Hong Kong, April 2018: Having spent just under 2 weeks in Hong Kong and I can tell you its not by any means a cheap destination, but then what developed nation is? Ranked with the likes of Singapore and Seoul, Hong Kong is in the top league of the worlds most expensive places to live. The wheels of commerce in Hong Kong bow to the highest bidder thus inflating the cost of living for everyone, not least those at the bottom of the economic spectrum. Over the last 12 days I have managed to stretch my travel £s without having to sleep on the local park bench, forage for food in dumpsters or beg with some kind of sob story. Not knowing much about the prices of stuff, I set a budget of £1000 including flights. To see how my Hong Kong expense account shapes up, read on.
Accommodation: For the cost conscious traveler, Chungking Mansions will likely be the first and only port of call when looking for a low cost single room. When every penny counts bunking down here will save hundreds of £s. The best I could do was a tiny single room at £24 per night multiplied 12 times equals an accommodation bill of £288.
Food: When it comes to food I have one golden rule to follow – skip the tourist stuff and eat local, with locals! Tourist food is often fancied up to justify the higher prices and is essentially the same foods found elsewhere anyway. I often ate at porridge and noodle bars at lunch and I would try to find Cafe de Coral at all other times. Its a chain of cheap and cheerful cafes, found everywhere, and serves wonderfully tasty food at a reasonable price and with good portions too. Its good way to stretch the food budget at dinner time, and breakfast. The average daily food bill was around £12 multiplied 12 times equates to a reasonable chow bill of £144.
Getting around: Using public transport across Hong Kong is easy and surprisingly good value. The MRT rides range between 40p to about £1.30 the the end of the line. The buses too are exceedingly cheap with a 30 minute journey costing just 90p maximum. The whole public transport system is integrated with Google maps so navigation is a simple as ABC including the Airport Bus, only £3 single trip ticket. Not forgetting the famous Star Ferry, costs just 27p each way and is a great 7 minute ride. Total spend on getting around plus 4 airport transfers came to £21.50 give or take a few pence.
Groceries: Good coffee comes at a high price in Hong Kong. One won’t get much change from HK$40-50 for that Americano or Latte. Some chains are getting away with charging around £7 for a large one and clearly folks are happy to pay up. To save on beverage costs I’d find a supermarket and surprisingly a jar of Nescafe comes in at a reasonable £3 while a box of 40 Liptons tea bags costs £1.50 – so really not that much more than UK prices. Milk is in good supply to, so were all set to save big on hot drinks. Toiletries too are similar to UK pricing – toothpaste, deodorant etc. Total groceries spend comes at around £8 across 12 days.
I’m more than happy to go without booze (I don’t drink it), night clubbing (finished the 18-30 stage in life), drugs (never), smoking (never) and Disneyland (Nah!) thus a 12 day stay in Hong Kong costed me (Excluding £120 airfare) a grand total of £461.50.