Living In Hong Kong Where To Live

What it’s like to live on Lamma Island

By: Melissa Stevens

Are you moving to Hong Kong, or already living here and looking for a new neighbourhood? Have you considered life on one of the city’s outlying islands? Lamma Island is a traditional fishing village which has developed into a multicultural community, favoured by expats who enjoy its laid-back vibe. It’s a half-hour ferry ride to Central and has two main villages. We chat to British expat SKYE CUNNINGHAM, who’s originally from Warwickshire in England. Skye works in education as a curriculum director and is also co-founder of Lamma Art Collective. She tells us what it’s like to live on Lamma.

The specifics

Where do you live on Lamma? Tai Peng Village.

What transport to you use to get to and from your house? My legs!

How long have you lived here? 16 years.

Why here? Because it has lots of greenery.

Lamma Island Hong Kong

The scene

When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? At the moment, sadly, a construction site.

The closest store to your front door is? Tai Peng Village Shop, the hub of the community and a godsend during typhoons!

The unofficial uniform of your area is? Flip flops and shorts.

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be: Chow Yun Fat, Lamma Island’s famous son.

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Go to Lamma Art Collective, usually for the Sunday Afternoon Concert Series. Great music!

Lamma Island Hong Kong

If you’re missing home, you: Have a meal out in the main village, which is a 15-minute walk away. Lots of Western restaurants to satisfy my taste for home.

A mandatory stop for taking out of-town guests is: Sampan Restaurant for dim sum.

You’d swap houses in a second with: Anyone who has a view of the Yung Shue Wan Bay

A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That the hill up to Tai Peng gets easier the longer you live up there. It doesn’t! The locals often refer to it as Heart Attack Hill, though I personally like to think of it as Better Health Hill!

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to: Cats yowling and dogs barking. Plus, a chorus of frog croaks!

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to involve: Beer and a guitar

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Candela, Blue Goose and the Waterfront – all fantastic restaurants!

You won’t find better local food than at: Sampan Restaurant, which serves authentic Chinese food.

Lamma Island Hong Kong

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: A huge python in the branches of a tree that use to touch my balcony! The tree sadly got blown down in a typhoon.

The best bargains in your neighbourhood are: Whatever is being sold on the Lamma Island Market Place Facebook group.

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Sunsets and wine evenings with friends overlooking the small harbour.

One thing you’d never change is: The Lamma community spirit!

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The rubbish that washes up on the beaches.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Replace unnecessary concreted areas with trees, plants and flowers.

Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook? The Tai Peng Community Garden is a pretty lovely space for local gardeners. It’s full of beautiful flowers and a haven for wildlife, especially butterflies.

See more in our Living in Hong Kong section!

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This article first appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.