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Hong Kong neighbourhoods: An insider’s guide to living in Sai Kung and its laidback community

Sai Kung resident Louey McWilliam gives us the lowdown on living in the neighborhood known for its laid back lifestyle.

Sai Kung resident Louey McWilliam

NAME:  Louey McWilliam

FROM: England and Australia

OCCUPATION: Home-maker and charity fundraiser

What street do you live on?
Kap Pin Long Middle Lane, which is just off Po Lo Che Road.

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Sai Kung.

Take a stroll of Louey’s Sai Kung neighborhood by clicking on the gallery above


Closest MTR station?
Hang Hau, a 20-minute minibus ride away.

How long have you lived here?
20 years in Hong Kong but 10 years here.

Why here?
The country life and the sense of community. My children know all the shopkeepers and the wonderful people who work in the restaurants and bars. Kids are always welcome with a genuine big smile.

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
The breathtaking view which I never get tired of. We are nestled in amongst the Ma On Shan mountain range that has an arresting natural beauty. So we have glorious green mountains behind us with views down to the sea by Sai Kung town. On a sunny day the blue sky is filled with colourful paragliders flying down towards the town. I have no idea where they land but they all somehow make it down safely!

The closest store (of any type) to your front door is:
Actually, it’s the bottle shop! Q Club is fairly new, with boutique beers and a decent selection of wines. Our kids go bonkers in there as they have lots of colourful sweets too. There’s a handy little lay-by so it’s easy to pull in. It’s a little Aladdin’s cave of goodies and I urge Sai Kungers to support this magical place.

Your neighbours are great, but I wouldn’t mind a little less:
We are so lucky with our neighbours. We live at the bottom of a quiet lane and it is a wonderfully private place to live.

The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Flip flops (or ‘fit flops’) and a dog or two is the must-have accessory!

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Brangelina and their brood! They’d fit right in with the Bohemian lifestyle and although Sai Kung is chilled out there’s lots to do. Wouldn’t do our house price too much harm either!

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Head straight to the theatre. There is an excellent thespian scene in Hong Kong and I have many talented friends. The panto put on every year by Hong Kong Players is an obvious highlight, the Hong Kong Singers perform fantastic musicals and we’re also lucky enough to enjoy Shakespearian ‘dramadies’ by Stylus Productions. Sai Kung veteran Adam Harris (who should be on the stage in London’s West End) – you rock! I also sing in two choirs, Hong Kong Women’s Choir and Grace Notes. These talented and dedicated singers raise considerable sums for Hong Kong charities every year.

If you’re missing home, you:
Sai Kung is my home; there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

A mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests is:
There is not just one stop. A casual evening enjoying a glass of wine or two in the local bars will include a warm welcome everywhere; Cava, Anthony’s Ranch, Poets, The Boozer, Steamers and Casa. We go to the Duke of York most often (it has a pool table!). Anna and Alan saved this Sai Kung institution from going under; rents are extortionately high now so we must support local businesses now more than ever. Raj’s Michelin-rated Bacco is where we go for lovely Indian food.

You’d swap houses in a second with:
No one. It’s all about location, location, location…and we got it!

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
That we’re lazy country folk! Friends on Hong Kong Island tell us to come in more often but we have everything on our doorstep in Sai Kung. It’s just so convenient.

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
Sai Kung is quite the party town and we like to have a good time!

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to involve:
Ahem, me! I’d like to think my husband and I are never far away from the action.

Your hands down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Piccolo’s – Vince and Irene, we love you! And again, Anna and Alan in the Duke.

You won’t find better local food than at:
Butcher King. Local food, imported meat and other goodies. Tim does us proud.

The strangest thing you’ve seen on your street is:
A herd of cows holding up the traffic! But they are another integral part of Sai Kung life and we love ‘em!

The best bargains in your neighbourhood are:
Up on the first floor of the wet market, though the aromas coming from the ground floor are, as we say, aromatic, so you may need to hold your breath as you walk up!

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Oh my word, the foot massage at Allure is out of this world! Jessica is so professional and knowledgeable.

One thing you’d never change is:
The amazing local bus service. The superb drivers on the 3A minibus go up and down all day long and almost until midnight. Convenient, cheap and friendly.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
I would love to see greedy landlords go! Too many shops, bars and restaurants are closing and they are ruining Sai Kung.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Not very exciting but I’d increase bandwidth.

Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook?
Sai Kung normally is featured already for its excellent hiking trails, beaches and Chinese seafood restaurants by the pier. I would add that we have the best air quality in Hong Kong; my fanatical sailing husband loves the winds we get and above all the picture-postcard views. Sitting on the roof terrace of Hebe 101 (run by amazing Chef, Stevie) taking in the mountains, bays and bobbing yachts with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc – priceless.

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