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What it’s like living in Stanley

Laidback Stanley is a popular spot for tourists to visit, with an excellent market and a strip of restaurants and pubs alongside the waterfront. Here, a resident shares what life is like on a daily basis in Stanley.

Name: Chris Gora
Originally from: Poland
Occupation: Photographer (the photos on these pages are by Chris, and you can see more at chrisgora.com)

Chris Gora

The Specifics

How long have you lived here? Three years.

Why here? Because of the flexibility it gives me. I’m a freelance photographer, so I work with clients across Hong Kong.

What transport do you use to get to and from your work? I usually use public buses and taxis.

The Scene

When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Stanley Promenade overlooking Stanley Pier.

The closest store to your front door is? A paddle-board and kayak rental store.

The unofficial uniform of your area is? Shorts, flip flops and wetsuits.

If a celebrity moves in, it will most likely be: Celebrities prefer to live elsewhere!

Stanley bay
Stanley Pier

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: In Stanley, there isn’t much to choose from. There’s no cinema, and no music venues. There are sometimes weekend music or dance performances of questionable quality in front of Stanley Plaza.

A mandatory stop for taking out-of-town guests is: One of several nearby beaches.

A common myth about Stanley is: That it’s far away from the centre of Hong Kong. In fact, it’s under 30 minutes in a bus.

If you’re ever woken up at night it’s almost always due to: Where I live it’s always very quiet at night – no disturbance at all!

A massive late-night rager in Stanley is likely to involve: Dragon-boat rowers celebrating after a competition or expat teenagers that meet every Saturday night at the seafront cafes.

Dragon Boat

The Superlatives

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint is: The Smugglers Inn is a place I like for its simplicity and authenticity.

You won’t find better local food than at: I haven’t really found a good local food place but I quite enjoy Spiaggia, which is a local Italian joint, and Pickled Pelican, which is a really nice gastropub. The Boathouse is also very popular.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen in this area is: Families of wild boars roaming the residential streets freely without fear of people.

The best bargains in your neighbourhood are: At the Stanley Market.

Smugglers Inn
Smugglers Inn

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: I love a beer and a burger at Beef and Liberty.

One thing you’d never change is: The building height and density. I’m very happy that high-rises haven’t made their way here yet!

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: Garbage floating in the sea. That’s one thing that really bugs me the most and clashes with the image of an otherwise quite picturesque seafront village.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up Stanley. You use it to: I would definitely build a cinema. We need a cinema! Stanley also needs some sort of retail centre that caters to the needs of local residents, rather than just tourists and day trippers. If you think about it, it’s mainly gift shops here. There is also no modern internet provider in the area. Internet is very slow in Stanley – like “10 years ago anywhere else” kind of slow. That could definitely be improved. Oh, and did I mention that an MTR Station would be nice?

Do you love your neighbourhood?

Share it with others – just email us at info@expatliving.hk 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

Your guide to Wong Chuck Hang

What it’s like to leave Hong Kong

Expats guide to where to live in Hong Kong

This article first appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.