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Bel-Air vs. Discovery Bay

  1. #1
    NYCMOM is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2007
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    Bel-Air vs. Discovery Bay

    We are looking at apartments for our family just moved to HK from NYC. We have an 18-mth old son and another baby due in January. We really like the Bel-Air for the convenience of all the facilities and not too far from Central where my husband will be working. Our agent is taking us to view Discovery Bay tomorrow-- what do others think about Discovery Bay? We do want to experience Hong Kong and I'm a bit worried we will be very isolated on DB (although it looks like a lovely resort town). Also worried about schools, the ones we would like to apply to (CIS, HKIS, Kellett) are all on Hong Kong Island, not really sure about the schools on DB. We plan to move back to NYC in 3 or 4 years, so where our sons go to school does matter since the schools in NYC are brutal to get into. Any feedback on Bel-Air or Discovery Bay is very welcome!

  2. #2
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
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    Discovery Bay, Hong Kong
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    Hi! Well I am going to start the batting for the Discovery Bay team. I've lived in HK for almost 15 yrs and have lived in the N.T. and HK Island, and finally DB and now couldn't imagine living anywhere but DB.

    Our son is 13 months old, and we have two dogs and we love DB! Here's why:

    1). We are out of the crowded, congested and polluted city and in an area full of parks, playground, real grass for children to run on, a beach, and plaza which fills with babies, toddlers and children everyafternoon.

    2). Wherever you go in DB you will meet other Mums and other children. In our apartment block alone there are six children who are the same age as my son (give or take a month) which means he always has plenty of friends to play with. Playdates and playgroups are so easy to organise, and in the process baby makes friends and so do you!

    3). Safety- DB is a car free zone, although sadly not a traffic free zone....but like the rest of HK is safe in terms of personal crime, e.g. no burglaries etc.

    4). We have everything right here- from supermarkets to doctors clinics, to chemist, to post office, to toy shop, to restaurants, coffee shops and bars/pubs!

    5). We also have everything here for kids- playgroups, kindergartens and schools. There is DBIS (which has long waiting lists) and a new school, Discovery College. There are also several private kindergartens and playgroups, although within walking distance.

    A lot of the schools on HK Island have buses that pick children up from the DB ferry, Central side and then drop them off there again afetr school. Plenty of children from DB travel to the Island everyday for school.

    Yes, DB is a bit of a closed community but it is very international....my son has friends from all over Asia and Europe, and Australiasia and the Americas....and a lot of children are mixed ( as my son is) and so it's a real melting pot of cultures and languages!

    Hong Kong is just 25 mins away by ferry if you miss the city....and a more cultural experience....or even Tung Chung could be considered local enough...it has a wet market, housing estates etc. DB is also now accessible from the MTR and vice versa so you can explore Kowloon etc. easily enough.

    Anyway......that's DB....!

  3. #3
    ctrbabe1 is offline Registered User
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    If you are going to be sending your kids to the International schools, I think you should stay on HK Island. The commute to and from school every day would be killer from DB. HKIS is way out in Red Hill, which is just about as far away from DB as you can get. I have friends who live in Bel-Air and they love it. It's an area with a lot less pollution than Central/CWB etc. They have a shuttle bus that takes them directly to the MTR station, so it's fairly easy to get around. I know there is a grocery store, movie theater, restaurants, and a bus terminal very close by.
    All the best,
    Katie

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    the grocery store in bel-air is only good for the basics. i lived in Db for over 6 years and throughout hk for over 12. i LOVE db and miss it terribly! it just got a little expensive for us.

    i think that if you want high-rise living, then bel-air is ok. but for the same $, you'd do much better in DB.

    keep in mind, you are only as isolated as you make yourself. i used to take my son out all the time to hk island, even as far as ocean park by myself. DB is NOT isolated in so much as you are 15 minutes away from the MTR by bus, or 25 minutes away from Central. There is NEVER any traffic going in either direction, so there are NEVER any traffic jams or morning rush hours to contend with.

    i know other people that think because they are living in the mid-levels they are superior because they are taking in the "local" culture. however, these same people live in mid-levels, work in central and eat every meal in LKF or Soho. you tell me, how much "local" culture do you think they are really "enjoying"?

    as bekyboo said, there are dozens of kids that make the trek everyday to school on the island. most of the kids eat their breakfast on the ferry in the morning and catch up with friends in the afternoon. if they eat on the ferry in the morning, they obviously can sleep in a little because they don't have to eat their breakfast before they leave home. they don't seem to have any complaints.

  5. #5
    NYCMOM is offline Registered User
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    Thank you everyone for your comments on DB and Bel-Air. We visited DB and while it was lovely, we felt like we were not in Hong Kong and my son wanted to run around the ferry the whole time, not ideal for frequent trip. We found a great apartment at Bel-Air for the same price and I think my husband is much happier about the commute and I like being close to the southside of HK Island. Maybe after we have been here a little we will move out to DB, but right now with a 3-year window, I think the Bel-Air will be a nice place to be:)

    Anyone living at Bel-Air or in Pokfulam and wants to meet up for a playdate, let me know. I have a 19-month old son and a second due in January.

  6. #6
    sophwillsmum is offline Registered User
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    I just notice you post. I live in Bel air and absolutely love it. There are so many mums with young bubs that you will have no trouble fitting in. My kids are actually a little older at 6 and 3 but i have many friends with kids your age that I'd be happy to introduce you to. Alternatively you can come along to our Friday picnic on the lawn in front of the club house with the bike track.We start around 5pm and ofetn go until quite late depending on the weather. All you need to bring is a plate of food and some wine or whatever you like to drink. It is alays a really nice evening and the kids really look forward to it all week. Give me a PM if you need any more details and I can pop you on our Bel air email list.

  7. #7
    Lucylou is offline Registered User
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    Hi - I have just moved to Bel-Air from the UK and would be happy to meet. I have a 4mth old daughter.

  8. #8
    KatBoo is offline Registered User
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    Hi Lucylou
    I have 7 month old daughters, and live in BelAir. Would be great to meet. How are you fixed tomorrow (thursday) afternoon? We moved out from the UK & have been here for about 18-months, so I can give you a few pointers on things.

    Send me a PM if you like, and I'll check back later.
    Kat

    PS sophwillsmum - I know we met at Finn's party (Mel), but only briefly. Are you still doing the friday picnics?
    Last edited by KatBoo; 01-16-2008 at 07:39 PM.

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