The idea of moving to South Lantau has always appealed to me but I've held back on investigating too seriously by the thought of it being too far from anything. I currently live in Tung Chung and have everything at my fingertips. South Lantau has always been a holiday destination in my head. After chatting to some friends who have made the move over the hill, I started to seriously investigate the idea. But first I had to cut through all the 'it's too far away and inconvenient' chat and find out for myself.
South Lantau (Tai O all the way along to Mui Wo) boasts the longest uninterrupted beach in Hong Kong. Over 3kms long and offering clean, powdery white sand and clear waters, the 'Chung Sha's' (Upper and Lower) offer ideal conditions for a happy life.
Each of the towns and villages on South Lantau are unique and offer their own charms. Mui Wo is the largest town and offers the convenience of a ferry directly to Central. It’s also fast becoming the culinary capital of Lantau with an exciting array of restaurants and bars offering superb food and service. Moving along the coast you come to Pui O, again with a disproportionate amount of good places to eat for a village of that population. Check out the recently opened Bella Ciao for delicious Italian, The Aviator for authentic Indian and Treasure Island Beach Club offering great food and a super chilled, DJ assisted beach vibes.
If affordable luxury is your thing, and who is going to say no to that, then Leyburn Villas at Lower Cheung Sha is worth checking out. I was invited to take a look around by the lovely Karen Wong from ARIA Property (ariapropertyltd.com) and I brought my kids along for the ride. Leyburn offers the luxury of villa living - think pool, tennis courts, gym and lots of living space; all with stunning views reaching out deep into the South China sea - with restaurants, convenience stores and a stunning beach, all a short walk away. Leyburn would provide a well needed respite from the current construction noise and dust of the Tung Chung East extension.
Check out this video of what you can get at Leyburn Villas for the same cost as a 3 bed flat in The Visionary.
The surprising thing for me about Leyburn is the cost. South Lantau beach living at Leyburn Villas is the same cost as an apartment in Tung Chung's Visionary. Each property at Leyburn gets an assigned parking space too, most of which are covered, which saves thousands every month. Prices at Caribbean Coast and Visionary for a car parking space go for upwards of $3200 per month! If you don’t have a license, worry not, as there are frequent buses to Tung Chung (MTR) and Mui Wo for ferry access.
TimeOut is always raving about the beachside restaurants at Lower Cheung Sha, and the options are plentiful. Apart from the usuals like Southside and Bathers, check out the Lantana Beach Club. We had a massive juicy burger and a super tasty french cider overlooking the sea. There is also an excellent convenience store that serves groceries and well as a community hangout. T8 beers at Frankie's are a must!
Further along South Lantau and you come across Tong Fuk, which is bigger than it looks from the road. There is always an abundance of cows sleeping in the road and on the beach in Tong Fuk, and I can’t blame them. Tong Fuk’s beach is quiet compared to Pui O, Silvermine and Cheung Sha as it’s further along the coast, but if it’s peace you’re after, this is your spot. Need something a little more adrenaline fuelled? Tong Fuk also offers kite surfing instruction from the excellent Davy Tang.
Tong Fuk is also home to the largest of Lantau International School's three campuses, the others being at Pui O and Cheung Sha. I've known a few students and teachers from LIS and they all love the laid back atmosphere and link to nature. If a public school is what you need, Bui O school is small and intimate. You can't miss the lovely buffalo mural on the wall as you pass and this creativity is reflected in the school ethos. Both schools hold their sports days on the beach amongst the crabs and buffalo and who wouldn't want that for your child?! Beats the inner-city-dog-poo-hurdles of my youth.
The famous and well loved village of Tai O sits at the far Western end of Lantau Island and holds onto its traditional roots whilst embracing a vibrant arts and craft scene. Tai O suffered from urban transition, with the younger generations moving to the city and abandoning their traditional fishing heritage in favour of more modern ways. Who can blame them? Thankfully in recent years, Tai O has seen a youth resurgence and this can be seen in the coffee shops and lifestyle outlets popping up all over the village. There’s an exciting and energetic craft scene here too, with the younger generation learning the ‘old ways’ and becoming teachers themselves.
“Well, if you love it so much, why don’t you just live there?” I hear you cry! And you might be right. I had an epiphany the other day that prompted me to write this. The reason South Lantau never featured on my apartment radar was I was always having to come home to Tung Chung after spending a relaxing day there, and that killed the fun. The same feeling as leaving your hotel for the airport after a great holiday.
If South Lantau was home, the adventure would never end.
Turns out the inconvenient truth about South Lantau is that it really isn’t inconvenient at all.
If you’re interested in transitioning to a more relaxed way of life, speak to Karen at Aria Properties on 9056 8082 to settle any nerves you might have about moving over the hill or visit ariapropertyltd.com to see what’s on offer. I might see you there!