ISSUE 01 | JANUARY 2015
EXPLORE! WHAT’S BEYOND THE BUSY STREETS OF HONG KONG? PAGE 12
GET HEALTHY List of private health providers and fitness and leisure clubs in Hong Kong
POPULAR EVENTS IN HONG KONG
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite events that are happening in 2015
EDITOR’S NOTE Even after living in Hong Kong for almost 20 years, I am still amazed by many of the hidden nooks and new things to do on a weekly basis. Thinking about my family’s first few weeks in Hong Kong, I still remember the overwhelming feeling of “where do we even begin?”, a feeling that I’m sure I share with many expat parents and families.
they are originally from Hong Kong or have moved here for work, call Hong Kong their home, and this issue of ‘Settling Into Hong Kong’ serves as a goto guide for many while adjusting to living in this vibrant city.
As the School celebrates its 20th anniversary, I am pleased to share this year’s ‘Settling Into Hong Kong’ guide, with a new design and updated content. A lot of AISHK families and staff, whether
Welcome to AISHK and Hong Kong!
This guide is personally compiled by the Parent Association and myself, from a list of our favourite events and activities to buying furniture and getting around Hong Kong. I hope this guide will serve you well as you and your family are settling into Hong Kong.
Rochelle Bargo Communications Officer
AISHK PARENT ASSOCIATION PARENT ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE
DOMINIC GYNGELL PRESIDENT
RACHEL ATALLAH NEW PARENT CO-ORDINATOR
LAUREN MITCHELL FINANCE
KATIE APOSTOLOPOULOS JACINTA SUTTON LESLEY STEWART KITTY WONG GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS
LISA MILLINER SECRETARY SHELLEY SPALETA COMMUNICATIONS EMMA HOLT COMMUNITY
Contents Page 4
POPULAR EVENTS IN HONG KONG
Trying to plan ahead and looking out for events happening in Hong Kong this year? Look no further.
DISCOVER WHAT HONG KONG HAS TO OFFER
Living in Hong Kong offers an opportunity to experience a vibrant cultural scene shaped by the city’s colonial history, Chinese influence and the diverse backgrounds of many locals and expats who call Hong Kong their home.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND GET INVOLVED
As with anywhere, you’re going to want to find friends outside of the office. Find out more about organisations and clubs in Hong Kong.
LOOKING FOR AN ACTIVITY?
With even the farthest reaches of the city only taking an hour to an hour and a half to reach, mini adventures are a very popular activity in Hong Kong.
STAYING HEALTHY IN HONG KONG
We’ve compiled a list of some of the private health care providers and fitness and leisure clubs in Hong Kong.
Finding a place to GET live in Hong Kong and in takes time COMFORTABLE settling and patience. Get some of where to get IN YOUR HOME ideas furniture and services.
“WELCOME to hong KONG
Welcome to Hong Kong! The Pearl of the Orient, where East meets West and cosmopolitan vibrancy blends with natural beauty. It may be overwhelming at times, but if you give Hong Kong a chance, you will grow to love this amazing city. But right now is all about the excitement of a new adventure and we’re here to help. Let’s get to know Hong Kong!
Get to Know Hong Kong First, you’re going to need a couple of go-to resources for those questions that pop up as you adjust to the city.
AsiaXPAT - www.asiaxpat.com GeoExpat - www.geoexpat.com The List - www.thelist.com.hk Dollarsaver Magazine - www.dollarsaver.com.hk HK Magazine - hk-magazine.com HK Moms - www.facebook.com/hkmoms
GeoExpat is fantastic for purchasing used (but high-quality) appliances. For Facebook users, there is also a group called “Swap-It-HK” that is quickly becoming a go-to place for locals and expats online when looking for used and/or brand new items. When people in Hong Kong move, they often sell their bulky appliances rather than move them to their new home.
MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar.
Chinese new year
Chinese New Year celebrations start on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL Takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
ART BASEL Will take place on 15 to 17 March, 2015.
FESTIVALS & ACTIVITIES
iving in Hong Kong offers an opportunity to experience a vibrant cultural scene shaped by the city’s colonial history, Chinese influence and diverse backgrounds of many locals and expats who call Hong Kong their home.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
One of the most important festivals of the lunar calendar, with 15 days of ancient traditions, festivities and celebrations. If you’re looking for a unique family-friendly activity during the holiday, visit Lam Tsuen’s Wishing Tree and take part in the age-old tradition of writing your wishes and goals on joss paper and throwing them into the tree’s branches.
Also known as the Lantern Festival and Mooncake Festival, the MidAutumn Festival is a colourful festival celebrated by gathering with family and lighting lanterns, watching dragon and lion dances, and sharing mooncakes with friends and family. Get your lanterns from one of the old shops in Sham Shui Po or Wan Chai and go to Repulse Bay, Clearwater Bay Beach or Victoria Park.
DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL This festival dates back to the third century and commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese national hero. The highlights of this festival are the
energetic and colourful dragon boat races, where teams of paddlers race long narrow boats accompanied by the beat of the drum down to the finish line. Most popular sites for dragon boat races include Stanley, Aberdeen, Sai Kung, Cheung Chau and Tai O. The races will be on 20 June 2015.
Founded by gallerists in 1970 and held annually in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong, Art Basel (Hong Kong) provides an essential gateway to emerging local and international artists, with half of the participating galleries coming from Asia and AsiaPacific. The 2015 Art Basel will be on 15 to 17 March and will feature galleries from Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa.
LATEST EVENTS AND ASSOCIATIONS
For more information on the latest events and associations, there are many free publications and online resources available weekly, monthly and bi-monthly in Hong Kong.
ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG Provides a forum where members regularly meet and listen to local and international speakers from the world of geography and related sciences, exploration, travel, research, the environment and conservation. www.rgshk.org.hk
FRIENDS OF THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF ART Supports and promotes the activities of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Organises private and guided viewings of major exhibitions, visits to local artists’ studios and places of interest, cultural activities, as well as tours to overseas destinations led by guest lecturers with specialist knowledge. www.museumfriends.org.hk
THE ORIENTAL CERAMIC SOCIETY OF HONG KONG LIMITED Promotes joint lectures and tours with overseas affiliated and local societies who share an interest in the collection or appreciation of Oriental art and culture. www.orientalceramics.org.hk
THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY HONG KONG BRANCH
Anyone with an interest in the history, art, literature and culture of China and Asia, with special reference to Hong Kong, will enjoy their membership of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, which is generally regarded as the premier Society for the study of Hong Kong and South China. www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk
THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG MUSEUM SOCIETY Supports and assists the University Museum and Art Gallery. Promotes the understanding and appreciation of art, particularly Chinese arts and antiquities. www.hkums.com
TimeOut Hong Kong
‘What’s On’ of SCMP
This publication features programs and activities held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Published in the last week of each month, ArtsLink is available at more than 150 locations, including Hong Kong Public Libraries, universities, cultural and arts organisations, Agnès b. boutiques and URBTIX and Hong Kong Ticketing outlets. www.hkac.org.hk/en/publications.php
A bi-weekly English language arts and entertainment magazine, BC Magazine is a 50-page, glossy colour magazine that includes several one- to three- page lifestyle, arts and live music features in addition to its regular sections. Founded in 1994, the magazine is distributed free of charge at 700 commercial venues throughout Hong Kong. www.bcmagazine.net
A free English language lifestyle magazine that targets young metropolitans and offers discussions on social issues as well as entertainment listings. New issues are distributed every Friday at around 900 venues including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bookshops and retail stores. www.hk-magazine.com
From the newest trends to the latest news in Hong Kong, TimeOut Hong Kong includes everything you need to know about what’s happening in Hong Kong. Often described as a “confident, creative cultural bible that covers every aspect of city living”, it offers restaurant and bar reviews, show and concert previews, travel tips and showcases the best that Hong Kong has to offer. www.timeout.com.hk
The ‘What’s On’ section of the South China Morning Post is also a useful source when looking for new events and happenings in Hong Kong. SCMP is a daily newspaper along with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post. The SCMP website is also updated regularly. www.scmp.com
POPULAR EVENTS in hong kong VISIT DISCOVERHONGKONG.COM FOR AN UPDATED LISTING OF HONG KONG’S HOTTEST EVENTS
HONG KONG SEVENS 27-29 March 2015
Expect tons of fast and furious rugby action combined with the carnival atmosphere at the Hong Kong Sevens, firmly established as one of the most popular annual team sporting events in Southeast Asia. The tournament spans three days and is organised each year by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU). www.hksevens.com
HORSE RACING AT HAPPY VALLEY AND SHATIN September to July
A trip to one of the city’s world-class tracks Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island or Shatin in the New Territories - will confirm that horse racing is a permanent fixture in Hong Kong. To experience the glamour and spectacle of the sport, try to see the Hong Kong Derby, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup or the Hong Kong International Races. racing.hkjc.com
HONG KONG CRICKET 6S Date TBA
Hong Kong became famous in cricket circles for hosting the exciting Hong Kong Cricket Sixes tournament, which was first staged at the Kowloon Cricket Club in 1992. Players who have taken part over the past 16 years include Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve and Mark Waugh, Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram. www.cricket.com.hk
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Date TBA
A celebration and a true tribute to Jazz, the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival brings renowned artists each year. Last year’s festival featured a total of 13 performances with well-known jazz musicians from more than 12 countries including the US, Australia, Japan Italy, Brazil and more, bringing soulful music performances to local jazz lovers in Hong Kong. www.hkijf.org.hk
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MARCH 2015
One of Asia’s most reputable platforms for filmmakers, film professionals and filmgoers from around the world to launch creative works and experience outstanding films. Over 280 titles from more than 50 countries in 11 major cultural venues across the territory are screened, reaching an audience of over 600,000. www.hkiff.org.hk
HONG KONG ARTWALK March 2015
Hong Kong’s biggest annual charity art event, with 60 galleries around Hong Kong Island participating in the annual event. A highlight of ArtWalk each year is the ArtWalk Extra, featuring additional displays of art that can be seen around Hong Kong’s historic streets while walking from gallery to gallery. www.hongkongartwalk.com
HONG KONG YOUTH ARTS FESTIVAL
The Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation is known for providing access to high quality, non-competitive free-of-charge arts experiences for young individuals aged 5 to 25. Their past events include Oliver!, HKYAF’s 2014 flagship musical and appearances at last year’s Clockenflap. www.hkyaf.com
BEERTOPIA 9-10 October 2015
Started in 2012 and now named Hong Kong’s largest international craft beer festival, last year’s Beertopia featured over 11,000 attendees and over 450 different craft beers from around the world. Beertopia 2015 will take place at the Central Harbourfront and will be a great opportunity to taste and learn about quality craft beers while meeting new people. www.beertopiahk.com
Get Around Hong Kong’s public transportation system is ranked as one of the world’s safest, most efficient and frequent public transportation systems.
Hong Kong has one of the finest transportation systems in the world; it is clean, efficient and affordable. For your sanity, buy an Octopus card for HKD150 (HKD100 gets transferred as your first account balance). Octopus cards allow you to board any bus, minibus or train with just a simple beep of the machine. They can also be used at many locations to buy everyday products like coffee, groceries and fastfood.
If you have a credit card with financial instutions including Bank of China, Citibank, DBS, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank, you may also apply for the ’Automatic Add Value Service’ (AAVS) for your Octopus card. There are no fees to apply for the service, and you may choose from their three reload amounts: HKD150, HKD250 or HKD500. To learn more about the program, go to www.octopus.com.hk. There are also a number of ferry services to the outlying islands like Lamma, Lantau and Cheung Chau. Taking these ferries and exploring the islands is a fantastic way to spend a weekend day. Licensed ferry services can be found in several locations including Central, Peng Chau, Aberdeen, Discovery Bay, Tuen Mun and Wan Chai to name a few. Schedules can be found on the Transport Department website at www.td.gov.hk. You will probably notice that taxis seem to outnumber private vehicles and for late nights, remote locations and the occasional feeling of laziness they are plentiful. When flagging down a cab remember that red cabs are for Hong Kong and Kowloon while green cabs are for the New Territories. It may be smart to research your location in Chinese characters and show them to the taxi driver; while English is very commonly spoken in Hong Kong, there are still a handful of taxi drivers that only speak Cantonese.
GET INVOLVED As with anywhere, you’re going to want to find friends outside of the office. Below are some organisations and clubs that are particularly expat friendly.
Australian Association www.ozhongkong.com Events include, but are not limited to, golf, holiday parties, tennis and mahjong.
American Women’s Association www.awa.org.hk As the American population in Hong Kong is not big, this club includes people from other countries as well.
YWCA - English Speakers’ Members’ Department www.esmdywca.org.hk Great place to meet people without spending a fortune.
Royal Geographic Society www.rgshk.org.hk For lovers of exploration, science, adventue and travel.
Meetup www.meetup.com Often trends young, but the diversity of meetups offered is worth a look.
Helena May www.helenamay.com A club that welcomes both men and women who are interested in playing an active role in the Hong Kong community.
Volunteering One of the most important steps towards making this city feel like home is by volunteering. It’s the best way to meet locals and give back to the people of your new community. There are too many organisations and opportunities to list but here are two starting points.
Ho-Sum www.wisegiving.org.hk A non-profit organisation which aims to connect and match volunteers with charities in need.
Hands on Hong Kong www.handsonhongkong.org Strives to be the first point of contact for individuals who want to volunteer in Hong Kong.
Thanks to its small size, Hong Kong is a playground for day activities. With even the farthest reaches of the city only taking an hour to an hour and a half to reach, mini adventures are a very popular activity in Hong Kong. Discover Hong Kong’s website is a good place to find organised events in the city. For your first few months, a travel guide such as Lonely Planet is a great way to knock out tourist activities that are still a fantastic way to spend a day off work. But hey! What’s the point of this pamphlet if it just directs you to websites? Here are some of our favourite activities.
The flower market in Mong Kok is beautiful - a square dedicated to the selling of fresh plants, flowers and gardening equipment. It’s also a great place to buy floral accents for events and/or parties.
This village is a well developed spot full of restaurants, hiking, sea kayaking, beaches, hotels and a vibrant promenade. Also, if you explore past this town you will find an expansive wilderness area that is one of the prettiest spots in the city.
A sneaky place to find quality music is at Museums. They often have drinks and music events to attract interest and these events are often very enjoyable.
Hong Kong trails are well developed and maintained. It is an excellent hiking city. But do your research! Some of the hikes are very difficult as the trails tend to take the most direct path to the destination. For avid hikers, Hong Kong Hikers is an amateur hiking group that meets regularly (hongkonghikers.org).
Rent a boat, pick a destination, have a party; it’s that simple. When the weather is warm you will certainly hear whispers of junk boat parties. The best part is they are often private boats, so if you want to have a junk boat party that is child-friendly, just ask.
GET FOOD O
ne day, there needs to be a ”best food city” competition because while Paris, New York and Milan all boast about their food, Hong Kong would be a darkhorse candidate for best food city in the World. Think about it, it’s an Asian city so you know Asian food is done right but it also has a massive Western influence. You can find French, Italian and even Aussie steakhouses that can compete with the best restaurants from the homeland.
One of the great joys of Hong Kong is exploring the diverse food the city has to offer. And of course, there is an app for that. OpenRice is a very popular app for finding the best restaurant that fits your budget, location and craving. For groceries, you also have diverse options. The wet markets are fun and affordable, but expats often worry about their cleanliness. For safer options here is a list:
A large supermarket brand in Hong Kong. They also operate Jason’s Marketplace stores. There is no loyalty card but you can earn cashbak for your Octopus card.
OLIVER’S AND THREE-SIXTY
Oliver’s in Prince’s Building and Three-sixty focus on western products that can be harder to find elsewhere.
PARKNSHOP, INTERNATIONAL AND GREAT
All run by the same company. There is a loyalty card available that can be used at each of these stores, which allows you to earn points for purchases and then redeem these points for coupons and/or special products.
Very popular and similar to Oliver’s or Three-sixty.
Taste in Festival Walk (right next to AISHK!) has a fabulous salad bar, so enjoy your lunch and get that grocery shopping done at the same time.
GET HEALTHY Staying healthy also involves getting to know your local doctors, Chinese practitioners, physios, naturopaths, specialists, optometrists, and dentists, to mention a few.
GET HEALTHY Staying healthy also involves getting to know your local doctors, Chinese practitioners, physios, naturopaths, specialists, optometrists, dentists, to mention a few. Hong Kong has a great public health system available for HKID card holders. The service is very cheap but often involves long waiting times.
The majority of expats use private health care providers including: • Quality Healthcare • OT&P • International Doctors Limited For more details about health care in Hong Kong, look at: • Department of Health • DOH - Travel Health Service • Talk to other expats to find out about a health care provider they use and can recommend.
The list of sports and leisure activities available in Hong Kong is huge. You’ll find everything from aerobics to Zumba and everything in between. For more information, Google is always a good place to find a variety of health and fitness needs, from fitness clubs around your area to exclusive fitness groups in Hong Kong.
There are many sports and social clubs that you and your family can join either as a paying or sporting member, including: • HK Island - Ladies Recreation Club, HK Football Club • Kowloon & New Territories - Clear Water Bay Country Club, Kowloon Cricket Club
COMFORTABLE FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE IN HONG KONG AND SETTLING IN TAKES TIME AND PATIENCE. HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF WHERE TO GET FURNITURE, SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE
home essentials WWW.HOMEESSENTIALS.COM.HK
TEQUILA KOLA WWW.TEQUILAKOLA.COM
GOGOVAN WWW.GOGOVAN.COM.HK Need to move furniture and/or commercial items? Download the GoGoVan app and get a quote and book a van instantly.
CHECK OUT EXPAT LIVING AND HK HOME JOURNAL MAGAZINES FOR IDEAS AND SUPPLIERS
CREATING THE FUTURE
Australia Day 1995 marked the beginning of Australian International School Hong Kong. Less than two weeks later, 25 students walked through our doors for the first time. The schoolâ€™s founders focused on the guiding principle of offering a uniquely Australian-based curriculum in Hong Kong, providing world class standards in teaching and learning. Today, with an enrolment of more than 1,100 students, we celebrate our 20th anniversary and recognise that our success is the result of the vision of our founders, commitment of our supporters and the resilience of our school community. We dedicate every milestone we achieve to them.
AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HONG KONG 3A NORFOLK ROAD, KOWLOON TONG, KOWLOON, HONG KONG WWW.AISHK.EDU.HK