What are the Costs of Burial in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024.

What are the Costs of Burial in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024.

by Scott Fong | March 30, 2023
reading time: 4 minutes

Finding Comfort and Sustainability in Difficult Times

Losing someone dear to you is never easy. The pain of saying goodbye can be overwhelming, and the process of deciding how to honor their memory can feel equally daunting. In Hong Kong, traditional burial options can sometimes feel limited and not always environmentally friendly. But there's hope and a growing range of options that provide meaningful, sustainable ways to remember your loved ones. This post will discuss the costs of the most common burial options in Hong Kong as of 2024.

Before we discuss the cost of burials, it is worth to note the actual cost of cremation.  The cost to cremate an adult in Hong Kong as of 2021 is $1,220 HKD, and $650 HKD for a child.  The cremation certificate cost is $140 HKD.

Contemporary Burial Options in Hong Kong

With growing environmental awareness, many families are seeking sustainable alternatives to traditional burials. Here's a look at the current options and their costs as of 2024:

1. Land Burials

Traditional land burials have become increasingly challenging due to space constraints:

  • Public Cemeteries: Due to space shortages, bodies buried in public cemeteries must be exhumed after six years and cremated. Non-permanent burials cost HK$21,600, while permanent plots (if available) can be up to HK$280,000.
  • Private Cemeteries: These are significantly more expensive, with plots ranging from HK$500,000 to HK$1,000,000.
  Public Private

Cemetery

Due to the space shortage, a burial at a public cemetery must be exhumed after six years so the body can be cremated.

Non permanent - HK$21,600

Permanent – HK$280,000 (pending availability)

Columbarium

The average waiting time for a space at apublic columbarium, which costs about HK$3,000, is now four years.

 

A space in a private columbarium can put you back about HK$500k -$1million.

In recent years, cemeteries in mainland China and Macau have reported increasing demand for plots from Hong Konger's as they seek more affordable options. But even in Macau, a private burial plot can cost HK$1million.

Burial Complications

In 2017 the government stepped up efforts to regulate the city’s private columbarium operators by forcing them to become licensed by March 2018 after a nine-month grace period. The Private Columbaria Ordinance came into effect on June 30, 2017. But only about half of current private operators might meet the requirements under the new bill, meaning about 300,000 urns could be returned to families, industry workers have said.  Update: as of 2021 only 34 operators have been licensed and are operated by the government, religious organizations, and private companies.  All others are illegal and not recommended to use.

 

2. Columbarium

Columbaria are a popular choice for storing ashes:

  • Public Columbaria: Spaces cost about HK$3,000, with an average waiting time of four years.
  • Private Columbaria: These can cost between HK$500,000 and HK$1,000,000.

3. Ash Scattering

Scattering ashes is a simple and eco-friendly option:

  • Designated Areas: Scattering ashes in designated areas (land or sea) is free for residents, with an optional commemorative plaque available for HK$90.

4. Sea Burials

Sea burials are growing in popularity:

  • The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) provides a free ferry service for scattering ashes in designated waters, scheduled every Saturday morning.

Ashes scattering Ferry

Procedure for sea scattering:

  • Apply: The completed application form should be submitted at least 10 days before the proposed date for the scattering of cremated human ashes to any one of the following offices of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Section, FEHD.

     

  • Cost: approval will be granted normally within 5 working days from the date of receipt of a duly completed application. FEHD does not charge any fee for processing of the application.

     

  • Cost of Ferry Service provided by FEHD: Free.

     

  • The ferry service is provided several times per month for scattering cremated ashes in designated waters by members of the public. The sails are scheduled for once every Saturday morning (except public holiday). Details of the service are available at the webpage of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.


Ashes scattering locations in Hong Kong

3 locations for ashes scattering. Photo Credit: FEHD
  • Location 1 – East of Tap Mun.
  • Location 2 – East of Tung Lung Chau
  • Location 3 – South West of Lamma Channel

5. Garden of Remembrance

Scattering ashes in a garden provides a tranquil and beautiful setting:

  • The FEHD operates 12 gardens where ashes can be scattered. An administration fee of HK$90 is payable for a commemorative plaque.

Scattering cremated ashes at gardens of remembrance is another environmentally friendly way to dispose of cremated ashes with growing popularity. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department runs 11 gardens of remembrance in 8 columbaria for the public to scatter cremated ashes of the deceased.

Ash scattering in garden of remembrance

Ashes Scattering

 

  • Rituals: Memorial rituals may be performed at the gardens of remembrance. The ashes may be scattered by the applicants themselves or by the staff of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

  • Costs: An administration fee is payable for mounting a commemorative plaque (HK$90) after ashes scattering. Masons registered with Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are allowed to provide services to supply and mount commemorative plaques in the gardens of remembrance.

Public Columbariums in Hong Kong

Other scattering locations

 Gardens of remembrance for scattering cremated ashes are also available in the following private cemeteries. Interested parties may contact the cemeteries direct for information.

Managing organisation of Garden of Remembrancecontact information

New Government Initiatives for 2024

To promote more environmentally-friendly practices, the Hong Kong government has introduced several new initiatives:

  1. Green Burial Registry: A new registry has been launched to make it easier for residents to choose green burials, which include scattering ashes at sea or in designated gardens of remembrance. This initiative aims to reduce the strain on land resources and provide a more sustainable option​ (Coconuts)​.
  2. Enhanced Services: The FEHD has introduced a floral farewell bag made of dried flowers and recycled paper for those using the free ferry service for sea burials, adding a personal touch to the ceremony​ (GreenBurial)​.
  3. Commemorative Facilities: At the Tsang Tsui Garden of Remembrance, a new participatory artwork titled "To My ..." has been installed. Created by local artist Parry Ling, it uses recycled materials to provide a serene space for families to honor their loved ones. Memorial post boxes allow families to send letters of remembrance, adding a unique and touching way to commemorate the deceased​ (GreenBurial)​​ (Coconuts)​.

Memorial Diamonds: A Unique and Lasting Tribute

If you’re looking for something truly unique and meaningful, consider memorial diamonds. Swiss company Algordanza has been transforming cremated ashes into stunning diamonds for over 20 years, offering a beautiful way to keep your loved one close.

Tweezer

Why Choose Memorial Diamonds?

  • Personalized Tribute: Each diamond is crafted from the ashes or hair of your loved one, creating a unique and personal keepsake.
  • Sustainable: Algordanza uses renewable energy sources like solar, wood, and water in their process, making it an eco-friendly choice.
  • Portability: Memorial diamonds are small and portable, allowing you to keep your loved one with you wherever you go.
  • Durability: Made from real diamonds, these memorials are enduring and can be passed down through generations.
Memorial Diamond CostsAlgordanza Showroom

Embracing Modern Memorials

For many Hong Kongers, the idea of turning ashes into diamonds resonates deeply. It’s a powerful way to keep the memory of a loved one alive while embracing sustainability. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear or a unique heirloom to pass down, a memorial diamond is a touching and timeless tribute.

Conclusion

Navigating through burial options can be challenging, but understanding the costs and available methods can help you make an informed decision. Whether you choose a traditional burial, a columbarium, ash scattering, or a memorial diamond, each option offers a unique way to honor and remember your loved one.

For more information on memorial diamonds, visit Algordanza Hong Kong.

References

  • Algordanza Hong Kong. Memorial Diamond Brochure. Retrieved from Algordanza
  • Smithsonian Magazine. (2014, February 25). A Startup Claims To Turn the Dead into Diamonds. Retrieved from Smithsonian Magazine
  • Tech Times. (2016, November 14). Never Bury Your Deceased Loved Ones Again: Turn Them Into A Shiny Diamond. Retrieved from Tech Times
  • Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. (2022). Promotion of Green Burial in Taiwan. Retrieved from Legislative Council
  • Coconuts Hong Kong. (2024). Going Green into That Good Night: HK Announces New 'Green Burial' Registry. Retrieved from Coconuts

  

Topics: Algordanza, funeral, burial, memorial, ashdiamond, cost

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Scott Fong

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