This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Babies in Hong Kong(5 Posts)
We are moving from London to hong kong next month and keen to know what dat to day life is like there for a mother and DS who is 6 months old. How is easy is stuff like supermarket shopping and do most families have 'helpers'?
Hi Winnie, it depends a fair amount on where you will be living and also if you will be working at all. Over on HK island, there are lots of baby groups, coffee mornings, creches, nurseries, play centres and so on. Out in the new territories, there are also these kinds of things, but the English speaking ones tend to be grouped in popular expat locations such as Sai Kung or Clearwater bay so if you are not living in these places (as indeed we are not), you may have to travel to get to them. HK is very small though so it really does not take too long to get from one place to another, and it is easy to get about on public transport, and driving is generally ok (apart from central which is a rabbit warren and very busy with lots of traffic). In terms of getting around, HK has great public transport and taxis are very reasonable. There are however lots of escalators and steps (especially in central) so it does make getting around with a buggy quite a headache. In terms of helpers, the vast majority of people do have a live in helper who would do the shopping, cooking, cleaning and so on, as well as child care/babysitting if you asked them to. this would negate the need to go to the supermarket with baby, which could be a bit of a stressful experince as many places do not have trolleys with baby seats in so you would have to have baby in a sling or a buggy and carry the basket. Park and shop deliver however which is how we get round the issue. We do not have a helper and have 3 DS, DT aged 4 and a DS aged 2 1/2 and we get by fine without the extra help, although we are in a significant minority in choosing not to have one. Here are a few websites which I found/find useful. one for ideas of what to do with kids in HK and a good HK expat site with lots of information and another good HK expat site. Please feel free to ask any questions and I'll try and help out if I can. Good luck with the move.
I've got a 4mth old DS and have been in HK about 18 months, so he was born here.
HK is a bit of a paradox because in some ways it's very baby friendly- there's a lot going on in terms of activities, playgroups, baby groups, swimming lessons etc, but at the same time everyday life with a baby in tow can be challenging because of the things Queen mentioned re supermarkets- internet supermarket delivery is more limited than in the UK and often it's hard to do all your shopping in a single supermarket- and the steps in the central area +narrow pavements (do not be a dumbass like me and buy a Bugaboo ). The other downer is that HK apartments are small and often have no outside space so unless you are coming on an amazing package with a huge housing allowance you might find yourself feeling a bit claustraphobic on a rainy afternoon- hence the need for all the baby groups! Some developments also have what they call "clubhouse" facilities which often include a pool and a softplay area or playground for young children.
I do have a helper and if you can afford it and don't mind having someone live in your home, I think it's worth it. If you're going to be working I'd say it's pretty critical as employers dont make a lot of allowance for family commitments. If not, you can get by without (maybe just get a part time- it's illegal but loads of people do it) but be aware that if you're living on the island without a helper you'd definitely be in the minority amongst expats and when people are arranging things to do, there is often the assumption that everyone has a helper.
If you post some more details re budget and areas you're considering, I'll give you some pointers as to developments you might want to consider living in.
We moved to HK when DS2 was nearly 4 months old so I could go to university out there for an academic year. I found HK a brilliant place to have small children, we chose to live in a known family friendly area, Tung Chung, if you're working with a tight budget (which we certainly were on a student visa only!) yet still want a relatively expat environment I'd highly recommend Tung Chung. We didn't employ a helper but the vast majority of people tend to and it certainly seemed to make life easier as the working culture can be intense compared to UK norms.
As for actual day to day life with babies, I loved it, on the days I was around at least as it was DH staying with the boys while I studied. Supermarkets in our area did not pose a problem with the buggy. It was more local shops and markets that could cause an issue. Midlevels is a nightmare with a buggy. We'd tend to take DS2 out in his baby carrier if we knew we'd be presented with lots of steps or escalators.
The MTR compared to London underground is a DREAM public transport system with buggies. You can have the occasional lift wars with pushy people during busy periods but that's a general feature of life in HK The fact that there are lifts at every MTR station is amazing. Public buses are a different story, they're very difficult to negotiate with prams of any kind.
There was also plenty of things to do with babies and small children. Plenty of coffee mornings for newcomers etc, and clubhouses, which have previously been mentioned, can be an absolute god send on a rainy or even stifingly humid day.
I miss HK very much, we loved the lifestyle, it suited us down to ground and we're constantly scheming to eventually get back!
Thank you so much for your responses! Sorry I just checked this again as didn't see any replies in the first day or so. Our budget is around $60,000 HKD per month and my husband seems pretty keen on discovery bay. I haven't been out there yet but he did a quick visit last week and seemed to think it was the best value for money and very family friendly.
What are the ways of finding baby groups & meeting other mums? I don't know a single person there
Thanks so much for your ideas!