Transferring from Chicago

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    chicago, il USA
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    7

    Transferring from Chicago

    I will be transferring from Chicago, IL to Hong Kong with my wife and three kids (10, 6, 4) over the next few months. Though there is lots of information to read, I'm still struggling with where to start. Specifically, the most pressing questions are as follows:

    1. How to decide between DB and living on Hong Kong Island. Seems like two completely different environments. Would appreciate any personal experiences here (good or bad) to help guide our decision process.

    2. How difficult is it to get children into the international schools? How much lead time to ensure they get in? Is it possible to transfer mid year?

    3. My wife stays home with the children so should this be a factor in location decision?

    4. My office will be in I believe it's called quarry bay. Is this easily accessible (1/2 hour commute...) by most locations or will this limit where to look.

    5. I've found some sites to browse for housing but can someone recommend their favorite?

    6. How bad is the air quality and does it matter where you live?

    I have many more but was hoping to begin some dialogue on the above as starting point.

    Thanks in advance for any council.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,043

    Just to bump your thread.

    1. How to decide between DB and living on Hong Kong Island. Seems like two completely different environments. Would appreciate any personal experiences here (good or bad) to help guide our decision process.

    It is a personal preference. Many do what you are looking to do including I am sure to Quarry Bay. Not sure DB avoids bad air of HK.


    2. How difficult is it to get children into the international schools? How much lead time to ensure they get in? Is it possible to transfer mid year?

    Can't answer that... but contact the English Schools Foundation here or others can comment.

    3. My wife stays home with the children so should this be a factor in location decision?

    Depends on what she likes to do.

    4. My office will be in I believe it's called quarry bay. Is this easily accessible (1/2 hour commute...) by most locations or will this limit where to look.

    Others can comment but it has to be more than one hour.


    5. I've found some sites to browse for housing but can someone recommend their favorite?

    Most go to agents in the area they choose to look and go from there.

    6. How bad is the air quality and does it matter where you live?

    Arguable but air is bad here and worse at other times.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    188

    Hi Scott,
    Welcome from a fellow Midwesterner!

    1. DB is one of the more family-friendly areas of Hong Kong and you will find that many expats have chosen to live there. The transportation is good, but be aware that you will have to add roughly 30 minutes travel time to any trip, compared with living on HK Island.

    2/3. Will leave that to people who have kids

    4. Quarry Bay will likely be a bit more than 1 hour. 5-15 minutes to get to DB ferry pier, 25min ferry ride, then connect from Central pier to Quarry Bay. If you're willing to pay for a taxi from the Central Ferry piers every morning, maybe you can do the Central-Quarry Bay leg in 15-20 rather than 30+ minutes by MTR. With MTR, it takes about 10 minutes just to walk inland to the Central station.

    When I lived out in DB, I had a buddy living in Quarry Bay who simply refused to visit me on weeknights. A two-hour round trip was not his cup of tea!

    5. I recommend to visit the area and connect with property agents. That said, gohome.com.hk is quite good, and we were happy dealing with the Century 21 office in DB.

    6. Overall, DB did feel like better air quality, but that might be more because of the green surroundings and relatively healthier lifestyle.

    Best of luck!


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    5,071

    Also it is difficult to get into schools on DB. Many kids do commute to schools on HK island but personally I wouldn't do it.

    Have a look at the ESF Corporate Surety Scheme.

    English Schools Foundation - Overview


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    North Point
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    You may just want to live in Quarry Bay.

    I assume you will work in Taikoo Place. Lots of choices of where to live and most are within walking distance....Taikoo Shing, Kornhill, Grand promenade (Sai Wan Ho).

    Quarry Bay park, Tai Tam country Park (lots of hiking trails). Short commute to Central. Big shopping mall (CityPlaza), Jusco, etc.

    Also easy to get to the beaches of Shek O, Big Wave Bay and Stanley on the south side of the island.

    Can't comment on schools, but I assume the commute for the kids would be MUCH better from there too.

    Air qulaity is pretty much the same anywhere you live. Maybe the best place would be south side of the island or Sai Kung, but i don't think it would matter too much.

    Last edited by smelly; 20-04-2009 at 09:04 PM.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    chicago, il USA
    Posts
    7

    Thank you everyone. Your answers/comments have been most helpful. We will be travelling over in June to try to get many of these questions answered first hand. Looking forward to experiencing HK.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
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    I second the view that living somewhere near Quarry Bay will most likely suit you better. DB is really quite a long way from Quarry Bay - having said that, I live approx 1 hour commute from work and while it can be a pain, if your home life is comfortable then it is a trade-off.

    Cannot answer questions about schools.

    3. If your wife stays at home, she will probably care about her environment more than you do. For expat housewives, DB is unique in that there is quite a community and support. Having said that, some people find it very claustrophobic (think "stepford wives"), so that will really depend on your personalities and how you like to live. Anywhere other than DB will be more Chinese - so that's either "interesting" or "scary" depending on your point of view!

    4. Quarry Bay is 1 hr from DB. It's about 30 mins from Central/midlevels. Another option might be Sai Kung - another area that is expat and kid friendly and probably an hour travel time (others might have a better view on this). You could also look at Stanley and Repulse Bay - but these areas are quite pricey so this will depend on your housing allowance etc. Also probably an hour travel though!

    5. There are no good sites for browsing housing in HK. Everything is better done in person when you arrive. The locations are very different from each other; the compromises you need to make are pretty much impossible to imagine if you have not spent time here; the photos on the internet are OFTEN 100% WRONG (mis-representing accomodation does not appear to be at all illegal or even uncommon here!) - you have GOT to see if for yourself. Set a serviced appt for a month or come over before your family. Leases are typically 2 years and hard to break - you REALLY don't want to get it wrong!

    6. Pollution is awful and pretty much awful everywhere. Close to main roads are worse (but rarely do expats live in these areas anyway). Some people say Sai Kung is about the best, but its a marginal difference if any.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    North Point
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    In addition to just living in Quarry Bay I agree with Movingin07 about Stanley.

    It is actually a very quick trip from Quarry Bay to Stanley.

    Stanley can be spendy, but would be nice for the wife and kids.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Hong Kong
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    23,205
    Quote Originally Posted by smelly:
    Stanley can be spendy
    Eh? WTF is "spendy"? Do you mean "expensive"?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    North Point
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Eh? WTF is "spendy"? Do you mean "expensive"?
    Is that a real question?

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