There is a lot to be said for living in one of the largest, most densely populated, well known major cities in the world. There is also a lot to be said for living a quick 30 minute boat ride from said metropolis. Village life is definitely not for everyone, but I would say we are built for it. Our village of Mui Wo has a population of less then 10,000 people, and it offers some unique opportunities that people just can’t get anywhere else.
1.) Ditch the cars and grab your bikes. Virtually every hour of the day here in Mui Wo, including rush hour, we can ride our bicycles down what is the only main road in Mui Wo and rarely run into other traffic. The occasional bus, sure, other cyclists on their way home from the ferry, or the grocery store, and perhaps the usual crowd of ferrel cattle making their way to another field for grazing. You can’t last more then a few seconds in the middle of most Hong Kong streets without a mini bus or Ferrari running you down, except perhaps in the wee hours of the morning.
2.) Leash? What leash? We have two puppies, and within a few short weeks they were more then happy to trot along side us on a walk or bike ride. Here in Mui Wo you can let your dogs run free, the local walking paths, the beach, the hiking trails, are all suited for the dog life. Even around the main 4 blocks of “downtown” Mui Wo we can leave our dogs to run free from our patio, meet other dogs, play with the kids, or just wander and smell every garbage can and restaurant kitchen.
3.) Outdoor playground. There are plenty of outdoor activities to participate in here in the Hong Kong area, but most of the city dwellers come to this island to partake. Here we are just a few minutes away from a waterfall, beach, hiking trails, walking paths, mountain biking trails, the South China Sea (kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding etc…) and even hang gliding.
4.) Pants optional… well kind of. The nice thing about the “social scene” here in the village, is that it only entails making friends. No one really cares about how expensive your jeans are, or what boutique your shirt is from. More often then not people gather at the China Bear (our local waterfront pub) in not much more then a bathing suit and a t-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, we love to get dressed up for a night out, but it is nice during this intense summer heat that for the most part, we are all just interested in staying comfortable and cool, rather then showing off our new threads.
5.) A quick boat ride to the rest of the world. With 32 daily ferry departures (the ferry terminal is a quick 5 minute bike ride away) to Hong Kong’s Central Ferry Terminal, right outside the Central MTR station, virtually every corner of Hong Kong is a short hop away. Hong Kong is known for one of the best public transit networks. The ferries, subway (MTR), buses, mini buses, and trams are more then enough to cover the city and outlying islands are more then enough to cover the city and its outlying islands, and for a low price. Of course, if time is of utmost importance, taxis are quick, and very affordable. All of this makes heading to downtown Hong Kong for a movie, dinner, shopping, the horse races, or just visiting friends an absolute breeze.
Before my wife an I moved to Hong Kong, we had no idea what our living situation would be, or where it would be. But I must say we are villagers. We love our small community, and love that we can have that big city life after a beer or two on the ferry downtown. You could say we have the best of both worlds. At least in our eyes we do. And of course if we really need a change, we can head over to Hong Kong International Airport and hop on a flight to virtually any corner of the world.