Hong Kong is skyscrapers, trams, buses, ferries, shops, more shops, offices, bars, restaurants, traffic, taxis, mist, honking horns, talking signs, overhead walkways, and then the clouds part …. and you find yourself on the Southside.
From Deep Water Bay to Stanley, Shouson Hill to Big Wave Bay, there are few destinations that can pack as much variety and terrain into such a relatively small area as the Southside. Holding several of Hong Kong’s best beaches and national parks its easy to see why this district has always been the favoured place for ex pat families and wealthy locals to live. With the opening of the MTR South Island line in December 2016, getting from Central to the golden sands of Southern District is easier than ever. The first stop, Ocean Park, is a mere six minutes from Admiralty Station. From there it’s a short taxi or bus ride to some of Hong Kong’s finest beaches, stretching from Deepwater Bay in the south-west to Big Wave Bay in the south-east.
Each location has it’s own character and demographic. Beaches with waves and sparkling sand, golf courses with views to die for and hiking trails with birds eye views and historical waterways.
Homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Mansions on the hill or perched overlooking the sea, town houses, neatly grouped following the curvature of a bay, or apartment buildings lined up across from beaches looking out to sea and the outer islands. Whatever your circumstances, you will not be disappointed with the variety and selection of comfortable living to put you in the picture.
Repulse Bay undoubtedly holds the crown for best beachside living with extras. One of these being the home of Pulse, a beachfront complex which houses shops, top restaurants, spas, and café’s. Another would have to be the location itself, a beautiful netted beach with golden sand and trees for shade, and all only a 15 minute commute to Central districts off peak. Be prepared to pay for this convenience and beauty as this is one of the most desired locations in Hong Kong to call home. A neighbourhood of executives and billionaires, beautiful homes and manicured gardens, prestigious and glamorous apartments, all with the spectacular Repulse Bay beach at the centre, everything stems outwards from here in perfect harmony, set up for luxury living in this enviable location.
At the other end of the scale you’ll find Shek O. Here you will encounter a more modest village with small local houses randomly built in a jumbled fashion on top of each other with narrow pedestrian walkways in between. However, watching over the village from above there are a handful of magnificent mansions perched around the hillside like sentinels, overlooking the posh country club golf course, and out over the two beaches. The vibe here is definitely much more down to earth with families and dogs happily enjoying everything going on at the beach and the little township. The only real signs of development are some extensions on houses and rooftop terraces or a few newer apartment buildings on the cliff side with panoramic views. There are some well patronized eateries in the village, nothing flash at all but a strong enough reputation to draw crowds on the weekends. It’s not difficult to see why properties in the village are tightly held and those who move here are likely to stay. With only one road in and out, this is a proper commute, but well worth it say the local residents.
Big Wave Bay
As much as we embrace our beautiful beaches, we accept that we are going to be lulled by gentle swells as opposed to crashing waves. That is except for the aptly named Big Wave Bay. Big Wave Bay is the most reliable spot on the island to catch a wave, albeit a modest size by international standards.
onetheless, this scenic cove, sheltered between mountains and rocky outcrops, is quite possibly the most beautiful on the island, and a favourite among the small Hong Kong surfing community. There are a few hire shops on the way down the hill for surfboards and gear, umbrellas and chairs. A much quieter beach than it’s neighbour Shek O, with less housing and only a few low key eateries, it’s wise to own a car if you find a home here. Very relaxed, less convenient, but Big Wave Bay is a little piece of paradise and 30 minutes from Central districts through the week.
Favoured by expat families, Stanley seems more of a western style beachside town than most on the island. Restaurants line the waterfront, more like you would expect to find in Europe, with tables and chairs out on the street. The area is popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are a mixture of apartments, town houses and houses so whether you are a family of four or a single, you can always find the perfect place. Generally the design and layout will provide more living space than in the city districts, and Stanley is known for it’s sunny aspect with room to move around. Most blocks have swimming pools but wherever you are, it will only be a short stroll to one of the swimming beaches. Stanley is very close to international schools from kindergarten to secondary level and the schools all provide their own buses to this area to transport children to and from school. Many people like the convenience of having a car, especially if commuting to the city for work and for families heading to sports practice and events after school and on weekends. It can get very busy on the streets so it’s best to look for a place with parking, however, there are plenty of taxis servicing the area in and out and a very regular bus service to Central. Stanley has a vibrant and broad mix of residents from every part of the world, and the atmosphere is one of smart casual beachside. Dog friendly and gets busy on the weekends. All the amenities you could want are here, in the village or at the newer Stanley Plaza, which houses supermarkets, retail and medical services.
Whilst you wouldn’t consider Aberdeen a beach suburb, it is most definitely a harbour front suburb that offers ultra modern apartment buildings, luxury marinas and clubs along with plenty of fantastic amenities. Being such a close commute to Central and having recently been connected on the MTR line this area has really developed and progressed. There are many restaurants and bars, the views can be really spectacular, and you are pretty much close to everything on Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen is an easy place to live, and what it might lack in beachside chill, it more than makes up for with dynamic, exciting and ever changing events, shops, galleries, restaurants and much more.