A guide to Hong Kong Neighbourhoods: Central, Mid-Levels, and Soho
By Elle Kwan
25 February 2016
Hong Kong’s urban metropolis is exciting, fast-paced and famous and living in it provides quintessential ‘east-meets-west’ fusion, where skyscrapers mingle with hawker stalls and monster malls rub shoulders with mom-and-pop medicine sellers. Venture beyond city limits, however, and you’ll discover trendy neighbourhoods with a hipster vibe, ancestral villages surrounded by velvet green mountains and seaside villages with sandy beaches. So which is best for you?
Our new Neighbourhood Guide series demystifies each location, helping you select the most ideal spot. We begin with Central, a natural choice for newcomers looking to set down roots fast.
Central: Mid-Levels and SoHo
Favoured by many expats, Central offers cosmopolitan city living still within access of tranquil walks and trails. Split between the residential Mid-Levels area, whose apartment blocks give astounding views over Victoria Harbour, and SoHo’s party district, choices in this prime destination are numerous but do not come cheap.
One of the city’s most prestigious locations and a long-time favourite with expats, Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels puts you midway between Victoria Peak with its appealing cool and pretty scenery, and the hustle and bustle of downtown Central. Relatively quiet, with small neighbourhood parks, easy transport links into town and larger accommodation, Mid-Levels is often the ideal choice for families.
- A range of small and large apartments, many with clubhouse facilities
- Located within reach of the Central and Admiralty business districts
- Hong Kong’s famous Mid-Levels Escalator begins here and takes residents into Central’s main hub, which is filled with Western and Asian restaurants, shops, banks, and supermarkets. Gourmet supermarkets provide familiar products from home, while other services cater to the needs of the many international residents living here, including schools, hair salons, doctors and health specialists
- Nearby private membership clubs include The Hong Kong Club, the Ladies Recreation Club, Helena May and The American Club
- Efficient public transport links from Central connects you to the whole territory
- Good access to green spaces at Hong Kong Park, the Botanical Gardens and the 4-mile trail at Bowen Road
- English is widely spoken
Trendy party spot SoHo means all-night access to cafes, clubs, restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. Apartments, usually studios or one-bedroom spaces, can be tiny, but are often located right in the fray and can come with a decent rooftop terrace. A common choice for singles and couples, décor ranges from basic to plush.
- Minutes from all of Central’s shops and entertainments
- Close to Central’s financial district
- Fantastic transport links, including buses, trams, subway system and ferries to Hong Kong’s outlying islands
- Despite the bustle, SoHo remains a welcoming neighbourhood, with a local street market and traditional eateries
- Extremely expat-friendly, with high levels of spoken English, doctors, boutiques and supermarkets to suit international tastes
If you are thinking about moving to Hong Kong we have tons of help and advice waiting for you on exactly that!
Enjoy this? Get stuck into more Living Here
Our regular series explores how expats adapt to their new lives in Hong Kong
Renting a car is a great option if you are in Hong Kong for a short time
A reader shares her experience of expat life in Hong Kong in our regular Parting Shot series
A local resident shares insights into some of the city's neighbourhoods in our regular Street Talk series
Get acquainted with the key dates in the city's calendar
Four photographers share tips and tactics on dealing with children
How do you handle the holidays when you are not where you want to be most?
Here are some things to consider when looking for a wheel, sorry, real deal
The American Women's Association of Hong Kong is celebrating 60 years of making a difference
One of the things that can take some getting used to as an expat is end-of-year celebrations