A Different Perspective On the Cost of Living in Hong Kong.

This is my week to realize how easy it is to make certain assumptions that, if not wrong, need at least to be balanced by other viewpoints. I received the following comments from Hamlet Lin which put a different perspective on some of my previous comments about the cost of living in Hong Kong.

Our brief exchange follows.

“In fact it is possible to live in Hong Kong with the salary mentioned by her. It totally depends on where you live. For example, watching a movie in Shatin only cost you HKD 45. And “eat out” could be as cheap as 60 per person (well, it is true that you won’t have wine but some steam rice with tasty Chinese cusine).

Another fact is that the electricity is much less in Kowloon and N.T. (I guess Ed is living in HK island, right?). It is also easy to go into the city even you live in “remote area” (not the islands ofcause).

And it is really cheap if you know the place to buy airticket (compare to many other places). Just do it in advance and you’ll be fine.

For instance, you can probably rent a 1000sq. ft flat in N.T. with just around $7000.

So, it is still possible to do so.”

My response was:

Thanks for your comments. I will forward them to Leanne.

I agree, Hamlet, that it’s possible to live in Hong Kong on HK$18,500 but not HK$4500. I also agree that flats in the New Territories are much cheaper. I didn’t realize you could still rent a flat for HK$7000. I rented an 800 Sq. Ft. flat for HK$7500 in Shatin but that was in 1992. Hong Kong Island is much more expensive. That’s why I asked her where she was working.

I’ve paid as little as HK$45 for a movie but only on certain nights and afternoons. I also agree that you can get a rice bowl with meat, chicken or fish and tea to drink for as low as HK$30.00 or less. My wife buys a lunch box every day for HK$15. I eat, quite regularly, at a nearby noodle shop and most of the meals are priced at less than HK$45. Western style restaurants are, of course much more expensive.

Cheap air tickets often carry very stringent conditions which make it difficult to schedule them around a job but they are available with good planning.

Perhaps I painted a darker picture than necessary. On the other hand, too often, I have run into North Americans, Australians and Europeans who come here and are overwhelmed by the prices. I was trying to balance what I believe her life style is in the U.S. with what it would cost to maintain some of that life style here.

Thanks again for your comments. Maybe some other folks would like to weigh in with their thoughts.”

It may be that, as a retired Expat with a working spouse, I have a skewed view of what it takes to live here. If I was 25 again and not so wedded to my creature comforts, I could most likely get along on far less than I do.