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Moving from Chicago to HK; help with area??

  1. #1
    jens-babes is offline Registered User
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    Moving from Chicago to HK; help with area??

    We are moving to HK from the US (Chicago) in June. We had originally thought about the Midlevels, but I'm not so sure anymore. I really like the sound of Repulse Bay and Tai Tam, but I think it will be too far of a commute for DH.

    My husband just looked at apartments with an agent yesterday and he was quite impressed with Residences Bel-Air, Cyberport. It is further out than I thought we would be, but it might be best for our family.

    My husband's office is somewhere between the Gold Coast and Kowloon. I don’t know exactly. He will be traveling to Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and the Airport; leaving from the Kowloon and/or Central ferry term. But, most important, we want to be near available preschool/playgroups and other international/expat popular areas.

    Is it difficult to travel into Central from Cyberport? We are an active family and I will have my two kids in preschool and in play-groups. It seems like the only international preschool and playgroup in Pokfulam is Woodlands. I wonder if this is hard to find a placement?

    Of course, I want to make sure there is some fun for ME, too! I would like to be around other expat moms to enjoy a coffee and maybe a day at the shops! Also, we will only be in HK for 1 year and would like to maximize the HK experience. Nights out in Central need to be attainable! Is it possible to live out of the Center (in greener area) but still feel like a stone's throw away?

    Sorry about all the questions! I have been an expat before (4 years in Europe), and I know that the right location is KEY. Any comments and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    you could also try discovery bay. it is only 30 minutes from central (via very comfortable ferry), 30 minutes from the airport (via special dedicated bus) and about 40-60 minutes from areas in kowloon(depends on the area).

    it is relatively easy to get to central from bel-air but your hubby might have quite a commute to work if he isn't driving. (i think that you would HAVE to have a car if you lived here and he was commuting everyday. this is an unnecessary expense in hk as public transport is VERY cheap, clean, safe and efficient. you cannot compare the public transport here to anywhere else in the world, i don't think.~i'm comparing it to canadian cities.)

    discovery bay is FULL of expats from about 50 different countries. there are lots of americans and canadians as well as australians, germans, spanish, french, etc.... the great thing about DB is that it is FANTASTIC for children. every little area in DB has a playground. there are two large clubhouses with pools (great kids' pools!) as well as bowling, tennis, ping pong and more!

    you really need to have a look at places not just on HK island...it opens up a lot of possibilities. the other thing is that rent is relatively cheaper in DB so you get more bang for your buck, rentwise.

  3. #3
    mommyof3 is offline Registered User
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    We have just moved here from the Midwest US as well! :) After quite alot of searching, we've settled in DBay and so far are loving it.

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    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    About to PM you...

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    jens-babes is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the replies!

    I looked at Discovery Bay online...looks very nice! Wow! I wonder why we didn't hear about this before now?

    The only thing I worry about is the ferry schedule and the distance to HK Island?

    Do you find that you really don't travel to Central all that much? Is DBay inclusive enough (ie. social outings, group meetings, etc...)? Maybe the need to travel to Central is not there! My husband was the only one to do the relocation tour. I had to stay at home with the kids! So, he is trying his best to explain everything to me. He didn't see Discovery Bay, but he'll be back in 2 weeks and can check it out then.

    I just picture my days filled with taking the kids to playgroup and preschool, meeting with other moms, maybe taking a class or two at the YWCA (music, dance or drama for the kids), meeting up at the AWA, and possibly volunteering at a church youth organization. All I know is my experiences from my past expat deals, and that's how it went. :)

    I just wish we were there already...I'm tired of the anxiety and anticipation of it all!

    Hope to hear from you soon and meet you in the future!

  6. #6
    jens-babes is offline Registered User
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    Mommyof3,

    Where did you move from? So nice to know there will be some "familiarity" there! (There were no Americans in Poland). Actually, there were hardly any expats in Poland...I would welcome any friends from ANYWHERE, haha! If you don't mind me asking, were did you look before deciding on DBay?

  7. #7
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Db is very convenient and has all the necessities for young kids: ballet, drawing, tae kwon do, swimming, language classes etc. it also has playgrounds galore.

    there are TONS of SAHMs so meeting people is very, very easy.

    central is only 25 minutes by ferry, so that's not a huge deal. almost everyone in hk has that kind of commute and most people in db work either on hk island or at the airport.

    the ferry runs every 12 minutes during rush hour and you are always guaranteed a seat in a comfortable air-conditioned ferry. most people use the time to read the paper, eat their breakfast, catch a few more zzzzz's or chat to friends. if you must work, they are all connected with free wifi.

    we lived there for over 6 years and recently moved to sai kung. we like sai kung, but we loved db. we just couldn't afford the rent anymore.

  8. #8
    jens-babes is offline Registered User
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    DB sounds so nice! However, I just talked to my husband and we do not see ferry service to mainland China? That means he would have to go from DB to Kowloon or Central via Ferry then carry on via 2nd ferry to the mainland (Shenzhen & Zhuhai). Are we missing something, or is this correct? If correct, unfortunately DB cannot be an option :(. I truely appreciate you letting me know about DB and I am secretly hoping that there is direct ferry service to the mainland ;)!

    Still wondering how Cyberport is? It looks like it might be Residences Bel-Air/Cyberport or somewhere in the Midlevels for us (my husband liked Dynasty Court on Old Peak Rd).

    Anyone know about these communities?
    Thanks!!! :)

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