Wondering where to live in Hong Kong? It’s always good to talk to the neighbours! In our regular Street Talk feature, we get the inside scoop from residents of different areas. Here, we chat to FEY HOLMES about living on Peng Chau island in Hong Kong.
Name: Fey Holmes
From: Hong Kong
Occupation: Senior Stylist at Glow in Central, specialising in hair and lash extensions
Where do you live? Peng Chau island.
How long have you lived on Peng Chau? Six and half years.
Why did you choose this spot to call home? It has a good natural environment for my four dogs, plus the neighbours are friendly.
How do you get to and from your home? You can only get to Peng Chau by ferry
Peng Chau – a fact file
- The island is less than a square kilometre in size, and there’s an easy paved loop of 7km or so that takes you all the way around its bays, coves and villages.
- While Cheng Chau means “long island”, Peng Chau means “flat island” – yet it’s no flatter than Cheng Chau. In fact, both share a highest elevation of 95 metres. On Peng Chau, that highest point is Finger Hill.
- Tiny Tai Lei island lies to the northwest of Peng Chau and is accessed by a 130-metre bridge that’s a popular fishing spot.
- There are several significant temples on Peng Chau, including an old Tin Hau temple erected in 1792. Go to Street View on Google Earth and you can take a virtual stroll inside.
- Interesting old buildings on the island include Peng Chau Theatre, once home to a 500-seat cinema; there’s also an abandoned lime factory. Lime was produced by burning coral and shells, and used in the building industry.
When you walk out of your house, what’s the first thing you see? The sea!
What’s the closest store to your front door? An art studio.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your suburb? Flip-flops.
If a celebrity moved in, who would it most likely be? It’s unlikely to happen! This is a very local island with only a few shops for basic supplies, and not many restaurant options – mainly cha chaan tengs. However, if I woke up one morning and I heard a celebrity had moved to Peng Chau, my first guess would be Jennifer Lawrence because she seems to be comfortable with living the simple life, and that’s exactly what she will find here!
Where do you when you’re in need of a dose of culture? I go to my friend’s shop, Islanders – it has books on art, history, culture and so on, and the shop holds its own zine talks about local culture, and the occasional cultural event. And there’s a variety of wines and cheeses available too.
What’s a mandatory stop for taking out of town guests? In Peng Chau, we don’t have specific tourist attractions; it’s more about enjoying the tranquillity here. It’s also nice to walk around the island – because its small, it will only take two hours to see everything.
What’s a common myth about the island? That the abandoned cinema is haunted!
What might wake you up at night in Peng Chau? I live right next to the sea, and when it’s very windy or if there’s a typhoon, you can hear things blowing away. Another one is stray dogs barking; we have a few packs of strays living on the beach. But their barking doesn’t bother me.
What would a massive late-night rager in your suburb involve? A bonfire on the beach and squid fishing!
What’s your favourite neighbourhood joint? The common gym – people set up old gym equipment on the street for the elderly to use.
Where’s the best local food? Hoi King is a dim sum restaurant that’s open every day; they do old-style dim sum – we go there for yum cha every week.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in your neighbourhood? I wouldn’t say it’s the strangest but definitely rather amazing, and that’s the bioluminescence – a blue light that glows in the sea. It happens more often now – a few times a year, and it’s beautiful to observe, but it’s also worrying knowing how polluted the sea is getting.
Where are the best bargains in the neighbourhood? The best bargain is the ferry ride to and from Peng Chau! For $31, you get the ocean breeze, and the most scenic ocean views, including a view back to Hong Kong Island that you can only get from Peng Chau. It’s the best $31 you can spend in HK!
What’s the guiltiest local pleasure in your area? “Choose to Bite” Pizzeria – the newest restaurant in Peng Chau and the best pizza available on the island. It could definitely give some of the HK pizzerias a run for their money!
What’s one thing you’d never change about where you live? The people. They are the most kindhearted locals, and the sense of community is really strong here.
If the city gave you HK$5 million to soup up your area, what would you do? Add more trees. Add more workers to clean up the beaches. And build an awesome off-leash dog park.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
Share it with others – just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.