HONG KONG ISLAND
From the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai to the rarefied air of the Peak and the picturesque beaches of the Southside, Hong Kong Island has something for everyone.
If you love nightlife, Central is the obvious choice for its proximity to the city’s largest entertainment districts, Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo. Enjoying Hong Kong’s vibrant nightlife with friends is one of the highlights of living here. An outdoor escalator links SoHo with Central and the Mid-Levels, and the MTR is just a few steps away. A lively area to stay in, though much too noisy for some. A bit higher up the mountain, Old Peak Road offers several popular developments in a more serene setting.
Popular Mid-Levels Central properties include:
- Dynasty Court
- Garden Terrace
- Hillsborough Court
- Queen’s Garden
Mid-Levels, East and West
The Mid-Levels cover a long strip of hillside on the north side of Hong Kong Island. It is popular with expatriate families and professionals for its proximity to all the major business districts on Hong Kong Island. The area is well-serviced by bus, minibus and taxi. The well-known residential areas of Bowen Road, MacDonnell Road, Kennedy Road, Old Peak Road and Garden Road are just minutes away from Central. Conduit and Robinson Roads, further up the mountain at the western end of Mid-Levels, are also popular choices.
Expat families living in the area have their choice of international pre-schools and primary schools in Mid-Levels proper, including Glenealy School (ESF primary) and Carmel School (elementary and pre-school campus); schools in the adjacent areas of Sheung Wan and Happy Valley are also easily accessible. International secondary schools, which tend to be located in less densely populated parts of the Island, usually offer bus service to and from Mid-Levels.
It would be a hopeless task to come up with a list of popular Mid-Levels buildings, but here is a start:
- Seymour Place (Mid-Levels West)
- Bamboo Grove (Mid-Levels East)
- The Grand Panorama (Mid-Levels West)
Located just one MTR stop away from Central and still within easy access of all the major commercial buildings, residents of Sheung Wan reap all the benefits of living in Central without the premium price tag. Singletons and couples who are comfortable with the smaller, older flats in this neighborhood will be rewarded with easy access to the hip little eateries, cafes and art galleries that dot the area.
Sheung Wan is also home to some well-known schools, including International Montessori School (kindergarten section) and Island Christian Academy, which provides primary education in an international school setting.
Western District (Sai Ying Pun to Kennedy Town)
To the west of Sheung Wan lie the neighborhoods of Sai Ying Pun, Shek Tong Tsui and Kennedy Town, also collectively known as the Western District, or Sai Wan. Following the extension of the MTR Island Line in late 2014, these neighborhoods skyrocketed in popularity with investors and residents alike. Though rental prices in these areas aren’t what they used to be, they are certainly cheaper than what you might pay for a similar place in Central.
Especially along the waterfront, there are a number of newer, upscale residential developments with luxury facilities. From fancy coffee shops to gyms and Mexican restaurants, the face of the Western District is changing as businesses pop up to cater to the new population of international residents. But you can still see glimpses of old Hong Kong, its history and people up close. Along Queen’s Road Central and Queen’s Road West, as Sheung Wan turns into Sai Ying Pun, there are many interesting old shops selling pungent dried seafood, herbs, traditional provisions and colorful paper offerings.
A number of international schools have opened branches in Kennedy Town in recent years, including Harbour School (pre-school), Island Waldorf School (pre-school and primary), and Independent Schools Foundation (ISF) Academy (pre-school).
Popular buildings in the Western District include:
- The Belcher’s (Kennedy Town)
- Island Crest (Sai Ying Pun)
- The Merton (Kennedy Town)
Wan Chai and Causeway Bay
The ideal but rare combination of convenience, location and affordability is a main reason why many choose either Wan Chai or Causeway Bay. Surrounded by shops and dining outlets, accessible by all modes of public transport and yet within a reasonable price range, these neighborhoods are understandably popular with young professionals and couples.
For proximity to Causeway Bay, without the constant hustle and bustle of crowds of shoppers and diners, consider the microneighborhoods of Tin Hau (just east of Victoria Park) and Tai Hang (southeast of Causeway Bay). These areas are known for a vibrant independent dining scene and the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, which takes place annually over three days of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Happy Valley and Jardine’s Lookout
The quiet residential neighborhoods of Happy Valley and Jardine’s Lookout are favored by families for their peaceful environment yet closeness to the city. Many properties in this area are considered spacious even by Western standards and are extremely sought after by expat families.
Happy Valley is home to the famous Hong Kong Jockey Club Race Course and the Hong Kong Stadium. On race nights, traffic in the area can be frustrating and route diversions are common. Once a year, during the Rugby Sevens event in late March or early April, the area around Hong Kong Stadium is heavily congested with traffic and boisterous rugby fans.
The French International School has two campuses in Happy Valley/Jardine’s Lookout.
The Eastern District of Hong Kong Island encompasses the high-density housing areas of North Point, Taikoo Shing and Quarry Bay. These areas, conveniently located along the MTR’s Island Line, offer pleasant and reasonably affordable residential communities for working professionals with young children. New luxury developments have sprung up in recent years, particularly around the North Point MTR. Many Japanese and Korean expats make their homes in Taikoo Shing and Quarry Bay, and you will find grocery stores and restaurants catering to these communities.
The Delia School of Canada, Hong Kong, is a Canadian international school in Taikoo Shing. The International Montessori School (kindergarten section), Korean International School, Kiangsu-Chekiang College (lower school) and Carmel School (high school campus) are also located in the Eastern District.
Farther inland, the upscale Braemar Hill area is popular with families and is home to many well-regarded secondary schools, including the Chinese International School and Kiangsu-Chekiang College (upper school).
The Peak boasts some of the most exclusive addresses in Hong Kong. The air is clean and views are exquisite, except during spring months when the Peak is often above cloud level and humidity levels soar. Traveling down into the city can take some time however, despite frequent bus and tram services. The majority of Peak residents own cars and employ private drivers. Rents in this area range from expensive to very expensive.
Schools at the Peak include the German Swiss International School (primary and secondary sections) and the ESF Peak School (primary).