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Hong Kong – Cost of Living

Hong Kong is a vibrant city-state located in southeastern China. It is known for its beautiful skyline, bustling streets, and diverse culture. Hong Kong has a reputation for being an expensive place to live, but there are still ways to enjoy this city without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore the cost of living in Hong Kong, including currency, comparisons to the UK and USA, breakdown of costs, and common forms of payment.

Local Currency in Hong Kong

The local currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). One Hong Kong dollar is divided into 100 cents, and there are coins in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as 1, 2, 5, and 10 dollar coins. Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 dollars.

Cost of Living in Hong Kong Compared to the UK and USA

Hong Kong is known for being an expensive city to live in, and the cost of living in Hong Kong is generally higher than that of the UK and the USA. According to Numbeo, a website that compares cost of living in different countries, the cost of living index in Hong Kong is 86.76, while the UK is 69.08, and the USA is 76.86. This means that on average, it is more expensive to live in Hong Kong than in the UK or USA.

Breakdown of Costs in Hong Kong

The cost of living in Hong Kong can vary depending on the location and size of the household. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical costs for singles, couples, and families of four in Hong Kong:


Housing costs in Hong Kong are notoriously high. In Hong Kong Island, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 15,000 HKD, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost around 35,000 HKD. In the New Territories, the cost of housing can be lower, but still expensive. It is also common for Hong Kong residents to live in small apartments due to the limited space in the city.

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Food in Hong Kong is generally affordable, especially if you are willing to eat at local street stalls and markets. Eating out in Hong Kong can be expensive, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around 200 HKD per person. Grocery shopping can also be expensive, with a loaf of bread costing around 20 HKD and a liter of milk costing around 15 HKD.


The cost of utilities in Hong Kong varies depending on the size of the household and the location. On average, electricity, water, and gas bills for a family of four in Hong Kong can add up to around 1,000 HKD per month. Internet and mobile phone plans are also reasonably priced, with a typical plan costing around 200-300 HKD per month.


Hong Kong offers a variety of leisure activities, from hiking in the mountains to visiting historical sites and shopping. Many activities in Hong Kong can be free, such as visiting public parks or exploring local neighborhoods. Paid activities such as going to the movies, visiting museums, or taking a tour can cost between 50-200 HKD per person.


Public transportation in Hong Kong is efficient and affordable, with a one-way MTR (Mass Transit Railway) ticket costing around 10 HKD. Taxis are also reasonably priced, with a typical 10-kilometer ride costing around 100 HKD. Owning a car in Hong Kong can be expensive due to high taxes, but gasoline prices are lower than in other countries.


The cost of clothing in Hong Kong varies depending on the brand and quality. Affordable clothing options can be found at popular stores such as H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo, with t-shirts costing around 100 HKD and jeans around 200-300 HKD. High-end designer clothing can be more expensive, with a designer dress costing around 5,000 HKD or more.

Household Goods

Household goods such as furniture, appliances, and electronics can be expensive in Hong Kong, especially if purchased new. Second-hand goods can be purchased at a more reasonable price, with sites like Carousell and Facebook Marketplace offering many options. A new refrigerator can cost around 4,000 HKD, and a new television can cost around 3,000 HKD.

Common Forms of Payment in Hong Kong

Cash is still widely used in Hong Kong, although debit and credit cards are becoming more common. It is recommended to carry cash for smaller transactions such as purchasing food or drinks at a local restaurant or market. ATMs are widely available throughout the city, and credit and debit cards are accepted at most major retailers and restaurants. It is important to note that some smaller shops and restaurants may only accept cash.

In conclusion, Hong Kong is known for being an expensive city to live in, especially when it comes to housing costs. However, there are still ways to enjoy this vibrant city without breaking the bank, such as eating at local street stalls and exploring free leisure activities. Public transportation is efficient and affordable, and cash is still widely used, although debit and credit cards are becoming more common.

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