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Hong Kong question, Cicerone/HK experts.

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What kind of area is Happy Valley on HK island. A friend is looking at a flat to rent for a year or two in that area. IS this a good area? An expensive area? Are there (m)any expats in this area?

Any advice on Happy Valley will be appreciated.

Thanks.

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    1. Yes Happy Valley is a good area. It’s rather green, and most of it is quite hilly and therefore many flats offer nice views of the racetrack, sports grounds, cemetery, the surrounding mountains and/or the city and harbour. It is almost exclusively residential; there is some office/industry at edges, but as you get into Happy Valley proper, it is all apartments, schools, etc. This area edges onto Causeway Bay, which is the main shopping area in Hong Kong, so can be convenient from that standpoint. On the other hand, you can get up onto hiking trails from here with ease. Virtually all of Hong Kong is very safe in terms of crime, so I would not have any concerns on that point. If your friend is a tennis player, the wonderful, public, Hong Kong Tennis Centre, with about 20 courts, is just at the head of the valley and would be walkable (although up quite a stiff hill!)

    2. The one drawback to this area is that it is not near an MTR stop, so the only way to commute to work is by bus or taxi. Going by bus will add some time to a commute and a taxi could be an expensive way to commute. (I live on the Peak which also has no subway, and I do not find it any issue, but I have lived here 10 years and choose this area quite deliberately after 5 years in Wan Chai where I could walk to my office.) Where is your friend’s office?

    3. There is a nice mix of locals and expats in Happy Valley. Many of the expats are French, as the French international school is in Happy Valley on Blue Pool Road.

    4. Well, rent prices on Hong Kong Island just make you laugh, because they are so out of whack with most of the rest of the world (and out of whack with living costs here otherwise.) Generally the Peak, the Southside and many parts of Mid-Levels are more expensive. However, it is more expensive than places in the New Territories or a place like Discovery Bay (a purpose-built residential community on Lantau reachable primarily by ferry). However, for convenience and for a first-timer on a short lease, being on Hong Kong Island is probably a good choice. Places in Sheung Wan/Kennedy Town on the western end of Hong Kong, or in North Point and Chai Wan, on the eastern end, may also be cheaper. This would involve longer commutes to an office in Central (although the eastern end is better served by the subway). So again, this would depend on where the office is. It may be that the office is in North Point, so living in Chai Wan (not to be confused with Wan Chai) can be a good, less expensive, option. The tip of Kowloon may also work and may be a bit cheaper, as he/she can then commute by MTR assuming the office is on the Hong Kong side. (Places like the Gateway apartments and the area around the ICC building and Elements Mall.) On the other hand, if your friend does not mind a bit of a commute into Hong Kong for work, he/she could stay in the Sai Kung area, where quite large flats with lovely sea views are (relatively) inexpensive. There is a fair-sized expat community in the Sai Kung area.

    You might take a look at something like http://www.habitat-property.com where you can search for flats by price and location.

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    Cicerone, thank you for your advice and detailed answer. Friend's office is in Causeway Bay, we get the impresssion CWB is more commercial than most residential areas. Rents in Happy Valley are alot more than most of the residental areas on the island. My friend is a westerner and would like to stay somewhere there are westerners.

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