It’s not China.
Sure, technically, yes, but we’ve got our own currency, immigration, language, culture, government, freedoms, and pretty much everything else distinguishing countries apart. Just say Hong Kong when you’re talking about it – it’ll go over better with the locals.
It’s not in Japan.
Asking me “how are you enjoying Japan?” is not the way to win my friendship.
I was once told that a day in HK will make you want to lock yourself in a dark room forever. This pretty much sums it up. The city is loud in almost every way, but it’s well worth the effort it takes to get used to it.
Cantonese, not Mandarin.
Everyone speaks Cantonese, everyone speaks English. Few people speak Mandarin, and I usually only heard it from the lady on the MTR speakers. For real though, HK is a truly international city. The official languages are English and Cantonese, but you can find anything from Tagalog to Afrikaans between the skyscrapers. The city celebrates diversity more and more each day, and it’s a great place to be a part of.
It’s not just a city.
Often people imagine HK as a concrete jungle, with no wildlife what-so-ever. While this is largely true, you can find beautiful beaches, and lush forests by going a little North or South of the city. Check out Big Wave Bay, or the New Territories for some of my favourite places to camp.
The food is out of this world.
Dim sum isn’t the only five star quality food you’re going to find here (though it is rockin’). Some of my favourite HK restaurants had food better than their original countries. If you’re looking for a culinary paradise, this is it.
Don’t trust your Octopus card.
Your metro card? It pays for everything you want it to. Need a beer? Octopus. Want to buy a new phone case? Octopus. Don’t put any more money on it than you have to – it will be gone in an instant.
It’s dangerously safe.
Maybe once, while living there, did I ever feel unsafe. The entire city is kept incredibly clean, well lit, and free of crime. If you’re sick of feeling unsafe in your neighbourhood, move to HK.
Push will come to shove.
Pushing is a way of life. It’s not as bad as it is in the mainland, but if you want to get on the MTR in rush hour, or walk anywhere through Mong Kok, you’re gonna need to put your back into it.
You should go.
I’ve never found another city that I’ve liked more than Hong Kong in all my travels. I cannot talk enough about it. Take advantage of the 50 year promise Mainland China has to “not touch it” and go now. Book your flights!
That’s it! For more info about HK, check out my friend thisgirlabroad. She’s got some amazing stuff about every day expat life there.