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Living in Hong Kong

Over 7 million people live in Hong Kong, making some districts among the world’s most densely populated areas.  Yet more than 70 percent of Hong Kong’s total areas are rural, including about 40 percent designated as protected country parks.  This means Hong Kong has one of the world’s highest ratios of conserved parkland.  Almost 95 percent of the population is Chinese.  Chinese and English are the official languages.  Cantonese is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, though the use of Putonghua (Mandarin) is growing.  All major signage is in English or is bilingual.  Most people in the service industry speak English. 


The Study in Hong Kong website, maintained by the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government, provides plentiful information about living in Hong Kong.

Photo Identification

It is required by law in Hong Kong that all persons over the age of 15 must carry valid photo identification.  From time to time, the police makes spot checks.  In some extreme cases, failure to do so may risk being arrested by the police.  Therefore you should carry at all times your passport or Hong Kong ID card (if eligible).

Hong Kong ID Card


By law in Hong Kong, all residents in Hong Kong who reach 11 years of age are required to register for a Hong Kong ID card, except those who are exempted or excluded.


If you are coming to HKBU for one semester, you will not be eligible for getting a Hong Kong ID card.


If you are coming to HKBU for one academic year, you MUST register for a Hong Kong ID card.  We will assist you in obtaining one after arrival.  There is NO charge for the issuance of a Hong Kong ID card.  Application procedures (including the addresses and phone numbers of the Hong Kong Immigration Department offices) can be found at

Octopus Card



You can use the Octopus card (stored-value pass) to pay the fares on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and most of the buses, mini-buses, and ferries. The MTR offers concessionary fares to students.  To enjoy concessionary fares, students must travel using a Personalized Octopus Card with “student status”.  Students who attend HKBU for 30 weeks or more in an academic year are eligible to apply for a Student Octopus Card directly from the MTR.


Students can complete the application through the Student Travel Scheme Online Application Platform accessible via the MTR Mobile app or the MTR website.  For details, please refer to the tutorial video and communication kit provided by MTR.


Octopus cards can also be used at some selected convenience stores, fast food chains, supermarkets, and many eateries on campus.

Bank Accounts


There is one mini bank on campus:


You will need the following documents to open a Hong Kong bank account:

  • HKBU admission letter
  • Valid travel document (e.g. passport)
  • Proof of residential address in home country (e.g. home bank statements)
  • Proof of residential address in Hong Kong – You may obtain a letter from the Undergraduate Hall Management Office (Room SRH-G4) or the Reception Counter of the NTT International House


Below are some banking options in Hong Kong.  It is important that you research each banking institution to see which one best suits your financial needs.

Public Transport


The Hong Kong Transport Department provides information on various transportation options in Hong Kong. 

This includes buses, mini-buses, MTR, taxis, etc. Please visit the webpage for more details.



Hong Kong is a remarkably safe city by day or night.  Police officers patrol frequently and are helpful.  Nonetheless, as in all big cities, avoid carrying large amounts of cash.  If you go to crowded areas, always look after your own belongings and beware of pickpockets.  The Hong Kong Police Force has stations and reporting centres throughout the territory.  The emergency number is 999.