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Relocating to HK

  1. #1
    Erin is offline Registered User
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    Feb 2005
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    Gold Coast
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    Relocating to HK

    Hi Everyone,

    My husband is interviewing for a job in Hong Kong. I have been all over this website (my new favorite) looking for information about possibly making this huge move. I still have a couple of logistical questions about potentially moving to HK. We have a one-year-old daughter and are planning on living in Discovery Bay (my husband would be working at the airport and DB seems like a great place to raise children).

    - Are most apartments in DB furnished or unfurnished?

    - It appears that it will be fairly expensive to ship our furniture to HK (and in all honesty, what we own is not very expensive to begin with). Is it easy to find decent 2nd hand furniture? How expensive is somewhere like Ikea?

    - We are unsure whether to bring our electronics to HK. I realize that the voltage is different. Can you find converters for electric sockets and do they work well (or will they damage our equipment or be constantly breaking)?

    - We are planning on buying a new (smaller) stroller in HK. Should we bring our crib, infant bed and highchair or are we better to buy in HK? What about toys and books? Better to bring that stuff or replace it in HK?

    I'd appreciate any information or advise offered. Are there things people regretted bringing or wished they had brought? Thanks!

    Erin

  2. #2
    jools is offline Registered User
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    Hi Erin,
    We moved to DB last year with 3 suitcases, 2 boxes, one toddler and a baby on the way. All the apartments we saw whilst we were looking were unfurnished, so I don't know if there are any furnished places.

    We used IKEA quite alot and what is great is they build the furniture for you, which was new to us coming from the UK where we've spent hours just working out the diagrams.

    The population in DB is pretty mobile i.e. people leaving all the time as their contracts come to an end, so there is often second hand furniture posted up on the notice boards in the club house and the supermarket (Park N Shop) so you can usually find alot of things there.

    I don't know about the electricity in Canada, but the system over here is the same as the UK (240V) so we didn't need to bring any coverters with us. I don't know if that helps.

    Definitely a good idea to buy a light weight stroller in Hong Kong; the steps in Central can really kill you. With regards to the crib, infant bed and high chair, it depends whether you want to treat yourself to new or not. You can get them out here, in places like Bumps to Babes and Mothercare, though they can be a little on the expensive side. When we moved my husband's company gave us a furniture allowance so we were lucky and just bought out here. Oh books are very expensive! That's one of the regrets I have of what we left behind in storage at home. I wished we had bought more of my son's books over with us. Toys on the whole I've found pretty reasonable, though obviously they can be expensive.

    I have found that you can get everything over here, it's just a case of finding where.
    If it's any help, I agonised over the decision to move, especially being pregnant at the time, but I have to say it was the best decision I have made in a long time. DB is great, especially for children and I'm sure you'll love it.

    Anyway good luck with the decision and to your husband with his interviews!

    Jools

  3. #3
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Erin

    I'm in HK with a 1 year old as well, but have been here for quite a while now!

    To answer your questions:

    1. Most apartments in DB are unfurnished, but there are some furnished and partly furnished. You can negotiate to include furniture with your landlord - some are more co-operative than others. Personally I prefer my own furniture (I'm especially fussy about my comfy bed!). Most rented apartments include a fridge, washing machine, dryer and air conditioners.

    2. It is quite easy to find second hand furniture. Ikea isn't bad. There are also plenty of furniture stores in Macau. Where are you moving from? My guess is furniture would be slightly more expensive than Australia and slightly less than the UK. Like anywhere, it depends where you shop. As Jools mentioned there is the Parknshop notice board, as well as www.dbfleamarket.com.

    3. We have heaps of electrical appliances from Australia (mixer, tv, hairdryer, slow cooker, kettle, etc). We just use a standard adapter plug that you buy at any electronics store and have never had any problems.

    4. I have a small stroller too, love it. I have the Maclaren Volo (3.8kgs) which is great on the DB buses and the stairs to our apartment building.

    5. If you are shipping some of your furniture, you might find it is the same price to ship it all. Check with the removal companies, but from what I recall, you may as well fill a whole container, as it is nearly the same price as part of a container. The good thing about shipping your furniture is that everything will be set up for you, you don't have to run around looking for bits and pieces and sleeping on the floor in the meantime !
    Consider whether you want to bring your baby's toys, bed, etc so your daughter has something she remembers, might make settling in easier. Another thing to consider is how big a flat you will be able to afford? If it is only a really small one and your furniture is quite large, you might want to consider buying smaller sized furniture to better suit small HK flats.

    We love DB, I'm sure you'll enjoy it ! My hubby is a pilot, so commutes to the airport and DB is very convenient for him.

  4. #4
    AmRa6 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin
    Hi Everyone,

    - We are unsure whether to bring our electronics to HK. I realize that the voltage is different. Can you find converters for electric sockets and do they work well (or will they damage our equipment or be constantly breaking)?

    Erin
    I'm assuming that Canada runs 110V like the US, so you will need a converter. I have been running 2 small single converters (HK$60 and HK$75) I bought at a local hardware store for 7 months (1 of which has been running 24/7) and I haven't had any problems so far. But I'm running small items like a cordless phone and baby monitor so I don't know how they would handle big items like a TV / Stereo. A while ago I had a big 6-plug converter that I ran a DVD player on and while the converter got pretty hot the DVD player was fine.

    I would also point out that HK TV is mostly PAL system like the UK and not NTSC like the US & I think Canada. So I would recommend buying a TV and DVD player here (most one of the ones here are multi system so they play all systems / zones).

  5. #5
    Erin is offline Registered User
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    Thanks very much for the information. It was very helpful!

  6. #6
    hol
    hol is offline Registered User
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    Erin,

    I just came back from apartment hunting in HK and found the cribs are much lower to the ground than I am used to in the US and the selection is not a good. IKEA is about $20 US per piece than in the US stores, some of the smaller items are the same price.

    I also found shopping a bit more difficult as they don't have the "big box stores".

  7. #7
    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    On the converter issue, I belive you have to have different converters for different size appliances depending on electrical draw. There are at least 2 different sizes available in the US. Have also been told that running appliances on converters will eventually ruin them. Some newer appliances are built to take voltage from anywhere, so you would only need a plug adapter. Check the individual appliance as that info should be stamped on it.
    Also, the converters and adapters are cheaper in HK than US. You can find more detailed discussions about this subject by searching on Geoexpat.

  8. #8
    Millerwhisk is offline Registered User
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    We have been looking at pushchairs, cots etc and generally it is alot more expensive here than at home (UK) so I would recommend bringing anything like that with you.

    We too have just moved to DB and really like it so I am sure you will.

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