Having visited Hong Kong, or as it may be loving referred to as H.K., once a few years ago, I immediately fell in love with the dazzling lights, never ending food places, and the shopping!!! It’s close proximity to other asian countries also makes it a great central location to travel around to neighbouring asian cities at a reasonable price.
Utilising what another H.K. lover has said about H.K. I can only concur:
Hong Kong can be overwhelming at first. The city has the most skyscrapers in the world — boasting more than 6500 buildings over 150 metres tall. Its population is around 7 million people, and it’s one of the world’s leading financial and business centres. As the world’s freest economy, it’s more colloquially known as the adult’s playground of Asia.
While most people see Hong Kong as the skyline of lights, the city is surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring hiking treks, stunning blue seas and secluded beaches. This combination of fast-paced city lifestyle and the ability to be alone on white sandy beaches — or one of Hong Kong’s favourite party boats, known as junks — brings the term work hard/play hard to the fore.
Hong Kong has at last census 90,000 Australian passport holders, a strong Australian business and social community and a strong ‘Aussie Rules’ competition. Above all, Australians, like in most parts of the world, are widely loved for our easy going, ‘no worries’ attitude combined with our hard working nature.
People who live in New York continually speak of the city that never sleeps, people in London speak of the culture and links to Europe, but now, as China and other Asian nations continue to grow, Hong Kong is the gateway for Australians looking to capitalise on the ‘Asian Century’.
Here are the most interesting, challenging and different parts about living in Hong Kong compared to Australia and the rest of the world …
1. It’s a cultural melting pot
Hong Kong is a rich melting pot of cultures from around the globe, with the obvious links back to the British Empire. Even since the 1997 handover to the Chinese, Hong Kong has remained somewhat independent of Chinese rule and has continued to encourage people from around the world to set up business and roots in the city.
There are an estimated million expats living in HK — all nationalities are represented.
Networking is a part of life; everyone is willing to help in some capacity, socially or in business, with most friendships groups spanning the globe — and as the saying goes — holiday houses around the globe.
2. Peter Pan lifestyle
Similar to most megacities with large expat populations, Hong Kong is renowned for the ‘Peter Pan’ lifestyle — where men and women alike continue to play hard well into their 30s. This can prove tricky to form relationships and dating is considered a minefield for many.
Hong Wrong is a term commonly used by locals and is apt due to the at times hedonistic society, the place where men can still be boys and party into the wee hours of any night.
3. Work hard/Play hard(ER!)
The hours of nine to five do not exist in HK. The city’s motto for more than a century has been work hard/play hard. This idea builds upon the very foundations of the psyche of Hong Konger’s where the people believe, through hard work, riches will follow.
Most people follow their 12 hour work days with the odd refreshment at the many bars across the city where to unwind is to drink to excess in a lot of cases.
This lifestyle is not for the faint hearted and one where sleep is very often sacrificed in lieu of a good time. HK is very much a city that has an addictive personality — working hard and making a way in your career is very much matched by the ability to keep up a fully functioning social life.
4. Apartment living
Apartment living is the only type of living. Hong Kong is a metropolis with buildings built upon buildings. It is also home to the most expensive real estate in the world. Be prepared, square metres are replaced by square feet and spacious apartments are only available to those who are paid the big bucks.
On the flip side, Hong Konger’s are rarely at home, we eat out most nights of the week, are continually socialising or playing sport.
Ahh the food. Hong Kong boasts the most restaurants in the world per capita and second most Michelin starred restaurants in the world. It’s home to the world’s best chefs restaurants with names such as Blumenthal, Goldstein, and Oliver, and offers a blend of all cuisines imaginable. Hong Kong is a culinary treat.
Hong Kong is at the centre of Asia — destinations such as the beaches of the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are just a few hours away. Business centres such as Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing can be frequented daily and Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the America’s are one flight away. Hong Konger’s love to travel as it remains fairly inexpensive to have a weekend getaway to a different world that Asia provides.
One for the girls — luxury shops mixed in with the biggest markets in the world. Places such as Central and Causeway Bay are known for luxury retailing, Mongkok and Stanley for their markets and bric-a-brac stalls, Tsim Sha Tsui for its abundance of tailors and watch retailers, Wan Chai for electronics and computers. If you’re after some retail therapy, Hong Kong has the options to fill the days.
8. Tax, Tax, Tax
With a top tax bracket on income set at 17.5% — the tax benefits of living in Hong Kong are obvious. Tax returns are on one page and starting a business takes less than a day to complete the regulatory procedures.
9. Australia in the Asian Century
Since the release of the Asian Century white paper, Australians have been encouraged to look to Asia as growth for Australian business. Hong Kong is leading the charge on many fronts as the gateway to China and the strong contingent of Australian businesses already set up in the special administrative region. Australian’s looking to move abroad now are taking Asia into consideration with Hong Kong providing the mix of work opportunities and the comforts of home.
Hong Kong rewards ambition and brings together highly qualified, intelligent and like-minded individuals across all nationalities and ages. It is a city where working hard and playing hard are revered.
Hong Kong should be on every Australian’s travel agenda… you just have to go at least once in your life!