Where to live in Kowloon Tong with 3 small children

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  1. #1

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    Where to live in Kowloon Tong with 3 small children

    We may move to Hong Kong later this year with 3 small children (3y9m and 2 x 15m). We're considering Pokfulam, Hung Hom, Discovery Bay and Kowloon Tong based on research, schools, commute, prices, sizes, etc.). We also need a school for the oldest (AIS has space for her right now in EC2). Our relocation agent said "we would not want to live on Kowloon" b/c of too many Chinese, no expats, no Western supermarkets, etc. (for some reason I have doubts about this).

    I'd like to see myself but won't be able to fly out just yet. My husband is going next week. What are nice family friendly buidlings in Kowloon Tong, close to MTR (my husband needs to go to Central). We're looking 4 bedroom and hope to find something around $70k (I have a feeling the relocation person is trying to push us closer to $90-100 on the Island).

    Any insights? TIA!


  2. #2

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by MommyTo3
    Our relocation agent said "we would not want to live on Kowloon" b/c of too many Chinese, no expats, no Western supermarkets, etc. (for some reason I have doubts about this).
    Actually, Kowloon Tong is loaded with expats....your instinct is correct. Your RELo People must think bc your husband is working in Central that you also want to be in Central-area. I think that you instincts about exploring options in Kowloon are correct.

    There are loads of other areas to consider that are family friendly like Shatin, Tai Wai, and Fo Tan ("Boris" - on the geoexpat board comes straight to mind as an expert in these areas)

    If you'll have a car then I would also consider the Gold Coast area ("Skyhook" - on the geoexpat board is an expert in this area).

    Also, "Carang" is a Mom and of young kids with some great insights on things to consider

    Plus, also have you posted on GeoBaby and GeoKids.

  3. #3

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    Well, Hung Hom isnt that bad too. There are few serviced apartments newly developed and some of them to be honest are extremely good to excellent with reasonable price.

    Travel wise from Hung Hom to Kowloon Tong, will only take you approximately 15 mins via KCR or else get your self a family car and drive down to KT for approximately the same travel time (depend on traffice too)

    On the other hand, your husband can take Hung Hong ferry from HH pier which will only take him 10 mins to cross the harbour and straight to Central.

    Kowloon Tong is loaded with supermarkets for expats, good example would be TASTE located at Festival Walk.

    Good luck!


  4. #4

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    70K budget allows many possibilities.

    I think it would be a nice idea if Mommyto3 could be a little more specific about what priorities are important to her and her hubby.


    • Are you commute phobic, or does anything longer than 30 minutes'do your head in ?
    • Do you cook at home, or do you plan to eat out exlusively.
    • Do you plan to have a maid/Amah/Domestic Helper ?
    • Do you want to live in a high or low density area ?
    • Do you want to live in a green/sea view location that won't be within 2 minutes walk to do shopping ? It might take you 10 minutes to taxi, drive or bus it to do your grocery shopping.
      Rule of thumb, further from shopping malls = no crowds around your place of residence.
    • Do you want to be within easy access to other families in the same situation as you ?
    • Are you looking for an apartment with a little private access to outside area's ie: spacious balcony, roof top or ground floor private garden for entertaining friends at home etc?
    • Having 3 kids, are you likely to want an MPV ( Car ) to aid shopping and enhance instant commute convenience ?
    • Are you looking for a quiet peaceful neighbourhood, or do you want to be immersed into the Hong Kong noisy hustle and bustle ambiance ?


    Answer a few of these questions and it will make it pretty easy to narrow things down for you.


    My favourite area's of Hong Kong that are ideal for young families, are:
    • Hebe Haven ( Marina Cove especially ) Highly recommend
    • Siu Lam between Pearl Island and the Bellagio Sham Tseng.
    • Sai Kung within 8 minutes drive from either direction from Sai Kung town, any further and it's a drag.
    • Clearwater Bay
    • Shek O
    • Tai Tam
    • no car permitted Discovery Bay
    • Pok Fu Lam especially in and around Bisney road


    To see what these area's are like, use photo websites like PBase.com or Welcome to Flickr - Photo Sharing to get a better idea of landscape orientation and housing density.


    Cheers
    Last edited by Skyhook; 26-02-2008 at 01:30 PM.

  5. #5

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    I'd not recommend Sai Kung purely for the commute to Central which is a nightmare.

    Minibus to Hang Hau then MTR to North Point and change over to Island line to Central, Too much hassle and of course no fun queuing up for a mini bus in the scorching heat in the summer.

    I've done it in the past and frankly its horrible. Definately not what you want to do.

    Frankly I'd ignore your relocation agent as he/she is talking out of there backside and only wants you to live on the Island where the rents are more expensive hence higher commission.

    There are expats everywhere in HK not just HK Island, Has your relocation agent even been to HK?


  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    I'd not recommend Sai Kung purely for the commute to Central which is a nightmare.
    But if the wife drives hubby to Choi Hung or Hang Hau MTR each morning/evening in air conditioned comfort like in a 7 seat Toyota Alphard, lifes great.

    The commute is only as difficult as you make it, and providing you can maintain a family of 5 to an equally comfortable level to back home financially, Hong Kong life can be relatively cruisy, ie very little to complain about.

    Some enjoy living above a shopping mall, like they do in inner Kowloon, or Central etc, mostly singles and couples who don't have 3 kids.

    When you have 3 kids, non selfishly you'll think about them a lot more, and be willing enough to sacrifice a little extra commute time for them. Not that I am saying that commute has to be difficult, the choices are there, its up to you to decide what method suits you.

    Regardless of the commute, not that we work in Central, Sai Kung is one of the "nicest communities " in Hong Kong. Lots of family outdoor leisure activities within walking distance in a non apartment building ( non crowded ) environment. We lived near Yan Yee Road Tai Mong Tsai for a few years, and loved the entire Sai Kung area.

    As stated in the beginning, for the sake of a quick 8 minute ( easy ) drive to the Hang Hau MTR station via the wifes car ( from Marina Cove ), the rest of the trip is simple and efficient, nothing hard about it or uncomfortable.

    If your housing allowance is 70K per month, you can easily afford a car to get to and from the station, like bulk majority of Sai Kung/Clearwaterbay/hebe haven expats with 2 or more kids do.
    Last edited by Skyhook; 26-02-2008 at 02:46 PM.

  7. #7

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyhook
    But if the wife drives hubby to Choi Hung or Hang Hau MTR each morning/evening in air conditioned comfort like in a 7 seat Toyota Alphard, lifes great.
    Plus, a lot of quality discussions and time can be had in car ...

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the wonderful feedback. In terms of answers.

    Are you commute phobic, or does anything longer than 30 minutes'do your head in ? We'd like to keep it around 30 minutes max (therefore we excluded Sai Kung, etc.). We'd like to stay close to the city.Do you cook at home, or do you plan to eat out exlusively. Definitely home most of the time, however, I'd like to take advantage of having an amah so that I can actually have dinner with my husband once in a while and go out (something that has been hard the last 3 years with all these little kids !Do you plan to have a maid/Amah/Domestic Helper ? O yes, can't wait!Do you want to live in a high or low density area ? I like city living especially since it's not going to be for many many years (2-3 years I think).Do you want to live in a green/sea view location that won't be within 2 minutes walk to do shopping ? It might take you 10 minutes to taxi, drive or bus it to do your grocery shopping.
    Rule of thumb, further from shopping malls = no crowds around your place of residence. I'd like to be able to walk to supermarkets (occassionally a taxi ride to get the bulky stuff), we want to avoid a car. Do you want to be within easy access to other families in the same situation as you ? Yes, things like play group, other moms, classes for the kids, etc..
    Are you looking for an apartment with a little private access to outside area's ie: spacious balcony, roof top or ground floor private garden for entertaining friends at home etc? Not necessarily, I'd like a building with nice, child friendly facilities but I am willing to give up yards, etc. which I know will be impossible in a big city with so many people.
    Having 3 kids, are you likely to want an MPV ( Car ) to aid shopping and enhance instant commute convenience ? Try to avoid the car ...Are you looking for a quiet peaceful neighbourhood, or do you want to be immersed into the Hong Kong noisy hustle and bustle ambiance ? City living for now ... at least for the short term (2-3 years).

    Not sure if you can fill me in on the Discovery Bay schooling system. My understanding is that Kindergarten / Primary schools have waiting lists, DBIS is hard to get into (high fees and debenture) and Discovery College ... another major dissaster to get your child into. I am afraid I am not going to find school for her over there. Would this be correct?

    And how far would Tai Tam be from Central? By minibus? It looks pretty far on the map considering no MTR, etc. However housing seems to be a little cheaper than Stanley and Repulse Bay.

    Thanks again for all the valuable information. Life has been hectic considering we still lived in Chicago (for 4 years) 2 months ago and now we'll most likely moving again internationally.


  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alby
    Plus, a lot of quality discussions and time can be had in car ...
    Exactly Alby!

    Having that extra few minutes morning conversation, or wind down conversation during the drive home from the MTR, is a nice way of starting/ending the work day.
    Last edited by Skyhook; 26-02-2008 at 03:18 PM.

  10. #10
    AJZ
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    What about The Belcher's in Pokfulam? It's on the island and it has facilities. About 15-20 minutes by bus/minibus to Central depending on the traffic. Easy taxi distance.

    Probably some places in Repulse Bay too, although many will be 3 bedroomed.

    Last edited by AJZ; 26-02-2008 at 03:44 PM.

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