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Moving to HK from U.S.

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cctwom
8/27/2002 17:08 EST

I am travelling to Hong Kong in early September and will be looking at possible places for myself, my wife and my young son (11 months) to live.

Can anyone recommend any locations in particular that would be convenient and nice to live in if I will be working in the Central area? It has been suggested to us to look at Happy Valley, Mid-Levels, Discovery Bay and Lamma Island. What are the real positives and drawbacks with each of these places that I can't glean from a book?

We are looking for a place with a nice mixture of Local Nationals and Expats (at least initially) before we become comfortable with the language and culture.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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rparkhk
9/3/2002 22:27 EST

I am not sure if you've received any response to your question. Where you want to live depends a lot on your monthly budget for rent and also whether you intend to have a car.

Happy Valley is not all that convenient (my opinion) .. mid levels will be the best location if you work in Central. Conduit Road or Robinson Road and the flats in between are all accessable by the longest escalator in the world.

I am here until 9/9 when I return to HKG .. please feel free to call 949 499-3644.

Ron Park

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ejhahn
9/4/2002 21:40 EST

I disagree with R. Park about Happy Valley for a number of reasons. My wife and I have lived in Happy Valley for over 6 years and continue to love it. One caution, live in the village, not on Broadwood road which is more isolated. I've been here over 10 years and lived in numerous locations. I hated Discovery Bay and Lamma Island is a hassle because of the commute.
1. Transportation is fantastic. There are 2 bus routes that run to Central. Never more than a 5 minute wait plus if you want to relax, you can take the tram, takes about 20 minutes to Central and runs every 2 or 3 minutes. You can walk or take mini bus to the MTR. Walk 15-20 minutes, mini bus 5-10 minutes. Taxis always available even in the rain. Cross Harbor bus and mini bus to Aberdeen.
2. Mid Level rents are 20 to 50% higher for comparable digs.
3. Diverse community. Happy Valley is a community not just a collection of tall buildings. All nationalities, all income levels. Plus you have the race track with it's walking/jogging facilities to say nothinng of nightly soccer, field hockey, rugby and other amateur contests.
4. Hong Kong F.C. next to track if you have access to club membership.
5. Reasonably priced pubs and restaurants within walking distance. Times Square Mall, 10-15 minute walk with all facilities.
6. Community Center, wet market and Chinese fast food court in center of the village.

I could go on. If you have specific questions, e mail me at

Ed

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sisyphus
9/5/2002 01:30 EST

I wouldn't recommend mid-levels unless you are comfortable living in a very polluted and densely populated area. Most of HK is easily accessible anyway - it is a very small island. I would not recommend Lamma either. I would pick Pokfulam, Jardines Lookout, Stanley or Repusle Bay - leafier, cleaner and not hard to get to central.

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cctwom
9/12/2002 13:32 EST

Thanks for all of you input. I just returned from HK last week-end and have the following observations:

1. Mid-Levels is way too crowded and polluted for a family of four to live in. (Besides, I would go crazy after only one week having to deal with all those escalators and stairs!)

2. Discovery Bay seemed very nice particularly since we have a one-year old and one on the way, but a couple of concerns are the commute in to Central/Wanchai via the ferry and will my wife get bored essentially living on an island?

3. I liked Happy Valley, but is there sufficient "green" space for the kids' outdoor activities, walking, etc.? Is traffic a big problem when you have kids in HV? Does anyone know the name of the apartments all lined up at the top of one of the hills of HV? There are about six or seven buildings and they are sort of pink-colored. They do not appear to be open for business yet, but they seem really nice and I bet they have a wonderful view from up there! Also, does anyone know anything about the Ellipsis apartments? Are they nice and/or big enough for a family of four and a live-in?

4. Repulse Bay / Deep Water Bay and Stanley all seemed nice, but I didn't look at any apartments there. What kind of areas are those places to live and raise kids in? Are busy streets a problem? What's the commute to Central/Wanchai like?

Thanks again for your input and suggestions and if anyone has a good idea of what typical Expat living and car allowances for Hong Kong is, that too would be great information. (Sorry for so many questions!)

Best regards,

~ cctwom

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ISImentor
9/18/2002 17:11 EST

Hi -

Toured the Ellipsis - very cool building - additional space in one 2 bd floor plan on floors 1-8. Furnished, high style, but prob not great for four depending on the age of your kids. Space is more than tight in HK and while this building makes great use of it, it's nothing like what you might expect from North America. The "kitchen" is open to the dining area and is literally a 3-4' counter. Everything is "extra".

Still, very cool building - I wonder if looking over the race track makes for an unacceptalbe noise level on Saturdays - anyone know?

Cheers-
J

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For expats in Hong Kong, choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our partner, Allianz Care. Their plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz Care's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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ejhahn
9/21/2002 04:24 EST

CWT,

You have so many questions it would take an hour to answer them. I also understand how difficult it is with children to decide where to live.

Re: Happy Valley. As I said earlier, except for race times, you have access to the race Track. The entire infield is available for romping around. Even if there are contests going on there's plenty of grass to play on. Also, Victoria Park is a 15-20 minute walk/5-10 minute mini Bus ride from Happy Valley. You don't even have to take them yourself, just dispatch them with the maid you will be hiring. (everyone does, US$500 per month for a live-in Filipino maid.)

Discovery Bay would work for the kids but the Int'l school there has along waiting list I am told. Spouses must enjoy hanging out at the club if they do not intend to work because that's where most of the social life is. The commute is a hassle but the boats leave frequently in the morning and evenings. As I recall it was about a 45 minute boat ride to Central with walking or bussing time on either end, it can take an hour and a half easily portal to portal. I hated it but I don't have kids. If you travel a lot it's better now because the airport is on the same island, a short bus trip. The real hassle is if you want to do something late in the city. 30+ minute waits for the boat, etc.
I live across the street from the Ellipsis and noise is not a problem race night or any other time as traffic disappears after 7:00PM. Idon't see the ellipsis as suitable for kids but our place San Francisco Towers feels sometimes as if it has more kids than adults. I'm not sure what pink buildings you were referring to but I think it was Leighton Hill. A new development so I know little about it other than they have units of all sizes and entrances on both the bottom and the top of the hill. I've heard it's pricey.

That's it for now. if you have specific questions e-mail me directly at

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ladrum
10/4/2002 10:33 EST

CCTWOM

Some advice from an American who lived in Hong Kong with a family and loved it! We were posted to Hong Kong from 1990 to 1996. We selected a home in a community called Red Hill Peninsula located in Tai Tam. The community was diverse in that the expat portion was not just American and there were many locals who lived in the community as well. The community had a "neighborhood" atmosphere in that it featured townhomes with gardens (some with swimming pools), community swimming pool and recreation center, playground areas and sidewalks. At the time my children were 7 and 11 years of age and we had our little dog too. The community is convenient to the International school (walking distance), close to Stanley market and Central. My husband rode the Red Hill bus to the MTR station to Exchange Square everyday.

I understand that this information is a little dated but I would suggest asking someone about the community. This was our first overseas posting and the experience was great. My husband and I are currently in Budapest and my son (who was 7 in HK) will be starting his international business career in Beijing next summer after he graduates. All the best to you and your family.

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Despite the crowds and high cost of living, Hong Kong lures expats from around the globe. Members in Hong Kong offer advice about where to live, international schools, meeting others in Hong Kong and...

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