Living in Hong Kong: where East meets West

The complete guide by Spacest

Hong Kong, a dynamic and vibrant metropolis of the future, is located on the southern coast of China. It’s a place where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern life.

This special administrative region of China is renowned for its impressive skyline, dominated by gravity-defying skyscrapers. Beneath these modern towers, bustling streets are alive with centuries-old traditions mingling with the energy of a contemporary metropolis.

Living in Hong Kong means experiencing open-air markets, ancient temples, and majestic parks coexisting with luxury shopping centers, high-end restaurants, and an ever-evolving arts and cultural scene.

Victoria Harbour, with its sparkling waters, is the pulsating heart of the city, offering one of the most spectacular urban views in the world. Nature is never far away, with hiking trails, tranquil beaches, and picturesque islands just a short distance from the urban hustle and bustle.

Living in Hong Kong might not be for everyone, but the lifestyle is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and captivating experiences.

If you’re considering living in this Asian metropolis, here’s your go-to guide by Spacest, packed with useful information from the cost of living and rent to leisure, culture, and the necessary procedures for relocation.

Living in Hong Kong: a glimpse at the “Asian Tiger”

Hong Kong, Skyline

Known as one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world, Hong Kong is a hub of financial activity, a shopping paradise, and a melting pot of diverse cultures.

Living in Hong Kong also means embracing cultural diversity. This is reflected in its population, a mix of Cantonese, British, and international influences, creating a unique and dynamic society.

This diversity is also evident in the local cuisine, ranging from traditional Cantonese dishes to culinary influences from around the globe.

Hong Kong is not just a business and financial center but also a meeting place for artists, writers, and thinkers, who find inspiration in its energy and constantly changing urban landscape.

The city exemplifies how tradition and modernity can coexist and thrive together, making it a fascinating destination for visitors and residents from all over the world. Discover the best rental listings in Hong Kong and start your adventure.

Useful information for living in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, traditional street view

If you’re planning to move and live in Hong Kong, here’s a series of useful information you need to know before setting off. Below are all the details you need to organize your new life in Hong Kong:

  • Time zone: +7 hours compared to Italy; +6 hours when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy;
  • Official languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, and English;
  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD);
  • Climate: Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with temperatures ranging between 20°C and 35°C throughout the year;
  • Healthcare: the city offers high-level hospital facilities, but the costs of services are very high, especially for expats;
  • State system: Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China (China), of which it is a special administrative region with a high degree of autonomy.

Living and studying in Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong HKU

Hong Kong is a prime destination for international students. Studying at one of its prestigious universities is not just an excellent academic opportunity but also a cultural and personal adventure.

Universities in Hong Kong are renowned for their academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and innovation. Institutions like the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are regularly ranked among the best in Asia and the world. These universities offer a wide range of programs in English, making them accessible to international students.

Students have various accommodation options. Many choose to live in university dormitories, which offer a welcoming community and are affordable.

Other options include shared apartments or studio apartments for rent in Hong Kong. Although the cost of rent can be high, living off-campus can offer a greater immersion in city life.

Living in Hong Kong as young professionals: working in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, morning skyline

Living and working in Hong Kong offers a unique experience where professional opportunities abound in a rich and diverse cultural context. This city, with its distinctive skyline and fast-paced rhythm, is a place where building a career is truly possible.

Key sectors of Hong Kong’s job market include finance, trade, technology, and tourism. The city is also a major center for international trade and logistics.

With a strong presence of multinational companies, Hong Kong is fertile ground for international professionals. English skills are highly sought after, and knowing Cantonese or Mandarin can be an advantage.

The work culture in Hong Kong is known to be competitive and fast-paced. Punctuality and respect for corporate hierarchy are highly valued.

Participating in networking events and joining professional groups can be crucial for career success in Hong Kong.

The cost of living in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, shopping street

Living in Hong Kong means immersing yourself in an urban environment where the cost of living can vary significantly depending on lifestyle and personal choices.

Generally, the special city presents very high costs, however, it is possible to find solutions for different budgets:

  • Food: costs for groceries and dining vary. While local markets offer products at affordable prices, Western restaurants and international supermarkets tend to have higher prices;
  • Transportation: Hong Kong’s public transportation system is one of the most developed and extensive in the world. However, owning a car can be expensive due to high taxes and parking costs;
  • Entertainment and time off: leisure activities can be expensive, but there are also many free or low-cost options, such as public parks and hiking trails.

Living in Hong Kong: the cost of rent

When it comes to renting a home in Hong Kong, prices can be surprisingly high:

  • Central areas: areas like Central, Admiralty, and Causeway Bay are among the most expensive, with rents reflecting high demand and prime location;
  • Peripheral areas: neighborhoods like Kowloon and the New Territories offer more affordable options but with longer travel times.

Size and quality of accommodation: rental apartments in Hong Kong tend to be small. For larger spaces, rents increase significantly.

One strategy to manage costs is to opt for apartment sharing: this can make otherwise inaccessible areas more affordable.

Considering different areas of the city can help find more affordable rents. Each neighborhood has its unique character, so it’s worth exploring different options.

The best neighborhoods to live in Hong Kong: an overview


When it comes to choosing where to live in Hong Kong, the city offers a variety of neighborhoods that cater to different lifestyles and budgets:

  • Central is the financial district and one of the most sought-after areas to live in Hong Kong. It’s the ideal place for those looking for a dynamic urban experience, with easy access to offices, high-class restaurants, and nightlife. Although rents can be high, living in Central means being at the heart of urban life;
  • Kowloon offers a fascinating mix of old and new, making it a popular choice for those who want to immerse themselves in local culture. Kowloon is perfect for those looking for an authentic experience at a more affordable price;
  • Sai Kung is perfect for those who prefer a quieter life. Known as “the garden of Hong Kong,” this area offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city, with access to beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and a welcoming community;
  • Wan Chai is a neighborhood that perfectly balances tradition with modernity. It’s ideal for young professionals and families, offering a variety of entertainment, dining, and shopping options, as well as parks and schools;
  • Discovery Bay is a residential area popular among the international community. It offers a quiet and family-friendly environment, with a variety of services, including clubs, restaurants, and recreational activities. It’s perfect for families and those looking for an escape from the city.

Leisure and Time off: what’s it like living in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong offers a wide range of cultural and recreational activities. For those who choose to live in Hong Kong, the city is a constantly evolving stage, rich in experiences and discoveries.

Living in Hong Kong means immersing yourself in a deep and varied cultural heritage. The city is a melting pot of influences, where Chinese traditions blend with British colonial elements and global trends.

Festivals and Traditions

Hong Kong, Chinese New Year

Hong Kong celebrates numerous traditional Chinese festivals, such as the Chinese New Year, the Hungry Ghost Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. These events offer an authentic glimpse into local culture and are a must-attend for those living in the city.

Art and Museums

Hong Kong, M+ Museum

Hong Kong’s art scene is vibrant and dynamic. The M+ Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art are just a few places where contemporary and classical art meet. Art galleries and independent exhibition spaces abound, making the city a hub for art enthusiasts.

Time off and Recreational Activities

Hong Kong, Lantau Island, Tian Tan Buddha

Time off in Hong Kong can be as exciting or relaxing as you prefer. The city offers a variety of activities for all tastes. Contrary to common perception, Hong Kong is rich in green spaces and hiking trails. The Dragon’s Back Trail and Tai Mo Shan offer breathtaking views and are easily accessible.

Hong Kong’s nightlife is famous worldwide. Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are the best-known districts for their bars and clubs, perfect for those looking for fun after sunset. For food lovers, living in Hong Kong means having a plethora of choices: from Michelin-starred restaurants to street food stalls, the city satisfies every palate.

Shopping and Fashion

Shopping street in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a paradise for shopping enthusiasts. Traditional markets, such as the Ladies’ Market and the Temple Street Night Market, offer an authentic experience, while luxury shopping centers like the IFC Mall and Harbour City cater to the search for international brands. The city is also a fashion and design hub, with numerous local and international designers showcasing their creations.

Cultural Events and Performances

Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Living in Hong Kong will give you the opportunity to attend theatrical plays, concerts, and world-class performances. The Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the West Kowloon Cultural District are the main landmarks for cultural events.

Moreover, the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Hong Kong Book Fair are annual events that attract an international audience, reflecting the city’s importance in the Asian cultural landscape.

Visas, procedures and documents for moving to Hong Kong

Moving to Hong Kong requires some planning, especially regarding visas and work permits. The Asian city offers various types of visas.

It’s important to inform yourself in advance about the most suitable visa type for your needs and start the bureaucratic procedures well in advance.

Below is an overview of the main visas and documents for moving and living in Hong Kong:

  • Tourist visa: Tourists visiting Hong Kong do not need to obtain a visa, including for study or business purposes. Italian citizens with a valid passport can stay without a visa for up to 90 days;
  • Study visa: There are two types of visas for studies: for courses of duration equal to or less than six months, the F visa is required; for courses longer than six months, the X visa is necessary;
  • F visa: First, you need to enroll in an institute or university, which will request the issuance of the JW-201 or JW-202 certificates from the Chinese Ministry of Education. The visa can be requested only after receiving the admission letter and the certificate from the ministry. It’s also necessary to present a bank statement or other documents that attest to the financial availability for the stay in Hong Kong;
  • X visa: This visa is issued without a specific duration of stay indicated (marked as 000). Once you arrive, you must undergo medical checks and, once you obtain the certificate of good health, you can go to the police station or the immigration office to convert the X visa into a temporary residence permit for the duration of the course of studies;
  • Work visa: Obtaining a work visa in Hong Kong requires first obtaining a job offer from a local company. The company will act as a sponsor and assist in the visa application. Candidates must possess a degree or significant experience in the relevant sector, must have experience in the specific role, and the salary offered must comply with local standards, generally not less than HK $ 20,000. Work permit holders can apply for renewal at least four weeks before the visa expires, provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria;
  • Permanent residency: Those who have a work visa for professionals and have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven consecutive years can apply for permanent residency, the Right of Abode.

In conclusion: is living in Hong Kong a good choice?

To live in Hong Kong, you can find a rental solution that meets all your needs; although it may be difficult to adapt to living in a new city and context, finding a rental in Hong Kong is very simple thanks to the solutions available on our website. A new experience awaits you, and we are here to make it as simple as possible with our solutions and technology.

Visit our website and contact our team of experts, who will help you in these initial stages of the search: once you have understood the secrets of living in Hong Kong, don’t forget to stay updated by reading our blog, where you will always find useful advice and constant updates.

If you are interested in having more information about all the opportunities you can take advantage of by living in Hong Kong and further exploring the initiatives offered in the territory and the latest news on events, we recommend not missing our sections entirely dedicated to advice on the best restaurants and the most interesting activities in the city.