Whether you’re already living in Hong Kong and looking to move to a new neighbourhood or moving here from overseas, nothing beats hearing from the residents themselves! We speak to Miranda Bundy, a teacher from England. Miranda tells us about the ins and outs of living in Hong Lok Yuen.
What street do you live on? Fifth Street.
What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Hong Lok Yuen.
Closest MTR station? Tai Wo (East Rail Line – light blue).
How long have you lived here? 10 years in Hong Kong, 2.5 years in Hong Lok Yuen.
Why here? Hong Lok Yuen is a hidden gem! There are so many reasons to be living here: to have a beautiful three-storey house with a garden and space for my children to play, a wonderful international school on the doorstep, a stunning outdoor pool at walking distance, to be surrounded by mountains, country parks and outdoor activities, and to be part of a fun and supportive community.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: the beautiful surrounding mountains.
The closest store to your front door is: International Park & Shop.
The unofficial uniform of your street is: fast cars (parked) and lavish entrance gates. Or do you mean clothing?! If so, active wear!
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be: a sporting star due to the Jockey Club, cycling and running trails nearby, or actors/actresses and Cantopop stars!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: head up the steep hills behind Sha Tin to see the Ten Thousand Buddhas and Monastery, followed by some well-earned dim sum.
If you’re missing home, you: remind myself of how lucky I am to be here by taking the children to the beautiful Country Club pool or taking an early morning hike with friends out of the village and up Cloudy Hill to enjoy the breathtaking views.
A mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests is: Plover Cove Country Park to enjoy a walk or cycle ride along the reservoir and nature trails, followed by a glass of wine and some Thai food.
You’d swap houses in a second with: a friend who lives in a completely newly renovated property and amazing party-style house!
A common myth about your neighbourhood is: “It’s so far!” Yes, okay, it’s not that much further to get to China … But, it’s also only 30 minutes to Hong Kong Island via car – in non-rush hour of course!
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to: one of my considerate three children!
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to involve: a barbecue or pool party (often completely impromptu!), with plenty of good wine and, of course, a fun bunch of friends.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Meraviglia Italian at the Science Park – great with children due to the outside and indoor play areas; the Thai restaurant in Tai Mei Tuk for its relaxed atmosphere and great food; and, of course, eating by the pool at the Country Club after a swim in one of the most beautiful pools in Hong Kong.
You won’t find better local food than at: Hong Lok Lau Chinese Restaurant, Country Club Hong Lok Yuen. Sit on the terrace outside and look out over the pool.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: a cat on a lead!
The best bargains in your neighbourhood are: my SwimSure swimming lessons, of course! Haha.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: food and champagne at One Thirty-One.
One thing you’d never change is: the fantastic IB School, ICHK. My children are so lucky to be attending there and I’m so grateful to be able to do some part-time classroom and swimming teaching for them.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: building work – there are lots of renovations happening at the moment!
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: create a new look in the Hong Lok Yuen square, including a boutique coffee shop and farm shop selling locally grown food.
Why should your neighborhood be featured in a guidebook? Hong Lok Yuen (which translates as “happy healthy garden” or “leisure garden”) is unique to Hong Kong. Access to such a large variety of outdoor activities and stunning scenery right on the doorstep makes it a perfect spot for families. Whether you’re into cycling, hiking, nature walks, farm visits (Kadoorie Farm just up the road), swimming, museums, parks (Tai Po Waterfront Park is a favourite), to name just a few of the many options out here, there is something everyone will enjoy. And, for me, to live in a house with space in Hong Kong and walk my children to school is just amazing!
Looking for a new neighbourhood in Hong Kong? Check out the historic market town of Tai Po
This article first appeared in the December/January 2017/18 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.