Moving to Hong Kong: Family Guide and Tips on How to Get Started and Settled
Moving to another country is always exciting, especially when the country you’re moving to has as a unique and interesting culture as China does. However, adjusting to the new environment takes time and effort. So, here are a few tips that should help you settle down and get started.
Safety in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is famous for being safe – violent crime is very rare, life expectancy is high, and the infant mortality rate is very low. So, letting your child outside to play is not as risky as it might be in some other city. Even when they learn to use public transport on their own, you can still worry just a tiny bit less.
That being said, the one thing that isn’t very safe is the quality of air. Air pollution is a huge problem that can influence your mood, visibility, and health. Sometimes, you may not be able to see the sun for days. So, if your child has any respiratory issues, learn how you can manage their health issues before you move to Hong Kong.
The best place to live
If you haven’t decided on your new home already, there are a few different areas you should think about. Kowloon, Wan Chai, and Repulse Bay are all very popular with expats. They are great for families who want to stay in touch with their old culture. Moreover, if you’re looking for a house, you might want to consider North Point. However, this area is mostly sought after by locals, so you probably won’t hear your native language much here.
Also, Hong Kong is very densely populated. This is why many local families live in smaller apartments. However, in the New Territories, there are still options that are closer to what you’re familiar with – they might just cost a bit more.
The sooner you start researching schools for your children, the better. The move shouldn’t be too hard for them since they’ll have an easier time adjusting due to their age. They’ll acquire the language faster as well. If your child is a bit younger, you can sign them up for an educational playgroup where they would develop their skills while working with experienced teachers. Moreover, they would get an opportunity to learn more about the culture as well.
If your child is a bit older, there are many great schools in Hong Kong where lessons are held in English. It might be a good start if the language is a problem. However, if you’re planning on staying in Hong Kong for a while, your kids should start learning the language as soon as possible.
Getting around Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a very advanced and efficient transportation system, so there are many ways to get around. Of course, it might be a bit challenging in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll definitely appreciate it as well. There is a good subway system, a great number of buses and minibuses, ferry routes, trams, and of course, taxis. The first thing you need to do, though, is get an Octopus card. It can be used for most of the mentioned transportation options, and you can use it in supermarkets and restaurants as well.
Taxes and finances
Salaries in Hong Kong are mostly above average in comparison to the rest of the world. Of course, your salary will depend on the type of work you do and your position in the company.
As for the taxes, if you’re moving to Hong Kong because of your job, your taxes will be covered by the payroll department. However, you should still understand how they work, and this is especially important if you or your partner are self-employed. One good thing about taxes is that you’d only be paying them in one country even if you work for two.
If you have a dog, there are many useful groups on Facebook where you can find all the info you need. It’s sometimes difficult to figure out where your dog is allowed to go or where you can walk it. For example, dogs aren’t allowed in public transport, but you can still use a taxi. This just means that moving around with your dog might be a bit more expensive. Fortunately, there are many dog walkers, so you can ask them for advice as well.
Moving to another country is a huge change, so it might take your family some time to adjust. However, Hong Kong has everything you need for a quality lifestyle, so once you find your way around it, you will definitely fall in love with it.