Comparing the Cost of Living in Hong Kong 2024

10 min read

Hong Kong, a dazzling metropolis etched against a dramatic skyline, pulsates with a progressive energy. The cost of living in Hong Kong is high, as it is the second-most expensive location in the world.

According to statistics from the University Grants Committee(UGC), more than 21,000 non-local students enrolled in higher educational institutions for the academic year 2022-203. This city’s world-class financial excellence deserves credit.  

We have created this comprehensive guide to help you understand the cost of living in Hong Kong, especially if you are an international student yearning for academic excellence. 

Also Read: Best Countries to Study Abroad for Indian Students 

Why Should You Choose Hong Kong? 

Hong Kong’s allure extends far beyond its breathtaking cityscape. Let’s have a look at the advantages of living in this city.

  • Thriving Job Market: Hong Kong boasts a robust economy with diverse industries, from growing finance and cutting-edge technology to established logistics and international trade. This translates into a hub for career opportunities for qualified professionals and ambitious students like you seeking to propel their careers forward
  • Academic Hub: Home to world-renowned universities like The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong is a magnet for students seeking a top-tier education. The city offers a diverse range of programmes across various disciplines such as Finance, Engineering, Law, and Sociology, preparing graduates for success in a globalised world
  • Melting Pot of Cultures: Immerse yourself in a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. Hong Kong’s rich cultural heritage is a captivating fusion of traditional Chinese customs and contemporary cosmopolitan vibes. Explore ancient temples nestled amidst towering skyscrapers, savour delicious Cantonese cuisine, and witness vibrant festivals that showcase the city’s unique spirit
  • Efficient City on the Move: Hong Kong’s well-developed public transportation system, the MTR, is renowned for its efficiency and affordability. You can reach almost any destination efficiently with a vast network of interconnected lines and frequent departures. Say goodbye to traffic woes and enjoy the convenience of a truly connected metropolis

Also Read: MBA Colleges in Singapore for Indian Students 

Estimating Your Budget

The cost of living in Hong Kong can vary significantly depending on your lifestyle choices. Experience the city’s vibrant restaurant scene and indulge in frequent fine dining experiences, and your budget will naturally reflect that. On the other hand, opting for local cafes and exploring affordable neighbourhoods allows for a more budget-conscious lifestyle.

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Average Monthly Cost of Living in Hong Kong (For Indian Students)

Here’s a breakdown of estimated monthly living costs (excluding rent) to paint a clearer picture.

Single Person (Average Cost in INR)University Student (on-campus) (Average Cost in INR)Family/Group of Four (Average Cost in INR)
₹191,348.46 – ₹318,914.10₹127,565.64 – ₹191,348.46₹425,218.80 – ₹637,828.20

A Student’s Budget Breakdown: Planning for a Rewarding Academic Journey

As a student, expect to spend roughly around the figures mentioned below. 

CategoryYearly Cost (INR)
Food₹850,437.60 – ₹1,275,656.40
Leisure Activities₹212,609.40 – ₹425,218.80
Transportation₹212,609.40 – ₹318,914.10
Personal Items₹106,304.70- ₹212,609.40

Also Read: Cost of Living in South Korea 2024

Finding Your Nest: Understanding Housing Costs Per Month

Housing can be a significant chunk of your expenses. Here’s a breakdown to help you navigate the rental market.

Monthly Rent Comparison: Here’s a table outlining average monthly costs for housing based on your location.

DistrictStudio Apartment (INR)1-Bedroom Apartment (INR)
Central Districts₹318,914.10 – ₹531,523.50₹478,371.15 – ₹744,132.90
Kowloon Districts₹212,609.40 – ₹425,218.80₹318,914.10 – ₹531,523.50
Outlying Areas₹159,457.05 – ₹318,914.10₹212,609.40 – ₹425,218.80

Utility Costs: Here’s a table outlining average monthly costs for essential utilities.

Average Monthly Cost (INR)Utility
₹5,315.24Internet
₹8,504.38 – ₹15,945.71Electricity (varies based on usage)

Additional Considerations

  • Generally, apartment size decreases as you move towards more affordable areas. Studio apartments or flats with shared living spaces are more common in central areas, while outlying regions might offer slightly larger spaces for the same rent
  • Outlying areas may have longer commute times to central business districts. Factor in transportation costs and travel time when choosing your accommodation
  • Consider your priorities and lifestyle. If proximity to work or nightlife is essential, you might be willing to pay a premium for a central location. If affordability is your main concern, outlying areas offer attractive options

Also Read: Top 10 High-Salary Courses After 12th Computer Science in 2024

Transportation Cost in Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts a world-class public transportation system, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR). With a vast network of interconnected lines and frequent departures, getting around the city is efficient and convenient. Here’s a breakdown of transportation costs.

  • MTR fares: Ticket prices vary depending on the distance travelled. Expect to pay around ₹106.30 – ₹425.22 for a single journey. Student discounts are available, making travel even more affordable
  • Taxis: Taxis are a convenient option for short trips or late-night journeys. Flag-down fares start at around ₹233.87 and increase based on distance and time
  • Buses: Buses offer a more affordable alternative to the MTR, particularly for shorter distances. Fares typically range from ₹53.15 – ₹159.46

Also Read: Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA) 2024

Healthcare Cost in Hong Kong

Health is Wealth – So, let’s look at how much monetary wealth Hong Kong requires to take care of it. 

CategoryPublic System (Hong Kong ID Card Holder)Private System
Consultation Fees with DoctorInitial Consultation: ₹106.30 – ₹191.35
Follow-up Consultation: ₹85.04 – ₹143.51
Varies depending on the doctor’s experience and location
Can range from ₹531.52 – ₹2,126.09 or even higher for specialists
HospitalisationWard: ₹1,130.02(plus admission fee)Varies depending on room type (private, semi-private, etc.)
Can range from ₹1,063.05 – ₹10,630.47 or even higher
Emergency DepartmentInitial Consultation: ₹106.30 – 191.35Varies depending on the treatment received
Can be significantly higher than consultation fees
Medications₹159.46 per medicationActual cost of the medication

Additional Notes:

  • Public healthcare costs are significantly subsidised for Hong Kong ID cardholders
  • Private healthcare offers shorter waiting times but comes at a higher cost
  • These are estimated costs, and actual expenses can vary depending on the specific treatment, doctor, and hospital
  • Some private health insurance plans may cover a portion of these costs

Also Read: Study Medical PG in the UK After MBBS 2024: MD & MS

Examples of Everyday Costs: Hong Kong Monthly Expenses

Here’s a list with specific examples and approximate prices in INR to provide a more concrete understanding of everyday expenses.

  • Groceries
        Category  Cost Per Unit (INR)
Milk (1 litre)₹318.91
Eggs (dozen)₹212.61
Rice (1 kg)₹159.46
Apples (1 kg)₹265.76
Bread (loaf)₹127.57
  • Drinks
                      Category          Cost Per Unit (INR)
Coffee (at a cafe)₹265.76
Beer(local brand, bottle)₹159.46
Bottled water (500 ml)  ₹85.04
  • Eating Out
                    Category            Cost Per Unit(INR)
Local cafe meal₹1,063.05
Fast food combo meal₹850.44
Business district lunch₹2,657.62
  • Entertainment
                    Category            Cost Per Unit(INR)
Cinema ticket₹2,126.09
Museum entry₹1,594.57
  • Clothing and Personal Items
                    Category            Cost Per Unit(INR)
Jeans (Mid-range)₹5,315.24 – ₹10,630.47
Dress (Casual)₹4,252.19 – ₹8,504.38
Sports shoes (Popular brand)₹8,504.38- ₹12,756.56
Business shoes (Leather)₹10,630.47 – ₹21,260.94

Also Read: Study Abroad After 12th: Exams, Universities & Scholarships 

Tips for Minimising the Cost of Living in Hong Kong Per Month

Living in Hong Kong doesn’t necessitate breaking the bank. Here are some savvy tips to help you live in the city on a budget.

Comparing the Cost of Living in Hong Kong 2024

Also Read: Top 20 Most Populous Countries in the World 2024

Annual Budget Considerations for Students

Here’s a table outlining the average annual costs for student essentials.

CategoryAnnual Cost (INR)
Food (excluding on-campus meals, if applicable)₹240,000 – ₹3,60,000
Leisure Activities₹120,000 – ₹240,000
Transportation (including student discounts)₹90,000 – ₹150,000
Personal Items (stationary, phone plan)₹36,000 – ₹72,000
Textbooks and Course Materials (estimate, may vary)₹60,000 – ₹120,000

Remember: These are just estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on your spending habits and academic program.

Also Read: Best Country to Migrate from India for 2024

Comparative Analysis: Hong Kong vs. The World

While the cost of living in Hong Kong is undeniably higher than in some cities, it’s essential to consider these factors for a more balanced perspective.

Monthly Cost of Living in Hong Kong vs. Singapore vs. European Countries 

Please note: Due to the vast number of European countries, this table provides a general comparison with major European cities. Actual costs can vary significantly depending on the specific city and lifestyle choices.

CategoryHong Kong(Monthly Cost in INR)Singapore(Monthly Cost in INR)
Rent (1-Bedroom Apartment)₹180,000 – ₹300,000₹210,000 – ₹330,000
Groceries₹18,000 – ₹30,000₹24,000 – ₹36,000
Utilities₹9,000 – ₹12,000₹11,000 – ₹15,000
Transportation₹3,000 – ₹6,000₹4,800 – ₹7,200
Eating Out (Average Meal)₹6,000 – ₹12,000₹7,200 – ₹12,000

Also Read: Top 10 Cheapest Countries to Study Abroad for Indian Students 2024

CategoryHong Kong(Monthly Cost in INR)Major European Countries(Monthly Cost in INR)
Rent (1-Bedroom Apartment)₹180,000 – ₹300,000₹80,000 – ₹160,000
Groceries₹18,000 – ₹30,000₹24,000 – ₹40,000
Utilities₹9,000 – ₹12,000₹8,000 – ₹16,000
Transportation₹3,000 – ₹6,000₹4,000 – ₹8,000
Eating Out (Average Meal)₹6,000 – ₹12,000₹8,000 – ₹16,000

Also Read: Cost of Living in Switzerland 2024

Additional Notes

  • Currency Exchange: Rates are approximate and can fluctuate
  • General Trends: Hong Kong might offer slightly more affordable housing options than Singapore, particularly in outlying areas. Major European cities can be similar or even more expensive than Hong Kong in terms of rent but might have lower utility costs
  • Individual Costs: Grocery and eating-out expenses can vary significantly depending on dietary habits and restaurant choices

Also Read: Top 10 MBA colleges in UK for Indian students in 2024

International Comparison and Ranking: Where Does Hong Kong Stand?

From a global perspective, here’s a glimpse into Hong Kong’s ranking worldwide and regionally according to different surveys.

  • Numbeo and Expatistan consistently rank Hong Kong among the most expensive cities in the world
  • However, Hong Kong’s ranking can vary depending on the specific category being compared. For instance, the cost of utilities might be lower than in some European or North American cities

Also Read: 10 Countries With Free Education For International Students

Specific Cost Comparisons for Everyday Items

To provide a more concrete comparison, here’s a table outlining the estimated cost of essential utilities and childcare in Hong Kong compared to the United States (using Numbeo data as a reference).

ItemAverage Monthly Cost (INR) (Hong Kong)Average Monthly Cost (INR) (United States)
Electricity (for an 85m2 apartment)₹8,504.38 – ₹15,945.71₹8,334.95 – ₹15,836.41
Internet₹5,315.24₹5,417.72
Childcare (full-time preschool)₹85,043.76 – ₹127,565.64₹83,349.50 – ₹125,024.25

Remember: These are estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on usage and specific service providers.

Also Read: Average Cost of Living in the US in 2024

Conclusion

Hong Kong’s dynamic spirit and captivating energy come with a price tag. However, by following the guidelines provided in this blog, you can significantly reduce your monthly expenses.

This comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge to understand the city’s cost of living and make informed decisions.

Good luck!

Also Read: Top 15 Questions to Ask Study Abroad Consultants in India

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can students manage the cost of living in Hong Kong?

    A: Absolutely! Opting for on-campus accommodation, utilising public transportation with student discounts, and exploring affordable dining options can significantly reduce your expenses. Many universities also offer meal plans and financial aid programs to assist students.

  • Q: How much can I save on transportation?

    A: Regularly using the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) instead of taxis can save you a substantial amount (around ₹150 per ride). Additionally, exploring student discounts for public transportation can reduce your commuting costs.

  • Q: Is it expensive to eat out in Hong Kong?

    A: Hong Kong offers various dining options to suit all budgets. While high-end restaurants can be pricey, indulging in local cafes and street vendors provides delicious and affordable meals.

  • Q: Is healthcare expensive in Hong Kong?

    A: Public hospitals offer affordable healthcare for residents with a Hong Kong Identity Card. However, wait times can be extended. Private healthcare offers shorter waiting times but comes at a higher cost. Consider purchasing health insurance to cover medical expenses.

  • Q: Are there ways to save on rent in Hong Kong?

    A: Absolutely! Here are some strategies.
    -Consider location: Opting for outlying areas can significantly reduce rent compared to central districts.
    -Look for flatshares: Sharing an apartment with roommates is a standard and budget-friendly option, especially for young professionals and students
    -Negotiate rent: Don’t be afraid to negotiate rent, particularly when renewing your lease or signing a new one.
    -Consider serviced apartments: While typically more expensive than traditional apartments, serviced apartments can offer inclusive utilities, furniture, and housekeeping, potentially offsetting some individual costs

  • Q: How much should I budget for groceries?

    A: Grocery costs can vary significantly depending on your eating habits. Shopping at local and wet markets can be much cheaper than supermarkets, especially for fresh produce. Cooking at home is a fantastic way to save compared to frequent dining out. Leap Scholar’s Cost Calculator can help you figure out your expenses ideally. 

  • Q: Are there affordable dining options in Hong Kong?

    A: Hong Kong is a haven for affordable eats! You can consider the following options.
    Local cafes and street vendors offer delectable meals at a fraction of the cost of fancy restaurants
    Explore night markets for delicious and budget-friendly options
    Consider meal prepping or utilising leftovers to reduce daily food expenses

  • Q: What are some cost-effective ways to get around Hong Kong?

    A: Some strategies to reduce your travelling costs are listed below.
    -Hong Kong’s MTR is the most efficient and affordable way to navigate the city. 
    -Utilise student discounts on public transportation for further savings
    -Buses offer another cost-effective option for shorter distances
    -Walking and cycling are excellent ways to get around and explore the city while staying active and saving money

  • Q: How much should I budget for entertainment?

    A: Entertainment costs depend on your preferences. Hong Kong offers a buffet of free activities, such as exploring parks, hiking trails, and attending cultural festivals. Take advantage of free museum days and library resources. Look for budget-friendly entertainment options like movies at matinee shows or outdoor concerts.

  • Q: Can I save money on phone and internet bills?

    A: -Researching different mobile phone plans and internet service providers can lead to significant savings. 
    -Consider prepaid SIM cards for short-term stays
    -Bundle internet and phone plans with the same provider for potential discounts
    -Utilise free Wi-Fi hotspots whenever available to minimise data usage

  • Q: What are some unexpected costs to factor in?

    A: You might consider the following expenses.
    -Utilities: Unlike the internet, electricity bills fluctuate depending on usage and season. Factor in air conditioning costs during the hot summer months
    -Clothing: While not very expensive, be prepared for the need for weather-appropriate clothing for both hot and humid summers and mild winters
    -Occasional Nights Out: Budget some wiggle room for occasional splurges on restaurants or entertainment experiences

  • Q: Are there resources available to help me estimate my living costs?

    A: Several online resources can help you estimate living costs in Hong Kong. Websites like Numbeo and Expatistan provide user-generated data on various expenses. Utilise these resources for reference, but remember, actual costs can vary depending on your lifestyle choices.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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