The Exotic Lamma Island

南丫島的異國風情

Squarefoot - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY JUSTON LI

南丫島的異國風情

Hong Kong apartments are notoriously small and the cramped living spaces in the metropolitan areas can be particularly hard to adapt to for expats, so some have chosen to trade in urban conveniences for spacious homes, fresh air and beautiful natural surroundings. No wonder, then, that approximately a third of Lamma Island's residents are expats.

Lamma Island is Hong Kong's third largest island after Lantau and Hong Kong Island, and is divided into north and south sections in administration, with the northern Yung Shue Wan being its population centre. Contrary to what you might have imagined, living on outlying islands doesn't mean seclusion. Compared to most outlying islands, Lamma is rather close to Central, being a short 30- to 35-minute ferry ride away. Discovery Bay is slightly closer to Central Piers (25 to 30 minutes on ferry), but its ferry ticket and rent prices are higher than those of Lamma Island. The island has four piers, located at Yung Shue Wan, Sok Kwu Wan (Picnic Bay), Pak Kok Tsuen and Mo Tat Wan, respectively. It currently has three outbound ferry routes: Central to Lamma Island (Yung Shue Wan), Central to Sok Kwu Wan, and Aberdeen to Sok Kwu Wan, each operated by a different company.

Unlike Cheung Chau or Mui Wo, Lamma, with an estimated population of 6,000, has reserved much of its island lifestyle, with no chain stores or restaurants on the island. Most shops are set up on the ground floor of residential buildings, and you'll find a cluster of private restaurants along or near Yung Shue Wan Main Street. The only postal office, fire station and bank branch are also located in Yung Shue Wan. In addition, the island has one library in the north section, and one down south. Safety and police-community relations are good (there are only two police posts on the entire island), and the community is very friendly and welcoming.

來港定居的外籍人士,看到香港的市區居住空間如此狹窄,一定很難適應。與其擠在蝸居生活,倒不如找個偏離市區的地方,房屋面積寬敞一些,環境清靜自然一些。這解釋了為何南丫島若有三分之一居住人口為外籍人士。

南丫島是繼大嶼山和香港島之後的第三大島嶼,鄉事上分為南北兩段,北面的榕樹灣人口較多。但其實,所謂搬到離島生活,絕不是想像般的與世隔絕,南丫島反而是眾多離島中較近中環的一個,船程約30至35分鐘,愉景灣再近中環一些(船程約25至30分鐘),但船票與房租卻較南丫島的貴。

南丫島有四個碼頭,包括榕樹灣、索罟灣、北角村和模達灣,港外線航線目前有中環至南丫島(榕樹灣)航線、中環至南丫島(索罟灣)航線、香港仔至南丫島(索罟灣)航線,分別由不同渡輪公司營運。

Due to their popularity with expats, Lamma properties have continuously risen in price in recent years, with a few transacted sales approaching the price levels of urban areas. Properties close to the Yung Shue Wan Pier are most coveted. The island gets approximately 20 applications annually for building village houses, and it takes around 10 years for an application to be approved. On average, there are seven to eight new village houses built on Lamma every year.

Most available homes on Lamma Island are found in Tai Peng New Village, Ham Tin Kau Tsuen and Po Wah Yuen, with saleable areas starting at 350 square feet, and still a small number of properties selling at below HK$3 million. In terms of rentals, the monthly rent of a 700-square-foot village home typically sits between HK$15,000 and HK$30,000, depending on the location and interior. There are also quite a few village house-converted bed and breakfasts available for rent.

Some may think that apart from its wide variety of dining options, Lamma Island fades in comparison to the metropolitan area in respect of daily necessities and facilities, but let's not forget that convenience and well-developed facilities don't necessarily equate to quality of life. If hectic city living is taking a toll on you and you need an escape, then maybe a serene corner away from the concrete jungle, with lush greenery and fresh air, is just the thing you need. 有別於長洲或梅窩,常住人口約6,000人的南丫島,保留較原整的小島生活,島上至今仍未有連鎖店進駐。商舖大多採用前舖後居的住宅模式,餐廳則集中在榕樹灣大街一帶,而全島唯一一間郵政局、消防局和銀行分行亦在北面的榕樹灣。島上有兩間圖書館,南北段各有一間。當地警民關係融洽,治安良好(整個島只有兩個警崗),社區人情味濃厚。

居住方面,因近年島上房屋備受中外人士歡迎,物業價格持續向上,個別買賣成交逼近市區,當中以鄰近榕樹灣碼頭的物業最受追捧。南丫島每年約有20宗建村屋申請,從申請到批准需時約十年,每年平均新增七至八間村屋。 島上放盤較多集中在大坪新村、鹹田舊村和寶華園,實用面積350平方呎起,尚有小部分樓盤開價低於300萬。租屋方面,月租一個700平方呎的村屋單位約為15,000至30,000元,視乎地段及室內裝修而定。島上亦有不少村屋改建為度假屋民宿出租。

從生活配套角度看,南丫島除了餐廳較多元化外,其他方面都好像被比下去;但事實上,完善的生活配套並不一定帶來生活質素。如果所謂的質素最終危害了身心健康,那我們更應該去想甚麼才是真正的價值。也許,對長期困在石屎森林的我們來說,一口新鮮的空氣,一個清靜的環境,比一切來得更珍貴。

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