Mid-Levels Neighbourhood Guide: Prime Properties and Cultural Trails

Posted in Where to Live

Whether you’re looking to invest in a stable, proven district in the face of uncertainty, or looking to buy yourself a bolthole for premium living in Hong Kong, you’ll want to look to Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels. Here’s our beginner’s guide to the area.

Being infamous as the world’s priciest property market with an average housing price in the city clocked in at US$1.2 million (HK$9.3 million) according to CBRE’s 2020 Global Living Report, much of Hong Kong’s ultra-luxe homes belong to a trifecta of The Peak, Repulse Bay and Mid-Levels. High barrier to entry aside, these areas have traditionally offered the luxury of space, sumptuously appointed homes, and are known as the most exclusive areas to live in the city.

If you’re looking for a home with a view, there is no better place to admire the picture-perfect panorama of Victoria Harbour than the privileged vantage points offered by the Mid-Levels and The Peak. The Mid-Levels in particular stretches from the east overlooking Happy Valley, across Central and Western along the mid-ridges of Victoria Peak, whilst the Peak area itself sees standalone mansions and spacious condos dotted along the higher portion of the mountain.

Situated in the midst of abundant greenery with walking trails, historic sites, high-end restaurants and tranquil cafes all at arm’s reach, the Mid-Levels is also easily accessible to the shopping and business areas of Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay — all just a quick drive or walk away. It’s also well connected to a network of prestigious local and international schools, attended by the children of some of Hong Kong’s more affluent families.

If money is no object, there are many pluses to obtaining a luxurious pied-à-terre in the most traditionally affluent part of Hong Kong — though thankfully, there are also a growing number of accessible entry price points — particularly scattered around Mid-Levels West — that make it feasible for young professionals and small families. We outline the perks of the Mid-Levels below.

Residences to know

With high-rise buildings cutting through the mountains, Mid-Levels residences all boast grandstanding panoramic views of the city and the Victoria Harbour — with equally impressive price tags to match.

The Opus, 53 Stubbs Road
(Image credit: Wiki Commons)

For a glimpse of what is synonymous with the opulence of the area, look to The Mayfair, one of the most well known developments in the area, just 10 minutes away from Central and the Peak. Completed in 1998, the 30-storey property looms large in the heart of Mid-Levels with units sized from about 2,100 to 4,500 sq.ft. and equipped with harbour-facing balconies. Its last transaction was in 2016, where a 2,838 sq.ft. apartment sold for HK$155 million.

Mid-Levels is also home to residences that spotlight incredible architectural craftsmanship. Look to The Opus and The Morgan. The Opus was Frank Gehry‘s first residential project in Asia in collaboration with Ronald Lu & Partners. The 12-storey building is located on Stubbs Road on the east side of Victoria Peak, with comfortably sized units ranging from 6,000-6,900 sq.ft., including two duplexes with pools.

The Morgan is equally if not even more impressive, high above Mid-Levels with stunning views of the city, the Robert A. M. Stern Architects-designed tower has scored multiple accolades since the building’s completion in 2016. Featuring 34 duplexes and a penthouse on the 30th floor, it exemplifies the epitome of contemporary luxury living within our concrete jungle.

The Morgan Sky Duplex - terrace
The Morgan on 31 Conduit Road
(Image credit: Lit Ma Common Studio Ltd.)

Nevertheless, the Mid-Levels also offers small to mid-sized homes. Slated for completion in March 2021 is Central 8: Located in Mid-Levels West with 99 units ranging from 181 to 491 sq. ft, it plans to offer both studios or one- to two-bedroom apartments for singles and young families.

Education

St. Paul’s Co-educational College

The Mid-Levels boasts some of the most prestigious schools in Hong Kong, ranging from preschool level to higher education. To the west, the Mid-Levels is home to the esteemed University of Hong Kong. Some of the finest secondary schools also loom large in the Mid-Levels, including St. Paul’s Co-Educational College, St. Paul’s College for boys, St. Stephen’s Girls’ College as well as international schools under the English Schools Foundation such as Island School. For kindergartens, the International Montessori School of Hong Kong and the Woodland Montessori Academy both offer competitive advantage to fledgling leaders of the future.

Around the Neighbourhood

A predominantly residential neighbourhood, the Mid-Levels is interspersed with small businesses catered towards families such as tutoring centres and mom-and-pop diners, all steps away from leafy walking trails, parks and cultural sites showcasing some of Hong Kong’s British colonial past.

Ohel Leah Synagogue

(Image credit: Avi Alpert/Flickr)

Neighbouring the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Recreation Club, Hong Kong’s Modern Orthodox Synagogue has been the nucleus for the social and religious activities of the Jewish population in Hong Kong for over a century. Established in 1901–1902, the Ohel Leah Synagogue commemorates Leah Sassoon, the mother Sassoon brothers Jacob, Edward and Meyer — part of a wealthy merchant family often referred to as ‘the Rothchilds of the east’ — who donated the land on which the Synagogue stands. Nearby, check out Sabra at the Jewish Community Center, which serves kosher international dishes and traditional Jewish deli favourites. The restaurant also offers a full Shabbat dinner, which requires advanced booking (note that Sabra is currently closed until August 2020).

Ohel Leah Synagogue, 70 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, +852 2589 2621

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences

(Image credit: Ystsoi/Flickr)

Hong Kong’s resilience in the fight against infectious diseases dates back hundreds of years, and this history is succinctly showcased at the Hong Kong Museum of Medicinal Sciences. It was formerly a Bacteriological Institute built in response to the 1894 Plague outbreak. These days, it’s an informative museum that outlines the scientific discoveries across Chinese and Western medicine throughout the years, as well as a shining example of built-heritage conservation.

Hong Kong Museum of Medicinal Sciences, 2 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, +852 2549 5123

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum

(Image credit: Edwin.11/Flickr)

As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, influential philosopher, politician and physician, and the founding father of the Republic of China. As the place where Sun was educated for his secondary and tertiary education, Hong Kong is considered the bedrock of his early revolutionary thought, and traces his activities in Hong Kong from establishing the Xing Zhong Hui (Revive China Society) in 1894 to the founding of the Republic of China in 1912. Housed in the historic Kom Tong Hall — the original residence of local businessman Ho Kom-tong, half-brother to Sir Robert Ho Tung — the museum opened in 2006 to commemorate the 140th birthday of the icon. The museum is located just a hop and skip away from the Sun Yat-sen Historical Trail.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum, 7 Castle Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, +852 2367 6373

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

Dating back to 1846, Flagstaff House is considered the oldest surviving example of Western architecture in the city. It used to be the residence of the commander of the British forces during Hong Kong’s years under colonial rule. Eventually it was converted into a museum dedicated to the art of tea appreciation and ceramics. Aside from a permanent collection and revolving special exhibition, don’t miss the opportunity for a meal at Lock Cha Tea House — at one of the city’s most picturesque locations of the venerated tea brand — where you can step back into the past and sample delicious dim sum and a wide selection of freshly brewed teas.

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2869 0690

Bowen Road Fitness Trail

(Image credit: Marc van der Chijs/Flickr)

Running along the lower slopes of Victoria Peak is the Bowen Road Fitness Trail, which is popular with runners and dog walkers in the area. Breathe in the fresh air provided by the lush foliage of palm, vine and bamboo as you go on your daily jog, whilst taking in the view of the streets of Wan Chai far below. Although a manageable 2.5km route, the fitness trail is paved, and fully equipped with restrooms, playgrounds, park benches and emergency phones. Looking for a date idea with your other half? Find the stairs to Lover’s Rock above the trail — dubbed the ‘Bowen Road Lover’s Stone Garden,’ tradition has it that women go up to pray for fortune in love and marriage. Whether you’re superstitious or not, the landmark is still worth a visit for its incredible vista over the city.

Bowen Road Fitness Trail, Bowen Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong

The Central–Mid-Levels Escalator

(Image credit: Wiki Commons)

Being the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, the escalator conveniently links the Mid-Levels to the main shopping and dining areas in SoHo and Central. On a cooler day, try hopping on the escalator from start to finish — discovering SoHo’s different restaurants and bars, upstairs pampering destinations, heritage sites and hidden alleys up and down each lane.

Central–Mid-Levels Escalator, Central, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

(Image credits: Michael Neil Thomas/Shutterstock)

With over 300 animals residing here including orangutans and flamingoes, Hong Kong’s Zoological and Botanical Gardens provides a fun-filled day for families with young kids. Interact with birds and mammals at a tour through its aviaries, greenhouse and the fountain terrace garden. Guided tours about primate and bird care and conservation efforts are also available.

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2530 0154

Staff Writer

Kowloon Tong Neighbourhood Guide: Hong Kong’s Premium School and Residential District

Posted in Where to Live

A prime neighbourhood in Kowloon spanning both the Kowloon City and Sham Shui Po districts, Kowloon Tong was developed as a leafy, low-density residential area in the 1920s, as a salve for the cramped high rise living on Hong Kong Island. It’s steadily become one of the wealthiest residential districts in Hong Kong. You’ll find plenty of luxurious free-standing houses and townhouses all around the area, and amongst them, a full range of prestigious schools from kindergartens all the way to universities, some of which have a rich history dating back to WWII.

Kowloon Tong MTR station takes you to Kowloon’s bustling shopping districts (such as Tsim Sha Tsui) to the south; and to the New Territories in the north, all within 20 minutes. Located along the East Rail Line, Kowloon Tong is also a useful interchange station that leads all the way towards the border of mainland China, making it a good choice for those who wish to remain close to the city, but are also frequent travellers to Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Education

Kowloon Tong has long been the dream residential location specifically for families with young children, as it remains to be Hong Kong’s finest school district. Due to the allocation systems of first-year primary school admissions, children living within the same area of the school get an overall higher chance of acceptance, which drives many to reside in the area with the sole purpose of being within the particular school net.

Some of the most elite institutions within the area include Maryknoll Convent School for girls and La Salle College for boys (both with primary and secondary school divisions). There are also kindergartens including Kentville Kindergarten and Cannan Kindergarten, universities such as Hong Kong Baptist University, along with American, Australian and a range of other international schools.

Residences to know

As an upscale, low-density residential area, there is no shortage of luxury homes in Kowloon Tong, which range from large detached houses to gated communities, protected heritage villas and a mix of both modern and Colonial era low-rise buildings. These are spread across enclaves of low-rise luxury apartments along La Salle Road (bordering Ho Man Tin district); Yau Yat Tsuen to the east, and Beacon Hill and Broadcast Drive to the north and northeast.

Prices for Kowloon Tong homes can range from HK$7.75 million for a 287 sq.ft. starter flat to an opulent 5,767 sq.ft. villa priced at HK$230 million.

To get a better picture of the more well known residences in the area, a recent listing of a 2,004 sq.ft. duplex four-bedroom apartment unit at One Beacon Hill, featuring a private outdoor space, was priced at HK$78 million, whereas another 2,190sq. ft. four-bedroom unit in the same development, with a balcony and roof top, has also just been listed with an asking price of HK$118 million. Meanwhile, a 1,674sq.ft. five-bedroom unit with a walk-in closet in the master suite will cost you HK$65 million.

One very important thing to factor into your decision of where to live is that while both One Beacon Hill and Mount Beacon are both located in Kowloon Tong, only the former counts as within the Kowloon City school network (no. 41), which is where all previously mentioned top-tier schools are listed.

What to See & Do

Festival Walk

Apart from its school offerings, Kowloon Tong also boasts a great set of supporting facilities from private hospitals to shopping malls. The large-scale Festival Walk shopping mall was developed in the 1990s, and offers 200 retail and restaurant outlets in the upper-mass sector — such as Longchamp, Max & Co., Simplylife, Greyhound, Coffee Academics, Cova — complete with one of the city’s largest ice rinks and a cinema.

Kowloon Tong Club

The members-only Kowloon Tong Club is located on Waterloo Road, and was established in 1935 to provide residents with a place to socialise over leisure and recreational activities from badminton to billiards, tennis, lawn bowling and more. The club continues to thrives today with over 2,299 members. Like most elite members club, those who wishes to be part of its community will have to apply through an existing member that holds special voting rights.

Kowloon Tsai Park

A more economical alternative is the Kowloon Tsai Park, which is situated at Inverness Road, Kowloon City, for public use since 1964. The government-owned park spans an area of 11.66 hectares, and features multiple outdoor facilities including swimming pool, basketball court, soccer pitch, dog park, sports ground, jogging track and more. Visitors are encourage to check out the Bauhinia Garden, where you’ll find over 120 Bauhinia trees all blossoming in a sea of beautiful magenta shades during its flowering period, which is typically from September to June — a popular time for outdoor weddings at the venue.

Cindie Chan

Inside the Most Iconic Houses in Cinematic History

Posted in Where to Live

Whether it’s the whimsical landscapes in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel or the titular Americana hotel in Bad Times at the El Royale, the settings of acclaimed movies have become as iconic as the plots themselves throughout cinematic history.

Many directors have mastered the art of turning sets into one of the crucial elements that influence the movie — these sites aren’t just spaces where the action occurs, they, too, contribute to the action.

With Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite sweeping the Oscars 2020, attention towards film sets has never been more rampant. The house of the Parks — where most of the story in the Korean film unfolds — is so intricately constructed that it became every viewer’s second-best takeaway from the film (the plot twists, naturally, take first place).

As Parasite enters the cinematic hall of fame for set design, we offer a retrospective of other iconic movie houses in cinematic history, most of which have shed their film fame for a new lease of life as private properties.

Parasite (2019)

When we first saw the Park’s lavish estate in the film, the housekeeper introduced the modernist building as one designed by star architect Namgoong. Namgoong may be fictional, but Lee Ha Jun, the production designer who built the entire house from scratch to director Bong Jun Ho‘s specifications, is not. Trust when we say there were numerous things to factor in, from camera angles to the manipulation of natural light that enhanced the mood in certain scenes.

The home is built solely for the film in an outdoor lot of a studio, so, unfortunately, it is not a liveable space, but it may offer you an inspiration or two as you dream up your next modern property.

A Star is Born (2018)

Unlike the house in Parasite, Rockstar Jackson Maine’s home in A Star Is Born was revealed to be a real property, housed in the Monte Nido neighbourhood of Calabasas. Designed by Douglas Rucker, this estate in the outskirts of Los Angeles was recently sold for US$2 million (HK$15.5 million).

Django Unchained (2013)

Quentin Tarantino’s films may court controversy, but there’s one thing that has always been unanimous when it comes to his body of work: excellent set designs. Django Unchained is a prime example thanks to Big Daddy’s house, revealed to be an actual, historic sugarcane plantation known as the Evergreen Plantation in Louisiana that dates back to 1790.

The facade of the house was designed in the Greek Revival style, and the most memorable element has got to be the sprawling staircases that curve out to the lawn from the verandah. Parts of the film were shot here, along with some of the 36 other buildings on-site.

Twilight (2008)

The leading vampires in Twilight sure flaunt excellent taste in architecture, though all real-life nods ought to go to Skylab Architecture. Known as Hoke Residence, the property is located on the border between Portland and Oregon’s forest park, designed to show the interplay between the elements and interior drama — an adult treehouse, if you will.

The Lake House (2006)

As much as we love Keanu Reeves, The Lake House is a rather forgettable film. The romantic drama is a remake of Il Mare, the Korean original, which is far better, in our books. What we remember from the Hollywood copy is the lake house of its namesake, a glass house reinforced by beams that suffused the building with serene light in the day. Architectural styles referenced include the Regency period from the 1800s in England.

The house was built entirely for this film in ten weeks, and had to be torn down and replaced by a fishing dock later on as it did not fit certain building codes.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Famed American architect and spearheader of the Googie style John Lautner is the man behind this famous house from the classic Bond film. The futuristic villa is called the Elrod House, and is the site for billionaire Willard Whyte’s holiday home in the film.

Designed in 1969, the space spans a staggering 9,000 sq.ft. and has five bedrooms. It has changed hands since its cinematic debut, last sold in 2016 for US$7.7 million (approx. HK$59.7 million) — slashed by almost half from a previous US$13.89 million (HK$107 million) price tag in 2009, according to Realtor.com.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a teenage comedy classic that will go down in history for two things: the story, of course, but also the Ben Rose House, family home to his sidekick Cameron Frye. The glass-walled estate is designed by A. James Speyer, the protege of Mies van de Rohe, and was briefly slated to be demolished until it was bought for US$1.06 million (HK$8.2 million) in 2016 and renovated, complete with a new garage that can house not just one, but two Ferraris.

The Godfather (1972)

There are many impressive houses in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, but Jack Woltz’s mansion is the cream of the crop. This palatial abode spans 50,000 sq.ft., with 18 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms, and has a whole laundry list of famous comings-and-goings outside of Coppola’s masterpiece. Built in 1927 by Gordon Kauffmann, who would later go on to design the Hoover Dam, the Beverly Hills home was famously owned by publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The property later became the honeymoon destination for John F. and Jackie Kennedy, and is now looking for a buyer. A cool US$125 million (HK$969 million) is all it takes.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Staff Writer

Kennedy Town Neighbourhood Guide: Hong Kong’s Seaside Suburb

Posted in Where to Live

For a long time, Kennedy Town’s seaside locale and its distance from the city’s major commercial hubs without convenient transportation links have given it the character of a sleepy fisherman’s suburb. Kennedy Town is at the end of the tramline running along Hong Kong Island, and previously only reachable via car or bus.

But since the MTR was introduced in 2014, the area has been fast gentrifying, with old vehicle repair shops and local greasy spoons making way for luxury high-rises and upmarket bars and restaurants. Still, the area retains its charm and affordability with a mix of old walk-up properties and street-level shopping. At the same time, it has also been attracting scores of young couples, families and foreigners who love the stylish new pads and remodeled loft-style abodes.

With its proximity to various prestigious schools in and around the Central and Western District — particularly bilingual or international schools such as Island Waldorf School, Harbour School, Kennedy School, not to mention the University of Hong Kong, this western district on Hong Kong Island has been particularly popular for growing families and older students alike.

Residences to Know

With many apartment buildings practically at arm’s reach to the waterfront, Kennedy Town’s residences often boast of sea views and are typically equipped with harbour-facing balconies. 

The Merton (Image credit: Wiki Commons)

Located in the six-block radius of the town centre and just minutes’ away from the MTR, one of the most well-known residences in Kennedy Town is none other than The Merton, a three-phase luxury high-rise complex built by New World Development in 2005, with units ranging from 276-802 sq.ft. Just two minutes’ walk away is Cadogan, one of the area’s newest and most stylishly appointed apartments completed in 2014, featuring small to mid-sized homes from 346-911 sq.ft. Close by is Manhattan Heights, completed in 2000 with also small to mid-sized homes spanning 434-714 sq.ft. Part of the property is operated as serviced apartments.

Cadogan (Image credit: Wiki Commons)

Larger families will want to head outwards from the town centre in favour of more space. The Belcher’s is a popular choice: Shun Tak Property Management’s longstanding six-building complex was completed between 2000 and 2001, and comprises 2,213 units ranging from over 800 to more than 3,300 sq.ft. For added convenience, it’s attached to Westwood Mall, which provides various eateries and shops for day to day necessities. Harbour One is also popular with tenants looking to stretch their legs, with apartments ranging 662–2,624 sq.ft. and equipped with well-appointed amenities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

With modest apartment sizes ranging 285-323 sq.ft., millennials and young couples may prefer to flock to the stylish surroundings and conveniences of Eight South Lane. It’s one of the newest residences in the area, completed in 2015, and is just steps away from the HKU MTR station.

Over at the western cusp of Kennedy Town you’ll find The Sail at Victoria, a single-building luxury property by Hongkong Land, one of Hong Kong’s most highly regarded property developers, built in 2009. 

With a mix of residences new and old and of various sizes — from studio apartments to four-bedroom family abodes, older structures to lavish developments built in the last five years, Kennedy Town properties can fetch selling prices between HK$4–20 million, while rents can range from HK$6.2k to just over the HK$100k mark a month.

Where to Eat & Drink

% Arabica

Arabica’s Kyoto flagship was founded by coffee enthusiast Kenneth Shoji, world latte art champion Junichi Yamaguchi and architect Masaki Kato. Rapidly expanding throughout the region, it’s considered one of the most stylish coffee shop chains in Hong Kong. This two-storey Kennedy Town location boasts sea views and ample space to lounge to go with winning brews.

% Arabica (Kennedy Town), Shop 4, G/F, Grand Fortune Mansion, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2326 4578

Alvy’s

Alvy’s is a neighbourhood taproom by local brewery Young Master. Craft beer aficionados who want to pair their local tipple with a New York-style slice will want to make a beeline for this charming tavern. The pies here are made in-house with brewer’s yeast, perfectly paired with one of the refreshing seasonal brews.

Alvy’s, 8 Holland Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2312 2996

Bistro Du Vin

Living in the heart of Kennedy Town can be encapsulated with experiences like this — charming neighbourhood eateries that offer that certain je ne sais quoi and can satisfy cravings easily on any day of the week without breaking the bank. Bistro Du Vin is a friendly bistro serving up familiar provincial French dishes — think coq au vin or escargots on bone marrow — that are perfect for sharing with loved ones.

Bistro Du Vin, Shop 1D, Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2824 3010

Little Creatures

Kennedy Town locals love a waterfront stroll at the New Praya, and one of the quintessential pit stops would be Little Creatures. Hailing from Fremont, Australia, this craft brewery set up shop in a former sugar and flour factory space, boasting high loft ceilings and an airy, convivial atmosphere to taste test some excellent new brews — all made in-house.

Little Creatures, 5A New Praya, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2833 5611

What to See & Do

Instagram Pier

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Day and Night #西环码头

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Originally a cargo dock, this strip of industrial land by the sea is a motherlode of Instagrammable backdrops featuring Victoria Harbour — hence its playful moniker. On the weekend, you’ll catch young couples and friends, dog owners and keen anglers spread out about the quay, selfie sticks (or fishing rods) in hand. Head here if you’re looking to snap your next handsome new profile photo. It’s also a fantastic spot to catch the sunset. 

Western District Public Cargo Working Area, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Wheat and Wood

If you’ve got a few hours to while away on an afternoon or evening, head over to Wheat and Wood, Kennedy Town’s thriving board games bar for a strategic game or three. Test your wits with games such as Articulate!, fool your friends and foes with Avalon, or settle down for a round of Monopoly — or pick from dozens more on their ever-growing shelf.

Wheat and Wood, Shop 6, G/F, Brilliant Court, 28 Praya, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong +852 2399 0433

Lo Pan Temple

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#temple #KennedyTown

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A Chinese temple dedicated to the patron saint of carpenters, builders and contractors, Lo Pan. First built in 1884, Lo Pan temple is listed as a Grade I historic building in Hong Kong and is also part of the Central and Western Heritage Trail. The building sees significant celebrations during the 13th day of the sixth lunar month each year — also known as Lo Pan’s birthday. Those belonging to the construction industry flock here to pay their respects and pray for success and safe work in the coming year.

Lo Pan Temple, 15 Ching Lin Terrace, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Evelyn Lok
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. She covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.

Neighbourhood Look: The Best Areas to Buy in New York

Posted in Where to Live

According to data released by US real estate investment firm CBRE last April, New York City — to no one’s surprise — remains one of the 10 priciest markets for residential property worldwide.

Undoubtedly, there are an array of challenges (e.g. complicated state and federal tax rules, over-leveraging) affiliated with the ‘City that Never Sleeps’ but the good news is that the median sales price has grown steadily over the past decade. (For context: last November, the average New York home sold for US$670,000, 50 percent more than what buyers would have been willing to part with just 9 years ago.)

So yes, if you’re thinking of buying a new pied-à-terre sometime in 2020, chances are you’ll still be doing so in a seller’s market. That said, assuming the current climate doesn’t have you spooked, we’ve put together a quick primer featuring five of the best areas to buy in New York, with an eye toward neighbourhoods which balance capital gain potential with a solid quality-of-life.

Lower Manhattan

best areas to buy in New York
(Image source: 25 Park Row)

If cost is no object then a reliable medium-term profit is all but assured when looking in the Financial District — since 2019, the median sale price has risen 70 percent to total about US$1.4 million. As you’d expect, Manhattan’s nerve centre is also a hot bed for new luxury residences. The iconic offices at One Wall Street are nearing the end of a blockbuster transformation which will see them turned into 566 condominiums, whereas architect David Adjaye’s imposing William Street high-rise is expected to make its highly anticipated launch later this summer. Rejuvenation appears to be a consistent trend throughout the area: at 25 Park Row, formerly the site of J&R Music, 110 palatial apartments that offer sweeping views of City Hall Park are also nearing completion.

Long Island City

best areas to buy in New York
(Image source: G&M Realty)

Located along the western extremity of Queens, Long Island City isn’t coveted with the same breathlessness as most major Brooklyn and Manhattan-centred neighbourhoods. However, local residents have long favoured the former industrial area because of its relative remoteness from the commotion of Midtown. Investors are also closely monitoring growth potential: since 2010, median house prices have climbed 53 percent; and the area is poised to receive the lion’s share of fresh New York developments this year. A pair of residential towers at 22-44 Jackson Avenue are the main attraction. Built (somewhat controversially) atop the foundation of the 5Pointz mural space, this complex will introduce over 1,000 new condominiums into the neighbourhood. Good proximity to over-ground rail networks is likely to drive up the development’s desirability once it opens later this year.

East Harlem

best areas to buy in New York
(Image source: Bjarke Ingels Group)

Investors who are up for a little risk and long-term growth potential would do well to direct their attention towards Harlem. Rezoning efforts in 2017 have put a number of projects in forward (albeit slow-trundling) motion: with ‘6’ train and ‘Q’ metro lines predicted to extend into the neighbourhood over the next decade. Three more stations are also planned by 2029. On 146 East 126th Street, Bjarke Ingels’s 11-storey residential project — colloquially dubbed ‘The Smile’ — is a portent of things to come: a cheerful, futuristic exterior that channels the whimsical, adult-playground energy of its interior spaces.

Bedford-Stuyvesant

best areas to buy in New York
(Image source: 1134 Fulton)

If the Brooklyn brownstone is the structural archetype which most tickles your fancy, then Bed-Stuy will necessarily be where your research begins. As the result of a 2012 rezoning, residential developments here tend to conform to historic urban planning norms — a pleasant peculiarity in a city obsessed with ever-glitzier reinventions. Most developments comprise less than a dozen apartments, and it’s a rare thing to see any freestanding build in the neighbourhood that’s taller than 10 storeys. In 2019, the median asking price clocked in at US$1.2 million, and while that’s not the kind of dramatic gain you’d see if you’d invested in, say, Red Hook 10 years back, it’s indicative of more sustainable and accessible growth. Plus: a place where you and your loved ones might actually enjoy living.

Downtown Brooklyn

best areas to buy in New York
(Image source: Brooklyn Point NYC)

Brooklyn’s vertical cityscape has changed immensely over the past half-decade. At various times, all of the city’s big development cartels have battled to build ‘Brooklyn’s tallest condo’, with the current titleholder being Extell’s Brooklyn Point: a 483-condo skyscraper located at 138 Willoughby Street. The project is endemic of the critical mass that the neighbourhood is reaching, in terms of gentrification. With Brooklyn Point comes a procession of similarly timed openings, including new department stores, food halls and the city’s latest Alamo Drafthouse (a chain of boutique cinemas originally from Texas). Rising rentals brought on by the influx of these yuppie-friendly businesses are guaranteed to enrage ‘real’ New Yorkers, but assuming you’re an itinerant landlord, the news remains, for the time being, good.

Randy Lai

Live the Suite Life: The Hotel-Operated Residences in Hong Kong Worth Staying in

Posted in Where to Live

Hotel residences are a popular and rapidly growing type of mixed-use development which, thanks to a hotel’s branding, luxury amenities, and high-quality services, are now seen popping up all around the world. So whether you’re looking for a new, second or third space to settle, or even just keeping an eye on the residence properties on the market, here are the ones to watch (and stay in) when you’re in Hong Kong.

Rosewood Residences

Located at the epicentre of Kowloon’s harbour front district, Rosewood Hong Kong offers exclusive residences in the form of 186 luxury accommodations for extended stays. The residences include a range of units including studios, apartments and duplexes, some of which come with its own outdoor terrace. The design mirrors the ultra-luxe aesthetics of the hotel with of course, the incredible harbour views too. What’s more, residents can also take advantage of the five-star facilities which include a dedicated club on the 53rd floor, an indoor swimming pool and private fitness centre, amongst others. Rosewood Residences also accommodate pets with trusted care options. From HK$57,000 per month.
Rosewood Residences, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8610

East Residences

The residential counterpart to East Hong Kong, East Residences is located in prime real estate at commercial building complex Taikoo Place in the heart of the city’s eastern business district. The residences include 106 units from well designed studios, to one-bedroom or two-bedroom suites, and penthouses. Residents that stay for a minimum of one month can make use of the 24-hour gym, stylish lounge, reading area with refreshment corner and landscaped terrace overlooking the neighbourhood of local eateries, bars and the event space Artis Tree. From HK$30,000 per month.
East Residences, 23 Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2901 3628

Waterfront Suites

Perched on the shore of the Eastern waterfront, these bright and airy residences offer some really rather stunning harbour views. Opened by the Lanson Place Hospitality group, Waterfront Suites have 75 fully-furnished sea view apartments that range from studios, one or two-bedroom duplexes, and penthouse spaces with jacuzzi or pool. Other facilities include an outdoor wellness pool, BBQ and function area, gym, yoga garden, and a self-service launderette; other services such as housekeeping, security and concierge are also included. From HK$28,800 per month.
Waterfront Suites, 1 Oi Tak Street, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2178 2288

K11 Artus Residences

Another residence within Victoria Dockside is the K11 Artus Residences. Having dubbed themselves Asia’s first “Artisanal Home”, this luxury, design-lead residence comes with comprehensive hotel services in an environment made for cultural creatives and worldly travellers. The units range from studio spaces, one-bedrooms (with or without a study), two-bedrooms, three-bedrooms and the Penthouses, with 80% of them offering wrap-around balconies too. What’s more, K11 Artus are also donating 1% of room revenue to conserve and rejuvenate Chinese craftsmanship through the K11 Craft & Guild Foundation. From HK$57,000 per month.
K11 Artus, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; +852 2107 770

Fontaine Cheng
Born and bred in London, Fontaine is a self-proclaimed foodie with extensive experience in the luxury lifestyle landscape. When not exploring the world — discovering cultures and tasting new dishes — she can be found sipping a nice cup of tea (or G&T) hoping to adopt a puppy.

Tin Hau Neighbourhood Guide: A Charming Residential District Full of Character

Posted in Where to Live

Tin Hau offers more than meets the eye. Aside from the obvious landmarks such as Victoria Park, Tin Hau harbours hidden gems that make it a great spot for families, expats, and locals. The location is easily accessible by buses, mini-buses, and the metro, while the Wan Chai waterfront and Central business district are within a 5 to 10-minute driving distance. The famous shopping district of Causeway Bay lies a 5-minute driving distance away with connections to the underground railway station. For families, there is a selection of schools around for you to choose from, like the Chinese International School in Braemar Hill, the Japanese International School in North Point, the French International School in Jardine’s Lookout, and the Hong Kong Academy on Stubbs Road. Check out some of the things you can do in this neighbourhood below.

Residences to know

The Pavilia Hill

The Pavilia Hill on Tin Hau Temple Road is one of the area’s newest complexes and consists of five giant towers, an indoor pool, gym, children’s play room, and more. A total of five blocks comprises 358 units.

The Pavilia Hill, Dragon Pride, Tin Hau Temple Road, Tin Hau, +852 8339 3838

Illumination Terrace

Illumination Terrace has 704 flats across the two blocks. Facilities include a table tennis room, badminton court, residential clubhouse, a playground for children, a garden, a snooker room, and a sauna room. For individuals who are looking to buy an apartment, the starting price is approximately HK$18,633 per sq. ft. 

Illumination Terrace, Block 2, Tai Hang Road, Tai Hang, +852 2882 2656

Where to Eat & Drink

Chop Chop

At Chop Chop, a must-have is the signature roasted pork belly char siu rice. It is created with top quality ingredients and uniquely fragrant rice famed in Wuchang City. Chef Dai Lung’s perfected recipe is showcased in the meat that’s succulent, charred and caramelised to perfection.

Chop Chop, Shop 3 G, 18 Wang On Rd, North Point, Hong Kong, +852 3618 7718

Noc Coffee

The 1,700-sq.-ft. Noc Coffee, a perennially popular chain, offers quality coffee and is located on the ground floor of The Mercury, a New York warehouse-inspired serviced apartment building. They also offer delicious brunch options for you to choose from. 

NOC Coffee, 23 Mercury Street, Tin Hua, Hong Kong, +852 3619 7500

Preface Coffee

Preface coffee is where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and at the same time, learn how to make it like the experts as well. The shops also host regular workshops for aspiring coffee connoisseurs.

Preface Coffee, G/F, 7 Lau Li Street, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2777 7821

Camper’s

Camper’s offers home-made Japanese meals like curry rice bowls, udon, ramen, and more. During lunch and dinner times, you’ll find a queue outside the restaurant. The meals arrive in generous portions and it’s all prepared without any additives.

Camper’s, G/F, 127 Electric Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2889 7377

Sister Wah Beef Brisket

Eat like a local at Sister Wah Beef Brisket. The Michelin Guide-recognised restaurant uses locally-sourced beef, and draws in tourists from all over.

Sister Wah, Shop A1, 13 Electric Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2807 0181

What to See & Do

Coastal Fitness Performance Training

If you’re into weightlifting, this gym might just be the thing for you! Home to some of Asia’s most elite CrossFit athletes, you could very well join a Strength & Conditioning class led by one of the CrossFit pros themselves. They also offer Barbell Club (a class on Olympic lifting techniques), Functional Gymnastics, or Coastal30 — a quick, 30-minute total body workout for the busy individual.

Coastal Fitness, Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, North Point, Hong Kong, +852 2989 1900

Views from Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter

Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter is Tin Hau’s best-kept secret, offering beautiful views of the city during sunsets.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is considered the main attraction to Tin Hau. During the year, flower or food markets are held on the main field. It’s the island’s largest public park, so whether you want to play basketball, tennis, or go for a run, this park is the one for you. 

Nail Bar

Looking to get your nails done? Nail Bar might just become your go-to place. It’s one of eleven locations and their staff offers quality treatments, borrowing techniques from Europe and Japan.

Nail Bar, 4 Lau Li Street, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2571 3399

Midwest

Satisfy all your vintage needs at Midwest. The store stocks every piece of clothing that you can think of, from denim pieces to colourfully printed t-shirts and military jackets. 

Midwest, Shop 58, 1/F Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong, +852 2802 6886

Tin Hau Temple

Tin Hau Temple was constructed by the Tai clan, although in what year is uncertain. Legend has it that the Tai clan found a red stone shaped like an incense burner on the shore at Causeway Bay.

Ming Tak Mansion, 10號 Tin Hau Temple Rd, Causeway Bay, +852 2879 5612


Austin Miao

Neighbourhood Look: The Best Areas to Buy in Barcelona

Posted in Where to Live

Sunshine, seafood, siesta and the Sagrada Família, are just a few of many reasons to visit Barcelona and consequently fall in love with it. So much so, you may be thinking about investing in property or perhaps even settling down in the Catalan capital. But with widely different neighbourhoods in the city, which area do you choose to live in? From the labyrinth of cobble-stoned streets and beautifully restored buildings of the old town, to the cool and happening areas that are home to some of the best bars and restaurants, here are our top five areas to buy (and maybe live) in Barcelona.

Eixample

Just north of the old city is the modern district of Eixample, a safe and residential part of the city which is also known for its vibrant nightlife. Eixample is filled with art galleries, museums, cafés, high-end boutiques, and fantastic architecture. The area is very central in the city and characterised by the organised blocks and tree-lined streets. It’s also home to some of Barcelona’s best modernist architecture, including the likes of Casa Batlló and La Casa Milà.

El Born

This area of Barcelona is where the old meets the new; the result of which is a charming blend and juxtaposition of historic buildings fitted out with contemporary interiors. Situated in between the Gothic Quarter and the Ciutadella Park, El Born is in the middle of all the action. It’s also where designers, luxury boutiques, restaurants and cocktail bars are located, making it a fashionable neighbourhood to reside in.

Gràcia

Barcelona’s bohemian neighbourhood of Gracia exudes local charm like no other. There are many little squares to discover in this area, all with different atmospheres, and connected by mesmerising streets. It almost feels like a small city on its own, hidden within the cosmopolitan capital. Residents here comprise of the young and older Catalan residents, and together they enjoy the plazas, local shops, indie boutiques, arthouse cinemas, restaurants and cafés.

Poblenou

Located to the east of the city centre, Poblenou is the old industrial estate turned modern neighbourhood that is often underrated. It’s the quieter, calmer side of town and one of few Barcelona neighbourhoods that has managed to escape gentrification. Parts of Poblenou are also described as Barcelona’s creative heart, where you’ll find converted factories housing design agencies, tech offices and showrooms, along with great coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s also in close proximity to the beaches.

Sarrià-Sant Gervasi

As one of the biggest districts in Barcelona, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi is also the most residential. It is another of the city’s unique neighbourhoods that has managed to remain relax and open, with few urban sections, while being located just ten minutes from the city’s more bustling centre. This peaceful area is for those that enjoy a slower paced lifestyle in Barcelona. The mix of urban tapas bars, designer boutiques, and nearby nature walks also make it a popular neighbourhood to live in.

Fontaine Cheng
Born and bred in London, Fontaine is a self-proclaimed foodie with extensive experience in the luxury lifestyle landscape. When not exploring the world — discovering cultures and tasting new dishes — she can be found sipping a nice cup of tea (or G&T) hoping to adopt a puppy.

Italian Properties for 1€ Still Up for Grabs

Posted in What to Buy, Where to Live

The best investment on earth is earth. And why wouldn’t it be? They’re not making any more of it. That may be the case the world over, with the little exception of one (or a handful of) places – quaint villages all across Italy. Not only are the prices ridiculously affordable, it is in fact so low that even pocket change, can make you a homeowner. For the measly sum of 1€ (US$1.1), a house in rural Italy can be yours. Here’s the catch: they all belong in abandoned towns and part of the purchase agreement requires buyers to spend a minimum of 22,470€ (US$25,000) in refurbishments, renovations and upkeep over the course of a few years and a small security deposit. 

The unbelievable bargain price was set to woo potential new residents to revitalise what had become ghost towns due to locals emigrating to metropolitan cities in pursuit of bigger opportunities. In an attempt to salvage emptied out villages, the cheap sale would restore towns to a healthy population. 

The news of one euro homes for sale in Sambuca of Italy first broke last year. The story of the cheapest property in the world went viral. And now, after over a year of test driving the concept to lure investors to tap into the untouched, depopulated town, neighbouring villages are starting to follow suit. Is it too late to get in on the action? No. The good news is the first people to snap up these homes have now moved in and the returns are positive. So where are these 1€ homes you ask? Here’s a list of some of the most gorgeous, forgotten places all over Italy. 

Bivona 

Binova is one of the newcomers to join the 1€ movement. The Sicilian town also offers tax bonuses to anyone who is willing to move in. Town councillor Angela Cannizzaro is facilitating the great interest in the homes by setting up multilingual agencies to help buyers navigate through the process. There are currently 10 houses on the market, but more will be made available soon. 

Cammarata 

If waking up to a beautiful sunrise gets your day going, then Cammarata is the place. Known as “the town with 1,000 balconies to the East,” the Sicilian town is known for its views and hearty local cuisine. Cammarata is also one of the most attractive deals with not just the dollar pricetag of a home, but also due to the government handing out a US$1,116 (1,000€) incentive for every baby born in town. 

Gangi

As one of the first towns to be listed for 1€, Gangi has become one of the most popular property markets offering this special deal. “Over 160 crumbling dewllings got a makeover thanks to new owners and this has triggered a revival also for the private real estate market. The old centre shines again,” Mayor of Sicily explains. There are about 15 homes that are still available, so if Gangi is one of the places you’ve been eyeing, act fast. 

Sambuca 

Sambuca is probably the one you’ve heard of if you’ve looked into dollar homes. It was the first town to offer the unbeatable deal, and thus has garnered overwhelming interest. With such great demand, local authorities have set up auctions to offer homes to the highest bidder. Only one of 16 homes were actually sold for 1€, with the highest being 25,000€. So a little on the pricier side, but what’s a little extra for Sambuca’s illustrious mazes, rugged hills and local wine?

Zungoli 

Location, location, location. That’s what it’s about at Zungoli, which borders Naples and the Amalfi coast. Aristocratic mansions, cobble steps and ancient castles make Zungoli one of the most romantic and picturesque towns in Italy. In preparation of the sale, this old rural land gets an upgrade with new pavements, public lights and lightning WiFi. Thirty houses have been sold, but there are more lots available for purchase. 

So if being a property owner of a home in the rustic romantic towns of Italy for dirt cheap is a dream of yours, it isn’t too late. Get a piece of the pie by applying here or here and start packing.

Dara Chau

Sai Kung Neighbourhood Guide: Living in the City’s Green Lung

Posted in Where to Live

Thinking of living and investing in Sai Kung? Here’s the lay of the land.

A Hongkonger’s favourite when it comes to weekend outings and an area best known for its prolific hiking trails, beaches and opportunities to get out on the water, Sai Kung is the place to live if you have a strong affinity for the city’s green lung, just 30 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Whether if you prefer sleepy village hamlets or the elegant new residences that are defining the area, Sai Kung gives off a relaxed small-town feel, balancing its bustling town centre and famous seafood street with plenty of green spaces and community businesses.

Residences to know 

133 Portofino

Slated for completion by mid-2020, Sino Land’s upcoming development 133 Portofino on 133 Hong Kin Road stands on one of Sai Kung’s most exclusive plots of land, overlooking Hebe Haven and Sai Kung Bay on both sides. Impeccable sea views are naturally the draw here looking out on the stunning aquamarine bay. The property comprises seven five-storey houses and 26 condo units ranging from 704 to 3,491 sq. ft. 

133 Portofino, 133 Hong Kin Road, Sai Kung

The Mediterranean

In the same vein as its aspirational moniker, Sino residential development The Mediterranean is all about the sunny seaside lifestyle of our Continental counterparts. The complex’s wow-worthy swimming pool may create a lofty impression, though the four-block, 297-unit apartment complex comprises mainly small to medium homes, ranging from about 500 to 1,100 sq. ft. At the same time, there are also 52 special units — 35 come with gardens and 13 with rooftops — and four ultra-luxe homes for those seeking a cut above the rest.

The Mediterranean, 8 Tai Mong Tsai Road, Sai Kung

Mount Pavilia

Neighbourhood guide - Sai Kung

New World Development’s stunning residential project Mount Pavilia lies on the cusp of Clear Water Bay and Sai Kung, and like the group’s other properties, prizes art and culture in its thoughtfully considered surrounds. Billed as a residential sculpture park, the property features 680 units, ranging from flats in low-density apartment blocks up to a penthouse triplex, interspersed with pieces by Tatiana Trouvé, Gao Weigang and more. There’s also an art museum Chi Art Space regularly exhibiting world class pieces, and St Barts, a sunny cafe popular for brunch that’s open to visitors and residents alike.

Mount Pavilia, 63 Clearwater Bay Road, Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong

Where to Eat & Drink

Chuen Kee

(Image credit: HKTB)

Sai Kung’s waterfront promenade bombards you with seafood restaurants and touts for sampan and kaito rides at every turn, but you definitely can’t miss Chuen Kee, a monolithic seafood institution recognised in the Michelin Guide for 11 years in a row. Widely successful with two massive family-run branches, take your pick from one with alfresco seating or a quieter venue further south. But at either, you’ll want to pick your meal from the tank, with a wide and lively selection of seafood — from lobster and leviathan-scaled garoupa to bivalves and crustaceans. Don’t miss the mantis shrimp fried with peppered salt.

Chuen Kee, 53 Hoi Pong Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2791 1195

Sing Kee

Being awarded the Michelin star for four consecutive years since 2015, Sing Kee is a popular choice for exceptional Cantonese seafood, a red cottage tucked into the side roads of Sai Kung town. But by no means has the eatery been resting on its laurels — particularly skilled at various abalone dishes and age-old recipes, Sing Kee is still as popular as ever whether by word of mouth or from its media limelight. For something other than seafood, don’t sleep on the spectacular crispy chicken.

Sing Kee (website in Cantonese), 39 Sai Kung Tai Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2791 9887

Loaf On

Looking for classic Cantonese seafood with a twist? Head to Loaf On, currently the only restaurant in Sai Kung that holds an esteemed Michelin Star for 2020. Elegant, bright surrounds meet well executed recipes that play to the freshness of the seafood. Don’t miss the popular black pepper crispy chicken, which needs to be pre-ordered at the time of reservation.

Loaf On, 49 See Cheung Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2792 9966

Little Cove

If you’re hoping for something other than seafood to sate your appetite after a long day of exploring Sai Kung town, this Instagrammable nook on the side of the Sai Kung waterfront promenade dishes up gorgeous plates of Aussie-style brunch and excellent coffees. When the weather gets hot, grab a bench at its dog-friendly alfresco picnic tables for an icy acai bowl or a few chilled beers.

Little Cove, Sai Kung Town Villa Block A, Siu Yat Building Block A, Shop 1&2, G/F, Sai Kung Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 9572 8560

One-ThirtyOne

A French fine dine mainstay tucked in a colonial-style building in Tseng Tau Village, One-ThirtyOne was opened by European cuisine enthusiast chef Gary Cheuk. Offering a four-course lunch and six-course dinner menu that changes monthly, the restaurant uses fresh organic produce from its neighbouring farm where it can. With its romantic atmosphere, the restaurant is a perfect place for special dates and celebrations, particularly weddings.

One-ThirtyOne, 131 Tseng Tau Village, Shap Sze Heung, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2791 2684

Ali Oli Bakery

Neighbourhood guide - Sai Kung

An institution for fresh-baked European-style breads and pastries since 1986, Ali Oli Bakery is the expert you’ll want to turn to when you’re looking to carb-load with a discerning palate. Think fresh rolls, baguettes meet shiny glazed tarts and pies — they also do event catering and celebration cakes by order. The deli counter is also a great place to shop for homemade pates, sauces and oils to go along with your bread.

Ali Oli Bakery, G/F, 11 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2792 2655

Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar

Not your average bowling alley, the Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar is Sai Kung’s whimsical gathering place for families, friends and couples alike. With its playful Polynesian theme, 10 professional hardwood Brunswick lanes, live music, fun cocktails, live music and UV lights, it’s the ultimate venue for parties and social gatherings.

Tiki Tiki Bowling Bar, 4/F, Centro, 1A Chui Tong Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2657 8488

Momentai Bar & Restaurant

A buzzing, open-air space along the Sai Kung Waterfront, Momentai exudes a relaxed, beachy vibe (if it isn’t already apparent in the name — ‘mo men tai’ means ‘no problem’ in Cantonese) with its sunny interiors, billowing draped ceiling and pool tables. Kick back and settle in for an afternoon of people-watching with its well considered list of local craft beers.

Momentai Bar & Restaurant, Kiosk 1 Waterfront, Wai Man Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 2792 8991

Padstow Restaurant & Bar

Formerly the beloved Hebe 101, a fresh lick of sky blue paint and a rebrand has transformed the former watering hole to a convivial family-friendly British diner under the folks behind Kennedy Town’s Shoreditch. If you’re craving British pub grub, this is the place: Padstow’s is popular for its Sunday roasts, fish and chips and classic pies.

Padstow Restaurant & Bar, 112 Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung, +852 2335 5515

What to See & Do

Hebe Haven Yacht Club

(Image credit: Justin Light/Flickr)

Built in 1963, the Hebe Haven Yacht Club prides itself on its friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and is one of few mooring facilities in Hong Kong especially popular with sailing and watersports enthusiasts. Boasting a busy racing calendar throughout the year, the Club’s biggest events include the 24-hour charity dinghy race and the Typhoon Series, the largest summer regatta in Hong Kong.

Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Hiram’s Highway, +852 2719 9682

Half Moon Bay (Hap Mun Bay)

(Image credit: HKTB)

Along the Sai Kung promenade you’ll find touts that will offer a quick zip by sampan or kaito ferry to a number of outlying islands dotted across the Sai Kung coast. One popular destination is Hap Mun Bay, also known as Half Moon Bay, named after the pristine beach’s crescent shape. Located on the southern tip of Sharp Island, Hap Mun Bay boasts some of the cleanest waters in Hong Kong (and regularly awarded so), and is equally enjoyed as a barbecue and picnic site as well as for sunbathing and swimming. Hike up to the rocky shores up along Sharp Island for a ferry back to Sai Kung. More information here.

Hap Mun Bay, Sharp Island, Sai Kung, Hong Kong

Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark

(Image credit: HKTB)

Sai Kung is home to some incredible rock formations thanks to volcanic activity in the area 140 million years ago. Whether you’re a geology buff or not, they are impressive: learn more from the Hong Kong UNESCO Geopark Volcano Discovery Centre located at the Sai Kung Waterfront Park to sign up for land excursions, while several boat tours are available from Sai Kung pier. Keen thrillseekers can also deem to explore the towering column formations up close by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. More information here.

Hong Kong Space Museum Astropark

Neighbourhood guide - Sai Kung
(Image credit: @greenslab/Instagram)

Located in the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre at High Island Reservoir, the Hong Kong Astropark is an open air park with stargazing facilities for you to admire the night sky at its full glory — a rarity in the concrete jungle that is Hong Kong. It’s best to head there by public transport or taxi, or you can also apply for a vehicle license to access the park.

More information here.

Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy

Looking to improve your swing? Your backhand, perhaps? The Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy is the first of its kind in the city, combining the coaching methods by Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf and Barcelona’s Bruguera Tennis Academy under one roof. Patrons can make the most of a driving range and six-hole training green, or a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor tennis facility, on top of high-tech equipment and coaching that will help you scientifically improve your playing. Guests can also book in for overnight retreats or treat themselves to a spa session after a long hard day of training.

Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy, 81 Tai Chung Hau, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, +852 3187 8900

Evelyn Lok
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. She covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.

Riverside Living Is Bangkok’s Big New Trend

Posted in Where to Live

It feels like we’re in Bangkok, but we really aren’t. Life on the river is nestled far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet we can still sense the essence of urban living — which makes things perfect, doesn’t it?

The comfort of being able to breathe fresh air, far away from the polluted confines of a city filled with traffic congestion — these days, that is a luxury. Being distant enough from the city’s buzzing sound and chaos that often cause pain to our ears is also a luxury. In one way or another, we know that there are lots of perks to living by the river, apart from living a healthier life.

Today, we live such fast-paced lifestyles, trapped in our own bubbles, trying to race against time. It’s overwhelming. It seems like we forget to slow down for those moments in our everyday life and appreciate what we really have. We often opt for the idea of having the city’s skyline by our side, but do we really want to be surrounded by high-rise condominiums that isolate us from the outside world?

Think about waking up to a golden sunrise over the spectacular view of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river — it really soothes your soul. There’s a slither of calmness in the river that can really perk up your everyday life, one that revitalises your body and soul with positive vibes. Living by the river is a choice to live at a peaceful pace with a finer quality of life.

This is an escape from Bangkok’s notorious traffic. Thonburi is an emerging new city centre that is becoming more cosmopolitan than ever. Thonburi, straddled in the western side of the Chao Phraya River, is an oasis within the city’s main artery. Living here, you are not only privileged with an unobstructed view of the majestic riverside, but you also have all the benefits of living in a central location. From preserving its historical treasures and cultural roots, this riverside community is shaping into a suburbia of sorts — a place where you could see yourself living long term, settling down and raising a healthy family.

Bangkok’s thriving and second city centre has itself well on the map and is more connected than ever, thanks to Bangkok’s growing connectedness via public transport lines. Thonburi has a flourishing art scene and offers quick access to plenty of interesting activities such as to quaint art galleries, fascinating museums, and local markets. With its convenience of location and the Gold line extending BTS transit from Thonburi station, property investors are now shifting to Thonburi more than ever. The neighbourhood offers flourishing culinary experiences, provides easy access to the CBD, is a prime shopping location and features entertainment places like the new luxurious shopping mall ICONSIAM.

Take a stroll along the river’s edge and you will find plenty of options for enjoyable nightlife such as ThreeSixty Lounge Bar at Millennium Hilton Bangkok or 342 Rooftop Bar at Baan Wanglang. Sitting beside the best riverside luxurious hotels like The Peninsula, Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, and many others within the area, it’s no secret that Thonburi beats areas like Thonglor or Ekkamai with its thriving scene. Nothing could be better than living an urban life by the serene aesthetics of the river and its stunning views.

Staff Writer