By Lilian Chan
If you could live in anywhere in Hong Kong, which neighbourhood would you decide on? This is usually the number one question that home-hunters find themselves asking and struggling to be decisive with. Googling for answers online do little but return cookie-cutter statistics and infographics that take away from the authentic human elements we are desperately searching for.
Instead of telling you what to do and whereto live, we will give you the “Whys and Why Nots” of each neighbourhood and let you decide for yourself!
For this reason, we have surveyed a large randomised list of real life residents who have lived or currently live in various neighbourhoods around Hong Kong, in order to give you a more genuine sense of the pros and cons of living in each area. What is it really like to live in a specific neighbourhood? Instead of telling you why living in Repulse Bay is so great, we aim instead to give you the sense of what it feels like to actually live there, and what better way to do this than by hearing actual accounts from people all around you?
Here you go!
“There are dozens of scenic hiking trails that give you access to different parts of the island and city."
“Driving or hiking to and from The Peak makes you feel like you’re really not in the city. It feels like you are enjoying the countryside."
“It’s not as far out of the way as everyone thinks it is. With traffic, it’s only 15-20 minutes from Central by car. It’s very community like in that the neighbours all know each other since it’s quite secluded."
“Humidity is a problem. There are certain months of the year where it gets especially humid. Even if you do a fresh paintjob, it wears away within a couple of months"
“ We have dogs so the best thing for us is definitely the Cyberport Dog Park. The view is stunning and a great outdoor area to get away from the congestion of Hong Kong city center."
“Pokfulam is very convenient. Almost like a small community here with our own supermarket, indoor shopping centre with a cinema (which is always fairly empty) - unheard of in Hong Kong!"
“Good public transport to Causeway Bay, Central and Quarry Bay. It’s useful to have a car but not necessary"
“It’s a lovely neighbourhood for all kinds of people, no matter what age you are. It’s especially great for families. There is plenty of outdoor space which makes you feel like you are no longer in Hong Kong, but we are actually right next to Central which is phenomenal."
“People think Pokfulam is far but by car, it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Central and 20-25 minutes to get to Causeway Bay. Not bad at all."
“I can’t really think of any cons to be honest. I love the area and wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want more breathing room and to escape high compressed living, then this is a great choice."
“There’s no MTR but it’s a pro for me because having a MTR line pass through Pokfulam would bring in congestion that would definitely take away from the beauty the neighbourhood has to offer. We love how serene it is here."
“I moved here for one reason only and it’s because of the Cyberport Park which is dog-friendly - this is unheard of in Hong Kong. There is so much outdoor space and you don’t even feel like you are in Hong Kong.”
“This is an up and coming neighbourhood with so many cool and trendy new restaurants and cafes opening. There’s still an air of Old Hong Kong which is very nice. I have been living in Kennedy town for many years with my young child. It’s not as congested as Midlevels and surrounding areas. Transport to Central is easy by bus or tram. Hailing taxis can get difficult in the morning rush but the commute is short."
“I love this area but my only complain is that the parking situation here is awful if you have a car. Makes sure to get a unit with a parking space. There’s minimal traffic noise and less people come to this part of the town. There are also plenty of school educational providers if you have children."
“I quite like it here for its atmosphere with the old and quaint shops that are very reminiscent of Old Hong Kong. However there’s no open space here, it’s highly congested. I do love the Sheung Wan wet market here, and more and more so, there are new restaurants that are phenomenal. You can get some pretty cheap housing options here."
“Lots of transportation options - multiple trans run along Des Voeux road, MTR stations, and a ton of bus lines. It is super close to Macau Ferry Terminal and Sun Yat Sen Park, and a quick walk under a covered skywalk will take you straight to Central. There are increasingly more Western restaurants, and great local joints too. We have so many choices of supermarkets here, both catered to local tastes and western tastes. The cost of living here is noticeably lower than Central/Midlevels/Happy Valley..etc."
“Sai Ying Pun is a great neighbourhood that has pretty much everything we want as a young new family. There are loads of shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, supermarkets, wet market, MTR station, and butchers. The area is very dog-friendly and kid-friendly. You don’t ever really need to leave the area!"
“Convenience. It is so easy to get everything you need here. I can basically run all of my errands within a 5- min walking radius. I can shop for groceries, go to the bank, take the kids to the playground, let our dog run at the dog park and more."
“The pollution is pretty poor here. The apartments in the area get very dusty easily."
“If you have babies, it’s hard to get around here because there are so many stairs and steep hills"
“The wet markets are great but they also give off a very fishy smell in the area. It’s definitely not scenic"
“Sun Yat Sen Park is super close to us but the bad thing is that it is not dog-friendly. It makes a beautiful place for an outdoor workout or a picnic though!“
“It’s a nice area with everything you could ever need, but the downside is that it’s extremely crowded and very noisy. If this is something you can cope with then Causeway Bay could be the area for you."
“We live in Causeway Bay and we love it here. It’s very “downtown” with Times Square at its focal point. Expect a lot of people and traffic, but you will never be bored living here. It’s a shopper’s paradise, with major supermarkets like CitySuper, Sogo and Park n’ Shop in walking distance from each other, a million restaurants to choose from of all different cuisines, cinemas, Victoria Park, Hotels, IKEA…I could go on and on."
“If you like the pace of big city living where you can walk anywhere in a highly saturated area, then this is a great area to live. "
“Causeway Bay is essentially the centre of everything. Transport is so convenient, and every line runs through here - MTR, Buses, Minibus, Trams, Taxis - you name it, it’s all here."
“It’s always incredibly busy! It’s bearable most days throughout the week but on Sundays, it is a circus! If it rains, you can expect to get hit by a hundred umbrellas just trying to cross the street."
“It’s like the equivalent of living in Times Square in NYC, except Causeway is even more hectic. The area comes alive at night and is great but make sure you have a peaceful place to call home otherwise the noise and constant movement will drive you insane."
“I’m a night owl, so I can always depend on Causeway Bay to find something to eat, drink, do anytime of the day. It’s literally 24 hours. This is the neighbourhood that never sleeps.”
“The building we live in is a very old Chinese walk-up. It looks run-down from the outside but the inside is very comfortable with high ceilings and thick, soundproof walls. My one recommendation living in this neighbourhood, or any other really noisy Hong Kong neighbourhood for that matter is to pay attention to the noise from inside your flat. You will need decent windows and walls to block the noise from the streets."
“Tin Hau is a great place to live. Local but with influences of outside influences - it’s a quiet area, a bit hipster-like especially with all the new establishments that have opened. It’svery artistic and creative. Foodies love this area for all the greateateries."
“It’s convenient to get around with the MTR station, Tram stops, and regular buses that are in this area. It’s also right next to Victoria Park which is great in a place like Hong Kong that doesn’t have much greenery and outdoor space. There’s a nice track for walking/jogging, swimming pool, tennis courts, squash courts…"
“It feels like a real neighbourhood here. There are a ton of choices to eat and drink here (as much as Causeway Bay) but without the congestion. The downside I feel is that sometimes it can get noisy with the outdoor functions like concerts, and marches that happen in and near the park. There’s quite a bit of vehicular pollution but it’s a more budget friendly area than places like Central, Admiralty, and Wanchai.
NORTH POINT/ FORTRESS HILL
“It’s in a more local more of the city, very busy but also very convenient. It’s right next to Causeway Bay, but doesn’t feel like you are stuck in the centre of all the action. It’s very accessible with buses, trams and MTR. It’s more on the local side with many local Chinese residents living here."
“I love that we are so close to the centre of all the action by being near Causeway Bay and Wanchai, but not dead in the centre of it. Everything is in walkable distance and the rent prices here are way cheaper, which is one of the primary reasons we looked in to this neighbourhood to begin with. No regrets here!"
“North Point is an old district but public transport is very convenient. If your building is near transport lines, the living density is much higher. It helps to know Cantonese here since the majority of the people in the area are more local. I quite enjoy living here."
“We love living in Happy Valley. We’ve got spectacular views of the racecourse on top of the hill. It’s in the city but feels somewhat removed from it because no MTR lines pass through here. There are playgrounds, a dog park, tons of little shops and boutiques, restaurants, pet shops, supermarkets, massage spas…."
“What a great area we live in! We are a family with children and Happy Valley has that pleasant village feel we look for. The transportation situation can be a bit of a pain depending on where you live in Happy Valley. If you live at the bottom of the hill, there are bus stops, tram stops and plentiful taxis to hail down. However, if you live up the hill, it can be a mission to find transport down during busy times. If you have your own car/ driver then this doesn’t apply of course."
“A very relaxed area compared to places like Central and Midlevels. Happy Valley is right next to Causeway but no MTR lines pass through. There’s less crowds and noise but getting to Causeway is a breeze. You can walk, or take public transport since both are equally efficient. If you like outdoor space, sports and such activities, this is a a great area because there are many Clubs here that cater to your needs."
“Happy Valley is one of the more dog-friendly neighbourhoods in Hong Kong. There’s a dog park, and very close to plenty of hike trails. It’s a very quaint neighbourhood and convenient in all aspects."
“Wanchai is a great choice. You have all the shops, restaurants and transportation lines you need. It is the best of both worlds in terms of having both local and western expat needs. The budget is on the lower side for housing options, with many choices to choose from - old buildings, apartment complexes and serviced apartments."
“The area is very convenient, but one of the busiest in HK and very noisy. You’ll hardly get any peace, which can make you go crazy after long working hours. There’s not really an outdoor space and greenery. There is a lot of light, noise and crowd pollution. Probably not the most ideal place for families with kids, but not a bad location for singles and young people since everything is very within reach."
“A very convenient place to live. It has excellent supermarkets within walking distance, loads of restaurants and nightlife if you’re in to that scene."
“Great for young professionals and singles. There is so much to do in the area and nearby. You are neighbours to Wanchai and Central. Pacific Place (one of the biggest malls) is a stone’s throw away.There’s a great mixture of local culture and expat influences. I can walk tothe wet markets, international supermarkets, shop, eat a variety of cuisinesall in one go. It’s awesome! Now with the influx of new restaurants flooding in, the scene has really come alive."
“Full of shopping malls, and hotels. It’s really convenient. We live in a serviced apartment just below Pacific Place and it’s the best. We can walk everywhere and transport lines are all around us. There are more and more F&B establishments opening in this area. Really great for young people. I find that it’s not the best for families or petowners. You can find much better options in other neighbourhoods if you have children and pets."
“Incredibly convenient! We are the midpoint between Central and Causeway Bay. It’s the perfect location if you can’t decide whether to live closer towards Central (more expats) or towards Causeway Bay and surrounding areas that are more local."
“Midlevels is seen as the place to live in Hong Kong for the wealthy. If you are new to Hong Kong, then Midlevels makes sense as there are so many young professionals and expats here. It’s close to The Peak Hike, which is a hugely popular attraction for visitors and locals living here. Midlevels traffic can get pretty bad during rush hour, and it’s not the most convenient location out of all the other neighbourhoods that you can choose from. I moved from Midlevels to Happy Valley about 3 years ago and I really enjoy where I am now."
“The hills and slopes here are very steep, which has its pros and cons. Getting up here can be a mission but you also get quite a dramatic view over the Hong Kong skyline. The further up you go, the less densely populated it feels - so less claustrophobic."
“If you are single and young, this is a great place to live. Good access to bars and restaurants, and you can walk to work (if you work close by) during the cooler months of the year. It’s a very convenient location since you are practically in Central. Soho and Lang Kwai Fong are literally at your fingertips, along with gym facilities like Pure. It’s a more expat community and less local."
“Plentiful greenery and hiking trails if you know where to look. The Botanical Gardens is in the area and more wellness friendly than other parts of Hong Kong."
“Beachside living at its best. We don’t even feel like we are in Hong Kong. We have more space here, cleaner air, and getting to city centre is quite convenient. The entire area running from Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, South Bay, to Stanley is like a little community in itself. We can pretty much get most of the things we need here. It’s not as isolated as people say."
“It feels like resort-living. I commute to Central for work and it’s always a pleasant feeling to come home. It’s tranquil and gives me a peace of mind that is much needed in a busy city like HK."
“Lovely area and transportation is convenient. It helps to have a car though."
“We love living in Repulse Bay. You can walk everywhere in the area. Great hiking trails, plentiful outdoor space, a number of beaches to choose from, and more dog-friendly than most other places in Hong Kong. There’s a huge community feel here because it’s removed from citycentre (15-20 minutes to Central by Taxi) , so it’s easy to meet your neighbours especially if you have kids that are enrolled in the same school(s).Hong Kong International School is nearby - it’s a beautiful area for kids to grow up in. It is definitely a pricey area though."
“If you love being outdoors, this is a perfect location. There is so much to do, and it’s a very self-contained neighbourhood. Transportation is not bad but it helps to have your own car. Some people love it here and others hate it. It may feel isolated, because apart from a handful of shops, restaurants and a spa, there is not much here. But there is easy and frequent transport to Central and other parts of the city. Repulse Bay Beach can get insanely crowded (and dirty) on the weekends. It’s has become a tourist attraction and tour buses pass by in flocks. It’s not as serene as it used to be, but it also depends on the day of the week."
“Stanley has lots of nice restaurants (Al Fresco), beaches, BBQ areas, public library, Water Sports Centre, a bus terminus, its own shopping plaza with supermarkets, and cute shops and boutiques. It’s close to the American Club and the best thing is the much better air quality. There are a number of beaches in Stanley and in the vicinity - Repulse Bay, Middel Bay, South Bay, Deep Water Bay and Redhill."
“Stanley is beautiful but if something happens to either side of the roads (the only road to get through), you can get stuck in traffic for ages. It happens enough to be an issue for somepeople."
TAI TAM/ REDHILL
“We enjoy living here because it’s more quiet and relaxing than many other parts of the city. Commuting is not that big of an issue. We have our own shuttle buses and it’s only about a 30-40 minute ride to Central."
“We love it here. We have a 7 month old son and my husband commutes to Central for work. It’s only about a 10 minute cabride to Repulse Bay and even closer to Stanley Market where I can up all my groceries and essentials. The air quality is better here and the views are unbeatable overlooking the water. We are right next to one of the most prominent schools - Hong Kong International School (HKIS)."
“The residential part of Kowloon Tong is fairly upmarket and not too budget-friendly, but if you are able to afford the options here, the housing is lovely. The commute can be quite horrendous depending on what time it is but there are always public transportation options. It’s so easy to get to Hong Kong Island via MTR or ferry. It’s close to some massive malls such as Festival Walk which has a fair number of movie theaters, supermarkets and shopping."
“It is mostly a quiet area with no loud noises. The main advantage is that it is mostly comprised of low-rise apartment complexes and houses. Pollution here is slightly better than most other areas. It’s great for families who are seeking a quieter lifestyle."
“The most beautiful thing about living in Shatin is the convenience of connecting to the town centre, but still having the tranquility of suburban living"
“There is significantly less air pollution here. The air here feels fresher and less congested."
“It is mainly a local area, there are some expats around but not on the scale of HK island. It’s quite nice in that we can get everything we need here. There is a gigantic shopping mall that’s even better than the malls on Hong Kong Island. It’s a quiet environment with community feelings, reasonably priced by HK standards. Lots of options for housing with small outdoor areas and garages, schools, clubs..etc. The problemis that the houses here are much older and in need of serious renovation. It really helps to have a car here and most residents here do own a car."
“Really convenient for food and transport but very removed from the action happening on HK Island"
“I work on Hong Kong Island and it’s really refreshing to remove myself from the city once my work is finished. There is a great expat community in Lamma, with a ton of beautiful cafes and restaurants. I have large dogs, so this is a perfect location for me since the island is very dog-friendly. Commuting to Central and city-centre is not as hectic as many people think - it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride which I find to be a much better commute than traveling by MTR. It’s much more relaxing and gives me the necessary down time I need."
“I used to live in Central, but decided to try the outer islands. It was the best choice I ever made. I have done the whole city thing already and it’s not for long term living. I feel much happier now that I can differentiate between home life and work life. It keeps me grounded living here because HK can start to become an unhealthy bubble after awhile."