Looking for a family-friendly place to live in Hong Kong that’s removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet close enough to it so that you don’t spend hours commuting? Are relatively large living spaces and easy access to nature also on your must-have list? In that case, Discovery Bay (DB) should check all your boxes.
Three reasons to live in Discovery Bay
Here’s the lowdown on the Islands District’s largest suburban haven:
- DB is a self-contained resort-style residential development community spread over 649 hectares. It is located on the scenic northeast coast of Lantau Island and boasts sweeping views of neighbouring Peng Chau Island and Hong Kong Disneyland, as well as Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Lamma Island.
- It is home to a truly international community comprising over 20,000 residents from more than 50 countries.
- Residents have access to two plazas, two premium clubhouses, an oceanfront alfresco dining hotspot and several early childhood, primary and secondary education institutions. In addition, there is a 27-hole golf course and a world-class yacht club.
Things to do in Discovery Bay
DB is part of an extensive network of scenic hiking trails – starting with the walk up to Discovery Bay Lookout Point, to the various trails to Mui Wo (via Trappist Monastery and Tiger’s Head) and Tung Chung (via Tiger’s Head). The neighbourhood’s broad sidestreets are perfect for biking and skateboarding. There is also a private beach with a playground, where you can kayak, paddle board and watch dragon boat races, not to mention a park where you can picnic and play sports, and several playgrounds. If the indoors are more your thing, there is a large indoor playground, a mall and DB Ice Rink, Hong Kong’s newest international-standard ice skating rink, which opened in May.
DB residents also have easy access to some of the other attractions on Lantau Island, such as Hong Kong Disneyland and Inspiration Lake, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, the Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Citygate Outlets in Tung Chung, and Peng Chau Island.
DB residents are not allowed to have their own vehicles, and taxis are prohibited from entering the neighbourhood. Instead, there is a local hire car (taxi service) and an internal bus service to transport residents around the area and to/from the ferry. Some residents use golf carts to get around, especially if they live further away from North or South Plazas.
The neighbourhood is well-serviced by regular buses that operate to the Sunny Bay MTR station, Tung Chung and HK International Airport. There is a high-speed ferry service that connects residents to Central within 25 minutes, as well as an overnight bus.
The biggest draw of DB is its low-density housing with a wide selection of high-rise, low-rise and detached houses, most of which have spectacular sea views. European-style designs, duplexes and gardens make DB a sought-after choice. Rents differ based on the number of bedrooms and location. If, for instance, you want to live in a two-bedroom apartment near the South Plaza and, consequently, the ferry pier and main bus terminus, the average minimum rent is $18,000. Those who prefer the quieter North Plaza area – which has a taxi stand and direct buses to Sunny Bay – will pay anything upwards of $22,000. Some of the newer apartment complexes in North DB come with private swimming pools. Many residents who don’t live near either of these hubs own or rent golf buggies – the going rate for which is $8,000 per month.
DB has an eclectic range of shops in its two plazas and newly opened mall, which adequately meet the day-to-day needs of its residents. The two major supermarkets are Fusion and Market Place, and there are specialty stores like European Touch, POLISHFOOD.HK, Star Mart and Slowood. There are also well-known outlets such as Wing On, JHC, Watson’s Wine, 7-11 and Watsons. In addition, there are regular shopping events, such as the Sunday Market and Plant Market, as well as summer specials, Easter Egg Hunts, and a Christmas market.
Coffee is the non-alcoholic recreational drink of choice in DB, which is evident in the area’s numerous cafés. There’s local favourite Uncle Russ, Caffe Pascucci and The Coffee Academics, and big names like Starbucks and Pacific Coffee.
Eating and drinking
Restaurants and takeaway establishments in DB can be found in three areas. D’Deck is in the main plaza close to the ferry pier and features a diverse array of alfresco restaurants overlooking Tai Pak Bay. There are more restaurants in DB North Plaza and DB Mall. The cuisines on offer include Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Turkish and Vietnamese. Here are our top 10 dining picks.
Koh Tomyums: An award-winning restaurant serving authentic Thai fare in a relaxed indoor and outdoor setting with panoramic views of the beach and bay.
Peony: Located in the Discovery Bay Recreation Club, members and non-members can enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine, including dim sum and Cantonese delicacies.
Zaks: The main draws of the largest restaurant in DB are the family-friendly alfresco atmosphere, extensive menu that has everything from Asian flavours to fresh seafood, and a drinks list featuring tropical cocktails.
MooFish by Zaks: This relatively new addition to the DB culinary landscape, located just above Zaks, specializes in quality surf and turf cooked to perfection and served by attentive wait staff.
McSorley’s Ale House: A pub grub fave featuring everything from Indian curries to traditional fish and chips. The drinks list is extensive, but the popular picks are the beers, which include draught Guinness and craft beer.
Il Bel Paese: This popular DB dining destination has three sections: a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a specialty grocer’s, and a gelataria.
22 North: Diners who frequent this brasserie are fans of their fresh seafood, poultry and steak from Australia, France and the US. The stunning views of the beach and promenade don’t hurt either.
Hemingway’s: This oceanfront bar and restaurant is popular for its all-vegan menu (with everything from rendang to quesadillas) and live music on weekends.
Viet Bu Tong Kitchen & Bar: DB residents with a hankering for pho or banh mi now have a restaurant where they can sample Vietnamese food, along with Western fare.
Solera Restaurant and Bar: This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant has an outdoor terrace area where you can sip on sangrias, nibble on tapas, and sample a variety of Spanish dishes from its comprehensive menu.
There are also more budget-friendly options like McDonald’s, Subway, Paisano’s Pizzeria, and Ebeneezer’s Kebabs and Pizzeria, as well as takeaway joints like Sushi No En, Tasty House and Osman Bey Turkish Food.
Medical, dental and veterinary services
Discovery Bay has two medical practices, a children’s therapy centre, two dental clinics and a veterinarian clinic.
Island Health: General practice.
Quality Healthcare Medical Centre: Physical check-up centre.
SPOT Children’s Therapy Centre: Assessment, support and therapy for children with medical or developmental needs.
Health and Care Dental Clinic: General dentistry, cosmetic treatments and specialist dentistry.
Bayside Dental Practice: Dental clinic for adults and children.
Pet medical centres
Island Veterinarian Services: Vet and grooming services.
Schools in Discovery Bay
Since DB is favoured for family living, there are several quality education options, including playgroups, pre-schools, primary and secondary schools.
Funfit: This playgroup, located in the spacious Club Siena, has active learning programmes for children aged 6 months to 3 years, as well as accompanied and drop-off classes for children aged 2.5-4 years.
Kidznjoy: The Discovery Bay branch of this Hong Kong-wide playgroup offers play-based accompanied classes for newborns and for children up to the age of 3.
Little Gems: This Reggio Emilia-inspired playgroup offers accompanied classes for children aged 12-18 months and over, and drop-off classes for children aged 2-5 years.
Mandarin Time: This Mandarin playgroup held at Epicland has classes for kids aged 1.5-3 years and 3-4 years. The classes include approximately an hour of Mandarin time and another hour of free play at Epicland.
Tree of Joy: Located in the new DB Mall, this international play centre follows a Reggio Emilia-inspired programme for children up to 5 years old.
Woodentots: A Montessori playgroup catering to children aged 18 months to 3 years (toddler class), and 2.5-6 years (pre-school class).
Sunshine House: A playgroup-to-preschool campus in North DB that follows the British Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage, and has a Mandarin bilingual option.
Pre-schools and kindergartens
Bayview House of Children: This learning centre is based on the Montessori method and offers activity groups and primary school preparatory classes for children aged 12 months to 6 years.
Discovery Mind: This educational organisation offers playgroup, pre-nursery and kindergarten classes with a curriculum based on the National Curriculum of England, with a strong emphasis on Mandarin.
Discovery Montessori School: Discovery Montessori School is an international pre-school that offers a bilingual curriculum (English and Mandarin) for children aged 1-6 years.
Discovery Montessori Academy: This school is the first IB PYP Montessori Primary School in Asia and has a bilingual curriculum for children aged 3-12 years.
La Petite Enfance: A registered kindergarten following a French curriculum for children who plan to continue their studies in French, which has English and Mandarin as options.
L’Ecole Pierre at Marie Curie Education Centre: This French primary school also offers English and Mandarin classes.
SKH Wei Lun Primary School: A government-subsidised Chinese-language primary school with classes from P1 through to P5.
Discovery Bay International School (DBIS): This was the first international school in Discovery Bay and follows the British Curriculum. The Primary and Secondary School campus caters for students from Year 1 to Year 11. It operates a kindergarten on a separate campus for Nursery and Reception children (3-5 years).
Discovery College: Discovery College is a private independent school offering an English-language International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. It offers a Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged 3-12, a Middle Years Programme (MYP) for children aged 11-16 and an IB Diploma Programme (DP) for students aged 16-19, among others.
HKILA: An international school that provides inclusionary ‘stage-not-age’ education, based on the latest UK National Curriculum objectives, and caters to Year 1-9 students.
Fitness, sports and dance
Discovery Bay has two members clubs, a golf club and a yacht club. There are also several indoor and outdoor fitness and sports clubs, as well as dance classes and personal trainers.
Discovery Bay Recreation Club (DBRC) and Club Siena: These members’ clubs have several sporting facilities, such as tennis, squash and basketball courts, cricket nets, swimming pools, ten-pin bowling lanes, table tennis, snooker tables and a climbing wall. Both clubs also have table tennis, Wing Chun, gymnastics and tennis classes for children and adults.
Discovery Bay Golf Club: Houses a 27-hole golf course, a swimming pool and mahjong rooms.
Lantau Yacht Club: A world-class yacht club that also gives members access to the DBRC, Club Siena and golf club.
Capoeira: Classes for adults and children.
Embody: Pilates and yoga studio.
Kapuhala: Group training, spin studio, personal training and pre-teen fitness classes.
MGK Fight Club: MMA, self-defence and Wing Chun training for kids and adults.
The Beat: Group fitness classes, pilates and yoga, kids’ fitness, dance and personal training.
Auskick: Australian Rules football for kids aged 4-16.
DB Smashers Cricket Club: Cricket skill development for children aged 6-14 years.
DB Angels FC: Football team for girls aged 6-14 years.
The Bike Hub: Mountain bike training courses for adults and kids.
Hong Kong Dragons: Boys’ (U4-U14) and girls’ football (U7-U14) teams.
Discovery Bay Pirates: Rugby, netball, dragon boat and hockey teams across various age groups.
Discovery Bay Tigers: The only baseball club in DB for kids aged 5-16.
Dbees Ice Hockey: Instruction and games for children aged 5 and up.
DB Ice Skating School: Figure skating and ice hockey programs for beginners and advanced skaters of all ages.
Harry Wright International: Weekly swimming classes held at Club Siena.
Rolling Kids: Skateboarding classes for anyone aged 3 years and older.
DBRC and Club Siena offer members and non-members various dance classes for kids and adults. Some of the other classes on offer include:
DMR School of Ballet: Dance studio for children located at 3 venues in DB: Sunshine House, Studio 430 and Discovery College.
HK Bollywood Divas: Bollywood dance classes for all ages.
Katia Morisette: An NASM-certified and PTA Global personal trainer.
Kristen Handford: A certified pre- and post-natal coach who combines elements of strength and conditioning, TRX and cardio.
Treece Fitness: Personal training, boot camps, TRX and more.
Beauty and pampering
What’s resort living without getting a pampering session every now and then? Here are some of the most popular options in DB:
Afflatus Hair Workshop: Hair salon for men, women and children.
Dream Nail: Manicure and pedicure services, including shellac.
Haircut Corner: Children’s haircuts and luxury treatments for adults.
Nest Care: Beauty and wellness centre offering facials, massages and nail services.
Spa Botanica: Spa service at Auberge Discovery Bay hotel.
Header image credits: CBulgarna