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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrRepulse Bay is one of the most exclusive suburbs in Hong Kong and the irony of its name escapes but a few. Mystery still shrouds the peculiar English translation of ‘shallow water bay’, as it is known in Chinese, yet one thing is certain: when a beach was first developed here in the early 1900s, no one would have guessed it would become one of the hottest addresses in town just a century later. For the visitor, Repulse Bay offers a great chance to relish in some luscious natural surroundings, right in the heart of the bustling metropolis. This is one of Hong Kong’s most popular bathing spots: it’s easy to access and boasts a wide beach, lots of hiking opportunities, and a multi-million dollar backdrop.
HistoryBefore British colonization, Repulse Bay was favored by pirates, who cherished the shallow waters, narrow inlet and sheltered position. It didn’t take long for them to be expelled by the European invaders however, as the bay proved to be of optimal strategic importance. The Brits took no time at all to establish this area for recreation and leisure pursuits. In fact, the bus route which still leads visitors here from Central is the first to have even been established in Hong Kong.
Residential apartments on the hills of Repulse Bay have always belonged to the upper class, yet for decades construction here was severely restricted. Nowadays, however, as space in this crammed city becomes increasingly expensive, this area is being primed for major commercialization. Duplex apartments on the hills can demand up to 30 million USD, whilst a multi-story luxury home, on this most divine Hong Kong promontory, can fetch an eye-watering 70 million USD.
What to See and Do in Repulse BayIf you don’t have 70 million USD to spare, but still wish to enjoy this gorgeous spot, then head here on a full day outing. You’re bound to find plenty of stuff to see and do.
Swim & SunbatheVisit Hong Kong in the warmer months (from March to November) and you’ll find professional lifeguards on duty at the beach every day. When heat rises and humidity soars, this is by far one of the most pleasant spots in which to find some reprieve. The waters are indeed quite shallow, making Repulse Bay particularly popular with both tourists and local families, who take full advantage of the free BBQ facilities to make a whole day out of the excursion.
The beach has been artificially widened and although the water is not Caribbean-turquoise, it is still, nonetheless, the cleanest in Hong Kong. Due to its southern position, it is protected from the ‘Made in China’ pollution which affects every other beach in town. Facilities abound with changing rooms, showers and plenty of tree-shade for (almost) everyone. There are several food kiosks as well as volleyball courts which attract teenagers almost every afternoon. Head here on a Sunday however, and finding a quiet nook in which to lay and read a book may be somewhat challenging. The beauty and convenience, as always, comes at a price.
ShopYou’ll never be too far from a shopping mall no matter where you go in Hong Kong, and that certainly holds true in Repulse Bay. The Repulse bay Shopping Center is a medium-sized complex which has been built on the site of the old Repulse Bay Hotel. Here you’ll find plenty of retail therapy outlets, as well as trendy cafés and a couple of beauty salons as well.
SightseeingThere are a few places worth checking out in Repulse Bay, and we don’t just mean salivating at the stunning homes and apartment blocks which dot the promontory!
Believers and laymen alike flock to the shrines on the eastern end of the bay, which depict Tin Hau and Kwun Yu], two Taoist gods who are fervently worshiped by local fishermen. The colorful and intricately carved temple stands in beautiful contrast to the shining, brand new apartments in the background. Make sure you cross the small bridge in the heart of the temple, as legend has it your life will be extended by three days for every crossing you make.
While at the beach, don’t forget to look out for the ‘house with a hole’, a wave-shaped apartment block with a big, gaping hole right in the middle of it. In accordance with feng shui, buildings which are in direct line between mountains and the coast must provide easy flow for dragons. Hence the hole.
The lifeguard clubhouse is also worthy of a visit thanks to its very charming decor.
Enjoy a SundownerAround the south-eastern corner of Repulse Bay is where you’ll find Stanley, Hong Kong a small seaside suburb popular with expats and tourists alike. Its shores are brimming with arty boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, making it the ideal sundowner spot after a full day in the sun. To get there, simply head up to the bus stop and hop on minibus 40 for the short but very scenic ride to Stanley.
How to Get ThereThere are several buses which head to Repulse Bay from Central. From Exchange Square you can jump on the 66, 6 and 6A, or catch the 260 from Star ferry Pier. You can also take the number 40 minibus which passes through Causeway Bay .
- Ocean Park
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Jan 27, 2015