A picture paints a thousand words, so take a peek at this short video, which will tell you in images more than I can in words. Below are some of the FAQs people have asked me since I started the blog:
How are the property prices in the area?
How are the property prices in the area?
Mui Wo is getting quite popular so the days of HK$2,000 to HK$3,000 rents are over. But it is still lots cheaper than the rest of Hong Kong. In the town, you can get a studio/one-bedroom for slightly above HK$5k a month and a two-bedroom for HK$6-8k.
If you are willing to live farther from the pier (a bike is a good idea), you can probably get a 700 sq ft place for about HK$6k or less. But don't quote me on that.
The property agent websites to look at are Findley Leung, Lantau Home Solutions, Proper Trip and Easy Reach. But they're not all updated frequently so, if you want a more realistic picture, contact the agents direct. I'd recommend Alice from Findley Leung. She's always out of office but answers her email pretty quick: alice@findleyleung. No, I don't get a commission for recommending her cos no one knows who I am!
Do people speak English?
Definitely. The place has a big expat community and all the shopkeepers speak English. The general manager at Wellcome, Mr Lam, speaks English. The people at Wah Kee seafood centre speak English. Most taxi drivers don't speak English but you don't have to say anything to them. Just remember the right intonation for Mui Wo, Tung Chung and Airport ( 機場gēichèuhng) and you'll be fine. They have an English booking line. I will put it up if I remember to take it down when I walk past the taxi rank next time. Check out the Wikitravel website for basic Cantonese.
The ferry is the fastest and most convenient way to get to Central. There is a road from Tung Chung to Mui Wo (South Lantau Road). If you drive, it will take only 15 mins but the buses take about 40 minutes. Usually people take the ferry as that cuts down travelling time.
Seasickness is a problem but you'll probably build up resistance, as I have (fingers crossed). And don't forget that, during Typhoon Signal 8, ferries stop working and buses are intermittent so it is an expensive trip back by taxi from Tung Chung.
There are two supermarkets, a 7-11, lots of restaurants and a seafood centre, some frozen meat shops, a laundry, a vet's, a hardware shop, a decent coffee joint, a bookshop... all essential for townies like us. We haven't used the three bike shops, the workshop nor the petrol station yet but they are there if you need them. In Chung Hau village, there's also a library, a wet market, a furniture shop, a plank shop (pictured above), a couple of DIY shops and those selling home stuff.
There's no shopping centre. The nearest are Citygate mall in Tung Chung or DB Plaza in Discovery Bay. If you want children's clothes and toys, there's Bizzie Lizzie.
Ikea delivers to the ferry pier and, if you ask them nicely, they would even deliver all the way to your doorstep. And so does Fortress in Tung Chung. You might have to pay extra because the trucks have to buy a one-day permit to drive on South Lantau Road.
There are no food deliveries that I know of but, after you've been living here a while, you learn to do what most people do: pack something back from Central or pop over to McDonald's or Bombay Cafe for a takeaway.
Yes, above the library in the municipal building. You have to take a short equipment course before you qualify for a gym card. There are plenty of hiking and mountain bike trails, some starting from the town itself. The most trodden/cycled is the trail to Pui O and the Olympic Trail. Or you can just don jogging shoes and run along the waterfront as most people do. There's also a clean (shark-free) beach and a public swimming pool.
Cash is king
Restaurants and shops in town usually don't take credit cards, so everyone here pays in cash. Despite that, there are only two ATMs in town: BEA and an overused HSBC one. You can get cashback at the supermarkets if you pay by EPS.
I've said it once and I'll say it until I am blue in the face: There are no private doctors here (ok, there's one but he opens his clinic at 5pm). The nearest private clinics are in DB or Tung Chung. And there are no pharmacies... maybe the Mui Wo authorities think the sea breeze has enough medicinal value?
There is a great website for Lantau dwellers, which has all the useful phone numbers, upcoming events and a chatroom for residents looking for homes or other services. It's Lantau Link.