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Guide to immigrating to Hong Kong Part Two

Updated on June 11, 2012


Welcome to Part Two of my guide to immigrating to Hong Kong. In Part One I discussed factors you should consider when deciding whether a move to Hong Kong is right for you. In addition, I went through things that you will need to check before leaving the country you were living in. Part Two will focus on the important step of finding a place to live.

The link to Part One is

Finding a place to live

Once you have sorted out your possessions ready for shipping to your new home, your house is sold / rented and you have tied up any loose ends your focus can shift to your new home.

It is a good idea, if possible, to organize a short trip to your new home so that you can familiarise yourself with the country and have a good look around, particularly those areas you are interested in living in. Alternatively, firms relocating staff will often provide them with a serviced apartment or other temporary accommodation for the first month which will allow you plenty of time to find firstly an area you like and then a flat that you would like to rent.

Asia is different to Europe and the USA in one key area when it comes to accommodation. In Asia people live in tower blocks (excluding the very wealthy).

There are a number of areas in Hong Kong that are popular with westerners.

Discovery Bay

along with Stanley are probably the two areas with the highest number of westerners living there and both places feel quite western. Discovery Bay (usually known as DB) is on the island of Lantau. It has no MTR station however there is a regular ferry to Central that takes 30 minutes. There are two very good websites for DB and

Tung Chung

is on Lantau Island next to the airport. It is popular with people working at the airport as well as those attracted by the wide open spaces that abound on Lantau. It is 30 minutes to Central via the Tung Chung MTR station.

For Tung Chung, please feel free to browse my guide on living in Tung Chung

Happy Valley

is on Hong Kong Island and is part of the Wan Chai district. It is popular due to its central location. The nearest MTR station is Causeway Bay MTR station which is normally reached via minibuses. Alternatively, there are trams and buses available with two bus terminals.


is also on Hong Kong Island. It is reachable only by bus or taxi (the bus takes around 45 - 50 minutes) and is very popular for those who like it’s relaxed and friendly feel. It is a popular tourist destination so it can get busy on the weekends.


is directly above Central halfway up Victoria Peak. It is popular due to the fact that Central is within walking distance via the mid-levels escalator which can be used to get to many places in mid levels easily and quickly. Rents are obviously expensive due to its proximity. Hong Kong Park and the zoological and botanical gardens are just below mid-levels.

Once you have decided on the area you would like to live in, you should begin to look around the area looking at the estates available. There are a number of factors you should bear in mind when choosing an estate.

  • Determine your budget (rent is expensive in Hong Kong so be prepared)
  • Identify the area that you would like to live in
  • Visit the estates you like with a Real Estate agent
  • In the summer Hong Kong is very hot and humid, will you be able to get to work without getting very hot and sweaty
  • Decide how big a flat you would like

Once you take a look at a few flats in one estate, you will appreciate how little real difference there is between flats in the same estate. You have choice over views, how high up you want to live etc, but other than that, flats of the same size are largely identical. This makes the decision making process much easier as you are comparing apples to apples. In cities with large numbers of houses available choosing can be much more difficult (for example, do you prefer the house with smaller rooms but a bigger garden over the house with the larger rooms nearer a busy road) but choosing between largely identical flats is much simple and straightforward.

One final word of warning is around pets. Most estates do not allow animals. Those that do tend to have a very high concentration of people with pets so I would not recommend living in an estate that allows pets unless you have a pet yourself. Estates that allow animals tend to be extremely noisy and in the areas where dogs are walked tend to smell rather bad.


Without doubt, if you do move to Hong Kong you will get to experience a totally new culture, explore a new area of the world and experience the often random nature of Asia, seeing the unexpected every day. I wish you well if you decide to immigrate to Hong Kong, it is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section below.


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