Useful Information on Living in Hong Kong

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The Language Barrier in Hong Kong

Similarly to mainland China, a range of variations of Chinese is spoken in Hong Kong. However, English is also widely spoken. It’s the dominant language spoken in business in Hong Kong, with Cantonese being the most common form of Chinese being spoken. You will encounter other forms of Chinese, like Mandarin, while living in Hong Kong but knowing English should be sufficient.

Weather & Climate

Don’t think about leaving your umbrella back in the UK as heavy rain is something you will get used to living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate, making it significantly hotter all year round than here in the UK. 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 before committing to a life in Hong Kong.

British Embassy in Hong Kong

Address:British Embassy Hong Kong
1 Supreme Court Road
Hong Kong
Phone:(+852) 2901 3000 Main Switchboard
Office hours:Local Time
Mon-Fri: 08:30-17:15

Emergency Service Contact Information in Hong Kong

If you require emergency services, while living in Hong Kong, then the national contact number is the same as in the UK – 999. This phone number is for fire, police and ambulance services.

Health in Hong Kong

If you’re going to live in Hong Kong, then you are encouraged to visit your GP no later than 8 weeks before your departure. This is to allow you to receive the necessary vaccinations and medical health checks.

The general state of healthcare in Hong Kong is well up to western standards, 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.

Driving in Hong Kong will be a little easier for you as they drive on the left hand side of the road. You will also be helped by the road signs that 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. Thanks to your UK driving licence, you can easily get a 3 months 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

If you’re whole family is moving to live in Hong Kong, you should be aware that the minimum age for driving is, slightly above the UK, at 18.

As in many 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