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Ok so you did Singapore - now do Hong Kong!

(23 Posts)
seoraemaeul Sun 27-Mar-11 07:18:07

We're moving to Hong Kong in the summer. We're already in Asia so should be less of a culture shock than when we originally came from London. Our kids are 4.5 and 2 and will be going through the French system for schools so we know thats Jardine's Lookout for the Lycee. Currently we're thinking of the Repluse Bay/Stanley/Tai Tam area for housing. We go over in a few weeks to have a look about and view some places. So ---- fire away
- Recommendations, great things to do with the kids
- Likes/Dislikes
- Whats hard to find

Oh and one specific - for the weekend we're there, I'd love to take the kids on a boat ride - preferably a bit longer than just the ferry. Any suggestions - or indeed any other top tips for things to do to help them fall in love with the place?

laptopwieldingharpy Sun 27-Mar-11 09:57:30

I assume you are french because that's the only way into the lycee?

Not sure wether you already have a designated estate agents with your relocation package, but worth checking Sophie at House hunters, she is french and knows the french community inside out + she is a very good agent. Their website is very easy to navigate to search for properties.

Those 3 areas fetch similar budgets for similar type of product. Main difference is ease of commute back into central.

Likes dislikes and what's hard to find depends on your benchmark really. Coming from Singapore we were quite happy to have our first winter in years, although its dragging on a bit now!

will come back a bit later with kids suggestions.

we had a thread going from sept to Nov with quite a lot of info. There aren't many on HK so should pop up easily.

laptopwieldingharpy Sun 27-Mar-11 13:44:05

- botanical/zoological gardens + peak tram + lunch at the peak (there is a playground in the galleria mall at the top)

- Repulse bay: make an appointment to see the woodlands montessori & pre-schools) go about 11 am then linger in the couryard ( there is a starbucks sort of place for coffee and sandwiches) and see the kids come out and play. Or go at 2:30 and see the kids come out at 3 and linger in the courtyard and buy ice cream from the artisan french ice cream parlor (fab - all natural flavors). Its expat heaven so the kids will feel in familiar territory.
Then take them down to the beach across the road to play.

- star ferry is always nice but a bit boring and takes you into kowloon where its all shopping malls so really pointless.
its still a bit cold to rent a junk and outlying islands with 2 little kids have no great interest.

- hiking is great. there is a family walk starting just outside the parkview condo and its paved so easy with a buggy.

- Ocean park is a very good amusement park, with cable cars too.

- Disneyland is very small so very manageable. Not my first port of call but if you feel they are still wavering and still need to sell them the move....

seoraemaeul Sun 27-Mar-11 14:03:54

Thanks so much! Had small trauma here today with DD falling over fairly badly so my head is a bit all over the place, but will look through all this and the other posts tomorrow. But thanks for taking the time to write all that out

laptopwieldingharpy Mon 28-Mar-11 13:17:13

Oh no! hope she is OK?

seoraemaeul Mon 28-Mar-11 13:45:57

a bump the size of a goose egg - luckily going down now - and bruising all down the side of her face. Some interesting looks at the school gates this morning blush
Thanks for all the information. We're currently in Korea so are looking forward to less winter - whilst the whole sledging and snowman thing is fun in December, it snowed again last week and I almost cried! Strangely enough the thing I'm least looking forward to is the "britishness" of Hong Kong, we've all fallen in love with Korea and its quirkyness (is that a word?!)
Husband is french which has been a godsend with international moves, although even with that we're still having to put up a battle for Hong Kong. That and the rents seem to be the two big issues to get our heads round - hopefully our trip over will help us get a better idea on both.
The tips for the weekend are great - especially The peak and Repulse Bay. Shame about the junk - but you're right probably too young to really appreciate it now.

Anyway thanks again - really appreciate it

guihailin Mon 28-Mar-11 21:46:18

I know what you mean about the quirkyness of Asia, and what's nice about HK is that you can make it as eastern or western as you want.

For HK recommendations with kids / what's hard to find .... I liked best an online guide (search google "living and working in Hong Kong" on .howto.) which is by Rachel Wright. It was so clear and useful, I got the printed book, 2011 ed.

I agree with the PP about making appointment with a Woodlands school before you go, and also trying some hiking.

Please can you explain a bit more why it was a battle for the french school maternelle, even though the daddy is French, I'd really appreciate it. What did you have to do for the school ?

Hope your DD recovers quickly from her bump, sounds painful.

seoraemaeul Tue 29-Mar-11 03:36:39

She seems fine now but still looks like she did 10 rounds with Tyson! And thanks for the recommendation I'll go have a look at that web site. I'm sure all of this will make more sense once we've visited - I've been before but as a tourist and of course you do look at it in a different way.

As for the french school, my understanding is that they "take all french kids" but the reality is the schools are only so big and have a finite number of places. For example in London there will simply never be enough spaces for all the children, whereas here in Korea the community is much smaller so I have yet to come across anyone who has had a problem getting in.

For Hong Kong (again my understanding but we wait for final confirmation) our DS who will start Grand Section in Sept, is OK as he is transfering from another Lycee in Asia - this is one of the key criteria for preference on entrance. However our DD who should start Petit Section is on a waiting list - which is so ridiculously long I have very little faith she will get in (obviously fingers crossed and all that stuff!). We just have to keep trying each year until she gets there.

Speaking to others it all seems to work out by CP but of course back to the problem of finite number of places - if no one moved out, more people transfered in from other lycees etc etc - then this is not guaranteed. Does that make sense?

Do you have kids you want to join the Lycee? If so I suggest you speak to them early on just to be on the safe side.

BaggedandTagged Tue 29-Mar-11 07:15:32

seoraemaeul. Does your DD not get sibling priority once your DS is attending the Lycee? Worth checking as might bump her up the list a bit.

seoraemaeul Tue 29-Mar-11 07:59:41

Apparently they have already taken that into account and still the list is so long! Although we will see them face to face when we go to Hong Kong and hopefully bully charm them into moving things a bit. If not hopefully the sibling thing, people in the same position finding alternatives etc will mean the lists shrink and she is OK from Moyenne Section onwards.

MuffinTumMum Tue 29-Mar-11 11:32:00


you could do a junk trip - Aqua Luna Junk goes from pier 9 in Central (or can pick it up TST ) and goes to Stanley along the South side. Lovely trip if weather ok and then you can hang out on the beach, go shopping in Stanley market. You need to book, google it as not sure of link!

There are also the open tour buses which go from outside the Star Ferry pier. Not sure how do able with 2 year old but you can hop off and get back on as the feeling takes you!

Weekends at Disney are usually quite busy, if your visit allows you a week day visit then usually much preferable. do take snacks for the little ones.

Hope you have a good visit and dont worry about the school thing, it will all come good in the end!

BaggedandTagged Tue 29-Mar-11 12:07:31

"If not hopefully the sibling thing, people in the same position finding alternatives etc will mean the lists shrink and she is OK from Moyenne Section onwards."

Yes, and the other thing is that some parents have their name down for every school in HK (i.e. ME) so some places become available because obviously the child can only go to one school.

Anyway, HK is fab. I love it- just found out we are staying at least another 3 years. Am delighted.

seoraemaeul Wed 30-Mar-11 12:54:50

Thanks so much - trip has been brought forward to this weekend so about to start packing!

laptopwieldingharpy Sat 02-Apr-11 11:58:27

Great timing! Glorious weather. Hope l goes well.

MuffinTumMum Sun 03-Apr-11 03:54:59

Hope you had an enjoyable, productive weekend. Forgot to mention, do not discount discovery bay when looking at places to live.great place for kids. There is a large French community there. A dedicated French kindy and lots of kids going to the lycee each day. They take the ferry and there is a school bus that picks them up outside central piers.

thumbwitch Sun 03-Apr-11 04:27:56

Boat trip to Macau if you can manage it - Macau is wonderful as well!

Ocean Park - one of the best aquariums I have been to, especially their model pacific atoll, that you can walk around at 3 different levels (assuming it hasn't changed in the 14y since I was there last!)

Port Stanley and Stanley Market - a bit touristy but the Port Stanley graveyard is interesting to visit.

Sea Dragon Palace Restaurant - I'm assuming it was this one, it's a long while ago - we went to the live fish market first and bought our fish, then took it to the restaurant and they cooked it for us. BUT - I was with a group of Chinese HK people, with whom I was staying - I was the only westerner in the restaurant the time I went so not sure how it would work now...

Funicular Railway up to the Peak (Victoria Peak)

I loved Hong Kong...

thumbwitch Sun 03-Apr-11 04:28:58

Buggeration! didn't notice the date, so you've already been and seen! Hope you're still accessing this so you might have got something useful out of my post.

laptopwieldingharpy Sun 03-Apr-11 12:40:27

waiting for the verdict!

seoraemaeul Wed 06-Apr-11 12:59:10

Just came back on line with MN and wanted to say thanks for all your advice.
Kids loved the Aqua Luna "pirate" ship as they called it - 2 year old was like a dog with her head stuck out in the wind for the whole trip and 4 year old raved about it to his bemused teacher this morning at drop off.

House hunting with kids was awful as expected but very useful. I have to admit I was a bit shocked at what you get for the money. The Koreans adore - and I mean adore - their bathrooms so even in the smallest/cheapest flat its the most luxurious room in the home. Some of the "finishings" in Hong Kong were not quite at that level!

Big challenge now is logistics in schools - DS (4) is fine for the lycee which is great, DD (2.5) will probably have to go private and we're looking at the one in Stanley. So I need to work out how to combine school bus and school run in such a way that doesn't mean either a) DS has to get up at the crack of dawn or b) he doesn't end up being dropped off by the Lycee bus only to end up in a car going to pick up DD and back again! Sure it is "do-able" just need to work out how

But over all loved the place, weather this weekend was gorgeous, I over-indulged in all the western food I haven't been able to eat for 2 years and the kids like it - so all in all a success

Thanks again for all your help

laptopwieldingharpy Thu 07-Apr-11 03:52:06

Glad to hear. Yes housing is a shock.
There is also a new bilingual (eng/french) option in pok fu lam at the modern montessori. Heard good things from french friends. Might help with commute, much less traffic that way, proper roads.

seoraemaeul Thu 07-Apr-11 04:34:30

I just got off the phone with them! Sound lovely so another option to look at - estate agent is going to love me when I ask for her to add a new area to the list!
Thanks again - its so useful to get the "insider" view.

guihailin Tue 16-Aug-11 11:08:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

laptopwieldingharpy Tue 16-Aug-11 11:50:23

Looooong commute to & from sai kung and discovery bay.
French families will usually opt for chum hung kok, stanley or even redhill instead.
mid levels/jardine's lookout & tai hang are all more urban but still very "livable" by any any case you would most likely be living in a little compound or condo which are usually all self contained.

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