Our first destination of our Digital Nomad journey was Hong Kong. We stayed here for 3 months what turned out to be 3 months full of surprises and hard work. We arrived in Hong Kong on the 3rd May 2016. We both visited the city once, but not long enough to know how it is to actually live there for a short period of time. So we started our trip in Hong Kong as a white page, open to everything that would cross our paths. We didn’t really have a plan, but we knew we had to be active in networking while we were there.
The most important and most difficult part of settling down was for us finding an affordable and at the same time reasonable accommodation. The housing situation in Hong Kong is even worse than in Amsterdam. You pay a lot for nothing. We even saw apartments of 10m2 with the toilet right beside the bed with a monthly rent of 900 euro. You can imagine it was a bit of a hassle to find something that we would be happy with, in a huge city we didn’t know at all. Luckily, we started early (a couple of months before our departure) with searching on Facebook and housing websites. We literally emailed hundreds of people, varying from Airbnb hosts to people on Facebook that live in Hong Kong.
It wasn’t until the day we arrived that we got a reply back from a local girl, telling us that her friend rented out a studio in a local neighborhood. It was just what we were looking for and because we only booked a hotel for 3 nights, it was a perfect opportunity for us to create a home far away from home, very quickly after our arrival.
After a short conversation (and bargaining) with our lovely host, we settled down for a rent of 750 euro a month for a fully furnished studio with pretty good wifi and in an awesome local neighborhood, Jordan. We felt right away at home, living in a big orange building, amongst mostly local elderly people. It was cozy and fun and looking back, this was maybe the best accommodation we had so far.
Finding a workspace
The next challenge was finding a workspace which, eventually, wasn’t really hard to find. You can find nice co-working spaces everywhere where you can rent a hot desk for a monthly fee. That means that you don’t have a fixed desk but you can just show up and pick a spot somewhere in the space.
The real challenge was that we had to find something affordable that wouldn’t cost us 100 euro a month, which turned out to be the average price of a hot desk for one person in a co-working space. After a lot of free day passes, talking to people and looking around in different very nice co-working spaces we found Ooosh4Startups, a relatively new co-working space in a suburban area of Hong Kong, far away from the expat areas of the city.
We paid around 70 euro a month per person for a hot desk from Monday till Friday 8am-7pm. We were happy with it although we had to travel a bit further, which isn’t a hassle at all in Hong Kong. The subway was both the busiest and the best we had ever seen!
The whole process of finding a place to sleep and work and actually feeling a little bit at home took around a month. That is a pretty long time, but Hong Kong is massive and intense so it was quite hard to find our daily routine at first. After this month we felt like we were living there for years already and we really loved exploring the city and nature around it. We visited a lot of events and found some clients to work with.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong is pretty expensive, especially when you compare it to other South-East Asian countries. For this reason, and because we wanted to see something more of Asia, we decided to leave Hong Kong after 3 months. That didn’t mean we had lost our clients, but it did mean that we had to continue our work for them remotely from another place in Asia. Our next stop would be Kuala Lumpur, which turned out te be a disappointment.
Curious how we found clients and fellow entrepreneurs in Hong Kong? Then read this article about our challenge to find new clients in this amazing city.