Ultimate Guide to Living in Hong Kong

by Joanne Rushton
December 13, 2020

Living in Hong Kong and want some practical tips to make your life easier? We are here to help.

Maybe you’ve been offered a job in this great city, and you’re looking at making your life in Hong Kong?  Or perhaps you’re a local looking to shake things up and explore the place anew. Either way, we hope some of our tips on living in Hong Kong give you a fresh perspective. 

Living in Hong Kong is a great experience – our team here at Savvy in HK, has been living here as ex-pats and locals for years. One thing everyone tells you about life in Hong Kong is how expensive it is, and we’re here to help.

With our combined decades of daily life experience as Hong Kongers, we want to share with you the tricks, tips, hacks, and need-to-knows to get the most of your time here. After you’ve moved from being a newbie in the city, it’s time to really settle into your regular routines.

To get you going with how to exist a zen Hong Kong life, we’ve got a complete guide for how to experience life in Hong Kong. We’re going to share with you:

  • Ways to live a good life with Hong Kong club memberships
  • How to finally get the good quality linen you’ve been hunting for
  • What you need to do to live a plastic-free life in Hong Kong 
  • Tips on using Taobao if you’re an English speaker
  • Why a Selfridges membership can save you a lot of money
  • Why Miniso is the shop you should be going to
  • HKTVmall and why we love it
  • Where to buy the best Hong Kong themed gifts
  • Where to buy Christmas trees

We hope these tips and tricks will help you get ready to dive right into Hong Kong life.


What are the hottest club memberships to enhance my life in Hong Kong?

When you're living in Hong Kong, a club membership can make your life more enjoyable; giving you space to relax and exercise

Photo courtesy of LRC Facebook.

Life in Hong Kong has many different aspects, and joining a club is something many people choose to improve their social lives. Membership clubs are popular with families since they’re full of kid-oriented facilities, and if you’re into sports, then this is what you want to do.

It’s not easy choosing which club to join in Hong Kong. There are quite a few to choose from, with sports like:

  • Tennis
  • Rugby
  • Cricket
  • Golf
  • Sailing

All catered for, with reduced membership fees common if you’re talented.

The right club for you will depend on lots of different factors. Knowing the challenge ourselves, we gathered together all the information you need about Hong Kong club memberships. In our guide to clubs in Hong Kong, we give details about:

  • Ladies’ Recreation Club, with a range of sporting facilities like tennis courts and swimming pools, as well as spa and dining options
  • Hong Kong Cricket Club, which isn’t just about the cricket – swimming, squash, and tennis are all catered for in a tranquil, green setting
  • Hong Kong Country Club is great for families with supervised play areas and a quiet location with well-maintained grounds
  • The American Club offers members two locations – city and country – with different facilities at both. Choose between fine dining and swimming and chilling
  • Hong Kong Football Club has netball, hockey, and rugby pitches as well football and restaurants and venues for watching your favorite sporting events
  • Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is great for sailing enthusiasts with three locations around Hong Kong as well as a great kids club at their Causeway Bay venue

They’re by no means all the club options you have in the city, so dive into our full article to see more and learn about the pricing and membership options. A club membership will elevate your life in Hong Kong, as long as you have the time in your life to use it!


I’m living in Hong Kong; where do I get great bed linen?

White Company bedding is so easy and good value to order online to many places around the world including HK. Read our review of the White Company

Is there anything better than being wrapped up in clean, crisp bed linen in your cozy apartment after a long day in the life of Hong Kong?

If you’ve ever been shopping for bed linen in Hong Kong, you’ll know it’s not that easy. There are some major problems with finding bed sheets in the city:

  • The quality is poor with low thread counts
  • Patterns can be unattractive and even sometimes plain garish
  • When you find bed sheets you like, your wallet won’t be happy at the price

Rather than giving you a list of secret shops hidden away in cute corners of the city, we straight up recommend The White Company and their online shop.

White is a timeless color for your home. The bedsheets and other linens you get at The White Company are true to the brand name and are white or off-white. Having neutral bed linen will allow you to change up other bedroom elements without going hunting for a new duvet cover to match.

It’s not all about the bedding, either. You can also order:

  • Lusciously plump bath towels
  • Home accessories
  • Deliciously scented candles

And plenty more, all in pure and simple hues.

Having these things shipped over from the UK might seem decadent, but we’ve run the numbers. For the quality of what you get compared to the price you pay, you’re walking away with a bargain. Remember, being savvy isn’t just about cheap; it’s about great value for money.

Want to know more about the White Company? We’ve picked out some of our favorite products and give our honest opinion about some of the things we’ve had delivered whilst living in Hong Kong.


How do I live a plastic-free life in Hong Kong?

If you want to lead a plastic free life in Hong Kong, we have you covered. We offer plastic free tips for all people living in Hong Kong.

We’ve only got one planet. Even when we’ve got expensive shopping habits, trying to kids to keep happy or want to jet-set worldwide, we must look after it.

At Savvy in HK, we advocate for living a plastic-free and sustainable life as much as possible. That’s why we recommend quality products rather than the cheapest products; and also why we love recycling and reusing products.  

With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to living a plastic-free life in Hong Kong. You can check out all the details here, but we’ve picked out some of the highlights for you:

  • Plastic-free drinking water is one of the biggest concerns for the environment. We give you our picks for sustainable and stylish water bottles for the whole family, and our recommendation for getting a water filter fitted at home
  • No more plastic toothbrushes or floss when you choose our recommended products
  • Remove plastic from your beauty routine with a change to shampoo bars and soaps rather than bottled products
  • Bulk food stores where you take your own bags or container and stock up to save the planet. These places are great for healthy food that’s great for vegans  
  • Plastic-free shops online and brick-and-mortar in Hong Kong where you can make sure you’re doing your bit for sustainability, buying everything from lunch containers to water bottles

Following these tips will make your life in Hong Kong a little less harsh on the environment. It can be tough to feel connected to nature in this vibrant urban jungle – except when you take trips around and about – but knowing you’re contributing to preserving the environment can help.


How can shopping on Taobao make my life in Hong Kong cheaper?

You’ve probably heard your friends and workmates talk about the wonder that’s Taobao. Not used it yet? Be ready to revolutionize your life in Hong Kong.

Taobao is one of the biggest, most-used websites in the world. It’s a huge shopping site selling pretty much anything you could ever want.

The only downside is that the site doesn’t have an English version. You might be working on learning your Mandarin, but unless you’re pretty advanced, navigating through this behemoth of a shopping site is going to be a challenge still.

It’s not time to give up on it just yet, though. Here at Savvy in HK, we’ve got using Taobao down to fine art, always on the hunt for a bargain and ready to put in the effort. We’ve got two options for buying good and cheap stuff in our hack to using Taobao in English.

1.      Using an agent

Many people take the easy route to use Taobao in English and engage the services of an agent. You can give your instructions to someone else, let them take care of all the details, deal with follow up with the seller, and just wait for your order to arrive.

Research the fees you pay to make sure you’re not negating your savings by using a Taobao agent. Check for delivery fees and commissions, and once you’ve got a reliable agent – stick with them! We recommend three perfect ones in our guide.

2.      Figure it out yourself

This may seem a little daunting – using a website all in Mandarin when you barely speak a word. Never fear, Google Translate is here! You don’t need to copy/paste every single thing into the Translate function; when you use Google Chrome browser, it’ll translate everything for you at the click of a button.

Once you’ve got the page in English – imperfect as it is – you just need to figure out how to use it. We won’t go into the details here, but to learn about:

  • Setting up an account
  • Adding your shipping address
  • Understanding your shipping options

Head over to our complete article.


What’s the deal with buying from Selfridges when I live in Hong Kong?

If shopping is life, Hong Kong might have a bit of a shock in store for you. Buying your usual items like clothes, makeup, and homeware is decidedly expensive. You probably knew this when you chose to move here, but it’s still shocking to see the mark-ups on products sometimes.

You don’t have to put up with the massive price hikes that your creature comforts come with. If you’re prepared to wait for shipping, shopping on the world-renowned Selfridges site is ideal for Hong Kongers.

Did you know that you can pay an annual membership for Selfridges and get free delivery? You’ll pay around $420 a year, but when you look at shipping costs, you’ll save that after just a couple of orders. What can you get from Selfridges? Anything from:

  • Clothes
  • Accessories
  • Makeup
  • Homeware
  • Stationary
  • Apple products

And plenty more, go check them out!

What’s more – since you’re shipping your goods outside the UK, you’ll see a nice 20% discount at the checkout. All costs and fees are included, so there won’t be any unwelcome surprises when your goodies arrive.

As if that all wasn’t great enough, you can ship your orders to any of the 130 countries and territories they deliver to. This means that your Christmas and birthday gifts for friends and family scattered around the globe become much, much easier.

Ready to learn more about the great-value products on Selfridges? We’ve gone into a lot of detail and answered all your burning questions about using Selfridges when you live in Hong Kong.


What’s the deal with Miniso, and how can it improve my life in Hong Kong?

Miniso is a popular store in Hong Kong; these stores offer inexpensive products.

Have you been into the 100 Yen shops in Japan, dollar stores in the USA, or pound shops in the UK? The bargains are amazing, and Miniso is a brand that works to emulate those business models.

Miniso was founded back in 2012 by a pair of friends from China and Japan. They aim to bring low-priced, well-designed products to market fast and keep pace with consumer trends.

If you’ve not been in to one of the now-iconic red and white stores, you’re in for a treat. Unleash your inner bargain hunter and go in search for:

  • Kitchenware
  • Beauty products
  • Tech items
  • Handy household gizmos and gadgets
  • Sunglasses
  • Toys and teddies

And plenty more besides.

Don’t see anything you like or need? There are no problems because the store gets new ranges delivered every week and there’ll be a whole new shop floor every two weeks. Honestly, shopping here is like finding a pirate’s cave full of goodies that magically keeps refilling.

Lots of products are great for kids and teens. They have branding tie-ups with Marvel and Sesame Street, so it’s easy to find stuff to keep younger ones happy. Items like headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and stationery are great value for money, should last a while, and if they do get lost – because that’s what kids do – you’ve not spent a fortune on branded kit.

Miniso has 19 stores across Hong Kong. If you’ve not yet ventured in, go and check the store out next time you see one. Everything is super cheap, with most items around the $100 mark. We can’t promise that you’ll stick to any budget in there; things are so cute and well-designed.

For the low down on our favorite products that’ll make your life in Hong Kong that much better, head on over to our complete article in Miniso in Hong Kong, including our recommended buys. 


I’m living in Hong Kong; why do I need to know about HKTV mall?

If you're living in Hong Kong, try out the HKTV mall platform. It's not the easiest platform to use but, it will save you money.

It might not be as pretty or easy to navigate as the likes of Amazon, but HKTV mall is a must for life in Hong Kong.

On the website, you can browse through categories like:

  • Skincare and makeup
  • Electronics
  • Homeware
  • Sporting goods

And search for anything your shopping heart desires.

You’ve probably seen the green and white vans trundling all over the city and coming into your apartment block. Deliveries can be with you the next day in lots of cases – order before 3 pm, and you’ll have your items with you before 6 pm the next.

Don’t want to wait around for delivery? Not keen on having your shopping habits laid bare to your workmates? You can even choose for your HKTV mall order to be dropped off at O2O self pick-up points.

With a bit of browsing, you can get near enough anything you need on the site. We’re huge fans of their supermarket section. As well as a reasonable range of gluten-free options, you can get great deals on:

  • Champagne
  • Cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables

Without ever leaving the house. Perfect for when you’ve had a long week working and socializing and don’t want to get off the sofa all weekend.

Are you a browser when it comes to online shopping? The Top 100 of the Week and Deals sections towards the bottom of the homepage will make your life in Hong Kong a little bit more exciting.

To know you’re getting a good deal, you can always check out other local websites or just keep adding to your cart, knowing that pretty much everything on the site is amazingly priced.

For more details about HKTV Mall and to check out some price comparisons, head on over to our guide to HKTV Mall.  


Now that I live in Hong Kong, where can I buy Hong Kong-themed gifts?

If you're looking for a gift for someone, consider giving a Hong Kong-themed gift. Not only will you be supporting the local artists, but Hong Kong themed gifts will be highly cherished.

Photo courtesy of Louise Hill Facebook.

Who doesn’t love receiving gifts? Sure, you can go generic and pick up a bouquet of flowers or order a thank you card online.

But if you instead chose Hong Kong-themed gifts,  you are not only supporting the local community, but you’re likely to be giving something quite memorable. 

We’ve got some super-cute and cool shops for gifting in Hong Kong, and there’s a complete list over in this full article. To give you a taster of some of the stuff we cover;

  • For custom cards and lovely Christmas ideas, and plenty of other gift ideas, check out Biscuit Moon.
  • Breath-taking home items that are at both unique and thoughtful can be found at Ginger Jar Lamps Co.
  • Quirky, funky, and fun gifts can be found down in Wong Chuk Hang when you visit Mirth.
  • Qraftie which is an online platform that allows local artisans, artists, and designer to sell their items
  • Arty, original pieces for great gifts, can be found at Sun Ngai Brass Ware, running for 70 years so far.


I’m living in Hong Kong; where can I buy a Christmas tree?

Living in Hong Kong and wondering where to buy a Christmas tree? Check out buying Hong Kong Christmas tree guide.

Recently, Christmas trees have been in huge demand in Hong Kong. If you forget to place your order in Hong Kong for a Christmas tree, you might find yourself either going without or spending huge amounts of money for one.

In our article devoted to buying Christmas trees in Hong Kong, we cover;

  • Best places for buying real Christmas trees
  • Where to buy fake Christmas trees
  • How to choose the right Christmas tree for your home & ethics
  • How to get rid of your Christmas tree
  • Alternative Christmas tree ideas

If you know you will be staying in Hong Kong over Christmas, ordering a Christmas tree around October is a good idea.

Yes, this might seem early, but this will ensure you; can order the type of Christmas tree you want (did you know a Nordmann fir has a great Christmas scent, and the deep green colors of the tree provide a beautiful backdrop for decorations), your preferred tree height, as well as the delivery date of your choice.

For full details on buying a Christmas tree in Hong Kong, check out our Christmas tree guide.


In conclusion

The more you know about the possibilities of Hong Kong in terms of what’s on offer and how to get the best pricing, the better your life will be. We hope that these tips help make living in Hong Kong an even better experience.

If we have missed any tips about living in Hong Kong, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.

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