Daily life in Hong Kong starts in the apartment. Hong Kong is not a big place and living space is in short supply. Almost all Hong Kongers, therefore, live in high-rise residential flats, ranging in height from twenty to forty floors and higher. Most mid-range buildings are slotted in together in massive developments meaning the view out of your window is usually of another building.
High Life Living in Hong Kong Skyscrapers
These apartments are box sized, with the average coming in at roughly 50 square meters. This small space is one of the reasons Hong Kongers spend so much time out of their home, eating with friends, walking and hiking and of course at work. One of the positive aspects of this compact space on daily life in Hong Kong is that families tend to be very close. Well, you'd have to be, at least.
The scaffolding running around the side of the building is bamboo, used by Hong Kong's builders to build, and in this case, renovate buildings.
Commuting in Hong Kong
Just like every other big city in the world, the first task facing Hong Kongers each morning is the commute to work. Luckily, Hong Kong is a compact city and fantastically connected, primarily by the MTR subway system, but also with ferries, trams, and buses. The average commute in Hong Kong is around thirty minutes, door to door, although this is rising as more people move into the New Territories.
The picture above shows one of Hong Kong's more interesting forms of transport, the mid-levels escalator. The escalator is used to slide people down to work in the mornings, from the mid levels residential district to Central, and back up again in the evenings. This is the longest outdoor escalator system in the world.
Work and Skyscrapers in Hong Kong
Fresh from their monster sized residential buildings, most Hong Kongers also work in equally cloud bursting skyscrapers. Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world, more than double that of 'rival' New York.
While skyscrapers are mostly associated with the soaring Central financial district, they can actually be found all over town, including Kowloon and the New Territories.
Work in Hong Kong is generally from 9a.m.-6p.m., Monday to Friday, with a half day on Saturday, however, people frequently work much longer hours. It's not unusual for office workers in Hong Kong to work at least two hours more than their contracted work day.
Fresh Fruit and Food at the Market
Fresh food is a must in Hong Kong, Cantonese cooking is almost solely based on the freshness of the produce. Frozen food, while by no means not available, is not common and Hong Kongers usually pick up their fresh meat and fruit from the local market daily.
Hong Kong fresh food markets like this one are spread out all over Hong Kong, and if you're buying fruit, like at the stall above, you'll find an amazing array of goods available.
Hitting the Shops at the Mall
Shopping in Hong Kong is a lifestyle, a passion, and an addiction and it's true to say it's Hong Kongers favorite pastime. Evenings are often spent with friends trawling the shops, with a quick refill at a Dai Pai Dong in between, while window shopping seems to be an innate trait with the locals.
Shops are everywhere, packed into the classic areas like Causeway Bay and the markets in Mongkok and spread out everywhere in between, often not shutting until after 10 p.m.
Aspirationally, the locals like to head to the best malls in Hong Kong, and the air con is also a big attraction. Hong Kong has some of the world's swankiest malls, stuffed with international boutiques and shops bearing the good from fashion shows around the world. Above is Times Square, a massive mall in Causeway Bay.
Gambling at the Hong Kong Races
It might be controversial, but it' true, Hong Kongers are addicted to gambling. Money and superstitions are two of the favorite talking topics in the city and gambling combines them nicely. Hong Kongers will often check the stars or the temple before laying down a bet. For example; Hong Kongers like to have their Chi Ci Sticks read to decide what numbers to pick in the lottery.
Betting on the weekly Happy Valley races is also a favorite pastime, with eager punters filling the stadium for the Wednesday night races. Fast and furious, the place is a cauldron of noise, while half the city outside is gripped to their TV screens and to their betting slip.