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Moving this April! Just a few standard questions (Hong Kong)

Hi All,

My bf and i have recently accepted an offer to work in HK with a growing restaurant group. We are currently based in NYC and have heard of comparisons between these two big cities. I'm just trying to get a feel of what expat life is like in HK, I've heard many stories and disclaimers about life there and would appreciate any feedback.

1. We would love to maintain our current lifestyle that we have in NYC. We go out to eat very often, more in casual stlye but food driven restaurants. Since we're in the business, it's important for us to keep up with the current trends in the area. I understand the restaurant scene in HK is quite strong but would we be able to keep a decent lifestlye with our salary? We would be making about 55 hkd combined, excluding our housing stipend.

2. The quantity of apartments for rent is pretty overwhelming. We have a housing stipend of 10k and we would like to get a 1br near work (SoHo) I was thinking maybe Wanchai, Soho or Central but I'm not sure if I can get a decent apartment for that price. Mind you, both of us are in our early 20s and our ramen eating college days still a recent memory. We don't mind roughing it a bit but we'd still like a relatively decent, grown up apartment. We're also willing to go up to 15k for housing. Also any additional recommendations on where to live? We;d prefer to be on the island in a place with a healthy nightlife and a mix of locals and expats. Also, what are the typical agency fees and how much money would we need upfront to rent a place? First month rent, deposit, etc. What sort of documentation is needed to prepare to sign a lease?

3. Our package seems pretty reasonable to us, but want to know what the general consensus was as far as living on a budget in hk. I'd be taking 25k/mo and he would get 20k starting. We were told we'd get chances for a raise every quarter, which is why we're willing to spend a little more out of pocket for a nicer apartment. Also medical insurance, a roundtrip flight back to NYC every year and the 10k monthly housing allowance. This company also was willing to take both of us, which is a big deal for us since we wouldn't consider moving away from each other. Both of us have moderate middle management restaurant experience in ny and we're both quite young as well.

4. We're super excited at the prospect of being immersed in a completely foreign community but I've heard reports that the local community doesn't really mesh well with the expat community. We wanted to make friends with locals and expats alike but it seems like it sadly may not be the case. Does anyone know more about this?

5. Also, I'm spanish-chinese-filipino and I was warned several times by my employer that filipinos encounter some form of racism since I understand a lot of filipinos are maids in hk. I definitely identify most with my Filipino and American background and I'm proud of who I am. I was wondering what the extent of this discrimination was and if I'd be totally miserable and treated like a second class citizen during my entire contract. Or, hopefully, these reports may be exaggerated and I'll be just fine.

6. My boyfriend is very into American football and basketball. Any good places to go where we can get some wings and watch the games?

Anyway. Thanks in advance for your advice. We're so excited to take the leap and move to hk for our careers and to just experience life outside of our little american bubble! We plan to travel as much as possible while we're over there and may possibly stay longer than our contract or move on to other parts of the world. Any advice is appreciated!

Hong Kong Forum