It was May 23, 2007 when the employed me kicked off at 852. So, today marks my 10th year as an overseas foreign worker. My batch mate, Josh and I were exchanging our “Happy Anniversary” greetings to each other and we can’t help but get amazed about how we kind of feel the same but when we look at our lives now, everything had definitely changed.
For this year, I’d like to write about food that I loved most in Hong Kong, 10 customs that I had learned, Cantonese words I’ve gotten familiar with, life experiences and remarkable milestones, and many more all in 10’s.
For now, let me start with the 10 THINGS EVERY VISITOR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HONG KONG. Some of these points I learned the hard way and some of them I wish I knew before coming over here.
- The Hong Kong money is called the Hong Kong Dollar. To tell you honestly, the living cost in Hong Kong is high. Decent meals start from HK$35 but you see, with Hong Kong street food alone, you could get full in no time while shopping or taking a walk. It’s important to know the most affordable food in Hong Kong for those who are visiting on a budget. Most of the people here in Hong Kong take the train. It is much cheaper to do so because space here is what is highly paid for. It’s a melting pot for most business men and women and expats are everywhere that in addition to its locals, crave for space. Because of that, rent is pricey and investing on properties here starts from around HK$5million with only a flat from the building not even having its own land.
- Hong Kong was a former British colony yet now it stands as a Special Administrative Region, hence its HKSAR name. It exists as part of the People’s Republic of China under the “One Country, Two Systems” doctrine.
- Every Hong Kong resident, whether permanent, working, a student or a citizen is issued of a Hong Kong Id. This is expected to be held by its owner and is subject to random check each time. If you’re a tourist, some other kind of identification such as passport or country of residence ID should be presented if asked.
- The country of Hong Kong earns 90% of its GDP through services. Finance, in one form or another, is Hong Kong’s largest industry. But, as I mentioned in my article, 10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HONG KONG, they are just as they impose huge taxes. Their public transportation is much preferred because of its accessibility to the urban offices, establishments, shopping malls and government offices. Their parks are ready for leisure activities, they are decent, clean, well-kept and safe. In addition, the people of Hong Kong are hard-working and they are financially educated that they know the fundamentals of saving money, investing it and re-investing it. Because of that, everybody has enough money to fend for themselves, no crimes of greed happens and seldom will you see a homeless on the street. In 2011, Hong Kong had the lowest murder rate in the world. – WIKIPEDIA
- Hong Kong literally means “Fragrant Harbour” in which back in 1842, factories that lined up the water had burned incense during the export trade that time. It gave out a fragrant scent all through out the city. This harbour is now called, the “Aberdeen Harbour”.
- Hong Kong ranks first in the world for the number of skyscrapers completing its beautiful scenic harbour view. There are 361 skyscrapers all in all up to this date which makes Hong Kong, 60 skyscrapers more than its rival, New York City. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 90% of its population using the public transportation.
- Hong Kong houses the longest escalator in the world which gives it an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Hong Kong was made on a hilly, steep and most of the time, unforgiving terrains, paving the way for the longest escalator to be built-in Central-Mid-levels. This is to make going up and down the city easier and quicker. The estimated number of people it will cater to was just 27,000, as so, presumed but the daily traffic exceeds 85,000 people. The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator, being the longest outdoor escalator and walkway system is 800 metres (2,600ft.) long with a vertical climb of 135 metres (443 ft.). It had become a famous tourist spot that shops and restaurants lined up its 20-minute long route.
- Almost all the Hong Kong people hold an octopus card. Almost all establishments honour it and it’s the card you would need to reload for a cheaper fare when going around Hong Kong, most especially via train. It follows a tap-n-go payment system. It is affordable, efficient and user-friendly. It’s almost like a debit card. The octopus card and your Hong Kong ID are the most valuable cards you’ll have to own while living in Hong Kong.
- The geography of Hong Kong consists of 3 main territories: the Hong Kong Island, New Territories and the Kowloon Peninsula. Once you get in Hong Kong, the taxis operate around 3 colours (red, blue and green) that somehow cover specific routes based on these 3 main territories. However, Hong Kong has no standard district boundaries that’s why they have no standard format in writing down their addresses. Hong Kong doesn’t follow any form of a zip code system and because of this, inbound mail is sorted only by hand according to Hong Kong post. So, yeah! Flash a smile to your mail carrier for their hard work.
- Hong Kong has the highest IQ score ever recorded. Kids in Hong Kong undergo interviews to enter schooling at the early age of 2 to prepare them for kindergarten as they reach 3 years old. Out of 80 countries, Hong Kong leads the most recent list with a score of 108. Check your country’s by clicking here.
Within these 10 years of getting involved with Hong Kong, I’m excited to learn more. A list of 10 things isn’t enough but these cover the basic guide of every tourist deciding on taking a trip here in Hong Kong. If there are other trivial facts that you know besides the ones here, please do share.
*Before I go, I would like to greet my fellow batch mates, Gil, Tracey, Ericqueen and Josh happy 10th year to all of us.”
- 10 THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG – Writing down an itinerary to carry out as you visit Hong Kong? This might help!
- BUTAO – Experience this bowl of ramen in Central as it swims in the tasty black squid ink. It’s an experience you would never want to miss.
- HONG KONG SEVENS 2017 – One of the biggest events held in Hong Kong, the Rugby Sevens was epic this year. Take a look on how it looks like in the field!