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.
The Island & Kowloon
Hong Kong has so many options when it comes to choosing where to live, and each neighbourhood will appeal to different people for different reasons. Here, we look at fact files on 15 of the most popular areas, both close to the CBD and beyond.
- Mid-Levels is really three neighbourhoods in one – each with something slightly different to offer. This area stretches from the east to west, starting in the hills above Wan Chai (east) and finishing above Sai Ying Pun (west).
- 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 MidLevels East, thanks to its proximity to the green and peaceful Hong Kong Park and several top international schools.
#2 The Peak
- 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 standalone 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 welcome evening breezes are a few degrees cooler!
#3 Pok Fu Lam
- Nestled on the western corner of Hong Kong Island, Pok Fu Lam is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city.
- It’s only a 15-minute drive from both Central and the beaches on the south side of Hong Kong Island, so living here gives you the best of both worlds!
- The area’s 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.
#4 Kennedy Town
- Ten minutes west of Central on public transport (MTR or tram), Kennedy Town has become quite a cool suburb in recent years.
- The beauty is that 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 pool, or hiking the Hong Kong Trail.
- 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. Needless to say, 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 cafés, 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 has The Repulse Bay Arcade and The Pulse retail centres, with beach-side dining and fitness studios, while schools, doctors and beauty salons all nearby.
#6 Happy Valley
- Happy Valley’s mix of high and low-rise apartment blocks, restaurants and pubs make this one of the friendliest communities in the city.
- As such, it’s 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.
#7 Ho Man Tin & 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.
Lantau, Lamma and Surrounds
#8 South Lantau
- With its beaches, hiking trails, casual beachside restaurants and friendly village life, the South Lantau coast – from Mui Wo to Tong Fuk and beyond – offers a relaxed outdoor lifestyle.
- Residents enjoy a close-knit community atmosphere here, with bigger housing options available, along with accessibility by road (via Tung Chung) or direct ferry to Hong Kong Island.
- Housing an international primary school, as well as a number of kindergartens and preschools, children are well catered for, and for the adults, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafés along the coast. South Lantau is also the start point for many of the island’s fantastic hikes.
#9 Tung Chung
- The construction of the Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacau Bridge has brought about many changes for the area surrounding Tung Chung, with new housing estates dominating the landscape.
- Tung Chung’s private residential estates offer extensive clubhouses containing pools, gyms, sports halls, playgrounds and other facilities. There are kindergartens and schools, a public hospital, and a variety of housing options, from high-rise apartments to village houses.
- It’s a 30-minute train ride to the city from here, with car access via the North Lantau Expressway and Tsing Ma Bridge. Tung Chung is also a hop, skip and a jump from the airport, so it’s a popular neighbourhood among airline staff and frequent travellers. HK’s largest outlet mall, Citygate Outlets, is also here.
#10 Ma Wan (Park Island)
- Open since 2002, Park Island is a private housing estate located between Lantau Island and Tsing Yi. The island is accessible by taxi, a shuttle bus service to nearby MTR stations, shopping centres and the airport, along with a regular ferry service to Hong Kong Island. Cars aren’t permitted on the island, except by permit.
- Facilities for residents include several clubhouses with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms, sports courts and bowling alleys. There is a lovely beach, which is a popular spot for the little ones and gives Park Island its resort feel. The island also has a supermarket, coffee shop, convenience stores and restaurants, along with a local kindergarten and primary school.
- Park Island is also home to Noah’s Ark, the world’s first full-scale Ark replica, with a range of specially designed exhibitions and attractions, along with restaurants and a hotel.
#11 Discovery Bay
- There are no cars allowed in Discovery Bay – ferries, buses, bicycles and golfcarts get you from A to B instead. The lack of traffic makes this is a very family friendly area.
- The newly expanded Discovery Bay Plaza is a hub for the community with its restaurants, supermarkets and shops – even an ice rink! A mixture of townhouses and low- and mid-rise apartment buildings give you plenty of options when it comes to picking a home here.
- 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. You can also get a taxi to the north end of DB.
#12 Lamma & Cheung Chau
- Although only a 30-minute ferry ride from Central, and with no cars or high-rises, Lamma is a world away from the bustle of Hong Kong Island. Well known for its seafood restaurants, it offers a relaxed, quiet and friendly environment in which to set up home.
- Housing is relatively cheap here, and houses generally offer more space, both indoor and outdoor. As it’s a popular spot for day-trippers on weekends, there’s a wide range of cuisine in the cafés and bars. With nice beaches and a number of hiking trails, Lamma is ideal for those who love the outdoor lifestyle.
- Cheung Chau is a charming little island between Lamma and Lantau, and home to a couple of hundred expats who love the close-knit community. The island comes to life in the annual Bun Festival, which (restrictions permitting) includes parades, lion dances and the unique “Bun Snatching Contest”!
#13 Tuen Mun
- Tuen Mun has a choice of spacious high-rise apartments and low-rise beach houses with private gardens and rooftop terraces.
- This coastal stretch has a relaxed atmosphere, with Golden Beach and a marina, plus markets and shops.
- If you’re feeling athletic, there are miles of hiking trails and Hong Kong’s largest horse riding school on the doorstep, as well as an international school.
#14 Tai Po
- A number of best-in-class international schools have opened up close to Tai Po in recent years, 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 crossharbour route opens (probably in 2022), the journey will be faster than ever before.
- Tai Po offers an enviable array of property types, from post-war walk-ups to modern condo complexes with pools and clubhouses.
#15 Sai Kung & Clearwater Bay
- If you want more space to stretch out in, these districts are for you. Their more rural location means there’s room for larger homes, often with terraces or gardens.
- As this area is 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.
This article first appeared in the City Guide issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.