Hong Kong truly does have a charm of its own, but it’s a city of extremes in many ways and most visitors will either love it or hate it. It’s hard to sit on the fence when it comes to Hong Kong. The city is small but it has a thriving economy that is fiercely competitive and independent. With its recent colonial past, the city has a distinctly East meets West vibe and in more ways than one, Hong Kong is a world class city. Its skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, but it’s also a city of contrasts, with easy access to the outdoors and beaches that are just a few minutes’ drive away. What’s most important to keep in mind when moving to Hong Kong is that it’s a city that never fails to surprise, so don’t move here with any preconceived notions!Large expat community
As an important business hub in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong attracts expatriates from across the world. The city is home to a rather large and extremely friendly expat population. Due to the shared experiences of moving and settling in a new city and adjusting to a new culture, expats in Hong Kong have a tendency to reach out to new expats, helping them settle in. The expat population is in a constant state of flux, with people coming into the city and moving out constantly, so it’s hard to forge long term relationships with a wide social circle. This aspect is also what adds to the charm of Hong Kong however, as well established social circles tend to be more exclusive and less friendly to new comers.
Hygiene and cleanliness
Hong Kongers are fastidious about cleanliness and hygiene. The city has always been clean and disciplined, but it got almost obsessive following the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Almost every building in the city is adorned with sanitation stations, which are automated machines, meant simply to spurt disinfectant! If you think that’s going too far, you should observe the notices in elevators very closely. They proudly proclaim the frequency with which buttons are sanitized… it’s worth boasting about because they are on an average, sanitized up to six times a day. This makes the city a haven for any germaphobe like TV’s unassuming detective Adrian Monk.
The Night Life
There’s always something to do in Hong Kong and anyone who has visited the city, will attest to the fact that Hong Kong truly is a city that never sleeps. For those who like to spend the night out simply eating and drinking, the city has plenty to offer, with a variety of bars and restaurants, most of which are open till the wee hours. If you want to hang out with friends and socialize too, there are plenty of options with nightclubs and pubs spread out across the city. For those looking for an experience even more unique to Hong Kong, try out a luxury night cruise over Victoria Harbor. You can even visit the casinos in Macau, which isn’t too far away, or simply sample some global cuisine at SoHo Hollywood.
Hong Kong’s public transport network is exceptional and of the highest standards. Despite the high population density Hong Kong’s public transport service is extremely efficient, reliable and immaculately clean! Eating and drinking is forbidden on public buses and on the MTR, a rule that helps keep it clean. For those who aren’t in too much of a hurry, the tram offers a more leisurely commute in an otherwise bustling city. Taxis are also easy to find and are a lot cheaper than in most parts of the world. Quality service however isn’t all that you get from Hong Kong’s public transport; it’s also incredibly cheap!
Busy city or tropical paradise
While people in most parts of the world have to choose between the two, residents in Hong Kong can actually enjoy the best of both worlds. The city that the world is best acquainted with is dominated by skyscrapers, but what most of the world doesn’t know is that Hong Kong has among the highest proportion of protected territory with national parks, as compared to any other city. No matter which part of the city you find yourself in, a beach or lush green mountain will be not more than a 20 minutes’ drive away.
Despite the fact that it isn’t part of a democratic country, residents of Hong Kong have more freedom than those in some democratic countries, and protests and public agitations are in fact part of daily life! However, as any global traveler will tell you, there’s no such thing as a perfect city. Hong Kong can be unbearable in the summer, with humidity and pollution at their peak.
With its strict observance of workplace ethics, work clothes can make commuting in summer so much more unbearable, and it isn’t uncommon to reach meetings soaked in sweat. To make matters worse, most buildings have their air conditioning set to temperatures that are much lower than required, making the heat outside that much more unbearable. If the heat really gets you badly, you should seriously consider the weather before you decide to move to Hong Kong.