Hong Kong is an important gateway into the world. It’s a global hub for multinational companies in tech, finance, advertising, and HR industries. In this city that never sleeps, there is a long history of welcoming ex-pats and foreign workers.
Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the people’s Republic of China, is a bustling, metropolitan area that has an estimated population of 7.5 million people. It’s an advanced economy with very low crime rates throughout the city. This makes it a very popular choice amongst ex-pats to move to.
Living in Hong Kong places you at the center of action and opportunities in the world. At the same time, it allows you to enjoy the rich culture, exotic food and breathtaking destinations of East Asia.
With member countries including China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan, East Asia is home to some of the world’s most prosperous economies. While this means that it’s a bit more expensive than Southeast Asia, it’s still relatively cheaper to live and play in than most places in the United States or Europe.
Rent prices in Hong Kong are 30% less than in New York City. To maintain the same standard of living with $8,700 per month in New York, you would only need $6,435 per month in Hong Kong.
There are some places in Hong Kong where you can spend even less. Away from the city center are several outlying islands that offer an incredible lifestyle, at an affordable price. One such island is Lamma, which is just 20 minutes away by ferry.
Lamma Island is the perfect place to get away from it all. Visitors are drawn to the island for its gorgeous trails, secret beaches, and rare peace away from the Hong Kong crowd.
Lamma – Hong Kong’s third-largest island is only 30 minutes away from Central, but life here is worlds away. The island was originally called Pok Liu Chau which means a place for docking or parking. The current name came from someone misreading the Portuguese word for muddy land “lama” on a map.
At a mere 13.55 square kilometers, there are no cars on the island. You need to explore everything on foot, which adds to the island’s unique charm. “The beauty of living on Lamma Island is that there is such limited traffic! Your feet, scooter, or bicycle are the only on-island transport,” says Carmel de Bedin, the Founder of the dB Kitchen who moved to Lamma Island from the UK back in February 2010.
The biggest village on Lamma Island is Yung Shue Wan which has an approximate population of 6,000. In this small community, almost everyone knows each other. There’s a tight-knit ex-pat community that regularly gets together and holds fun events. Around April or May every year, the community hosts one of the most colorful celebrations with the Tin Hau Festival. This is held each year to honor Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, and one of the most prominent deities for Hong Kong locals.
Yung Shue Wan is home to many great bars, cafes, and shops. Some of Hong Kong’s best seafood restaurants are also here, including Rainbow Seafood Restaurant which even offers a ferry to and from Central. The Man Fung is one of the favorite restaurants amongst ex-pats living here. “Eggplant hotpot or any of the sweet and sour dishes from the seafood restaurants… just heavenly,” Caremel claims.
“Check out the Lamma Art Collective or the walls of the Banyan Bay Café. Whether it’s an art exhibition, a writers’ event or a festive market, the lovely teams almost always have something up their sleeve. The Lamma Fun Day charity event is an annual date to keep clear on the calendar too,” she adds.
This quiet laid back, and friendly island is a perfect place to call home. This island town is also more affordable to live in than Hong Kong Island which is notorious for its housing prices. The lack of space and many residents, make the Hong Kong housing market extremely competitive with very high average rent prices.
The minimum rent in Hong Kong is 1,900 USD for a 1-bedroom apartment away from the city center or 2,550 – 3,850 USD for a bigger place closer to the city center. In Lamma Island, you can rent an apartment for an average of 1,500 USD.
Lamma Island wouldn’t be a choice amongst so many ex-pats without good reason. The convenience, proximity to the global hub of Hong Kong Island, and quality of life are second to none. If you want a breath of fresh air and a slow-paced lifestyle, set on a tropical island sprawling with jungle and beaches, Lamma Island is for you. This island promises you a colorful, fun, and relaxing flip flop life.
It’s time to Do Life Right!
What are you waiting for? We hope that this inspires the spirit of adventure in you. If you want to add some spice to your routine, say goodbye to the city and hello to the island, let’s go!
Don’t forget to pack appropriately. You won’t need those stuffy business suits or constricting dress shoes. A comfy and stylish pair of flip flops will do.
Check out our flip flop reviews and recommendations here on Flip Flop Daily to find your perfect pair to take along on your island adventures.