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 in Hong Kong. Here, we chat to Linda Roberts from Ireland, owner of Our Girls Gang (a collection of fun feminist t-shirts and accessories for young girls), about living in Discovery Bay.
Where do you live? Discovery Bay (DB).
How long have you been here? Three years.
Why Discovery Bay? When my husband was offered a job here, we initially thought we wanted to live on Hong Kong Island. We wanted to feel like we were in the thick of the city, but when we did our recce and looked at apartments, we needed a Plan B. Coming from a four-bedroom house with a garden in Ireland to the Mid-Levels or Pok Fu Lam wasn’t going to work. DB presented us with better options.
What transport is available in your suburb? DB is a car-free suburb with wide roads so we do a lot of scootering and biking to get around. Mostly we use buses, or some lucky people have golf carts. We access Hong Kong island via a 25-minute ferry (with free Wi-Fi); Mui Wo is also a short ferry ride away on the weekend. We catch a bus to Tung Chung and access the MTR network that way, or you can grab a taxi from the very north end of our suburb and go anywhere you like!
When you walk out of your home, what’s the first thing you see? On one side, I see Tiger’s Head, a big cliff that overlooks DB; it gives an immediate sense of space and a feeling of connectedness to nature and the countryside. In the other direction, you can see Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon skyline on a good day; it’s a blur of pollution on a bad day.
What’s the closest store to your front door? We have a shopping centre a 10-minute walk away, with everything from Fusion to a post office, plus restaurants and a great art supplies store (Pen’n Paper). We have another shopping centre a 10-minute bus ride away, with another supermarket, yoga studios and more.
The unofficial uniform of Discovery Bay is: Active wear or school uniforms – and we also see girls in some great t-shirts from Our Girls Gang!
If a celebrity moved in, it would likely be: A desperate housewife – probably Eva Longoria’s character.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture you: Wander around the streets of the city. I like going to Sheung Wan to explore; it’s only then that I feel like I’m really living in Hong Kong
A mandatory stop for taking out of town guests is: Riding the Star Ferry to Kowloon for a night of drinks by the water – it never gets old. Also, the Peak offers an incredibly impressive view.
A common myth about your area is: That DB is full of swingers!
If you wake up at night it is usually because of: Probably the heat, because it’s certainly not traffic or any other type of noise!
A massive late-night rager in DB involves: Enjoying some drinks with friends in the plaza until the small hours of the morning and not having to worry about transport home. You can walk anywhere in DB!
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint is: I spend a lot of time in Uncle Russ, our local independent coffee house. It’s my home office, the staff are friendly and the coffee is great! My husband loves McSorley’s, our local Irish pub, for the Guinness and the fact that they play all the rugby matches.
You won’t find better local food than: It’s a tie between Koh Tomyums, our local Thai that looks over the beach, and Spanish restaurant Solera that does amazing tapas. I love lunch at Epic Foods at the North Plaza; they do a great pulled-pork sandwich.
The strangest thing you’ll ever see in DB is: Tourists walking around Fusion in their speedos on the weekend – not as sexy as it sounds!
The best bargains in the neighbourhood: Hiking is free! We have some seriously good hiking in DB.
The guiltiest pleasure in Discovery Bay is: We all know each other, so you never really need to leave your own suburb to have a great weekend. It’s a great international community, too, so we have better stocked international supermarkets and delis than many places in Hong Kong.
One thing you’d never change is: Our low-density life. DB will change if it becomes more built-up. The attraction is that it’s built for families with kids and it makes Hong Kong a liveable place. DB is a great place for kids to grow up.
The city gives you HK$5 million to soup up your area; what do you do with it? Build something for older teenagers – better basketball courts, a skate bowl or another community facility that will keep them occupied.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
Share it with others – just email us at email@example.com with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section
This article first appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.