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Moving young family to Hong Kong from UK

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agrice
9/26/2005 08:00 EST

Hi,

I am considering a 12 month work placement in Hong Kong starting early next year. My partner and I have researched the internet and travel guides and are concerned about the levels of air pollution present in the environment as we have a <1 year old child.

Can anyone shed any light on the pollution levels day-to-day and how it affects your lives? We would prefer to live further out from the city to avoid the main source of the pollution. Are there many expat communities outside of the city? I don't mind a 1 hour commute each way.

Does anyone have any info on nurseries / international nurseries? What are the waiting lists like? How expensive? Where are they situated? Are they all in the city?

Are there greener areas of Hong Kong that we could live without having to pay the earth?

How oppressive is the humidity for a european? We have spent time in Carins, Australia - is it similar?

I would really appreciate any guidance anyone could give. Particularly from other people wih young families......

Thanks,

Alan.

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Andrew2702
9/26/2005 23:15 EST

Hi there, Alan
we moved to Hong Kong last summer and live in the Sai Kung/Clearwater Bay area in Kowloon about 30 minutes from Hong Kong Island. Air is much cleaner here and rents seem more reasonable than on the Island - if you can call Hong Kong rents reasonable at all!!
Nurseries and schools are good. I have a 7 and a 10 year old and am very happy with their education. Check out http://www.moveandstay.com/hongkong/guide_international_schools.asp for more info on schools. My two are at an ESF school.
Humidity takes a bit of getting used to, we lived in Shanghai before and had the same problems. I've heard it's not as bad as Cairns but never been they.
Hope that helps
Fiona

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gilliankew
9/26/2005 23:16 EST

Can anyone shed any light on the pollution levels day-to-day and how it affects your lives?

There is no doubt that the pollution levels have increased over the 20 years I've been here, but, as long as you do not live in the city centre or have a pre-existing respiratory complaint, there should be no problem.

We would prefer to live further out from the city...

There are some lovely places to live - off the top of my head, I would recommend you check out Discovery Bay, Sai Kung and Hong Lok Yuen (both in the New Territories) and the South Island. All these places have active expat communities where you will feel less like a duck out of water. If you want a more local experience (but away from the city, you can try Ma On Shan in Shatin, Kau to Shan (again, Shatin, but pricey) and other areas in the New Territories. The public transport infrastructure here is superb, so it doesn't really matter which you choose. Depending on your Expat allowance, there are also places like Park View, the mid-levels and the Peak (again, we are talking pricey,here). Hong Kong really isn't just a city - we have great country areas and open spaces that, largely, get ignored by the western media and the tourist companies, which is a shame. A good Estate Agent should be able to help you find a place where you will feel comfortable.

Does anyone have any info on nurseries

Hong Kong is absolutely bursting with nurseries, but until you know where you are going to live, it is hard to make recommendations. The prices also vary a lot, so you should be able to find one for your budget. I suggest you contact the Community Advice Bureau (an English Speaking Service). Their details can be found on this website http://www.cab.org.hk/
Another useful source of infomration is the Hong Kong Preschool Playgroups Association, details available on http://hkppa.info/
They are a very welcoming group and should be able to answer many of your concerns regarding raising children here.

How oppressive is the humidity for a european?

yup, it's pretty opressive but that's what air-conditioning is for! Coming in the autumn or winter would help you to adjust more slowly (I arrived in April - not a good idea) but it's like most things - you adapt

My children are now grown (the youngest being 13) but they were all born and raised here. Apart from the pollution, which is a concern, I am very happy to have raised them in Hong Kong. We have great public facilities, including a public health system that the NHS could learn a thing or two from (though rather "no-frills" in its approach), an efficient government with a well oiled civil service (something we all take for granted until we no longer have it), a good education system and great leisure facilities, both indoors and out, all at affordable prices (though Disney may set you back a bob or two).

I hope this is useful and I'm sure that other members of this group will be able to offer more help.

Gillian

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gilliankew
9/27/2005 11:38 EST

Oh dear - I hope Allan could wade through my message! I pressed spaced it all out very nicely but the programme seemds to have clumped it all together in one horrible paragraph. Does it always do that?

Gillian

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sbking
10/5/2005 13:00 EST

Living in Stanley or Tai Tam might also be options.

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Despite the crowds and high cost of living, Hong Kong lures expats from around the globe. Members in Hong Kong offer advice about where to live, international schools, meeting others in Hong Kong and more.

Despite the crowds and high cost of living, Hong Kong lures expats from around the globe. Members in Hong Kong offer advice about where to live, international schools, meeting others in Hong Kong and...

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