Family and friends have been asking how is my life in Hong Kong. Thanks for caring. To be honest, I think I am doing just fine. Thankful to live a comfortable life in Hong Kong.
Finding accommodation in Hong Kong
Finding a place to stay in Hong Kong is a whole new level for me. I would like to share my experience so others will not make the same mistakes and hopefully, the process would be less painful.
Firstly, be prepared to pay a huge amount of rent (40% more than Singapore), especially for the first time with a new place. Prepare 3.5 months of rent once you decided the place. Why? 2 months of rent as deposit, 1 month of rent upfront and 50% commission to the agent.
Secondly, decide if you want to stay within Hong Kong Island or not. In general, the further you stay away from Hong Kong Island, the cheaper the rent and the bigger space you can get. Public transport like the MTR is very efficient but it is super crowded during the peak hours. Unless you have odd working hours, maybe it would be less crowded. Hence, traveling would be more pleasant.
Thirdly, rental advertisements (both online and offline) are not accurate. There might be a posting for a rent but in actual fact, the place has been taken up. It is deliberately left active to “promote” the agency’s services.
So do not even think about checking all the postings. The agent told me I was not very smart to do that… How am I suppose to know information accuracy is not part of the business strategy?!
Fourthly, there is no correlation between the rental and the quality of the building. There are many old buildings for rental for at least HKD 15, 000 (SGD 2,700) for 240 sqf. Studio apartment? Sort of without kitchen, so get your own microwave.
Recent article on Singaporean couple, living in Hong Kong’s Nano flat
Lastly, once you decided and negotiated for the place, pay the deposit and make sure the owner sign the agreement letter. What happened to us was, we paid the deposit and pending for the owner to sign the agreement letter. It was mentioned that the owner was overseas.
2 days later, we were told that the owner decided to take another higher offer even though we signed and paid the deposit.
I was extremely upset because I felt played… Anyway, I believe everything happens for a reason. I am satisfied with our current place. It is central and walking distance to places where I can attend classes.
One last thing, do not be surprise that the building’s management would inform you that there will be no water supply for a day or two. It is common because there is maintenance required.
The place we are staying is about 860 SQ FT Gross (3 bedroom with kitchen, living and dining room). A good amount of space for 3 of us.
A month in Hong Kong has made me realized the differences between Hong Kong and Singapore. At first, I thought I would have no issue figuring out Hong Kong. I was so wrong.
In general, People I met in Hong Kong are kind and extremely hard working. Services are much better compared to Singapore but it depends on where you go too. Hong Kong is very much money driven. People care more about their image. I have never seen so many Chanel bags in a day. People do not wear slippers, it seems like they dress up.
In Singapore, I do not wear makeup most of the time. It is socially acceptable not to wear makeup. I do not care if it is because we embrace natural beauty or I am too lazy to wear any. However in Hong Kong, I have been wearing makeup every time I go out. I don’t even know why I am doing it but I just want to fit in.
People are superstitious. My building has no 4th, 14th, 24th, 34th, 44th floor. I was so surprised when I realised. Oh, and when we were looking for apartments, the agent did not show us the units that had people died (murder or suicide). We insisted to have a look though.
By the way, this post has been written weeks earlier because I have to wait 2 weeks to get the Internet up and running. Apparently, the building I am staying needs to provide approval for the Internet operator before they can setup.
I only have 1 choice for fibre broadband because the other operator only provide maximum of 18Mpbs. When was the last time I heard 18Mpbs in Singapore?! I guess Hong Kong is not a flat country like Singapore. It needs more time and cost to create good infrastructure.
Mobile plans are way confusing. Maybe it is just me. In Singapore, all the major competitors have similar plans and prices. In Hong Kong, there is a lot of options to choose from.
Also, online shopping experience has not been the best. The design, outlook, payment and user experience has room for improvement. I guess the locals prefer to go to the physical store.
In Singapore, I buy pet food online. In Hong Kong, I struggled to find an online store that takes PayPal. The biggest outlet pet store do not have online store. I had to go to the store to buy and make payment. Then, they will arrange delivery.
For the first month, I searched for decent individual pet store for cat litter and carried it home…
Opening a bank account in Hong Kong requires proof of local address. It was difficult because our first month was with serviced apartment.
Do I miss home?
Honestly, I was too comfortable in Singapore. Living in Hong Kong has definitely made my life more interesting.
Living in Hong Kong is great because traveling to Japan is only 3 hours away (depending which part of Japan).
I am so thankful my parents sent me to Singapore for education. I am able to read Chinese characters. Made me realised how useful Mandarin can be.
I tend to appreciate things more back in Singapore.
In Singapore, it is safe to drink from the tap while Hong Kong I had to buy bottled water. I felt a sense of guilt when I had to put all the emptied bottles in the recycling bin.
The only constant is change. I am thankful to be here with my husband and cat.