Since my kind of ‚travelling‘ included living life as a local each time, I can share the basic questions some people asked me and those I have been dealing with at the beginning.
Knowing nothing but I wanted to go somewhere abroad again, I decided to go to Hong Kong blindly. There were few reasons leading to my decision of choosing this city though.
First of all, I was like Alice in Wonderland desperately seeking for some information because I had no idea what to expect in Asia. To say nothing of trying to contact other people who’s blogs I found who were writing about HK, no one ever replying to me…I searched a bit, packed my things and went on a spot to find out in person.
As I like to communicate and to explore places with someone, especially after almost a day-long flight, I got in touch with few locals on couchsurfing.com before coming. This was quite helpful at the beginning because they showed me all the basic stuff like supermarkets (Wellcome, Park’n’shop), cashpoints, drugstores (Mannings, Watsons), chain of 7-elevens or cheap but good local food. They introduced me the area and spoke about peoples’ basic habits. Asia was all different for me and the English level was not that sufficient as I thought it will be.
If it happens you don’t have any type of visa in advance, you can visit HK on a tourist visa as I did. I don’t know about other countries, for some it is the same, for others it might differ. Considering the Czech Republic, entering with a tourist visa lasts for 90 days and you just fill in a small piece of paper on arrival. Notably, if you travel abroad and back, your tourist visa starts again from your return date for another 90 days.
If you are not a HK permanent resident or you don’t have a HK ID card, it’s needed to have a working visa here. It is quite strict and the immigration checks on companies.
Some countries (eg. France) provide a working holiday visa so that your job is half solved in advance.
The database mostly used for majority job offers is jobsdb.com. You can find many jobs from different fields there. Depending on your preferences, you can search for an internship, which is very common here as well. AIESEC offers some. In other job adds than internships, they usually want xxx+ years of experience and a diploma from your university graduation (which I didn’t have at that time as I am still a uni student). Pity is that they don’t reply at all so you have to keep pushing and be persistent to get a positive reply. Some links like jobs.asiaxpat.com or others can work, too. My friend found a job through craigslist.hk but I don’t find it being used much here. There are job seeking groups on facebook as well. I’ve been recommended to try some startup jobs but you have to be familiar with a fact that those are challenging but not generously paid. Try your home consulates as well, newspapers ads. Become a freelancer. If those don’t work for you? Networking with hongkongers will.
HK is a great business and banking centre and it is a site of many large international companies. There is a lot of possibilities for bankers and people from finance in general. Some international companies are transferring people from their countries but they also are looking for people here. English teachers are needed everywhere. They are seeking for native speakers (UK, Canada,..) but it is possible to get this job also when not being a native of course. Hospitality is very common as everywhere else because people in hospitality are always moving frequently.
It’s a lot of German and French expats here as I noticed. For some ladies from Philippines it’s common to do domestic helpers and HK is full of nice Philippino people in general.
Living here is really expensive. Rents are high and space you get is a nutshell. Cheapest thing I have been living in was for 3000 HKD but this is even not a standard for HK. If you are not a student living in a student campus (that can be even cheaper) and you want a proper flat, you prepare your finance. If someone considers a flat share, the rent is going to be 4000 HKD+. I would say a basic average can be 6000 HKD for a small, shared, very tiny micro room.
I was only looking for a small shared room to live in for few months. You can search for a place at airbnb.com but I preferred the easyroommate.com.hk, there are a lot of offers for affordable prices. And others, of course…
For a living area, HK is generally divided into 3 parts – HK Island, Kowloon and New Territories (plus a Lantau Island further). I was living on a HK Island and I wouldn’t change. If you live around Central, where more Central can you be, right? If you are a party person, you don’t have to worry how to get home after a long night as there are all the famous party areas.
Kowloon and New Territories are on the mainland on the other side of the harbour. Kowloon is more like a traditional part, overwhelmed with street ads and markets. NT is less crowded but further from Central part. It depends on where you need to go everyday. The quite clear question I was thinking about is whether when living on the island I wouldn’t be cut from everything. It’s well connected. Not only by ferries but MTR, buses and not very expensive cabs.