Time to pack!

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  1. #1

    Talking Time to pack!

    A bit of paper work to be done to make it all official, then I think I'm relocating! I'm unbelievably excited and totally freaked out all at the same time! I have a couple of questions I am hoping some kind soul can help me with.
    My husband and I will both be working full time and we have a 1 year old - so will need to find a good Nanny - does anyone have any tips on this? From my preliminary research they are mainly foreign workers who live in?
    Accommodation wise, in your experience is it best to arrive and stay in a serviced apartment and then look for somewhere to live? Or is it realistic to think we can arrive with a few options to check out from surfing the net and pretty much walk into a place?
    We are coming over for few days next week so hope to at least pick an area then.
    Also, is the cost of living really out of this world? Can you make few savings by shopping and eating with the locals? Or not? (still negotiating final package)
    And one more question - is public transport good outside the MTR circuit. Previous trips have been short and involved taxi's or very short MTR trips.
    Thanks in anticipation

    The Vegemite Kid


  2. #2

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    If you can't find anything in the few days you are here, then a serviced appartment would be a good idea at first. As far as the cost of living goes, i think it's like anywhere in the world as it comes down to your lifestyle. I don't think food and drink are expensive at all, in fact i would say pretty cheap. You don't have to have a live-in nanny if you don't want, you can have her just come over daily if you like.


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegemiteKid:
    ...And one more question - is public transport good outside the MTR circuit. Previous trips have been short and involved taxi's or very short MTR trips.
    Thanks in anticipation

    The Vegemite Kid
    Well that depends on where your living and/or going to. The MTR covers most of the Kowloon and HK Island, runs from 05:30 to 01:00 everyday. However, if your living in the NT areas then you might want to use the KCR that runs from 05:45 to 12:30 (11:10 is the last board crossing) everyday instead. From my personal experience, the public transport in Hong Kong is amongst the best in the world - it's truly accessible 24 hours a day, from one mode to another.

    If your going to hard to reach places where the light rail doesn't go, you can always opt for the inexpensive mini bus (learning the place names would help, alot. Minibus drivers tend not to understand English) or you can use the bus. I'd advise you to invest in a Octopus card, save you carrying around tons of lose change and in some locations, you can get discounts. Woot!

    Good luck.

  4. #4

    Thanks heaps for the info. We were planning on living on HK Island. And work for me is in Central and my husband is Querry Bay? (hope that's right). Any places on HK island to avoid because they are hard to get to without a car? We are trying to plan next weeks scouting mission.
    Thanks! VK.


  5. #5

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    Ditch the car, seriously. I would imagine every place is hard to get to WITH a car because of the traffic.


  6. #6

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    Here's a good anecdotal story about cars in Hong Kong, from one of my favorite sites / blogs.

    http://www.batgung.com/articles/cars.htm


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    Agree with Onyx on that one! Its easier to just get the bus and use MTR to get around. Even if you need to get a taxi due to time, they are really not expensive at all. Petrol isn't as cheap here, and to be honest, you will have to expect a few thousand ding's in the body work with some of the drivers here.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegemiteKid:
    Also, is the cost of living really out of this world? Can you make few savings by shopping and eating with the locals? Or not? (still negotiating final package)

    The Vegemite Kid
    It depends where you compare HK with. It's definetely WAY cheaper than London (but then so would a city on the moon...) but I also find HK cheaper than NYC, Paris, Barcelona. Meat, Fruit & Veg is all reasonably priced at the supermarkets and clothes (especially at sale time) are also good value.

    If you can speak Chinese, then go to restuarants for the locals and it's really cheap - or you could just make friends with Chinese people and get them to take you! Basically, if you get outside the ex-pat dominated areas it's much better value.

    HK prices make the ones back home in England look like day light robbery...

  9. #9

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    Well Geordie, I dunno are you in HK for business or pleasure. Yes, in some respects compared to the UK, HK is cheap but you forget. In the UK, everything has 17.5% of hidden cost, then there's the taxes the gov. imposes on certain goods such as grog and tobacco.

    I can tell you if your are living in HK on a full-time basis. After seeing your pay packet disintegrate before your eyes, with all the daily costs all adding up, together with the various bills and building maintenance. Let's not forget if you have other luxuries such as a mobile, cable tv, broadband. You won't be thinking it's cheap! Sure, dinning out can be cheap, living close to work helps too. If your wanting a basic life-style with little to no entertainment it can be done and many of the locals do it. You can get by on a few thousand a week. But... if your in ill health then slap on the medical bills and soon your $10,000 has gone! And that's in a week. 'Cause there's no NHS in HK. The only National health is reserved for elderly local residence and even then, you have to find them and be able to speak Chinese.

    I lived in Hong Kong for just over one year and managed to spend a little too much (and I don't have to worry about rent or maintenance bills either.) Just general travel adds up to approx. $500-700 a week then there's the bare necessities, personal hygiene, clothing and gifts for people (if you have family out there); then there's the clubbing and entertainment. Bhoy, it's so easy to say it's cheap but until you live there for long term, only then will you discover it's not cheap. It is infact on par with London.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch in HK, only basic banking is free, but if you want access to other facilities then you'll have to pay for it and that's monthly payment.

    But, considering I managed to become almost fluent in understanding, able to communicate in guangdonghua, and reading basic characters. It's a small price to pay. During my stay I met many expats whom have been there for many years and they know little of the language...

    You do it for a year, then audit your costs. And if you wish, share with us by tell me/us do you still think it's cheap? I dunno... maybe I lived a fast life, most importantly i didn't regret any of it. I think if i returned today, I won't have a single bit of problem going anywhere. Able to use everything from Minibus to MTR, travel anywhere on HK side to Fanling or Lo Wu.

    Last edited by lazarus; 09-04-2005 at 10:00 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lazarus:
    But... if your in ill health then slap on the medical bills and soon your $10,000 has gone! And that's in a week. 'Cause there's no NHS in HK. The only National health is reserved for elderly local residence and even then, you have to find them and be able to speak Chinese.
    This is just complete rubbish. There is a fully functional helath service in Hong Kong which is essentially free to HK ID card holders (HK$100 per visit to hospital to deter time wasters). The quality of the care is at least on a par with the NHS in the UK and all of the medical staff speak English.

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