By Nicole Noel
Has the time come in your life to uproot and build a home somewhere else for a while? Being a digital nomad opens up so many opportunities to experience new, distant cultures, make new friends and business connections, but also to expand your own, personal horizons. One region in particular that has earned a lot of positive traction for digital nomads as of late is Hong Kong, and its spectacular blend of nature and urban beauty make for a great choice for any “nomad-ess” (or nomad-ette, whichever you prefer) eager to globetrot to Asia.
Before you start packing, however, let’s take a look at a few handy tips to make the transition easier and help you find your footing in this new, extraordinary region, brimming with opportunities!
Affordable accommodation options
Compared to its rising reputation, you’ll be surprised by the relatively low prices of available lodging you’ll come across. However, if you’re traveling solo, make sure you research the neighborhood of your choice before you move!
For example, while the majority of Hong Kong is considered perfectly safe, there are certain areas that aren’t the best choice for a lady on the go. Chungking Mansions is famous for its incredibly low prices, but it’s located in the area known for instances of human and drug trafficking – so it’s safe to say you can’t put a price on your safety, and opt for something with a safer reputation. Instead, you can choose an Airbnb home, where you can see reviews and make sure it’s to your liking, or a hotel or a hostel with a great reputation!
Get a local gig and work online
With Wi-Fi, most of the world would love to have, Hong Kong makes for a perfect spot to work online. Before you go, you should start building up your digital business, so that you can have a steady source of income once you arrive.
However, you should also look into other, local options, such as teaching with Monkey Tree ESL and similar language institutions, since working as a native English speaker is a well-paid and appreciated job in Hong Kong. They are doing their best to become a bilingual community and improve their ability to open up their culture to visitors from all over the world, so they are always looking for native teachers to help with this goal.
Work from the local cafés
Considering the immaculate internet connection and their bustling streets, you can also try working from their local coffee shops to spend more time mingling with the locals. Keep in mind that not every café is digital nomad-friendly, as they prefer to keep their Wi-Fi access limited.
So, stick to places that approve of your nomad life, such as Holly Brown in the Central District, with fresh coffee and decent ice-cream, or Fuel Espresso in the IFC Mall, where you can enjoy plenty of available space and surprisingly, peace and quiet. If you know the local startup crew, then you might want to join the co-working space scene and share a desk with a local entrepreneur!
Master the art of transportation
Hong Kong is an incredibly active region, so you can expect rivers of people walking about all the time, and you’ll rarely feel alone when you’re out and about. With that in mind, it’s an excellent idea to walk wherever you can, as you’ll get a better sense of the vibe in the city.
You can also use their train system with the help of their Octopus card, so make sure you have one at hand every time you want to use the train. Ferries are very cheap, and you should definitely use them to explore the islands whenever you get the chance!
Explore the local eateries
If you’re fond of Asian food, brace your taste buds for an explosion of flavors, because you haven’t really tried some of their specialties until you sample food in Hong Kong! Now, you’re welcome to explore their restaurant scene, but don’t miss out on the street stalls, too, you’d be surprised how rich in aromas those meals are.
Fei Jie on Dundas Street serves excellent grilled squid tentacles, while Honolulu Coffee’s egg tarts will become your latest obsession. Of course, make sure you also get a full dim sum experience in some of the local restaurants such as Tim Ho Wan, and you’ll know why so many foodies rush to Hong Kong for weeks of feasting.
Suddenly, your trip doesn’t seem business-driven, right? Well, you’ll spend most of your time admiring the Buddhist temples, the food, and the energy, that your work will just fit right in with all that inspiration. Enjoy your stay and make sure to share your experience with the rest of us globetrotting gals!