right place to live will be a very important part of the process.

Get Out and About
The best way to start getting settled is to play tourist, grab a street map and start walking. Hop on a tram or double-decker bus to enjoy the sights of the main thoroughfares and start to get your bearings. Take a ride on the Star Ferry or the Peak Tram for wide-angle views of Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula.

Hong Kong Smart Identity Cards
The Hong Kong government requires anyone over the age of 11 who enters and intends to stay for more than 180 days to apply for a Hong Kong Smart Identity Card (ID) within 30 days of arrival. Young people between ages 11 and 18 must have a Juvenile Identity Card, and people over 18 an Adult Identity Card.

US Consulate Registration
If you are an American expatriate, you should consider registering with US Consulate General’s Passport Unit. Any member of your family can do this for the entire family, and it only takes a few minutes. You’ll need to bring along the passports of all family members.

Other Foreign Nationals
A full list of Consular Posts and Officially Recognized Representatives in Hong Kong is available on the Protocol Division Government Secretariat website.

Adjusting to Life in HK
Even after making the most careful preparations for your move to Hong Kong and overcoming all the challenges of settling in, you may go through periods of adjustment. Some thoughtful, practical preparation will help you adjust.

Arrival in Hong Kong - Ways to Cope
Besides anticipating the adjustment stages and the associated challenges, there are other ways to cope with your new environment. Keep an open mind. Customs in Hong Kong may be different from what you are used to, and it’s unlikely that the locals will change. So try to understand their point of view.

Places of Worship
Finding a place to worship is an important part of life. Religious freedom is guaranteed in Hong Kong’s constitution, and places of worship for every religious persuasion are located here.

Domestic Help
Many expatriate families hire a live-in or part-time domestic helper. The helper may be a Chinese “amah” or more often a person from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia or Sri Lanka. Duties for a live-in helper over a six-day week usually include cleaning, laundry, cooking and/or help with the children.

If you are an expatriate living in Hong Kong in a company owned/rented flat, then you will be provided – in most cases – a spacious flat in a relatively convenient location.

Other Costs
Costs of Communication, Newspaper and Media Resources, Electricity, Water and Gas

Air Quality in Hong Kong
It is now possible to check the level of air pollution in Hong Kong with a newly developed smartphone app and website.

Finding a Flat
English-language newspapers carry advertisements for flats to rent, share or buy, as well as listings by property agents.

Areas in Hong Kong Island
Where you choose to live will depend on many personal and financial factors.

Areas in Kowloon
Kowloon is located across the harbor to the north of Hong Kong Island. In this section of Hong Kong, you can find flats in both high-rise and low-rise buildings.

Areas in the New Territories
To the north of Kowloon lies the New Territories. Previously overlooked by many expatriates, many are now moving to these parts of Hong Kong to enjoy more open spaces close to nature, as well as lower rental costs.

Temporary Accommodations
You may need to stay in a hotel for several weeks or months when you first arrive while waiting for your household goods to be shipped. Although this arrangement can be uncomfortable and unsettling, especially if you have young children, it has some advantages.

Chinese Language Basics
Chinese names begin with the surname (last name), followed by one or two given names. When you meet someone, they will usually give you their name card or business card. These often have Chinese on one side and English on the other. Many Hong Kong people have also adopted “Western” names. You’ll also meet people with rather unusual or whimsical English names, like Piano Su, Happy Wong or Cinderella Leung.

Useful Apps, Websites and Phone Numbers
When it comes to moving to Hong Kong, it’s always handy to have some phone numbers on hand for emergencies. In addition to these, here is a list of smart phone applications, websites and telephone numbers that will make settling into the city much easier for you.

Weathers Conditions and Warnings
Tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons and hurricanes depending on where you live, normally occur from May through November, especially in September. Whenever a tropical cyclone center is within 800 km of Hong Kong and poses a threat to the territory, the Observatory will issue a warning. The bulletins include the latest position and expected movement of the storm, its wind strength, rainfall and sea level in Hong Kong. Listen to radio or television broadcasts and follow the advice. Be prepar...