Expat' Tips : HONG KONG


What you must know :

Hong Kong is a pretty expensive city.
One of the only thing worse buying now is the hifi, video, mobiles and photo stuff. Computer stuff is more or less at the same price as in France (except a few particular items). So better compare the price in your own country before buying.
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar HK$ online currency converter by Oanda
Weather: 2 seasons online weather in Hong Kong by Yahoo
- October to March : cool (between 18C and 24C) and dry (60%)
- April to September : hot (between 28C and 34C) and humid (90%)
Transportation :For metro and bus (and 7Eleven shops), buy an Octopus card (50HK$ deposit).
Restaurants : budget around 100 to 300HK$ per person.
Apartment : don't budget below 10,000HK$/month for a decent appartment in town.
Electricity : around 400HK$/month (based on 1person)
Gaz : around 40HK$/month (based on 1person)
Water : around 50HK$/month (based on 1person)
DON'T drink water tap, buy mineral water (7 HK$/bottle)
: 110HK$/month (unlimited local calls)
Internet 56k : around 100HK$/month (with Pacific SuperNet provider)
Bills payment very easy by ATM machines or autopay.
Bank account : HSBC / Hang Seng (branch of HSBC) (practical because of the ATMs in each MTR station)
Foreigners : 'Gweilos'
Advice when you buy : bargain systematically, try what you buy and check the guaranty (when it's cheap-cheap, there is a reason!), compare with FORTRESS shops (high price standard)
English spoken only in touristic and business areas !
Bring your address written in Chinese when you take the taxi.
Salaries: examples
- maid : around HK$ 3000 / month
- 35 year old consultant : around HK$ 600,000 / year
Income Tax: simplified calculation (no legal value, just a help tool)
Total Taxable Amount : Yearly income + Bonuses + Allowances + 10% of your yearly apartment rental - 100,000HK$
Income Tax : 2% of the first 35,000HK$ + 7% of the second 35,000HK$ + 12% of the third 35,000HK$ + 17% of the balance
NB: if it is your first year working in Hong Kong, you will have to pay also a provisonnal year (Yearly Income Tax X 2 !!!)
Example: for a 300,000HK$ yearly income and 17,000HK$/month apartment rental, your yearly income tax will be around 40,000HK$.
Retirement scheme: MPF, compulsory (you put a maximum of 5% of your salary in a fund, and your employer do the same)

Download 'S'installer a Hong Kong' published by the French Consulate (in French only)



Where to buy ?

582-592 Nathan Street, Kowloon
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : DVD, CD-ROMs, ...
(recommended by Philippe)

at the intersection of Nelson Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South
MTR Mongkok exit E2 (10 meters straight away, on the left corner)
What to buy : everything related to hi-fi, video, speakers, ...
NOTE: 20 to 30 % cheaper, but no Manufacturer Guaranty;
be aware that the salesmen are not your friends and try to trick you most of the time! When it's cheap, there is a reason !
Advice when you buy : bargain systematically, try what you buy and check the guaranty (when it's cheap-cheap, there is a reason!), check the voltage, compare with FORTRESS shops (high price standard).
Take the elevator to access the shops from the 6th floor to the 16th floor of the building
(there is a 'secret' backdoor elevator in the street behind; you will avoid the queue of the main elevator).
Go at the 16th floor and go down using the stairs.
(recommended by Philippe)

Nelson Street, Mongkok
MTR Mongkok exit E2, walk straight 300m, cross 2 streets.
What to buy : computer parts, software (a bit expensive, better go to Sino Center)

Corner Argyle Street and Tung Shoi Street
MTR Mongkok exit D2, walk straight 50m

What to buy : mobiles

Corner Dundas Street and Fa Yuen Street (near the 'Restaurant qui pue', see below)
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : softs, models (planes, ...)

57, Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mongkok
MTR Mongkok exit E2
What to buy : cameras, zooms and accessories

Snikers, sport shoes : the whole Nelson Street !
MTR Mongkok exit E2

Sham Shui Po
MTR Sham Shui Po
What to buy : computer parts, software, consoles (cheapest stuff, 2 levels: ground and lowerground)

Same building, corner in front of the MacDonalds, find the entrance
What to buy : computer parts (1st and 2nd floor)

MTR Tsuen Wan last exit North, take the pedestrian flyover, in front of the commercial center where there is the CRC store
After passing over the road, turn right near the small building, just at the beginning of the descent of the pedestrian high-path.
Explore all the shops
What to buy : softs, CDs, VCDs, ...
Another address in Tsuen Wan: take this time southward and walk trough the pedestrain path which crosses several small shopping centers and continue toward the Panda Hotel (wall painted with giant pandas); when you cross the small shopping arcade, take escalator which goes down to the right underground.
Many shops to explore.
What to buy : softs, CDs, VCDs, ...

KWAI FONG shopping centers
MTR Kwai Fong, 2 shooping centers
In the ugliest one, at the right, where there is no MacDonalds, many softs.

- the computer center in WANCHAI
- the computer center in TSIM SHA TSUI

MTR Tsim Sha Tsui
What to buy : souvenirs, handicraft ONLY
DON'T buy video in this expensive tourist area !




Where to eat ?

Tsim Sha Tsui area
Western food, quite cheap and very ok
(recommended by Philippe)

Where to stay ?

Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Rhine Guest House
Madam Cheung
A1 (first lift when entering), 13/F
MTR Tsim Sha Tsui exit E
Fax :+852 2316 2428
Tel : +852 2367 1991
Famous enough to be mentionned. Doesn't look good but vey ok and safe for 140HK$/night


Where to go ?

Experience the Hong Kong crowd in Mongkok area
MTR Mongkok exit E2
Note the brothels everywhere, signaled by the green and pink neons. They are managed by the Hong Kong Triads.

Ladies Market
Clothes, fake watches ...
MTR Mongkok exit E2

Experience the 'Restaurant qui pue'
Corner of Dundas Street and Ladies Market Street (follow the smell, good luck)
MTR Mongkok exit E2

Temple Street night market
MTR Jordan



Where to go ?

Lan Kwai Fong
MTR Central exit G
Expat show-off area (more gwailos than asian)
Very expensive, only if you like.
A few nice asian restaurants however, not so expensive (easy to find, Lan Kwai Fong is pretty small)

The Peak



To go to Sai Kung, go to MTR Choi Hung and take a minibus from there (20min)

Where to eat ?


Where to go ?

Sai Kung Country Parc
Just have a walk, beatiful sightseeing




Where to eat ?

To go to Lamma Island, take the Ferry from Central or Kowloon.


Where to go ?

Follow the path for the walk across the island (from one harbour to the other)



Where to go?

To go to Lantau Island, take the Ferry from Central or Kowloon.

The big Budha

Tai O Fishing Village
Crowded with tourists during week-ends visiting this tiny traditional fishing village.
Experience the fishermen politness: try to ask the fishermen info about what they sell ... obviously they don't like tourists that much ... it's a choice.


FOOD Serie