The Ultimate Hong Kong Guide for Digital Nomads
If you have a desire to move to Asia, but you don’t want to experience a complete culture shock, then being a digital nomad in Hong Kong is the perfect option. Due to the large number of people from all over the world who travel and move to this area, Hong Kong has often been viewed as a global city, not only because of its longstanding ties with Europe, but also by being a central hub for finance and commerce. For anyone wanting to be a digital nomad in Hong Kong, this means that there are endless job opportunities here, as Hong Kong has been build with the influx of different people and cultures in mind.
But apart from business opportunities, being a digital nomad in Hong Kong has many other advantages. Aside from being able to meet a variety of people from all over the globe and a great Wi-Fi coverage that helps you to always stay connected, Hong Kong is also a good central area to hop to other parts of Asia, if you want to be constantly on the move. Before you start packing, however, take a look at a few handy tips that will help make your transition to this extraordinary region as seamless as possible:
Where to live
Hong Kong is famous for having the most expensive real estate in the world, and it’s exactly this attention grabbing fact that makes a lot of people steer clear of Hong Kong. However, since you’re most likely not planning on moving to Hong Kong for good, you have a lot more options to choose from. For example, you might want to look for an Airbnb home that has good reviews, a hotel or a hostel with a great reputation, or even try to find a room to sublet on one of many apartment-sharing websites available.
If living within the Hong Kong Island’s limits is too expensive for you, don’t fret. That doesn’t have to mean that your dreams of moving to Hong Kong are over. You can still find some great accommodation options suited to your income, but that may include living a bit further out, if you’re on the lower end of the earning chain. Areas such as Lau Fau Shan, Lam Tei, Lok Ma Chau, Lam Tsuen Country Park, Fanling, Kwan Tei, Ping Che and Sha Tau Kok are some great, cost-friendly options, but bear in mind that there will be a bit of a commute to Hong Kong Island from these areas.
Where to work
Working as an English teacher is a well-paid and highly respected job, which is what makes teaching with Monkey Tree in Hong Kong such a great option. The people in this area are trying their hardest to become a bilingual community and open up their culture to visitors from all around the globe, so they are always looking for great native-speaking teachers to help fulfill that goal.
Since Hong Kong offers some of the fastest internet connections in the world, you could always take advantage of that fact and choose to work online. There are many co-working spaces available for rent in Hong Kong, but they can often be quite expensive. If you decide to work online, a more cost-friendly option would be to work from some of the amazing local coffee shops that offer great internet speeds, as well as the opportunity to spend more time getting to know the locals.
How to get around
The streets of Hong Kong are incredibly active – they are always filled with people, even during the night, which is why you’ll rarely feel alone when you’re out and about. That being said, walking wherever you can is the most cost-effective form of transport and it is also the best way to see and experience Hong Kong to the fullest.
If you’re not a keen walker, you could always take the MTR, Hong Kong’s incredibly efficient train system. All lines are connected and you’ll be able to reach all the main places in Hong Kong with it – all you need is an Octopus card, which you can refill at one of the kiosks at each station. You also have the option to take taxies or ferries. For island to island travel, ferries are very affordable and a fun option to get around. But if you’re in a rush, taxies are also a great option, and they are incredibly cheap compared to most major cities in the world.
What to eat
Whether it’s outdoor stalls or the endless amounts of cafes, there’s truly no shortage of convenient, cheap and incredibly tasty food in Hong Kong. If you’re looking for an authentic meal, you definitely need to try Yum Cha, a traditional Cantonese meal that consists of dim sum and hot tea. And in Hong Kong, you can never turn a corner without fining a great dim sum spot.
If you’re looking for something heartier, however, then give one of their many delicious roast meats a try. From chicken and pork to duck and goose, the locals truly know how to roast up their proteins. On top of that, they love to show their tasty meals off in shop windows, making your mouth water every time you take a glance. If you have a sweet tooth, the pineapple bun is a treat not to miss – apart from hitting the sweet spot, it is also a perfect snack to bite on while you’re on your way home.
What to do in your spare time
While being a digital nomad means that you can work wherever and whenever, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Hong Kong for all its glory. Hong Kong isn’t merely a concrete jungle – there is an abundance of greenery, nature parks, hiking trails, beaches and islands to explore. So, if you have the time, a good idea would be to explore one of the four main hiking trails, The MacLehose trail, The Hong Kong trail, The Wilson trail and The Lantau trail, each broken into many sections filled with breathtaking panoramic views. Along these trails and inside the nature parks that surround them are countless camp sites, barbeque sites and hidden secluded beaches.
If hiking isn’t your forte, head to New Territories, where Hong Kong aboriginals are originally from, and visit traditional villages to see the old relics and architecture, and experience the dying culture of the Hakka people. Rather than being commercialized into a tourist gimmick, these are real communities that keep their culture alive within their private groups, so it can be a bit hard to experience all of the vibrant aspects of the Hakka culture if you aren’t Hakka yourself. However, if you visit the right places at the right time, then you will have the opportunity to see traditional kung fu being practiced at ancestral halls, large parties with traditional food being served, and even the incredible traditional unicorn dance.
Your trip doesn’t need to be so business-driven – if you spend your time admiring the nature and the architecture, tasting delicious food and soaking up the incredible energy, Hong Kong is a place that will provide you with endless inspiration. So, enjoy your stay and don’t be afraid to experience the wonders of Asia to the fullest.