8000km apart and around 15 hours flying time, it’s more than just distance that separates the cities of Istanbul and Hong Kong. Culture, history, architecture, and people are very different in both locations – as is the cost of living.
Hong Kong is by far the more expensive place to live. However, when determining such data, it’s also necessary to understand the likely salary you can earn, and also the unemployment rate.
In Hong Kong, according to Trading Economics, the current unemployment rate (as of January 2016) is 3.3%. In Istanbul, it’s at a four year high of over 11%.
As Hong Kong is one of the most populated cities on the planet, it’s understandable that real estate is sought after and expensive. In fact, in 2015, Hong Kong overtook other property hotspots such as New York and London as the location for some of the dearest living abodes in the world!
When it comes to renting a property in Hong Kong, you’ll have to shell out between 340 – 460% more here than in Istanbul for comparable living space, And if you’re looking to purchase, then the divide is even greater – you’ll pay between 1,110 – 1,550% more for a property in Hong Kong.
To add insult to injury, when it comes to mortgage interest rates, in Turkey you’ll pay an average of 12.5% on your borrowing, as opposed to only 2.5% in Hong Kong.
Buying or renting a property in either location is only the start; once you have your home, you need to pay the bills. Heating, electricity, water etc cost much more in Hong Kong than they do in Istanbul – by around 110%.
And when it comes to ensuring you have an Internet connection at home, you’ll pay around 32% more in Hong Kong. There are many Internet providers in Hong Kong, whereas in Istanbul you only have five to choose from.
Hong Kong has an excellent public transport system called the MTR. This includes the metro trains, buses, trams, and various overland trains too. It’s efficient, value for money, and clean – a true example of how public transportation works in the modern world.
However, it does have to be said that during the two rush hour periods of the working week, it gets seriously busy. The easiest way to utilize the whole of the public transport system here is to purchase an Octopus Card (which you charge with funds), and then simply swipe in and out for each journey you take.
Turkey has a similar system on its public transport system, known as the Istanbulkart. This allows you to use the metro, buses, trams, cable cars, ferries, seabuses, funicular,s and sea taxis that make up the system.
The cost for using public transport in both cities is very similar – there’s little difference between a monthly pass. Expect to pay $HK 450 in Hong Kong against $HK 447 in Istanbul (170 Turkish Lire).
Taxi costs are far different though, with Hong Kong’s drivers charging you nearly 80% more than those in Istanbul.
With only the occasional exception, you’ll pay much more for your weekly grocery shopping in Hong Kong than you will in the Turkish capital city. Staples such as milk and bread are around 225% dearer here, as is cheese and bottled water.
Chicken will set you back around 150% more, but beef is not quite so bad at around 43% more expensive. When it comes to fruit such as apples and oranges, these cost between 125 and 190% more in Hong Kong, but bizarrely, you’ll pay around 17% less for bananas than you will in Istanbul…
Vegetables continue in the same theme, with onions costing a massive 210% more in Hong Kong, and tomatoes and potatoes around 160 – 180% more.
The social side of life is also more expensive in Hong Kong. We all like a meal out every now and again (and you work hard enough, so you deserve it…). Expect to pay around 25% more for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant in Hong Kong, but this rises to around 90% more when it comes to more upmarket locations.
However, if you’re a fan of a Big Mac, in Hong Kong you’ll be able to get such a fix for around 20% less than in Istanbul ($HK 32 vs $HK 40). Your daily cappuccino or latte will also cost more in Asia, by around 90%.
Movie lovers will have to put up with the fact that it’ll cost around 115% more to see an international release in Hong Kong than it will in Istanbul. But good news for keeping fit here, as the average monthly gym membership is cheaper than that in Turkey, by around 75%.
As we mentioned at the beginning, when comparing the cost of living it’s also necessary to know what the average salary is in each location. In Hong Kong the average person takes home around 310% more net wages per month than those in Istanbul ($HK 21,875 vs. $HK 5,348).
As you can see, there are some big differences between both cities, and overall Hong Kong clocks in at being just over 100% dearer to live in than Istanbul, but with an average salary of more than 300% higher, then this is necessary to take into consideration.
Of course, what you are likely to earn in either location is dependent on your trade and the level of your employment. The website, Payscale, is a good source of average salaries in various different fields in different locations around the world.