Hong Kong daily life

One of the challenges of living the expat life is getting used to day-to-day differences you can't really prepare for. Here we provide some thoughts on all the 'little things' that make daily life in Hong Kong so interesting -- and occasionally infuriating.

Cold at Chinese New Year?

You’ll hear it this week (if you haven’t heard it already): Chinese New Year is coming up, so it’s going to be cold!

The assumption that Chinese New Year (CNY hereafter) invariably brings a cold snap is deeply-ingrained in Hong Kong culture, among natives and expats alike. Read more »

Life in Hongkong for Indians


I will have to move to Hongkong in the month of June for an onsite assignment for  my client DFS.

I would like to know the cost of living in HK, accomodation in a decent apartment and it's monthly Rent (not luxurious) and cost for other basic necessities. I know this is a very vague question and depends on the way you lead your life but still would like to know the ground realities.

Consider that i am an average spender would not go into too much luxury.

Can you please let me know your thoughts on the queries above.

Thanks in Advance, Read more »

Hong Kong's Urban Heat Island

The theme of my first Hong Kong climate change article was simple: average yearly temperatures here have been going up more less steadily since the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) starting keeping track of them, but they have skyrocketed in recent decades. Yet over the past 60 years, essentially all of this warming has occurred at night, i.e.

Climate change in Hong Kong

The message from the Hong Kong Observatory is unequivocal: global warming is real; it’s affecting Hong Kong’s recent and current weather in obvious ways; and future trends for the world, and perhaps for Hong Kong especially, are ominous. Read more »

The black sofa

If you’ve lived in Hong Kong for any length of time, and gotten to know a few local people well enough to visit their homes, you’ve likely seen it: the black leather sofa.

The Ecofriendliest Place on Earth?

Allow me to offer up a hot proposition to anyone who may be thinking about coming to live in Hong Kong.

(No, no, Mrs Tall – I assure you – not that kind of proposition!)

Ahem. Yes, times here are bad economically, and life in Hong Kong has its challenges. Yes, Hong Kong is a crowded and sometimes-crazy city. But here’s my offer: moving to Hong Kong gives you the chance to live what is likely the most ecologically-correct lifestyle you will find anywhere in the industrialized world. Read more »


The Talls have recently returned from a highly satisfactory trip to New Zealand. I won’t bore you with the tedious details, but I will expand upon one cultural comparison that came to mind as we enjoyed our visit.

I can sum up the constrast in one word: paceRead more »

Surviving the Financial Tsunami

Mrs Tall and I are hopelessly old-fashioned. When we bought our current flat, times in Hong Kong were bad: we signed our purchase agreement just a couple of weeks after 9/11. Property agents were desperate for business, as were the developers themselves. We could therefore get not only an ordinary mortgage covering 70% of our flat’s price, but also (since our building was new) a loan from the developer covering an additional 25% (at a higher interest rate, of course). We had to come up with just a 5% down payment.  Read more »

A tribute to the northeast monsoon

This past weekend we saw one of the sharpest and most welcome weather changes I can remember here in Hong Kong. This year’s unusually hot and humid autumn finally gave way to the gloriously Mediterranean-style sun and dry air we expected to arrive several weeks earlier.

What was the problem? Why did it stay so uncomfortably steamy so long this year? We can blame it all on the failure of the northeast monsoon to arrive on time.  Read more »

Commuting in Hong Kong

I read an article recently that really struck a chord. It’s from the April 16 2007 New Yorker, written by one Nick Paumgarten, and it’s all about commuting. Although it focuses on commuting in the USA, and inevitably spends a lot of time on driving, parts of it that deal with commuting in New York City itself are quite apposite to life here in Hong Kong.

Most strikingly, perhaps, Paumgarten quotes the punchline from a recent academic study on commuting: Read more »

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