Friday, August 13, 2010
Living on Park Island
When Tammy and I moved back to Hong Kong last Christmas we had a decision to make...Where to live? We had lived for a number of years in different places around the territory from the early days in Fanling near the border with China, to six years living in a mountaintop Shatin village home, to finally ending up down in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island.
During Christmas 2008 we visited Hong Kong from China where we were living and stayed with some friends at their home on Park Island, Ma Wan. Ma Wan for years had been a small Island with a fishing village and not much more. Then the Tsing Ma Bridge was built as part of the new airport project and suddenly this inaccessible section of Hong Kong was connected to the rest of the territory.
It didn't take long before land developers saw the potential and within no time "Park Island" was born. Residential towers, swimming pools, clubhouses, restaurants sprung up from seemingly out of no where and the tiny population of Ma Wan which had previously been a few hundred jumped to over 10,000.
We loved our visit in 2008 so when my new job promotion took us back to Hong Kong, the first place we started house searching was on Park Island. After looking at a number of places, we had our heart set on one flat. 3 bedroom, 21st floor with a seaview and a balcony. 1,075 sq. ft. Understand in Hong Kong, housing sq. footage is like gold and everyone here seems to know at any given time what the market rate is in a particular area.
We had set ourselves a budget of not paying more than "X" for a place and preferring to keep it at "X" - HK$ 2000 (US$ 260). Because of the recent spike in prices due to investment money coming in from the mainland, the landlord of our proposed flat would only agree to "X" + $HK 2000. We hemmed and hawed and Tammy and I pored over our budget plan on Excel to see how we could tweak things to get it.
Of course...we made it happen and for the last 6 months we've been enjoying our "Island" life. The commute is a little long as I have to catch a shuttle bus off the Island to the MTR (subway) and then the train right to Kowloon Tong. Door to door is 50 minutes.
Another plus is the fast ferry that takes us to Central (downtown) in just 22 minutes. I like to be able to live in a quiet peaceful place where cars are not allowed and then in a few minutes be right down "where the action is".
And having a 12 year old, the fact that Park Island has its own beach, 4 swimming pools, 3 clubhouses, tennis courts and bowling ally means there is often plenty to do. There is even a built to scale "Noah's Ark" attraction here.
Food wise in addition to the Chinese restaurants, there are Italian, Indian, German, and Thai and those are all right on the beach. There are few things more relaxing than sitting outside over a fine meal with the sea and the Tsing Ma bridge in the background. True, the Park and Shop supermarket here is not as diverse as Discovery Bay or Central, but having just moved from Qingdao China, its a culinary gold mine :)
Anyhow, we thank God for bringing us back to Hong Kong...and to Park Island!