Are you in search of the ideal neighbourhood in Hong Kong? Here, we explore the myriad options available in the city, providing an overview of the best places to live, whatever your priorities.Mid-Levels
The bustling Mid-Levels are the perfect compromise for expats living in Hong Kong. Great for employment opportunities and with a vast range of amenities including supermarkets, bars and clubs, the Mid-Levels provide an excellent base. Public transport links are within walking distance and the variety of accommodation available to rent or buy is good too.
The Peak is the heart of the city, and rents have increased to reflect its popularity. However, views from apartments in this region are absolutely stunning and there are plenty of hiking trails on your doorstep for when you need to get away from it all. The Peak Galleria shopping mall is popular with tourists and boasts a fantastic array of shops, restaurants and bars. Victoria Peak Gardens are Chinese-style gardens with pagodas, sundials and, of course, spectacular views of Hong Kong.
The whole of the Peak is a big tourist attraction and as such can be crowded, but there is a lot for young professionals and families to do, plus it is conveniently located for the popular German Swiss International School. The Peak tram, a century-old beast that winds its way up the mountain, is the most fun and picturesque way to explore, but buses are regular and a much quicker option.
If you’re in search of an authentic old Hong Kong-style living experience, Sheung Wan may be right up your street. With its Chinese medicine shops and characterful architecture, Sheung Wan is a far cry from the newer areas of the city, but it is full of charm. It is convenient in terms of transport links and is host to an ever-increasing number of trendy bars to rival the Mid-Levels. However, it is difficult to find anything bigger than a one-bedroom apartment in this area, so it isn’t really suitable for families.
Sai Ying Pun
Sai Ying Pun is popular with expats who are looking for cheaper accommodation but don’t want to compromise too much on convenience. It is an area that is developing at a rapid rate and is packed full of a huge variety of restaurants and bars. Its location also means that it is easy to get to the more industrial areas of the city, although residents do have to contend with a lot of steep hills and stairs so it isn’t pushchair or wheelchair-friendly.
A district with a calm atmosphere, Tai Hang is full of vintage stores, artisanal coffee shops and an overall pleasant hipster vibe. There are plenty of accommodation options here as there is an interesting mix of small old-style apartments and larger, new developments plus old luxury houses. One of the best neighbourhoods for families who want the perks of city life without living amidst the 24/7 bustle.
Wan Chai is full of action, perfect for anyone looking for an urban hub in which to reside. The atmosphere is lively and the nightlife legendary, although this has recently been causing problems due to complaints about the noise. Traditionally a cheap option, the ongoing development of Wan Chai has pushed rental costs skyward.
Pok Fu Lam
An evergreen favourite with expat families, Pok Fu Lam has it all. It is a 15-minute drive from the city centre and boasts a plethora of outside activities, beautiful views and close proximity to the South China Sea. There are the usual leisure options of shops and cinemas plus a stable for horse-lovers. West Island School is close by and the accommodation on offer is a great mix, from older apartments and houses to modern tower blocks and complexes.
Tseung Kwan O
Tseung Kwan O is a new town with lots of residential development still in progress. Rents here are a lot cheaper than in other areas if you can find a suitable dwelling. Whilst lacking the old charm of Hong Kong, the amenities are really good and look to improve with time. The area has good schools and is relatively quiet and calm with green parks and views over the water. This looks to be an increasingly popular area for expats so is well worth considering over the next few months and years.
Ho Man Tin
Combining local flavours with a strong expatriate charm, Ho Man Tin is full of character. However, its double-whammy of being both accessible and convenient means that it is set to have the highest residential rent increases in the whole of Hong Kong over the coming months. Ho Man Tin has fantastic sports facilities and nearby schools, making it a good option for expat families.
West Kowloon will soon be home to the Cultural District, the city’s premier arts and culture centre. This is Hong Kong’s fastest developing district and is packed with high-end shops, restaurants and apartments. For those looking for luxury, West Kowloon is the place to be, although it also offers a fair mix of new complexes and old-style apartments.
New housing developments have transformed South Lantau from sleepy island to popular neighbourhood. Regular buses and ferries are available to transport visitors around the city, although only residents are permitted to drive. South Lantau is ideal for active families as it has gorgeous beaches which are perfect for swimming as well as two stunning hike routes: Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak.
Saving perhaps the most convenient option for last, Discovery Bay is tailor-made for expats. It is considered one of the best neighbourhoods to live in the whole city and is clean and safe, so ideal for new expats who may have reservations about foreign city life. Property prices are competitive and amenities are excellent, with plenty of schools, shops, restaurants and bars onsite. Cars are not allowed, but residents get by with golf buggies, bikes and buses, and can take the ferry to Central in 30 minutes. Since the ferry runs 24 hours a day, this is a fantastic place to live, as residents are never truly far from the action.
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