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Cost of Living


Foreigners may think that, in a bustling metropolis such as Hong Kong, life doesn't come cheap. Rent, food, clothing, and other necessities should be on a par with the likes of New York or London. This is only partially true, as you will be able to find some bargain buy or cheap but tasty food somewhere. Besides, transportation, telecommunications and public healthcare here cost significantly less than many countries in Europe or North America. Furthermore, student discounts are available for essentials, such as Octopus cards (see Transportation) or even arts and cultural events. With careful planning and price comparison, you can make the most of your Hong Kong experience and still have a plenty of dollars left for extras like travel and fancy dinners out.

Except paying the tuition fee for your study, you also have to prepare the budget for other academic expenses as well as your daily living in Hong Kong.

If you live in University-provided residence halls or hostels, you’ll pay a modest HK$5,000 (about US$650) to HK$15,000 (around US$2,000) per semester; expect to pay that much per month if living off-campus. You should allow for HK$30,000 to HK$50,000 (US$3,900 to US$6,500) per year for other living costs, including food, leisure, transportation, and personal items, depending on how extravagantly you plan to live.

How much do things cost in Hong Kong? Check out these prices, for your reference.

Items

HK dollars (Approx.)

US dollars (Approx.)

A McDonald's Value Meal:

$22-35

$2.90-4.50

A can of Coke, from convenience store (e.g. 7-11 or OK):

$8

$1

A set meal (main dish, rice, and drink) at an average local café (Cha Chaan Teng):

$50-80

$6.40-10.30

A Starbucks medium size Cappuccino

$36

$4.60

A movie ticket (without 3D effect)

$50-100

$6.40-12.90

An MTR trip from Central to Causeway Bay, with Octopus card:

$5.20

$0.70

Crossing the harbour from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui on Star Ferry:

$2.50-$3.40

$0.32-$0.44

Items
A McDonald's Value Meal:
HK$22-35
US$2.90-4.50
A can of Coke, from convenience store (e.g. 7-11 or OK):
HK$8
US$1
A set meal (main dish, rice, and drink) at an average local café (Cha Chaan Teng):
HK$50-80
US$6.40-10.30
A Starbucks medium size Cappuccino
HK$36
US$4.60
A movie ticket (without 3D effect)
HK$50-100
US$6.40-12.90
An MTR trip from Central to Causeway Bay, with Octopus card:
HK$5.20
US$0.70
Crossing the harbour from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui on Star Ferry:
HK$2.50-$3.40
US$0.32-$0.44


Don't break open that piggy bank just yet! Here are some tips for pinching pennies:

  • Live in university accommodation as far as possible. It costs less than an off-campus apartment, as well as being cleaner, usually closer to the campus and definitely more convenient.
  • Take public transportation. Our system is the envy of cities everywhere, and a good number of them have modeled on it. You can travel in Hong Kong from end to end for less than you'd pay for a cup of coffee. It's spotless and safe - do like the savvy locals and use it!
  • Save money and dive into local culture - eat in a Cha Chaan Teng, the Chinese answer to a café. Service is basic, but the food is delicious and you can't beat the prices. Besides, you can have your meals at the campus student canteens and the price is low. Having meals there can save much.
  • Take advantage of the student discounts offered by museums, cinemas, transport companies, restaurants and even some retail outlets. Just show your student ID.
  • If you face financial difficulties during your study, contact the international office or student affairs office of your institution for assistance.