Are you currently living in Hong Kong or moving to Hong Kong, keen to find a neighbourhood that is close to work and international schools, and trying to work out which part of the city to call home? Here’s an overview of the best places to live in Hong Kong and popular neighbourhoods to consider. You’ll also find first person accounts of some of the top spots for expats to live in Hong Kong in our Neighbourhood Guides on our website and our Street Talk column in Expat Living magazine.
Living in the buzzy Mid-Levels is all about ease and convenience. It’s a stone’s throw from a mind-boggling array of restaurants, bars, supermarkets, boutiques and massage/beauty salons, yet committed urbanites can reach hiking trails winding up to the Peak in as little as ten minutes. Hence it is a top favourite among expats who live in Hong Kong.
- Walking distance to excellent public transport links, including the MTR and Airport Express
- A good mix of characterful colonial apartments, and newer developments with facilities and harbour views
- Neighbourhood coffee shops and boutiques lend a quirky, individual feel to the area
Rents are among the highest in the city, but on clear days, Peak residents are rewarded by spectacular views, a leafy and peaceful outlook, and dozens of hiking trails.
- The Peak Galleria shopping complex is often crowded with tourists, but has coffee shops, restaurants and a supermarket
- Victoria Peak Gardens, near the summit of the Peak, is a tropical oasis
- Convenient for the German Swiss International School and the Peak School
- The Peak Tram is the most exciting way up, but buses to Central are frequent and fast
This district has character in bucket loads, but it’s tricky finding anything other than studio or one bedroom walk-ups: the apartments, however, are beautiful old Hong Kong-style, and Chinese medicine shops and Dai Pai Dongs make living here a truly authentic experience.
- A short walk from bustling Queen’s Road, and all of Central’s convenience and transport links (Sheung Wan also has a MTR station)
- Trendy new boutiques and bars rub shoulders with ‘mom and pop’ stores, old-established businesses like printing presses, and antique or curio shops
Sai Ying Pun
Sai Ying Pun is the current fashionable choice for expats living in Hong Kong who are looking for cheaper accommodation in an authentic, up and coming area, although steep hills and stairs mean it’s not always pushchair-friendly!
- A favourite on the island for destination dining, there is a wide variety of cuisines and themed restaurants, and some original, funky bars
- Sandwiched between Kennedy Town and Sheung Wan, it’s easy to get to Central and the Western Harbour Tunnel, and also to the open space of Sun Yat Sen Park
Just a short walk from Causeway Bay but a world away from the district’s frenzied activity, Tai Hang has a laid-back and slower-paced vibe.
- Vintage stores, indie boutiques, artisanal coffee shops and craft beer bars lend this neighbourhood a unique and charming character.
- The three-day Mid-Autumn Festival Fire Dragon Dance is held here, but ancient culture and traditions happily rub shoulders with new boutique residential developments – often renovated from old buildings. There are brand new developments too, and old luxury houses.
If living in Hong Kong as an expat means being at the centre of all the action, Wan Chai is the place to be. Urban and convenient, it packs a colourful local punch, and is chock full of lively restaurants, bars, markets, outlets and the city’s most exciting – and controversial – nightlife.
- Local wet markets are a feast for the eyes, and the produce is fresh and tasty
- Living here has traditionally been a cheaper option, but the ongoing transformation of Wan Chai into a chic and modern upscale district, has escalated both rental costs and complaints about noise pollution
Pok Fu Lam
A long-established favourite with expatriate families living in Hong Kong, Pokfulam offers easy access to Central (it’s a fifteen-minute taxi drive), plenty of outdoor space and beautiful views of the South China Sea.
- Cyberport provides a cinema complex, shops, restaurants, a hotel and a Dog Park
- For equine enthusiasts, there’s a stable (although the waiting list for lessons is long), and a leafy reservoir with trails leading up to The Peak
- There’s a good mix of accommodation, from older colonial apartments and houses, to ultra-modern high-rises
- Convenient for West Island School (ESF) and Kellett’s Pokfulam Campus
Tseung Kwan O
There’s a lot of large-scale residential developments going up in the new town of Tseung Kwan O, which means the area is still evolving, but rents are considerably cheaper. It lacks the charm of old Hong Kong, but the current amenities are good, and getting better all the time.
- It’s quiet, organised, has green open spaces (especially at LOHAS Park) and some lovely water views
- The French International School and Shrewsbury International School opened new campuses here in August 2018
Ho Man Tin
Originally a settlement for Portuguese colonialists, Ho Man Tin has always had a strong expatriate flavour, while remaining loyal to its local roots. Both convenient and accessible, it’s tipped for Hong Kong’s highest residential rent increases.
- Close to the Kowloon Cricket Club with its wide range of sports facilities, and the King’s Park Sports Ground
- King George V School (ESF), the Australian International School and Kowloon Junior School are nearby
Laid-back Tai Tam has some of the most beautiful ocean views on the Southside, but the advantage of being close to Stanley, with its bustling market and dining scene, and to the HKIS senior campus.
- Accommodation is roughly divided between large high-rises like The Manhattan or Pacific View, and spacious townhouses with gardens, such as the luxury developments in Redhill
- It’s a long drive around the winding coastal road, but there’s an alternative, faster route to the city, past Shek O and Chai Wan
The appeal of living on the Southside is the interrupted view of the South China Sea, and it’s also one reason why Stanley sees a lot of tourists. Many of the shops and restaurants cater to these visitors, giving the place a cosmopolitan feel. Despite this, there’s still a nice community vibe, too.
- The promenade at Stanley is lined with bars, eateries and cafés, and there’s a market selling everything from groceries to jewellery.
- If you’re into water sports, hit the beaches, or come for the Dragon Boat races that Stanley hosts during regular summers.
- Accommodation-wise, you’ll find plenty of residents in beach houses and also spacious, low-density villas with gardens and terraces.
- There’s easy access to a number of schools, including HKIS (American-style curriculum) and FIS (French).
Shouson Hill has the look and feel of the Island’s Southside, but an enviable proximity to the city, beaches, golf club, and green trails. Rents are rising fast, as a result of the new MTR South Island line.
- Within easy reach of several international schools, including South Island (ESF), Kellett’s Pok Fu Lam campus and HKIS.
- Larger, colonial-style apartments are fast disappearing in favour of new-build housing complexes and apartment blocks.
- There is one supermarket on Shouson Hill, but shops and amenities are close by in Repulse Bay or Wan Chai.
The grandiose colonial houses in leafy Kadoorie Avenue are the stuff of legend, but there are good value low-rise apartments here too, and an eclectic mix of expatriate and local residents. The problem is finding property – new listings get snapped up fast.
- A peaceful neighbourhood, with proximity both to international schools and excellent transport links
- Cinemas, supermarkets, shops and amenities are close by in luxury shopping malls including Festival Walk, Elements and Olympic City
Hong Kong’s fastest developing district, spearheaded by skyscraper International Commerce Center (ICC) has been designed to mirror the high-end shopping and residential complexes across the water, on Hong Kong Island.
- Some of the most luxurious apartment buildings in the city are here, but there’s a good mix of new and old high-rise apartment complexes
- Once the long-slated West Kowloon Cultural District is completed, the area will become the city’s prime arts and culture hub
The old district of North Point is not a traditional choice for expats living in Hong Kong, but there’s no denying its unique local character and its convenience: businesses continue to relocate here, and it’s close to Central.
- There are quieter streets with good value rentals, behind the bustle of busy King’s Road
- Convenient for the Chinese International School in Braemar Hill
- Excellent transport links with buses, trams and MTR servicing the area, easy access to Kowloon, and right next to the shopping mecca of Causeway Bay
South Lantau used to be a sleepy backwater, but all that is changing with the arrival of some sleek contemporary housing developments, and the opening of the new bridge to Macau.
- Only residents are allowed to drive, but regular buses go to Tung Chung (MTR) and the ferry piers at Mui Wo, with frequent services to Central
- The island is an athlete’s paradise, with beautiful swimming beaches, miles of cycle and running trails, and a couple of spectacular hikes (Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak)
Self-contained expatriate enclave Discovery Bay, attracts devotees and naysayers in equal numbers. But everyone agrees it’s a safe and clean place to bring up kids, with lots of open space and a big community feel, hence it is considered one of the best neighbourhoods in Hong Kong to live in.
- Property prices are still competitive, and everything you need for life in Hong Kong is on-site, from schools (Discovery Bay International School is here) to shops, services, restaurants and bars
- Some complain about feeling isolated, but the ferry to Central takes 30 minutes, and runs 24 hours. No cars are allowed, and residents use golf carts, bicycles and buses
This coastal neighbourhood mushroomed in popularity with expats deciding where to live in Hong Kong after Harrow International School opened in 2013. Today, the scenic Gold Coast has a lively expatriate community, new housing developments, and a thriving restaurant/bar scene.
- Shopping malls like V City have a variety of retail outlets, including Gap, Zara and upscale grocery store Marketplace
- Green outdoor space is in abundance, including mountain bike trails, artificial lakes and reptile parks
- It’s 50 minutes by MTR to Tuen Mun, or a 25-minute beautiful coastal drive from Central
Sai Kung has morphed from sleepy fishing village into a lively, bustling town. The authentic seafood restaurants are still there, but sleek new organic shops, boutiques, bars and eating places are sprouting up rapidly.
- Limited transport links have traditionally made Sai Kung a cheaper option for expatriates, but rents are rising, and commuter traffic into the village is very busy
- Properties are generally village houses (many renovated) and apartment complexes
- Green open spaces and the enormous country park are a big draw for families with children
There’s no shopping complex in Clearwater Bay, but residents say the breathtaking vistas and leafy green spaces more than make up for it – and point out it’s only 20 minutes drive to Sai Kung, or 30 minutes to Central.
- An outdoor paradise for families, with beaches, stables, hiking trails and the picturesque Clearwater Bay Country Club within easy reach
- Transport links are limited and most residents have cars, although the MTR serves Hang Hau – and then a taxi/bus
- Properties are generally village houses and older apartment complexes
Click here to read more in our Living in Hong Kong section!