Being a newbie and moving to Hong Kong to start a new life is at once exhilarating, daunting, and stressful.
Where better to come for advice on moving to Hong Kong than to people who’ve already done it and are living the Hong Kong dream? Here at SavvyinHK, we’re here to guide you through your journey of life in Hong Kong.
In this article, we’re going to outline the top 10 tips for newbies in Hong Kong, including:
- The importance of location when looking for an apartment in Hong Kong
- Tips for buying second-hand goods in Hong Kong; it’s easy to find great quality and inexpensive 2nd hand items!
- A bucket list of things to do in Hong Kong
Find an apartment in the right location
Like with any relocation, our advice for newbies is to get here and figure out where you want to live first. Don’t hurry to settle on a location; take your time and consider organizing temporary accommodation until you’re sure of where you want to live.
Hong Kong is vibrant and varied; each area has its own feel. Whether you’re looking for a neighborhood to raise your kids or a funky area for post-office cocktails, there’s somewhere perfect for you.
Here are some neighborhoods in Hong Kong to consider:
- Mid Levels is close to the buzzing and vibrant heart of Central and close to many hiking trails. But, you will pay the price for all that convenience.
- Wan Chai sits in the old part of the city. It’s got an authentic feel and lots of shopping and eating. However, enough people have discovered these charms to make rents rise.
- Sai Ying Pun is another fashionable neighborhood in Hong Kong, and the rent is good value. Although with all the hills and with many apartment blocks lacking elevators, it’s not necessarily family-focused.
- Tsim Sha Tsui at the top end of the Kowloon Peninsula has everything you need in terms of shopping and eating. It ain’t cheap, though.
- Sheung Wan is one of the original hipster districts for expat life in Hong Kong. It’s packed with boutiques and cafes and mainly one-bedroom walk-up apartments.
- Pokfulam generally has larger-sized apartments at lower prices. Very popular with families that have young kids. Stanley Ho Sportsground is close by, as is the local ESF school.
- Southside: if budget is less of a concern, consider the Southside (including Repulse Bay, Stanley). While further away from Central, this area offers a beachy, more peaceful lifestyle. Relaxing at its finest.
In our guide to apartment hunting in Hong Kong, we talk caution about difficult landlords and what to spot in your tenancy agreement, we also recommend who we think is the best agent in town.
Buy furniture for your new apartment in Hong Kong
There are things you need to think about when you’re buying furniture in this city. Elevator size, doorways, overpowering your rooms with big pieces – these are all things to think about before investing in big furniture.
In our article dedicated to buying furniture in Hong Kong, you’ll find our top five recommendations for where to get the best and most stylish stuff in town. You can get your hands on Scandinavian chic without visiting IKEA, art deco-style design classics, 2nd hand furniture in the places we recommend.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the places we recommend in our furniture guide to kit out your new Hong Kong apartment:
- EMOH Design covers all of your cool and contemporary Scandanavian design without looking like everyone else’s furniture.
- 2nd Chance is where you head when you want to look after the planet and pick up some pre-loved items for your home.
- Homeless needs a one-word introduction – quirky. Showroom pieces and design showcases are available to buy at reasonable prices to make your place stand out.
For the full lowdown on where to get stylish, cheap, and comfortable furniture for your new place, head over to the full article.
Check out the best second-hand stores in Hong Kong
One of the most important things for newbies to know is that it’s really easy to buy high-quality second-hand goods in Hong Kong. We recommend you get to know and love the best second-hand stores in Hong Kong.
Doing what’s right by the planet can actually be more fun and yield better results than buying absolutely everything brand new.
Some of our favorite second-hand stores are:
- Retykle sells second-hand kid’s clothes that are quality, budget-friendly. Best of all, you’re helping the environment by reducing waste.
- Hula is an online platform that retails verified, lightly-worn (and in some cases, never worn) designer clothes. All sellers are verified, so you know nothing is a knock-off.
- 2ndchance is the place to go for second-hand home furniture, with free delivery for all purchases over $2,000.
- Asiaxpat works as an online forum for people to buy and sell their stuff. You can grab so many different bargains when people leave (car seats, TVs, bikes) and even grab a whole home’s worth of furniture if your style’s flexible.
- Carousell is the home of everything – second-hand electronics, kitchenware, clothing, and just about anything you can imagine gets listed here.
For full details of all these stores and what you can expect, we’ve put together a guide to second-hand shopping in Hong Kong.
Take the time to wander around the suburbs
We love to take the time to explore areas of Hong Kong. One of our absolute favorite areas is Sheung Wan.
What’s not to love? Sheung Wan has great restaurants, lots of different boutique gyms, and anything you could dream of buying can be bought easily at low prices.
Also, in Sheung Wan you can see how old Hong Kong and new Hong Kong merge together all in one location.
If you’re buying a second-hand car as a newbie, do your research first – don’t overpay!
Newbies that arrive in Hong Kong might be so surprised at the low prices for second-hand cars that they might just buy the first car they see. But don’t do this!
The second-hand car market is pretty saturated; that’s because there are always people moving on. But, just because there are many second-hand cars in Hong Kong, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy and straightforward buying process.
Don’t overpay – there is plenty of supply and plenty of options.
There are lots of things to be aware of, such as:
- The ownership history
- The service history
- How old the car is – coming up to seven years means inspections.
- What paperwork you need to do
To get the process fully broken down for you, head over to our list of tips on buying second-hand cars in Hong Kong. You’ll get all the details you need so you won’t end up with an old, expensive banger.
Create a list of things to do in Hong Kong
There are so many possible things to do in Hong Kong as a newbie, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve created a Hong Kong Bucket List that covers a huge range of activities, including;
- Best weekend activities: hikes, island hopping, and bouncing around at a trampoline park
- Activities you can do on weekdays include night hikes and the best places for hanging out with friends.
- Best seasonal activities that occur in Hong Kong throughout the year
- Some of the best new skills to acquire in Hong Kong include Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and cooking.
Buy insurance in Hong Kong
Getting yourself insured is an essential step as you set up your life in Hong Kong as a newbie. It can be quite a challenge with so many policies and many things that need to be covered.
You’ll start to collect insurance policies, such as:
- Home and contents
- Household fire
All their policies will come with different renewals and an array of various terms and conditions.
It’s useful to note, by law in Hong Kong, if you have a helper, you need to have a specific insurance policy for each one. Head on over to our complete guide on insurance for a full debrief about insurance in Hong Kong.
Buy some uniquely Hong Kong items
Some people don’t start collecting Hong Kong art until they’re just about to leave the country. But with so many local artists and so many great local products to buy, we suggest that you don’t wait.
We have an article dedicated to Hong Kong Gifts: Best 9 Stores. Check these out, and consider buying one or two items from our list so that you can immediately spice up your home.
If it’s your first Christmas in Hong Kong, you can consider ordering some uniquely Hong Kong Christmas cards from Biscuit Moon. This will save you from having to send your family and friends back home wintery Christmas cards!
Embrace public transport
Yes, we know we talked above about tips on buying second-hand cars. However, the truth is that public transport in Hong Kong is fantastic.
Not only is it relatively inexpensive, but it’s also often the fastest way to travel and can be lots of fun (star ferry!). You might have hated public transport back in your home country, but here in Hong Kong, you should be pleasantly surprised at just how many great options there are for public transport.
If it’s ever raining, don’t waste your time trying to find a taxi, figure out your best public transport option and enjoy how quickly you’ll arrive at your desired destination.
Do some research about dentists
Seeing a dentist in Hong Kong can be super expensive – yes, I think I probably fell over when I saw my first dental bill. That’s why we created our article on The Best Affordable Dentists in Hong Kong.
So before you spend untold amounts of money on basic dental services, check out our article to get a good idea of what you can expect to pay for dental services in Hong Kong. This is something we wished we had when we first moved here.
Are you a newbie and ready for the bright lights, delicious food, and wondrous chaos? Here at Savvy in Hong Kong, we’re a group of expats and locals, ready to help you get acclimatized to the city we love.
We hope that we can make the process of settling into life in Hong Kong for newbies a little easier. It can all seem quite daunting (and expensive) when you move to Hong Kong.
Got questions we’ve not covered here in our guide for newbies to Hong Kong? Get in touch, whatever your question about moving to Hong Kong, we’ve got it answered. We’ve done it before and are ready to hold your hand.
If you think we’ve missed out on any topics for newbies to Hong Kong, or if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.