Moving to Hong Kong

(6 Posts)
Caulkhead Sun 21-Apr-13 05:41:10

Hi, my husband is considering a move to Hong Kong. We have two daughters one currently in Yr 8 and one about to start in Yr 7 in September. Could you let me know anything about the following points:

British curriculum schools with good exam results in an holistic, nurturing environment, not a hot-house

Areas to live which are not high-rise, I can't manage lifts(!)

Husband will be working near Macau for some of the week, so access to there needs to be easy from home

Property prices for, let's say, a three/four bedroom place, with maids accommodation

How much for a maid each month, what is the best way to find one

We are keen sailors and riders, are these sports easy to access? What price would you expect to pay for riding lessons, and how much to join a sailing club

Pets - two dogs, two cats - is it true they have to go into quarantine, and is it true only one pet per working visa?

Dental and medical costs - insurance cover, what sort of package

Transportation - is a car necessary? Are they expensive to buy and run?

What about living outside Macau? Are there are any expat communities based here?

Many thanks in advance for any info you may be able to give me.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 21-Apr-13 06:38:25

Firstly, Macau is not part of HK- it's a separate island and, for visa purposes, a separate country. It's 45 mins by jet cat from central HK and it's basically just a gambling hub (gambling is not legal in HK (except horse racing) or in China so people flock from HK and China to the casinos in Macau. There are expats who live there (usually in the hospitality industry) but far fewer than in Hk and it wouldn't appeal to me. There's just not much there other than a tonne of casinos and a nice historic old town. Unfortunately you cant really live "near Macau" because it's an island. You either live in it or in HK.

Secondly, when you say you can't manage lifts, what do you mean?, because if I wouldn't or couldn't go in lifts, I would not move to HK as it would just be too limiting. It's not only residential property that is high rise. Many shops, restaurants, bars, doctors and dentists surgeries etc would also be on high floors. It's not always possible to walk up (it would be in theory but the stairs might not be accessible to the public except in an emergency)

In terms of low rise residential, there are some houses on the island, but they are expensive (HK$120k plus a month) and cheaper ones off the island (c $60k a month in the expaty bits of the New Territories). However, for you the New Territories would be a bit inconvenient in terms of access to Macau because the jet cats go from central HK so it would be 45 mins to central, then immigration, then 45 mins out to Macau. Alternatively I guess you could go for an apartment on a low floor, somewhere like Pok Fu Lam and just walk up the stairs but it would limit your options somewhat because there might just not be any available on a floor you'd feasibly walk up to. To get an idea of prices, Hong Kong Homes website is the most reliable.

Tbh I'd say the other stuff is a bit secondary to these considerations but

Schools- Harrow or Kellett. Harrow slightly more academic and higher proportion of local kids.

Cars- If you live off the island you need a car unless you live right by the MTR because there aren't enough taxis in the New Territories. On the island you can manage without. We have one and only really use it at weekends.

Pets- No quarantine if you've followed the rabies protocol- test negative, vaccinated and then wait 6 months. Don't think the number is limited. We brought 2 cats in on one working visa

Sailing is more do-able than riding- not sure of prices but basically if you're a good sailor you'll get proposed into one of the yacht clubs no problem. Riding is very limited as very few off road trails suitable for horses.

Helpers- minimum wage is C. $4500/month including food allowance, and is on live-in basis. Best way is to hire direct once you're here from a departing expat who recommends their helper

HTH

specialsubject Sun 21-Apr-13 10:25:32

The thing about lifts rang alarms with me too. HK is a cramped and vertical city and if you can't go in a lift, you really can't go there!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sun 21-Apr-13 10:56:27

No school in Macau, so thats easy to write off.

Yes schools would be kellet or harrow. Apply now.
The fench international offers IGCSEs and this years results have been really good. IB after that, no A levels as far as i understand

It is possible to find low rise accomodation but they tend to be unrenovated. agree the ones that are will be a min of 120,000.
One the southside of the island and pok fu lam you will need a car or rely on taxis/bus. No MRT.

I think Richman covered it all.
I 'd see its hard to avoid high rises but doable if you live in a liw rise.

exexpat Sun 21-Apr-13 11:06:41

If you have a lift phobia and seriously cannot use them, I would also think think twice about moving to HK. Have you been for a visit? Not only would it be impossible to use many restaurants, doctors, dentists, shops etc but you would not be able to visit 95% of any friends you make, because most people live in apartments.

Caulkhead Tue 23-Apr-13 10:54:23

It seems as though there's a lot to think about in terms of the accommodation/lift scenario.

Appreciate all your answers. Thanks

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