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Hong Kong

Overview of Hong Kong

■ Housing

Universities in Hong Kong have halls of residence which is considered part of the education system. Availabilities are however, are limited, and there is no guarantee that applicants will be provided a room in the residence hall.
Alternative accommodation in Hong Kong is rather expensive and out of a normal student’s budget. A studio apartment for those planning on living alone costs at least HK$8000 a month. A relatively inexpensive option would be flat shares. Rates generally depend on the area, location and age of the building but usually range from HK$3500 to HK$15000. However, the cheaper options tend to be in old buildings, so you have to be careful when deciding.

■ Transportation system

Hong Kong has a highly developed and efficient public transport system, with 90% of the daily journeys made on public transport. The extensive Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system consists of 10 lines and will get you pretty much anywhere. Trams and buses are also available, and transportation costs are relatively cheap.

■ Shopping

Shopping malls can be found everywhere in Hong Kong, but for cheaper deals, one should head for street markets. One can get groceries, clothes and bags at a cheap price, but bargaining is necessary at street markets as vendors tend to mark up prices by 3 or 4 times. Street markets are usually open till late at night, around 10pm or so.
For late night emergencies, there are convenience stores that are open 24/7, and sell a range of food, drinks and toiletries.

■ Cuisine

There are a variety of reasonable places to eat in Hong Kong, usually at street stores where prices usually range from HK$20 to HK$50 for a main dish. Local fast food chains such as Café de Coral and Maxim’s MX also offer cheap meals at around HK$30. If you’d chose to dine in middle-range or upmarket restaurants, prices can range from HK$100 to HK$500, depending on the place.
Dim sum is a must try, and many Hong Kong people eat it for brunch on weekends. Street food is also common, as street stalls can be found in many places such as night markets and near the train stations.

■ Culture

Having its roots embedded in China, while also receiving influence from its British colonization is the best way to describe culture in Hong Kong. One can easily spot both the Eastern and Western influences in Hong Kong, and the culture there is very different from that of mainland China.
Cantonese is the main language of use in Hong Kong, but English and Mandarin Chinese are secondary languages as mandated by the government.
Cantonese opera is one of the traditional art forms, and was brought to Hong Kong by the initial immigrations from Shanghai during the 1950s. It involves music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics and acting.

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