Although Hong Kong is an international city where most people speak relatively fluent English, you are bound to experience a sense of cultural shock if you’re a fresh new expat in the city. Other than the initial shock of the crowds and surrounding skyscrapers, there are certain characteristics that you’ll witness in local people. If you want to quickly adapt to the city, here are a few culture shocks you’ll experience in Hong Kong!

Everyone is obsessed with taking food photos.

Even if you’re eating at an extravagant Michelin-starred restaurant or a local cha chaan teng, you’re bound to see locals snapping pictures of food and uploading them onto Instagram. When eating with locals, no matter how ravenous you are, allow some time for photo-taking before you dig in.

Neighbours hardly greet you.

This may be considered rude in other countries, but due to the cramped living conditions in Hong Kong, people always try to keep a distance from people and maintain their personal space. If you greet your neighbour or even attempt to strike up a conversation, they’ll find you rude for intruding into their privacy.

House parties are no longer an option.

House parties may have been a common phenomenon in your native country, but with the exorbitant amount of rent tenants are required to pay for their shoebox apartments, you’d need to be a millionaire to throw a proper house party here. Instead of having social gatherings at home, Hong Kong locals are used to creating their own private spaces in public, such as the streets, restaurants and shopping malls.

There is no personal space on public transport.

Rush hour is probably everyone’s worst nightmare, since everyone wants to rush home after work. If you walk at a moderate pace, you’ll be pushed and shoved by the crowd. If you can’t stand the noise and crowds, try plugging in your earphones and listening to music to create a sense of personal space.

The sky is the limit for high-rise buildings.

The great thing about high-rise buildings is that the higher you go, the more peace and quiet you are guaranteed at home. Usually residential buildings are at such a close proximity that you can clearly see into your neighbour’s apartment. Other than the luxury of privacy at home, the top floors of high-rise buildings also provide sanctuary from air pollution in your apartment.