HK vs. NYC or San Fran?

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  1. #11


    I think ultimately if you want to live with a lower cost of living compared to SF and NY, you will be able to do it in Hong Kong.

    Rent alone can be the make it or break it factor. You can find just as nice places or centrally located places in HK for half or 1/3 cost of NY.

    HK is a place where you can have fine and economic items or fine and expensive items. You will be able to easily juggle it to maintain whatever budget you want.

    And transportation cost is much more efficient and lower than NY.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Sheung Wan
    Quote Originally Posted by edog:
    Sounds like HK does offer the lifestyle benefits of Manhattan without the cold weather, and the cost of living is about the same. Is that a fair summary?

    I think that is a fair summary.

    HK is totally liveable without a car, you can get anywhere you need to via subway, bus, lightbus, ferry or taxis (which are cheap!). A lot of my friends from NYC used to snub the bus (they obviously didn't live further east of 2nd Avenue), but it's absolutely essential in HK. I suppose the city is pedestrian friendly in theory, although it does seems like someone gets run over by a bus or taxi every week. Don't let that discourage you though, just remember to look left instead of right when you cross the street.

    As for food and drink, I think that restaurant food is probably cheaper in HK, especially if you don't insist on eating at Michelin starred restaurants every day and can stomach dim sum that isn't from Maxims every once in a while. I also think wine prices are almost on par with those in NYC if you factor in the fact that you have to pay tax on top of the sticker price in the US. Additionally, you can find some European brands here that you can't in the US.

    HK is definitely a 24 hour city, and like NYC, it is more visible in some areas than others. Also, a lot of the action is up high in some neighborhoods, so it will seem quiet on street level when there are hundreds of people partying above. I'm still new to HK, so I might not be looking in the right places, but I feel that one thing NYC definitely has over HK is the "arts and music" scene. Yes, there are local bands and private galleries that feature emerging local artists, etc. But then again, someone as huge as Madonna has never been here and there isn't a museum on par with the Met in existence.

    So overall, I feel HK offers a higher level of convenience, but the trade off is that you get Kylie instead of Madonna (a bit less edge). That's my two cents.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Peel Street

    I lived in NYC for 8.5 years and have been in HK (Central, then Midlevels) for the past two.

    Quote Originally Posted by edog:
    I currently live in a 28th floor luxury condo in SF for $5k/month (US) rent for about 1500 sf and 2br with nice highrise views, granite and hardwood. A similar rental in NYC would have been $7 - 9k/yr in NYC a year ago - probably less now given the current financial crisis.
    I currently live in Midlevels West - too far to walk to the escalator, but close enough that a mini-bus or cab takes 10min to get to Soho - in an older Chinese building with no facilities but it does have an elevator, and about 90% efficiency of 1100 sq ft (if you've been paying attention to all the other forum posts, you'll know how rare a high efficiency is in newer buildings).

    I currently pay about 30% more because I rented it at the rental market's peak earlier this year, but if on the market now, it should go for about 19-20k (US$2400 - US$2600). With the way the market is at the moment, you can definitely find something similar to what you had in SF for the same or even less, in and around Midlevels/Pokfulam, which tend to be rather expat-centric, though I daresay you'd probably prefer living in either Midlevels or Central itself if (a) you're new to town, or (b) you're single and enjoy being out on the town.

    Quote Originally Posted by edog:
    My goal in moving to SF was to have NYC lifestyle without the NYC weather. Candidly, SF sucks compared to NYC. What I care about is being able to WALK (not drive) or take public transit to a wide variety of restaurants, and live where the weather doesn't suck. SF is a little better than NYC in the weather department, but sucks royally in the sense that everything closes early. I'm a city boy, and like late-night dining with excellent food.

    I eat out 14x per week (lunch and dinner every day; I don't own cookware or utensils), and I like good food. I'm a dim sum addict.

    My typical spend rate in San Francisco is around US$25- 30 per day on lunch (no alcohol) and about $85 - $100 on dinner with 2 or 3 glasses of wine. That gets me top restaurants where I live. From all the posts here, I still can't tell whether HK costs more or less than I'm used to. I would generally prefer the better restaurants, and usually eat at the bar when dining alone.
    The weather here is fine 75% of the year, though it does get brutally hot and muggy in the summer (think NYC around Jun/Jul). Personally, I think SF weather is best out of the three even though I do miss the NY seasons.

    As far as dining hours, HK is comparable to NY, but food quality is indeed more hit/miss, with less variety. Dim sum is excellent and plentiful though.

    For what you spent in SF at lunchtime, you could spend half that on a 3-course lunches at a mid-range restaurant (say, Wagyu on Wyndham Street) here in HK, as loads of restaurants run lunch menus during weekdays, similar to Restaurant Week in NY. What you spend on dinner in SF is comparable to what you would spend here at the same restaurant - I average about HKD$500-$600 (about US$65 - US$77) per person for dinner with a glass of wine or two when out with mates. If you're looking for top-end restaurants however, this average goes up to about HKD$1000 - HKD$1200 (about US$130 - US$155) a head with a decent bottle of wine between 2-4 people.

    Hope this helps you some.