Category Archives : Living in HK

HK LIFE – Accessing BBC iPlayer from Abroad 9

Since last year, I’ve been testing a free VPN called ‘Expat Shield’ with some scepticism. It has, however, worked perfectly from the outset for unlimited iPlayer viewing, though occasionally it is necessary to pause the video for buffering (just for a minute or two). Otherwise the speed is superb, it’s free, legal and easy to use.

  1. Download the Expat Shield software. It may insist you run a ‘download manager’ beforehand.
  2. Run the installer, select ‘English’ and click through the next pages until you are offered some additional, bundled software. Untick and reject the ‘community toolbar’, and click next to install.
  3. When installed and running, you will see a shield in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen. When the UK connection is live, it will be green – when it’s red, you just have your regular, direct connection. Right-click on the shield and ensure ‘show on restart’ is unticked – we needn’t have the programme permanently running and slowing down your computer.

HK LIFE – Flat-hunting Tips for Hong Kong 3

As land is scarce, HK is home to the world’s most expensive property rental market. Whilst most ex-pats opt for the traditional HK Island-side haunts around the central business district, those on more modest budgets will find better value and larger options on Kowloon-side and in the New Territories. Liveable shoebox apartments will start at around HK$5,000pm, though – for a decent area and a more civilised measure of floor space – it’s best to aim more towards HK$10-15,000pm. A good starting point for gauging what your money gets you is which details rents, floor space and photographs posted by local property agents. [Those on more generous ex-pat packages may prefer the options listed at the bottom of the page, where rents begin more around the HK$50,000pm mark.]

HK LIFE – How to Arrange China Visas in Hong Kong 1

China visas

  • For visas to China, you can apply directly at the Commissioner’s Office in Wan Chai, which also lists the fees for each nationality.
  • It opens Monday to Friday: 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00. Address: 7th Floor, Lower Block, China Resources Building, No.26, Harbour Road, Wanchai. You’ll need your passport, the application form and a recent colour photo. Follow the MTR signs to ‘Immigration Tower’, turn right at the end of the bridge and look for the Chinese government emblem.
  • Alternatively, China Travel Service will help you with a visa for a fee.

HK LIFE – Hong Kong Job-Hunting Links 1

Hong Kong Job hunting links (in English):

HK LIFE – Teaching English in Hong Kong 14

TEFL in Hong Kong:

  • Requirements: A degree (in any subject) is often a substitute for a TEFL certificate in HK (and Japan), and training will often be provided. However, it is becoming more common for employers to expect a TEFL qualification in addition to a degree. Entry requirements toughened after the financial crisis sparked a new influx of foreigners to the city. The best TEFL programme available in HK is the Trinity All Saints certificate offered by English for Asia. Savings can be made if you enrol on the Trinity course in Thailand.

HK LIFE – Cheapest Books 9 already deliver free to HK, beating local PaddyfieldDymocksSwindonPage One etc.. and Amazon et al. But I noticed recently that – when you click through to their website – their prices didn’t correlate with the prices thrown up on comparison websites like (or which compares the comparison sites!). Often prices doubled.

For instance, a search for ‘Korea Lonely Planet’ throws up Book Depository as cheapest, with free worldwide delivery, at £11.81.

Splendid, until you click the link through and find it at £15.14 on their website…

To test if they were using IP geolocation to offer higher prices to foreign site visitors, I looked at the same page through a UK proxy… 54% off?  Jackpot: