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Transfer to HK - kids/schools/where to live???

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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Check out the locations of international schools in the New Territories - not only do they often have more vacancies available for students, but secondary sections are also more likely to have teacher vacancies when your wife starts her job search ... and if you can get those two points to coincide, school fees can reduce drastically, as staff children get as much as an 80% discount on fees. Into the bargain, you can get a whole lot more housing for your money if you look at village housing - including outdoor play space.

    I'm saying that because you said you wouldn't mind a commute for yourself ... there are certainly international schools in these districts, and I'm putting them in order of my own assessment of ease of commute to Central (drivers might disagree):
    1. the southern end of Tuen Mun (Gold Coast area) - direct bus to Central
    2. Tai Po (Hong Lok Yuen area) - commute by public transport currently involves a couple of changes of train, but there is an MTR link to Central from Shatin under construction
    3. Sai Kung - a few international schools there now, but the commute even to the nearest MTR station is currently pretty dire.


  2. #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Island East
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    4,145

    30K can get you a duplex in my neck of the woods clear water bay area, close to the parks, swimming pools, shopping centres, beaches etc etc

    Duple is 1400sq/f (two floors of a village house) either ground and 1st floor or 1st floor/2nd floor and roof.
    1 hour travel time to Central by mini bus and MTR (subway train)
    your 4 year old can get into the many Kindergarten schools nearby very easily, you can bring your tesla car and charge directly from your house as do many expats here, I've seen long extension cords coming out of houses and charging cars LOL

    500K per year with everything else paid for by the company is very doable.


  3. #13

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    5,653

    500K in the New Territories is very doable if everything else is paid for. For 30K you can get an spacious pad for the 4 of you, (3-4 bedroom luxury apartment with plenty of facilities and a parking spot).

    Your wife will also be able to look for work on a dependent visa once you've settled in. Whatever she will earn, you can pocket as savings. Is it possible to rent out your house while staying overseas?

    Cainnech likes this.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    171
    Quote Originally Posted by civil_servant
    500K in the New Territories is very doable if everything else is paid for. For 30K you can get an spacious pad for the 4 of you, (3-4 bedroom luxury apartment with plenty of facilities and a parking spot).

    Your wife will also be able to look for work on a dependent visa once you've settled in. Whatever she will earn, you can pocket as savings. Is it possible to rent out your house while staying overseas?
    Yes the expectation from my work is that we keep our UK house and rent it out whilst overseas so that if/when we return to the UK we can do so immediately.

    It's good to hear that we might get something suitable in the new territories as that sort of lifestyle appeals more than high rise city apartment living.

    I have emailed a few schools to enquire about the best way to apply, bearing in mind we are probably not going to be moving out there til early next year, I guess we have to see what we can afford.

    At the moment I have a 10min cycle to the station, 40 min train journey and then another 10 min cycle to the office (I have a folding bike to take on the train). Is that sort of commute feasible in HK (I.e. Do people cycle?)

  5. #15

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    May 2006
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    5,653

    People cycle in the country parks on the weekends. You can't really cycle where you work, so I wouldn't count on it. Hong Kong gets brutally hot in the summertime.

    chuckster007 likes this.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    4

    Living in Tai Po, you can enjoy cycling on your family day.

    Sha Tin to Tai Po | Hong Kong Tourism Board

    You can't have this @ sai kung.


  7. #17

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Island East
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    4,145

    The MTR (underground) is very good in HK and will get you to your office easily so dont bother with the bicycle LOL

    Regarding your 4 yr old sons school fees, here is an example of cost for an international Kindergarten that is near my place.

    Fees | ESF International Kindergartens


  8. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    9,603

    This is all perfectly doable if you have a mind to do it and are willing to commute. As others have said, the first priority is to find a school for your child, and I cannot help with that. But as to the question of housing and committing, 30k is absolutely enough to find a nice place to live if you are willing to commute. For good family environments outside of HK island, look at Discovery Bay (easy for you to get to the office by ferry); Sai Kung (pretty horrible journey for you, great place for family); Gold Coast (resident bus in the mornings so your commute would be less than an hour; local schools are opening up - there is Harrow over the road and several kindergartens, not sure if any have places. GC has many housing options for your budget, is next to the beach and the hills. There are a number of school buses that pick up and take kids somewhere (no idea where).

    The only reason I wrote more about Gold Coast is that I live here - plenty of other places just as nice I am sure and others can comment on those.

    However, say again, school first then housing.

    Finally - there are some pretty well off people on this forum who will be shocked at the idea any family can live off less than millions. You've already seen the posts from some of them. There are others who think that anyone can live on a shoestring. The reality, as with most things, is somewhere in between and depends a lot on you. The fact your wife is a teacher is really good news - as native English speaking teachers can almost always get a job in HK and that could make a lot of difference to your income.

    HK is not like the UK. Some people love it. Others hate it. Personally, I would not even make the decision without coming over here for a few weeks and seeing if you like it.

    jmbf and chingleutsch like this.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    11,308
    Quote Originally Posted by chingleutsch
    Check out the locations of international schools in the New Territories - not only do they often have more vacancies available for students, but secondary sections are also more likely to have teacher vacancies when your wife starts her job search ... and if you can get those two points to coincide, school fees can reduce drastically, as staff children get as much as an 80% discount on fees. Into the bargain, you can get a whole lot more housing for your money if you look at village housing - including outdoor play space.

    I'm saying that because you said you wouldn't mind a commute for yourself ... there are certainly international schools in these districts, and I'm putting them in order of my own assessment of ease of commute to Central (drivers might disagree):
    1. the southern end of Tuen Mun (Gold Coast area) - direct bus to Central
    2. Tai Po (Hong Lok Yuen area) - commute by public transport currently involves a couple of changes of train, but there is an MTR link to Central from Shatin under construction
    3. Sai Kung - a few international schools there now, but the commute even to the nearest MTR station is currently pretty dire.
    You can get a village house 3 floors 2100sq ft for hkd30k, that's 2100sq ft, depending how it's constructed, could be 5 bedrooms

    Parking should be around hkd 500-600

    Commuting to sheung wan is around 1hour by mtr

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    297

    Plenty of people in HK live reasonably well on a lot less than $500k a month, so you should be fine, especially if you are getting help with school fees and accommodation.

    We moved from London to HK last year and here are some observations based on your questions and our experiences:

    The cost of living for an expat in HK can vary widely depending on what kind of lifestyle you want to lead. You can live very comfortably for very little, but you can find costs very quickly rack up if you want to pay for extra activities for your children, join a private club, etc.

    Don't under estimate the impact of the heat and humidity. Although we are now reasonably acclimatised, a 15 minute walk to pick up a few groceries and a paper, which we thought nothing of doing in the UK, becomes much more of a chore in the height of summer here.

    Cycling for commuting purposes is very unusual. Firstly due to the heat (and shower facilities at work seem less common here), but also because the roads are narrow and it isn't very safe as drivers just aren't used to looking out for cyclists and in any case taxis and public transport is cheap and frequent. We left our bikes in the UK, but in hindsight should have brought them with us as there are a lot of good trails suitable for cycling for leisure.

    Schooling can be the most stressful part of the move, though it may be easier in NT than HK Island. Often parents don't give much notice to the schools that they are leaving, so the schools often aren't able to confirm places until the last minute which often leaves parents looking for places juggling offers - sometimes at significant expense as the registration fees are often non-refundable and you may wish to register at several schools. If your employer offers funded debentures, then take up their offer as that will greatly reduce the hassle.

    Cash outflow when you first arrive can be very heavy. Just in accommodation alone, in the first 6 weeks we arrived, we had to pay one month deposit on our serviced apartment plus two months rent as well as two months deposit on our long term apartment, plus one month rent in advance and half a month agency fee, so try to get your employer to take care of the deposits as well as the rent.

    As others have said, it is really important that your wife is supportive of the move. The first few months are much harder on the trailing spouse than the sponsored spouse, as you will get social interaction very quickly through work. However, as you have young children, she should find it easier to make friends via the parents of playmates than if your children were older.

    Hope the move goes well.


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