Hong Kong Travel Tips for Expats

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Know where you’re going – Whenever traveling by cab or public transport, have someone write down your destination and return address in Chinese. This will help you avoid miscommunications if your driver doesn’t speak English.

Always carry a packet of tissues – Although most major restaurants and bars usually provide tissues, paper is not always provided in public toilets.

A tip on tipping – Most restaurants tack on an extra 10%, and it isn’t necessary to add much more — perhaps 5%. You don’t have to tip taxi drivers, although they are very appreciative when you do (they tend to like Americans.)

Bookworms beware! – Although there are a number of English bookshops available, books can be expensive. Bring a few good books from home, and consider international magazine subscriptions. Another option is to join one of the public libraries in Hong Kong.

On family affairs – Raising a family in Hong Kong has both its good and bad points. Domestic helpers (amahs) are readily available and can be hired full- or part-time for very reasonable wages. Ask your neighbors, friends or business associates for contacts, or obtain numbers from the advertisement boards at the local Wellcome or Park’N’Shop supermarkets.

One potential drawback to living in Hong Kong is that the quality of life from an American perspective — having space and outdoor activities — is somewhat lacking.

Hunting for bargains – Hong Kong was once known for its bargains on various items. While they do still exist, you may have to search a bit harder to find them. You also have to be careful about what you buy. Make sure any items you purchase have a worldwide guarantee (unless you only plan to use them in Hong Kong, in which case, a store warranty with the shopowner is sufficient). Save your receipts, and make sure that what you bought is what they put in the bag for you.

Hong Kong high-tech – Computers are available at places such as Star Computer City, Kowloon and Golden Arcade, and Sham Shui Po, but beware of buying cheap disks and counterfeit software. Some unwary customers have had their entire computer systems wiped out from using virus-ridden disks.

Make the most of it – An assignment to Hong Kong offers many exciting opportunities. Why not take advantage of them? Journey to the Outlying Islands or New Territories. Take in the Buddhist monasteries. Or travel to the many incredible destinations in proximity — Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore or India. Wherever you go, chances are good you’ll encounter adventures you’ll never forget.