One of the keys to a smooth transition to Hong Kong is finding the right place to live. The Residential Leasing and Relocation Services team at JLL Hong Kong share their insider insights on popular neighbourhoods to help you find the best fit for you and your family.
Stretching from the hills above Wan Chai to the east to the area above Sai Ying Pun to the west, Mid-Levels is really three neighbourhoods in one – each with something slightly different to offer. Mid-Levels Central has the most spacious apartments and complexes with comprehensive facilities. Mid-Levels West is popular with singles and young couples as it’s close to the CBD and the entertainment districts of Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. Meanwhile, families are often drawn to Mid-Levels East, thanks to its proximity to the green and peaceful Hong Kong Park and several top international schools.
The Peak is one of Hong Kong’s most affluent neighbourhoods, where you can find all kinds of homes, from low-rise apartment blocks to stand-alone houses. Living here brings you close to some beautiful hiking trails, as well as the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria retail centres and an international primary school. Summer can be sweltering in Hong Kong, but on The Peak the evening breezes are deliciously a few degrees cooler!
Happy Valley’s mix of high and low-rise apartment blocks, restaurants and pubs make this one of the friendliest communities in the city. That makes it an excellent choice for families, while its proximity to the Hong Kong Football Club makes it a go-to location for those who like to break a sweat! There’s no MTR here, but don’t be dismayed – an army of trams, affectionately known as “ding dings”, runs to the northern edge of the neighbourhood.
Pok Fu Lam
Nestled on the western corner of Hong Kong Island, Pok Fu Lam is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. A 15-minute drive from both Central and the beaches on the south side of Hong Kong Island, living here gives you the best of both worlds! Its sizeable apartments, in either older colonial or modern buildings, make it popular with families, as do the nearby international schools, parks and Cyberport shopping complex.
There are no cars allowed on Discovery Bay – ferries, buses, bicycles and golf-carts get you from A to B instead. The lack of traffic makes this is a very family friendly area. The Discovery Bay Plaza is a hub for the community with its restaurants, supermarkets and shops. To get into town, take a 30-minute ferry ride to Central, or hop onto a bus to Tung Chung, where the MTR can take you straight into the CBD. A mixture of townhouses and low- and mid-rise apartment buildings give you plenty of options when it comes to picking a home here.
Sai Kung & Clearwater Bay
If you want more space to stretch out in, these districts are for you. Their more rural location means there is room for larger homes, often with terraces or gardens. As they are further from the hubbub of Hong Kong Island, many residents choose to drive, although there are also many minibus routes that can transport you to MTR stations elsewhere in the New Territories. Compromising on the length of your commute can have its benefits – in this case, living beside beautiful beaches and untamed countryside.
A number of best-in-class international schools have opened up close to Tai Po recently, making this an ideal choice for families looking to shorten their school runs. While it may seem a long way from Central now, when the MTR Sha Tin to Central Link’s cross harbour route opens, the journey will be faster than ever before. Tai Po offers an enviable array of property types to choose from, from post-war walk-ups to modern condo complexes with pools and clubhouses.
Tuen Mun has a choice of of spacious high-rise apartments and low-rise beach houses with private gardens and rooftop terraces. This coastal stretch has a relaxed atmosphere, with a French themed market at the weekends. For those who are feeling athletic, miles of hiking trails and Hong Kong’s largest horse riding school are on the doorstep, as well as an international school.
Imagine waking up to uninterrupted views of the South China Sea before walking to a nearby beach or soaking up the spectacular scenery of the Tai Tam Country Park. The Southside residential neighbourhoods of Shouson Hill, Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay, Stanley, Tai Tam, Shek O and Big Wave Bay are some of the most luxurious on Hong Kong Island. With a market that sells everything from groceries to jewellery and a promenade lined with restaurants, bars and cafes, Stanley is the entertainment capital of the Southside. If you’re into water sports, you’ll feel at home on its beaches, or paddling in the international Dragon Boat races it hosts each summer. In addition to the beach and some beautiful residences, Repulse Bay also offers the amenities of The Pulse retail centre, which has a range of beach-side dining, bars and fitness studios, while schools, doctors, dentists and beauty salons are all nearby.
Ten minutes west of Central on public transport, Kennedy Town has become something of a trendy hang-out in recent years, but it still manages to maintain its identity as a waterside neighbourhood. Modern restaurants sit alongside local seafood sellers, giving residents a slice of traditional life in “the 852”. Kennedy Town is a great choice for young professionals and families who can enjoy strolling along the promenade, swimming in the outdoor Olympic-sized public lido, or hiking the Hong Kong Trail.
Ho Man Tin and Kowloon
Tong Ho Man Tin has a cosmopolitan past – in times gone by it was home to Portuguese, Indian and Chinese communities. Nowadays, families flock to this district to take advantage of its impressive network of international schools. With four MTR stations within walking distance, it’s also extremely convenient for commuters. One neighbourhood along is Kowloon Tong, home to Kadoorie Avenue, a prestigious address where standalone houses sit along a tree-lined street.
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This article first appeared in the City Guide 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.