Now, after living more than five months in Discovery Bay, it’s time to compare the differences, between living here versus living on Hong Kong Island:
Benefits of Discovery Bay
- Larger flats: Patrick had looked at a lot of places on Hong Kong Island, and for the money we were willing to pay, flats were smaller. I am not saying that we now have massive space, but at least, we’ve got enough room to store our things and a separate bed- and bathroom to welcome guests
- Lots of space: The area was built as a resort, so there are little parks, playgrounds with benches to sit and enjoy the view. It feels all a little bit more airy and also relaxed, so it’s nice to come back from a busy day on Hong Kong Island and enjoy the island
- The view: Not just from our flat, but from Discovery Bay in general, you’ve got a great view over the islands in the Chinese Sea and the mountains on Lantau. It’s lush and green around us. On very clear days, one can actually see Hong Kong’s harbour from Discovery Bay
- Lush and green: Yes, it’s true – our surroundings are green. We’ve got mountains covered in plants, lovely flower beds everywhere and it feels miles away from the air pollution in the centre of Hong Kong – I am not saying that Discovery Bay has no air pollution, but it feels that there is less
- No cars: Only buses and golf carts are allowed – except for the odd delivery van from IKEA or moving vans, which can get day permits. Apart from that, no cars. So you don’t have to worry about loud traffic noises or how to best cross the street
- Wide choice of sports: I am not the biggest athlete, but I like the fact that you can go running, hiking and jogging so easily from Discovery Bay. If you are a biker, there are also good roads to choose from – and of course, the golf club, the yacht club and the residents’ club provide lots of different facilities
- Nice restaurants: They are not cheap, but you get to enjoy an amazing view from D Deck to Hong Kong and can sit outside if you like. We’ve tried some of them, and our favourites are the Thai Koh Tomyums, the Korean, North 22 and Sopranos.
- Dog lovers: You can see the smallest, largest, cutest, ugliest, oldest, youngest dogs on Discovery Bay – it seems 1/4 of the population is made up by dogs. But don’t worry, Discovery Bay is very clean, dog owners and dog walkers do clean up after their pet!
- Close to the airport: Not that we are trying to escape – but for weekend trips or trips back to Europe it is very convenient that we just have to take a bus, pay 32 HKD and 25 minutes later we are at the airport. Easier than taking the Airport Express to Central and then the ferry back to Discovery Bay
Of course, not everything can be perfect, so there are things that are better on Hong Kong Island:
- Shorter distances: Yes, it’s sometimes quicker to go to the other side of Hong Kong than to wait and take the ferry back to Discovery Bay. Plus, if you are out in the evening, you can just take a taxi back home. Not so for Discovery Bay, you’ll have to wait for the ferry (which runs throughout the night, but with fewer boats than during the day)
- No expensive delivery charges: Delivering to Discovery Bay is not always an option (some companies won’t offer it) and if it is an option, it is always at a surcharge, because of the special permit the delivery companies will need (as no cars are allowed on Discovery Bay)
- No ferry ride to work: Not only does the ferry ride take 25 minutes (so my journey to work is actually an hour, door to door, the same as back in London!), but some people get easily seasick. Once the boat enters the Hong Kong harbour, it can get bouncy – so not ideal if you get easily seasick. Also on days with thunderstorm and typhoon warnings you might want to try and work from home – the journey with the bus to Sunny Bay or Tung Chung and then the MTR from there can easily add 30 minutes to your ride to work (if you need to get to Hong Kong Island)
- Wide choice of restaurants and supermarkets: More choice, and also cheaper prices – if you are willing to eat and shop where the locals eat and shop
- Shopping malls, cinemas, ice rinks are next door: In Hong Kong, everything is close, and there are so many shopping malls and cinemas, you just have to leave your doorstep – so that’s easier than having to check the ferry times, taking the ferry, then the bus/taxi/MTR depending where you are going etc.
Still, if someone would ask me today, my preference is Discovery Bay. I just like to be in the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island during the day, but I am glad that once I step off from the ferry, I can stroll home, watching the skyline of Hong Kong glistening in the background, listen to the birds singing their good night song and enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants surrounding me. Right now, that’s definitely the better choice for me – and the ferry ride is actually a good excuse to read more books! :)