A modern, finger-on-the-pulse metropolis rich with culture, natural beauty, and unmatched business opportunities, Hong Kong is truly one of the most iconic places in the world to live in. And yet, for the uninitiated expat, making the most of living in this ever-changing, dynamic city can feel like navigating a labyrinth. From settling into a home and choosing a school for your little ones to where to shop for everyday necessities, finding the best commute options, and everything in between, the laundry list of considerations can be downright overwhelming. To help you stay on your feet and thrive in the city, the experts at OKAY.com are here to guide you through everything you need to know about living in Hong Kong.
The Best Places to Live in Hong Kong
Finding the right neighborhood to call home can make or break your quality of life and living experience. Despite its small area, Hong Kong is made up of a mixed bag of unique and diverse neighborhoods. Running the gamut from vibrant urban hubs and relaxed beachside suburbs to traditional villages steeped in historic charm, there is no shortage of housing options catering to different lifestyle needs. Ranked among the best places to live in Hong Kong include:
If you wish to live on Hong Kong Island near all the action, Mid-Levels should be your next destination for putting down roots. It is located just south of Central and Wan Chai and has a reputation of being a Mecca for top local and international schools like Island School, ESF Glenealy School, King’s College, Ying Wa Girls’ School, etc. For nature enthusiasts, Mid-Levels also contains the popular Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
Home to popular weekend coastal getaway spots like Stanley and Repulse Bay, Southside is one of the most sought-after districts among families and expats living in Hong Kong. Residents enjoy the best of both worlds of convenience and tranquil living. Southside’s laid-back, spacious environment provides a refreshing respite from the urban cacophony, but its location in the southern part of Hong Kong Island is close enough to business districts like Central and Causeway Bay for easy commute.
An up-and-coming neighborhood nestled in the very western corner of Hong Kong Island, Kennedy Town is renowned for its scenic waterfront and hip, suburban atmosphere. Drawing young professionals and families alike, this newly gentrified pocket of the Western District sits amidst a vibrant parade of international restaurants, hipster cafes, and boutique shops, and boasts an unbeatable promenade with quaint seaside views. Plus, it’s only around 10 minutes away from Central by train!
Overlooking the glittering city skyline on the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak is inhabited by the city’s most prestigious crowd and expats. Comprising a mix of low-rise apartments and standalone houses, living in this neighborhood grants you close proximity to the heart of the city and scenic outdoor beauty. Residents have easy access to a variety of beautiful hiking trails nearby, as well as big shopping centers like the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria.
Situated in the northeastern corner of the New Territories, Sai Kung is blessed by verdant surroundings, picturesque beaches, and all manners of natural sights. While the fishing village-turned-seaside neighborhood has carved a name for itself from its fun-filled attractions, it also has a charming and tight-knit community vibe that makes it a wonderful place to call home. In Sai Kung Town - the district’s central hub - lies a string of cozy cafes, local shops, and bustling seafood and produce markets!
With a collection of luxury low-rise houses dotting the beautiful tree-lined streets and near the base of Lion Rock Country Park, Kowloon Tong has been a historically coveted address among the wealthy. The neighborhood - despite being in the geographical centre of the Kowloon peninsula - feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the urban gridlock. It is an ideal place to live in Hong Kong for those seeking a slice of quietude and suburban charm. In the area, you can find a strong network of quality schools, along with the high-end Festival Walk shopping mall, and plenty of hiking trails.
With Hong Kong’s excellent academic reputation, it is no wonder that the city is a veritable stronghold for elite educational institutions. Expats living in Hong Kong are spoilt for choice when it comes to international schools that deliver top-quality education and globally recognized curricula such as IB and GCSE. The English Schools Foundation, Hong Kong’s largest English medium organization of international schools, runs 22 international schools located across the city, covering early years, and primary and secondary education. Upon graduation, students can progress to higher education either in Hong Kong or abroad.
Hong Kong’s robust public transportation infrastructure is a major source of the city’s pride and joy, making it one of the best places for metropolitan living. Your most likely mode of transport is the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), a highly accessible and extensive railway system that spans New Territories, Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and Lantau Island. In addition, the city is exceptionally well-connected by a network of double-decker buses, mini-buses, and ferries that readily takes you to any corner of Hong Kong, including the far-flung outlying islands. If you live on Hong Kong Island, the tram serves as an affordable and convenient option for getting around. The iconic transport runs the length of the island on an east-west route.
Healthcare in Hong Kong is distinguished by international standards, backed by top-of-the-line medical facilities and highly trained specialists. Public healthcare, while requiring significantly longer waiting times, is heavily subsidized and universally accessible via public hospitals and health clinics. As long as you hold a Smart ID, expats living in Hong Kong are also entitled to local public healthcare services. Alternatively, the city’s private healthcare system provides reliable, fast, and high-standard services, in addition to more treatment options. You may look into medical insurance plans to cover the heftier cost of private hospitals and clinics.