5 reasons why I ditched London and move back to Hong Kong

The Millennium Bridge across the River Thames in London at twilight | Laugh Travel Eat
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Hong Kong vs London. It was a decision I had to make after my graduation in London. Even though I was born and bred in Hong Kong up until the ripe ol’ age of 11, I spent the next decade of my life traveling between my motherland and England in the name of schooling. The last four years had seen me in London, a city that I had come to enjoy and love. But when graduation time rolled around I had to make a difficult decision: do I stay or do I go?

 Hong Kong vs London - 5 reasons why I ditched London and moved back to Hong Kong. A lot of people I know had a clear preference, but I didn't. Ultimately - I chose Hong Kong because... well, read on!

It is a question that plagued many study abroad students, one that many had a preference to but has little say. For me, I was free to stay or go as I please – so exactly why did I move back to Hong Kong?

1) More efficient Public Transport in Hong Kong

Hong Kong MTR Ma On Shan Line - probably 3 times as spacious as the London Underground. Plus cleaner | Laugh Travel Eat
Hong Kong MTR Ma On Shan Line – probably 3 times as spacious as the London Underground. Plus cleaner

Whether or not you think it’s an ironic first reason, I was sick and tired of London Underground. A lot of you would leap out right now in defense of the great old tube that’s centuries old, but the truth is if you were born and raised in Hong Kong, where a 2 minutes delay is a dreadful sin, you will know how I feel.

Having had three tube strikes and two bus strikes under my belt, I wasn’t keen on paying the price.

2) Beach. Hike. Eat. Repeat

Sharp Peak, Sai Kung, Hong Kong. One of the most challenging hike of Hong Kong, it can lead you to some beautiful beaches in the remote part of Sai Kung
There’s me! Looking out on the beautiful coastline of Sai Kung, Hong Kong at Sharp Peak

Hong Kong is a unique city where you get to do all of the above in one day. Not that I ever tried, but I’d love to. There are mountains, beaches, sprawling main roads, and multi-storied malls, it’s hard to believe that you can do so many things I such a small space.

More on hiking in Hong Kong here

3) Fantastic and cheap restaurant

Although I can’t fault the food scene in London, its price and variety cannot be compared to the thriving gastronomical experience you can get in Hong Kong. Hong Kongers LOVE eating out, and the competition for our Otani quest for good food is astonishing. Here are so photos of delicious cuisine I had had since I moved back:

Otanri Japanese Restaurant, San Po Kong, Hong Kong. We paid less than 10 quid for this dish. In London this would cost me 30.Otanri Japanese Restaurant, San Po Kong, Hong Kong. We paid less than 10 quid for this dish. In London this would cost me 30.

And you can virtually eat any kind of cuisine under the star.

Find my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong here

4) The proximity of SE Asia

A 2007 flight map showing just how many places you can fly to from Hong Kong!
A 2007 flight map showing just how many places you can fly to from Hong Kong!

You will be amazed at how many amazing places you can visit within a 3 hours flight radius from Hong Kong – and how cheap it can be too. While the budget airlines in Asia might not be as mind-blowingly cheap as those in Europe, the costs at the end destination are often not as high (as say France). As a child, I visited Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, mainland China… traveling from Hong Kong is the norm and affordable.

5) Street foods

Mammy Pancake, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. This is the purple sweet potato flavour. I am so crazy about this place it's insane!
Mammy Pancake, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. This is the purple sweet potato flavour. I am so crazy about this place it’s insane!

Recently I wrote a post for Beth, the blogger of Spiceegirl, about my favourite street foods – and even though they are available in London China Town, it’s not quite the same as grabbing one from the street here in Hong Kong. Let’s just say that since I have been back, I have consumed far too much than is healthy. But hey, at least it’s cheap.

Hong Kong vs London - 5 reasons why I ditched London and moved back to Hong Kong. A lot of people I know had a clear preference, but I didn't. Ultimately - I chose Hong Kong because... well, read on! | Laugh Travel Eat

10 thoughts on “5 reasons why I ditched London and move back to Hong Kong

  1. Lies says:

    I can’t blame you for moving back! I really need to visit Hong Kong soon, it looks great! I moved from London to Canada 6 months ago, but I do miss London.

  2. tea says:

    Hong Kong sounds like a great escape, I have a love/hate relationship with London at the moment. I don’t think anyone who has gone through years of commuting during rush hour would romancing the underground.

    • Nam Cheah says:

      tell me about it! London rush hour is absolutely horrifying. Although I can’t exactly vouch for HK rush hour either – but at least the train carriages are more spacious!

  3. Pingback: Study abroad advantages and disadvantages the trip that changed my life

  4. Pingback: 7 More Spirited Solo Female Travelers To Follow

  5. Pingback: Hong Kong First Timer's Ultimate info guide | Laugh Travel Eat

  6. Pingback: 5 restaurants I frequented in London as a study abroad student

  7. Karan says:

    I grew up here but over the last 8 years. Hong Kong became home and i was born there and have family there. I just moved back to London seeking for a change not realising the term the grass is always greener was actually true. After a great honeymood period in London, I feel that I made a mistake. With the tax and rent as well as expenses, I feel Hong Kong was a better place to earn more and more importantly be able to save more money in the long run without actually having to sacrifice quality of life. Would you agree?

    • Nam Cheah says:

      Hi Karen! Thanks for sharing your experience – I think it really depends on a lot of factors.

      London is a great city, but having family as a backup system is always great. Hong Kong rent is just as bad as London, and salary point is higher in the UK as well. The tax is definitely not light in the UK! Hong Kong is great in the sense that you can reach nature so much easier! It’s true about the grass is greener – a lot of my friends wish they can stay in London, but for me, both have its advantages and disadvantages.

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