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Relocating from London to Hong Kong - Advice Needed Please!!

  1. #9
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    A third and middle point of reference for you - we live in North Point in a 950 square foot 3 bedroom place. It's a little tight but doable. Our building is quite modern (one of the few with ovens) and with a swimming pool and child's playground. We pay $28K. No car necessary, we have fantastic public transport. I'd love to live somewhere like where Carang lives (not that I've been there before) but hubby only has a 25 min commute to work from here (door to door) and we'd rather make do with where we are. I've looked all over Hong Kong and where we live is within our budget (boy I wish our budget was larger though!!) and meets pretty much all our needs.

  2. #10
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    I should mention that my hubby works from home but i have a 45-60 minute commute.

    I can drive to IFC in central in 45 minuted exactly.
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  3. #11
    Mimi2 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post a response. I am a bit overwhelmed by the whole school thing and shocked at how expensive accommodation is!

    So basically where we live will be dictated by where we can get a school or kindergarden place. I guess my first priority then is to call and email all the schools asap.

    Thanks for all your advice - if you think of anything else please post it!

  4. #12
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
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    I live in DB (Discovery Bay). Send me a PM separately if you have any specific questions as I am also a lawyer working in Central and have lived in London. Rents vary a lot out in DB but you can check some of the real estate sites like http://www.squarefoot.com.hk/rent/ and http://www.savills.com.hk/ to get an idea of prices. We lived in Midlevels for 5 years and moved to DB when our first child was 2 years old. Best move for us in terms of facilities for kids. Traffic, roadside pollution and general busyness and lack of parks and playgrounds made us move from Midlevels.

    DB has two Residents clubs (you have to pay to join) with pools, indoor playroom and outdoor playground. Also parks and playgrounds outside of the clubs. Lots of sports activities, ballet/dance classes, swimming lessons etc for kids all available in DB. Schools same issue as elsewhere in HK - full, full and full. But there is a new primary school opening this summer as an extension of an existing school, DMK, with an already good reputation for their existing kindergarten. Other options for kindergarten include a new Montessori school (at the North Plaza), Sunshine House as well as two international schools DBIS and Discovery College which offer kindergarten (in DBIS only), primary and high school.

    Takes me about 50 mins door to door from my apartment to my office in Central. 25 min ferry so commute could be shorter if you lived closer to the ferry pier at either end.

    DB is not for everyone but would definitely recommend you take a look while you are here. I was not a fan at all until my kids got older and now it has turned out to be the best choice for us.

  5. #13
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    If you choose to go the international school route, education is definitely going to be your biggest problem. You'll find a place to live, but a school is going to be the issue. You may be fine for the coming year in a preschool but next year will be the main bottle neck. However, if you're children are 2007 born, e.g. your children would start ESF (they have many primary schools all over HKG) Y1 this year ... and there is absolutely very little chance to secure spots for this year. I know people who have been on the waiting lists for more than 18 months.

    Also the budget for schools varies from basically free (local, mostly Cantonese schools, few exceptions, correct me if I am wrong), to ESF as kind of middle in the road $63k a year) to well over $150k a child in places like HKIS, Harrow, etc. Are you paying, is the company paying? Does the company have any debentures?

    As far as DB goes, correct me if I am wrong, getting into Primaries or through schools (like DBIS / DC) there is a major major problem (no more than elsewhere but fewer options and more isolated), so once you live there and you're unable to secure a spot, your child will be facing long commutes (and possibly a ferry ride) going to school.

    Schools first, then the rest ...

  6. #14
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    my son goes to a local school. it has an english stream and a cantonese stream (designated school for non-chinese speaking students). it is located on the waterfront of sai kung. there are mixed (chinese/cauasian/filipino/african), western kids, african kids, nepalese kids, overseas chinese and local chinese kids attending the school.

    are there some issues with the school? yes, i'm not fond of the homework or the way they teach english. but i figure, i had homework and it didn't kill me, so it is unlikely to kill my kids. as for english? well, my kids get that all the time at home , so not a big deal. my son is in the cantonese stream. as such, we have put him into homework help classes (offered for free 5x/week) but he takes it 3x. he also does violin, soccer (with brazilian soccer school), putonghua and tae kwan doe.

    the school is right beside the swimming pool, so as soon as he gets the cast off of his broken foot, he'll be doing swimming classes, too.


    oh yeah... it's free.

    so, depending on what you want for your kids (i want my kids to be bi-literate and bi-lingual).... there are options out there.
    Last edited by carang; 04-17-2012 at 11:33 AM.

  7. #15
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
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    Mommyto3 - good point about debentures, if you can organise that with your company then great but would have thought unlikely for a law firm unless your husband is coming out as a partner. Worth a shot though.

    In terms of DB, I don't think it is any worse there than anywhere else for getting kids into school. My friend in Tin Hau has had a stressful wait getting her child into an ESF primary for August this year. I have heard that if you are at an ESF kindergarten then you get an interview for an ESF school but that may just be rumour. A number of little kids from DB catch the bus to the ESF kindergarten in Tsing Yi in order to try and get an interview for Discovery College (DC). 40 mins or so is a long way on a bus at 2.5 years - 4 years just to try and get an interview and not even a guaranteed place. Having said that, a friend just got her child a place at DC for P1 in August and he did not go to an ESF kindergarten. It is difficult to get into DBIS and DC in DB that is for sure. We've been on the wait list 2 years for DBIS and no luck getting in this August. Wait lists are crazy but you can fast track if you pay the debenture (which we have not done as its something like $400K). BUT with the new DMK primary school opening in August and the fact that the existing DMK school takes kids for 2 years of kindergarten and two years of primary school-like classes (K3A and K3B) - this does help with the backlog. And there are other options out there for up to about 6 years old with Montessori and Sunshine House. Also a local Chinese primary school which has good reviews. The ESF catchment primary school for DB is Bradbury which is massively oversubscribed and is a 45 min bus ride away on HK Island. DC is a quasi international/ESF so does not have a catchment and, I understand, is difficult to get into.

    I do agree though that it is best to look for school places first then consider whether they are in an area you'd like to live in.
    Last edited by starbucks2; 04-17-2012 at 11:40 AM.

  8. #16
    Mariana is offline Registered User
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    Hi,
    We relocated last year from London, my girl was in all the lessons you mentioned in one of your posts ie ; ballet, swimming, gymnastics.......... in Uk I was paying max 7 pounds per hour, please be prepare for the shock of the prices in HK, most of the lessons are only 45 minutes and around £20 per session! Yes £20/25 I paid for ballet! Play groups for my toddler in London £2 in HK £ 15 to £ 22 per 1.5 hours! And don't expect a super venue/ activities/ teachers....... No, most of them much better in UK, if want a bitbofnextra info feel free to email, [email protected] By the way we are loving HK is a great place for children, live in a lovely place, meeting lovely people, you will love it

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