Tips and Tricks for Hong Kong Newcomers

March 20 , 2021 by: Amelia Chui

The opportunity to study, work, and live abroad is a rare opportunity that enhances one’s knowledge, broadens one’s international perspective, and allows one to progress in personal growth and academic development. However, in living, you will inevitably be confused by the impact of adaptation and culture. Given this, we have included the following tips to help you adapt to your new life in Hong Kong, share with you tips on integrating into the local culture, and other practical information.

Mental Adjustment

Newcomers to Hong Kong may experience anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, physical discomfort, and reduced learning effectiveness as a result of having to leave home and adjust to a new environment. I believe all newcomers to Hong Kong have experienced similar reactions. Newcomers to Hong Kong should always maintain a positive and optimistic outlook and be open to stress and confusion. Take the initiative to seek help from friends or student affairs counselors when you encounter difficulties. Here are some practical tips for your reference.

1) Life changes will naturally bring stress. In fact, the emergence of strain is a normal reaction. Do not make the wrong judgment, thinking that ”asking for help means that you are weak”.

2) The best way to reduce stress is to know how to use effective methods, such as keeping in touch with family and friends and building new support networks. Participate in community activities to explore the local culture and community characteristics. If you come as a student, participate in student activities to get to see the campus and local and other incoming students.

3) Be optimistic, be prepared to face worries and setbacks, and allow yourself and others to make mistakes and learn from them.

Communication skills

Language is one of the barriers to adapting to a new environment. When people from all over the world gather in Hong Kong, there is a mix of Cantonese, English, and Mandarin in the streets. If you have a strong local accent, some locals may not understand what you are saying. Likewise, you may find it difficult to grasp or understand the local language and pronunciation at first. The way to break the language barrier is to be patient and to take your time. Avoid colloquialisms and jargon as much as possible. When it is tough to express or communicate, remember to keep smiling and use body language along with other languages to make communication easy.

Hong Kong Identity Card

All persons aged 11 or above who have entered Hong Kong and are allowed to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days must apply at any Registration of Persons Office of the Immigration Department within 30 days of their arrival in Hong Kong. You must carry your Hong Kong Identity Card with you at all times in Hong Kong. If you are asked to produce proof of identity by the police or other authorities, no form of identification other than a Hong Kong identity card or passport will be accepted. Failure to produce your HKID card or visa when requested by the police may result in arrest or prosecution. In general, foreign residents may be given a verbal warning or detained until someone brings their ID card to the relevant police station. To save time, you can use the appointment service provided by the Immigration Department at or the hotline: 2598 0888.


Hong Kong is generally considered a safe city; however, as everywhere else, you should be wary of pickpockets and avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables; most stores in Hong Kong accept credit cards for payment. It is wise to be vigilant at all times, protect your belongings carefully, and lock your doors and windows before you go out. The Hong Kong Police Force has police stations and crime reporting centers in every district.


Before renting an apartment, be prepared by browsing the websites of significant real estate companies, searching for the ideal lot and property, and looking at specific information such as apartment type and monthly rent. Go in person to the real estate company corresponding to the location (or call) to ask for details. After moving in, you may consider changing the locks because the owner of the rental property may leave keys in different real estate companies so that the agent can take the tenant for a “viewing” and understand that it is not safe for a stranger to have the keys to his home. Whether you change the lock or not, keep a record of the number of tickets the landlord has given you and return them in full (including the mailbox key) when you finally surrender the lease. Some landlords may ask you to pay cash. If the landlord wants to spend a year’s rent in one lump sum, you should consider your financial ability and negotiate for a safer way to transfer the money. In Hong Kong, two months’ rent is usually paid as a deposit after the contract is signed, and then the first month’s rent is paid.

Health Culture

To ensure a clean and safe environment, the Hong Kong Government introduced a fixed penalty system for public cleanliness offenses in mid-2002 to keep public places clean. Any person who litters, spits, posts illegal street signs, or allows dog fouling in public places is liable to a fine. The fixed penalty system is enforced by seven government departments, including the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, the Housing Department, the Environmental Protection Department, the Marine Department, the Hong Kong Environmental Hygiene Department and the Hong Kong Police Force. To enhance the deterrent effect, the fixed penalty was increased to $1,500 with effect from 26 June 2003. The enforcement departments will adopt a “no-tolerance” enforcement policy to prosecute offenders. Everyone should work together to keep Hong Kong clean by not littering or spitting. Also, drying clothes in public places is unethical and affects the city’s appearance, environmental hygiene, and personal hygiene. For the sake of keeping Hong Kong clean, please do not dry your clothes in public places.


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