Useful Information on Living in Hong Kong

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The Language Barrier in Hong Kong

The predominant language used in Hong Kong is Cantonese, which is spoken by almost 90% of the population according to the 2016 census. Similarly to mainland China, however, a range of variations of Chinese is spoken in the region.

English is also widely spoken, being the dominant language in business. Hong Kong Island in particular has a large expatriate community, so the English language is commonplace.

Weather & Climate

Don’t think about leaving your umbrella back in the UK as heavy rain is something you will have to get used to living in Hong Kong. The region belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate, making it warmer than the UK all year round. The warmest months are usually July and August, when there is an average high temperature of 31°C, and the coolest months are January and February, when the average low temperature is 14°C. Heavy rain and even thunderstorms are also common in Hong Kong, especially in the summer (May to Mid-September).

The typhoon season lasts between April and October. Flooding and landslides are a high risk in Hong Kong, especially during these seasons. So make sure you’re prepared and do research into the local region.

British Embassy in Hong Kong

Address:British Consulate Hong Kong
1 Supreme Court Road
Hong Kong
Phone:(+852) 2901 3000
Fax:(+852) 2901 3204
Office hours:Local Time
Mon-Fri: 08:30 – 17:00

Emergency Service Contact Information in Hong Kong

Emergency ServiceContact Number
Police, Ambulance & Fire Service999

Health in Hong Kong

Anyone going to visit or live in Hong Kong is encouraged to visit their GP no later than 8 weeks before departure. This is in order to find out which, if any, vaccinations are recommended. Depending on your risk level, and where in Hong Kong you will be staying, injections for consideration might be Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, and Rabies.

The general state of healthcare in Hong Kong is up to a high standard, in terms of personnel, medical knowledge/qualifications, and equipment. So rest assured you’ll be in capable hands if you seek medical treatment.

Similarly to the UK, Hong Kong offers both public and private healthcare options. Public healthcare is often free or only costs a little, but private healthcare can be highly expensive. This is why it is highly recommended for anyone living in Hong Kong to obtain health insurance that fully covers them for private healthcare.

Driving In Hong Kong

Living in Hong Kong can be extremely busy, especially on the roads. This is why many people – residents and expats alike – often turn to using public transport for daily commuting. However, if you are set on driving, you’ll enjoy the high quality of the roads – if you’re not sitting in traffic that is. Don’t get frustrated though, road rage is not as common in Hong Kong as it is here in the UK.

Hong Kong was a British territory until 1997, which means many aspects of day to day life there is similar to that in the UK. Driving in Hong Kong will be not present too much of a learning curve, because they too drive on the left hand side of the road, plus road signs are predominantly displayed in both English and Cantonese.

Getting your Hong Kong Driving Licence

You cannot drive in Hong Kong using your UK driving licence or even using an international driving permit, instead you need to obtain a local driving licence. With a UK driving licence, however, it’s possible to obtain a 3 month temporary licence without having to take a driving test.

If you’re planning on living in Hong Kong for more than 3 months you’ll need to get a yearlong driving licence. To obtain this you will need to register for one at the Hong Kong Licensing Office using a TD63A form. You will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a UK driving licence (valid or expired within three years)
  • Hold a valid UK passport

You will need to bring:

  • Hong Kong Identity Card (original & photocopy)
  • Relevant travel document e.g. passport (original & photocopy)
  • UK driving licence (original & photocopy)
  • Proof of address (less than 90 days old)
  • The required fee (phone 1823)

Legal Requirements

The minimum age for driving in Hong Kong is 18. As in most countries, drink driving is seen as a high-risk, nationwide issue. The blood alcohol content limit in Hong Kong is 0.55. The Hong Kong authorities make it clear that drink driving is unacceptable. If caught drink driving you will:

  • Receive a fine of up to HK$25,000
  • Have to complete a driving improvement course
  • Incur 10 driving offence points
  • Face between 6 months and 5 years driving ban