The best places for Expats to live in Hong Kong so you can decide where to move.
Hong Kong is a captivating city that seamlessly merges Eastern and Western influences, creating a unique blend of cultures that you won’t find anywhere else. With its stunning skyline, bustling harbours and dynamic atmosphere, it’s easy to see why a number of expats find themselves drawn to this vibrant metropolis.
Whether you are relocating for work, embarking on a new adventure or simply seeking a change of scenery, Hong Kong has a neighbourhood to suit your every need and desire. The city’s diverse neighbourhoods, each offering its unique charm and catering to various expat lifestyles, mean that there’s something for everyone. From tranquil escapes with panoramic views to bustling districts teeming with energy, Hong Kong has a lot to offer someone moving from the UK.
Below, we delve into the enchanting world of Hong Kong, where tradition meets modernity, and find out which neighbourhood could become your new home away from home.
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is the most popular part of the region for expats. On the north side of the island, you have spectacular views of the harbour and are never far from the action. For those looking for a quieter life, the south side of the island offers many opportunities.
This is the heart of Hong Kong’s business district, and it’s where you’ll find upscale dining, bars and international clubs. It boasts a central location and a lot of job opportunities, making it a worthwhile consideration if you are moving to Hong Kong for work.
There are also a lot of luxuries in this part of Hong Kong Island, but the downside of this is that it tends to be expensive. Central Hong Kong Island can be crowded and noisy, but it’s full of life.
If you are looking to throw yourself into the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s nightlife, head to Wan Chai. There is a lot of vibrant nightlife to enjoy, and there’s a real mix of old and new throughout the area.
You will also find historical landmarks and local markets in Wan Chai, giving you an insight into the past. One thing to remember is that Wan Chai can get crowded, especially on the weekends.
If you are heading to Hong Kong to shop, go to Causeway Bay. Causeway Bay is Hong Kong’s shopping paradise and entertainment hub, and it’s packed full of things to do.
It’s a popular spot for tourists and people relocating from the UK, mainly due to the fact that it has everything you could need when you’re in a new country. There are great transport links going to and from Causeway Bay, but it can be a highly congested area.
If you are looking for unmatched views of the city, head to Mid-Levels and enjoy the panoramic views of Victoria Harbour.
It’s a residential area and it’s extremely expat-friendly, so you shouldn’t struggle to fit in and find your footing. It’s also centrally located, making it a good place to base yourself if you are in Hong Kong for the first time. There are few downsides to living in Mid-Levels, but rent can be expensive and the terrain is steep.
Pok Fu Lam
As Pok Fu Lam is close to the University of Hong Kong, it’s a popular location for those who are moving to Hong Kong to study. It’s also something to consider if you are moving with children, who are going to want to continue their studies.
It’s a beautiful part of Hong Kong and it’s surrounded by nature, making it a quiet and tranquil place to live. However, Pok Fu Lam does have limited nightlife and it’s slightly more expensive than other areas.
Sheung Wan is where you will find a mix of tradition and modernity, with antique shops and trendy restaurants in abundance. It’s a lot quieter than Central, which can make the transition to Hong Kong slightly easier, especially if you are relocating abroad from a relatively quiet area.
The blend of traditional and modern culture means that there is something for everyone in Sheung Wan, and it’s a great way to see both sides of this interesting country. One thing to remember is that Sheung Wan can be expensive, and there’s a lot of hilly terrain.
Don’t underestimate the beauty of Hong Kong’s coastline, which you can experience for yourself in Stanley. Stanley is a seaside town with a relaxed vibe and international restaurants, creating a holiday vibe.
It’s also a lot less congested than much of Hong Kong, making it a more tranquil area. However, Stanley is on the other side of the island from the central business areas, which could be an inconvenience if you are moving to Hong Kong for work.
Many people choose to spend the weekend in Stanley, but why not make it your home?
Repulse Bay and South Bay
Nowhere says luxury in Hong Kong quite like Repulse Bay and South Bay, both of which are prestigious residential areas with beautiful beaches. There’s not much to dislike about this gorgeous part of Hong Kong, with seemingly endless scenic views and upscale residences.
There is also a lot of beach access, enabling you to soak up the sun. The downside of Repulse Bay and South Bay is that they are more expensive and they can be remote for some, as they are further away from a lot of Hong Kong’s hotspots.
The Kowloon Peninsular is the Chinese mainland opposite Hong Kong Island. It tends to be more popular with locals but more expats are finding affordable accommodation here too.
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is a well known part of Hong Kong, boasting a number of cultural landmarks, shopping and dining spots. It’s one of the main places that tourists head to, and it’s easy to understand why.
You really can find everything in Tsim Sha Tsui, but this does make the area crowded and a lot more urban than other parts of the city.
Jordan and Yau Ma Tei
If you want to experience a local and more authentic side to Hong Kong, consider moving to Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.
This is where you will find an authentic vibe, older infrastructure, affordable finding, night marks and street food. It’s completely different to the hustle and bustle of the city. But, this doesn’t make the area any less crowded.
Kowloon Tong is a high end residential district with prestigious schools, making it a popular spot for wealthy families. It also boasts a number of international schools, so there’s a real mix of expats and families from around the world.
Kowloon Tong is a quiet and green neighbourhood, and perfect for family life. It’s more expensive than many other areas of Hong Kong and there’s less nightlife, which might suit you if you’re moving abroad as a family.
The New Territories
If you are on a budget or want to escape the bustle of Hong Kong SAR’s busy city regions, then the New Territories could be for you. In addition, to various towns, it is the most rural part of the territory including beaches, farmland, wetlands, parks and mountains. Although further away from the bustle, you’ll benefit from fresh air and a much more spacious property than you could afford in the city.
Sha Tin is a suburban area with shopping malls, parks and an impressive horse racing track. It’s an area with a lot of modern amenities and space, and it’s one of the most family friendly parts of The New Territories. This means that it can become crowded at the weekend. As Sha Tin is farther from central Hong Kong, a fair amount of travel is needed to get into the main parts of the city
There’s a real mix of modern and traditional elements of Hong Kong in Tai Po, especially when it comes to housing. If you move to Tai Po, you can choose between a whole host of modern housing, or you could opt for life in a more traditional village. There’s a lot of open space in Tai Po and the area is close to various parks, so you are sure to feel close to nature. One disadvantage of Tai Po is that the commute time to central Hong Kong is longer than a lot of people would like.
The Outlying Islands
Technically part of the New Territories, the Outlying Islands are for those people who really want to escape the city life. The disadvantage is that you’re always a relaxing ferry journey from the main city areas, however, you have the benefit of a tranquil life and a beautiful outlook onto the South China Sea. There are 263 outlying islands so we have only included the popular with expats.
Lantau Island is home to the Kong Hong International Airport, Disneyland and the Big Buddha. So, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a key part of the country. There are a range of diverse attractions, and lots to do as a family. This can make Lantau Island feel touristy and crowded, especially around Disneyland and during peak holiday season.
There is a real fishing village charm to Cheung Chau, and it’s completely different to a lot of the busier parts of Hong Kong, especially in the centre. You will find seafood restaurants and beach activities in Cheung Chau, and everything feels a lot more laidback than elsewhere, which gives you the feeling of being on holiday. However, there are limited modern amenities in Cheung Chau, and getting to and from the island is dependent on the ferry schedule.
If you are looking for a relaxed vibe in Hong Kong, Lamma Island is an area worth considering. There is a real sense of community on Lamma Island, which is beneficial if you are moving to Hong Kong and you want to recreate the support of friends that you have at home.
You can enjoy plenty of beach days on Lamma Island, as access to some of Hong Kong’s top beaches is easy to find, and the island is lined with beachside cafés. Like Cheung Chau, there are limited amenities on Lamma Island and the commute time to the centre of Hong Kong is fairly long.
Moving to Hong Kong as an Expat
Each area of Hong Kong offers a unique blend of experiences, and the best area for you will be dependent on why you are moving and what you want to experience when you’re there. The best fit will depend on your lifestyle, work location and personal preferences.
As an expat, it’s important to visit and explore the diverse neighbourhoods of Hong Kong to find the one that resonates with your lifestyle and preferences. Hong Kong’s one-of-a-kind blend of cultures, traditions and landscapes offers something special for everyone, but the key is to experience it first hand if you can.
Take the time to wander through the streets, savour the local cuisine and interact with the welcoming community. Engaging with locals and fellow expats can provide valuable insights into the nuances of each district, giving you a detailed understanding of what to expect from various neighbourhoods.
Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant city lights, the tranquil greenery or the seaside serenity, Hong Kong beckons you with open arms. It’s a city where expats from all walks of life find their own unique slice of paradise.