An expat’s guide to the best places to live in Hong Kong
Moving to another country is never an easy task, especially for expats/foreigners. The first thing to ponder over will always be where to live. But without knowing the exact details, deciding where to live can be a daunting experience.
For expats planning to move to the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong is considered to be one of the top choices, due to its multicultural setting, international vibe, and developed public and private health systems. Considering that Hong Kong is the world’s 4th most densely populated city, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to finding a place or location to live in. Several locations are ideal for expats, and each of them caters to different lifestyle preferences. Discovering these places and what they have to offer can make a move less daunting and more exciting.
With that said, this article by Pacific Prime Hong Kong looks at some of the best places to live in Hong Kong, most notably Wan Chai district, Victoria Peak, the Mid-Levels, West Kowloon, Kowloon Tong, and others, while providing good insight into what to expect and more.
Where do foreigners live in Hong Kong?
Generally, foreigners with families look for homes on the southern part of Hong Kong island. While foreigners living alone or as a couple tend to seek places around the Mid-Levels area. For affluent expats that enjoy luxurious dwellings, Victoria Peak offers a range of apartments and penthouse suites to choose from. Regardless of needs and budget, there is a choice for all foreigners in Hong Kong and the following recommendations provide more detail to help make a decision.
Wan Chai district
If you are new to Hong Kong, Wan Chai is one of the first districts to explore first. The pulsating district has evolved over the last few decades from a small fishing village to one of the city’s coolest, and most dynamic areas. It is full of shops, hotels, cafes, and a range of top-end restaurants. The district is considered to be more appealing to young expats who want to experience the buzz of Hong Kong. But expat families also have plenty of choices to choose from. Within the area, families have access to several facilities and centers, such as the Baumhaus, Morrison Hill Swimming Pool, Lee Tung Avenue, and so much more.
The district is also home to Ruttonjee hospital, a public healthcare center, which provides accident and emergency services and other specialty treatments such as palliative care, surgery, and respiratory medicine. Along with local and international schools, expats have access to many outstanding facilities to raise a young family and ensure their educational needs are met.
With regards to places to live, expats can enjoy a wide range of properties that are available for lease and sale, ranging from luxurious apartments and penthouse suites to excellent serviced apartments. However, you may have to dig deep into your pockets as the rates are on the premium side.
According to squarefoot, the cost of renting an apartment ranges from HKD $25,000 to HKD $95,000 per month, which may be quite steep for most people. The size of the living quarters can also be on the smaller side, which could make spacious living a distant dream. For expats that can afford the costly rent, looking towards Victoria Peak may offer greater choices for space and luxury.
Known throughout Hong Kong as the highest point on the island, Victoria Peak offers a magnificent backdrop of Hong Kong island. Roughly 23 minutes or 10.2 kilometers from Wan Chai district by car, Victoria Peak boasts breathtaking views across Hong Kong island. A number of housing complexes and well-established family homes with tennis courts and swimming pools are dotted throughout the area. Affluent expats, especially retirees, looking for peace from the hustle and bustle of the city below will find that the prime location offers amazing living conditions.
According to Christie’s International Real Estate, properties in this lavish part of the island are for sale from HKD $5,000,000 to a mind-blowing HKD $154,834,714.
For expats that may not want to spend as much but prefer to be a step or two away from the busy districts, then opting for the Mid-Levels may be more preferable.
The Mid-Levels is situated between Wan Chai and The Peak and is still within reachable distance to the central financial hub of Hong Kong. This area is recommended for young working expats or couples looking for a bit of space but close to areas like Admiralty and Central. Not to mention, there are also several private schools in the area for expats with young children. Educational institutions like King’s College and the University of Hong Kong Ying Wa Girls’ School are among the many famous colleges and schools that have established their sites in the Mid-Level area.
Additionally, the Mid Levels is a favorite among expats in Hong Kong due to the area being within walking distance to excellent transport links, including the MTR and Airport Express.
According to HongKongHomes, the price for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment starts from as low as HKD $13,800,000. Prices will vary depending on the number of rooms and bathrooms chosen, as well as the specific part of Mid-Levels (Central, East, and West).
West Kowloon and Kowloon Tong
The Wan Chai district, Mid-Levels, and Victoria Peak are all appealing for expats and for the very good reasons mentioned. But besides these areas on the main Hong Kong island, there are also a number of other locations worth looking into for expats moving to Hong Kong. Of these locations, the suburbs of West Kowloon and Kowloon Tong are worth noting. Although they are quite inconvenient owing to their distance from the main island, the Kowloon peninsula has experienced a steady influx of expats in recent years. Many amenities and improvements to the infrastructure such as the introduction of the MTR and construction of shopping centers make the standard of living for both West Kowloon and Kowloon Tong better. The construction of modern housing complexes in West Kowloon also adds further appeal for expats looking for new developments to move into. International schools in Kowloon Tong also mean expat families will have access to high standards of education.
Other neighborhoods and locations to consider in Hong Kong
Here is a summary of the other great locations in Hong Kong worth considering:
Repulse Bay – Access to scenic beaches, restaurants, public and private hospitals, international schools, restaurants, local food stores, as well as fresh seafood markets.
Happy Valley – As the name suggests, Happy Valley is a favorite among expats. There are a number of classic low-rise apartments, modern complexes, and serviced apartments available for rent.
North Point – This might not be an option for most expats but for those looking for budget accommodation, North Point may be your answer. On top of affordable pricing for accommodation, the area offers expats a true experience of what local life is like in Hong Kong.
Need more information for moving over to Hong Kong?
For over 20 years, Pacific Prime’s presence in Hong Kong as an intermediary firm has helped countless expats as well as businesses find their footing by providing impartial advice on areas such as health insurance, healthcare coverage, benefits, and more. As well as providing a range of vetted expat health insurance plans to compare, Pacific Prime also produces several reports and guides on many aspects that concerns expats, such as:
- The complete guide to moving abroad as an expat
- The State of Health Insurance Report 2019 – 2020
- The Guide to Medical Evacuation
- And more from our page on health insurance guides in Hong Kong.
Contact us today for more related to moving to Hong Kong and get impartial advice from our experts as well as tips on finding the best places to live.
His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.