Discovering the bay…
Discovery Bay is often seen as a place people go for day trips, hiking excursions, or when they decide to start a family, but there is much more than meets the eye! The backdrop of sea, beach, and mountains offer picture perfect views, no matter where you choose to lay your hat. From sailing and kayaking to handcraft markets and beachside adventures, there is something for every member of the family. We’ve put together your ultimate family neighbourhood guide, covering everything from where to eat and to where to get your nails done, to where to enrol the kiddos for classes. Click the handy links below to find the details you’re looking for!
Food and Drink
Though the dining choices in Discovery Bay are not quite as extensive as Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, it is a great way to escape the city. Plus, the al fresco dining adds an almost Mediterranean atmosphere.
Restaurant and Bars
Frequented by families in the day, and couples in the evening, the menu has all the favourites plus a few surprise options. Try the pineapple beef curry for something a bit different, or opt for one of the soup favourites. The outside seating is perfect for balmy evenings – but in demand so make sure you book in advance.
Hugely popular because of its vast space and waterside location. Zak’s is the largest restaurant of Lantau’s oceanfront culinary hub. Complete with a bright, spacious outdoor terrace and alfresco atmosphere.
This spacious Spanish restaurant is ideally located just a minute or so from the ferry pier. With great paella, steaks and roast chicken, plus lots of space if you are bringing the smalls, it’s best for lunching with a big group of friends and family.
22 Degrees North
Though it’s on the pricey side, this place offers top quality dishes. The daily fresh produce is prepared with absolute dedication, offering a fine flavour of French classics.
Always popular for screened sporting events, this place is busiest at the weekends and often visited by DB’s locals. Well-known for its kids menu, spacious al fresco dining terrace, and the weekly Wednesday Indian buffet.
One thing is for sure, DB bakers are phenomenal. There’s a huge list of options, which is helpful because the sheer number of kids in the area means that there are birthday parties ALL the time.
A staple for children’s parties, offering cute designs, personalisation options and plenty of our favourite flavours to choose from. We love the decadent Disney one, featuring Elsa and Ana themselves!
The grand dame of cakery in DB, Stella’s creations are available everywhere from Bookazine to Epicland, but if you plan ahead you can also secure her for your family’s special events. Give her a theme, or even a vague idea and she can transform it into a piece of art that appeals to kids and adults alike. Her cupcakes are beautifully crafted with toppers and buttercream so perfect you’ll (almost) be hesitant to eat it.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the scale of the Fusion and Wellcome supermarkets (located in the South and North Plaza, respectively), but if you’re feeling like some things are overpriced and over-packaged, opt for the smaller stores or delivery services.
Purveyors of all things clean, green, and lean, this chain’s DB store is packed with a broad selection of gluten free and organic produce. The coconut yogurt is ideal for those wanting an alternative to dairy, and for veggies wanting a bit more from their meals, there are great options from Beyond Meat and Quorn. There’s plenty for those following the Paleo diet to stock up on too!
Run by Cecile Trentini, this online supermarket delivers beyond DB, but is a favourite with locals keen on organic and ethical living. From palm oil free chocolate spread, to chemical free detergents, it offers a range of eco-friendly options and a host of French classics. There are also baby products and cookbooks if you want a greener household overall. Prices are reasonable – comparable to iHerb, without the stress or shipping. Oh, and the sauerkraut is incredible!
If you want fresh, local, organic fruit and vegetables from a place you can trust – look no further. The weekly seasonal boxes are perfect for busy homes, and provide some real gems (encouraging a bit of kitchen creativity).
Whether it is 100% grass fed beef and lamb from Australia or fresh salmon from Tasmania, these experts know their produce. The focus is on providing quality products from reliable sources. This family business knows precisely what families need. Perfect.
Hair and Beauty
While Watsons in the South Plaza and Wellcome in the North Plaza have the basics, there are plenty of homegrown businesses in DB that have good quality products at affordable prices. Plus, these often offer handpicked or handmade options by people who are really passionate about what they do.
Spa and Nails
This bright little salon is a hidden gem in the North Plaza, opening out onto sea views. It’s a relaxing, wallet-friendly place to get a mani pedi – and, since they only offer two spots at a time, the whole experience is intimate and enjoyable. There’s a steady flow of tea and snacks, and it’s possible to bring your laptop and do some work while you have your feet done. The cosy treatment rooms offer massages and facials, and the Bodywork Mum package is highly recommended. The salon offers a range of deals for hair removal, ear-candling and reflexology treatments, making it an ideal place to escape for a few hours of mama-only time.
Tung Chung Nail Ninjas
Nothing like getting beautified whilst sitting on your own sofa. If you need a home visit then the girls from Tung Chung Nail Ninjas are an affordable option.
Their are salons in both plazas – Afflatus in the North, and Salon de Coiffeur in the South but many in DB prefer to put their faith in individual artists.
This gorgeous Brit can transform you in a matter of minutes. In fact she can do a daytime natural look that transforms tired mamas into beauties in just 10 minutes! She built up her career in the UK working for everyone from models to musical theatre stars, and knows the best products for different skin types. You can sign up for a makeover session, event make-up or book in for a masterclass. With prices starting from $300, she is one of DB’s best kept secrets, and hugely in demand. www.instagram.com/jomakeupartist
Robert Taylor Hair
This British hair stylist and colourist has more than twenty years experience. He works with one client at a time and you’ll feel thoroughly looked after. Well-versed in the latest products and techniques, he also has a salon in High Street, Sai Ying Pun, which is convenient for those who work on HK island but live in DB. Refreshingly honest, he’ll help guide you away from hair disasters.
Fashion and Lifestyle
This gorgeous little firm brings the best of Thai jewellery to Discovery Bay. Think elegant earrings and bold necklaces. Prices are incredibly reasonable and you can take a moment to explore collections by appointment.
A much loved chain, the DB branch has a great range of books, stationary and gifts, and even has a cosy corner for kids to to wait while your browse the latest bestsellers.
From hippy kaftans to ornate photo frames, this store has a host of treats from across South East Asia. It’s worth rummaging through the rails as the store is packed to the rafters with trinkets.
Shop 119-120A, DB Plaza, Discovery Bay, 2987 8460 (website currently unavailable)
Conveniently located in the South Plaza, this spot loved by older children. Featuring a tuck-shop full of exciting sweets, blocks, trucks, wooden toys, and a giant Thomas the Tank Engine display.
A gorgeous store in the North Plaza for all things for the smaller members of the family. You’ll find everything from prams and scooters to sippy-cups and cuddly toys.
Health and Wellness
The team here are excellent with children – even the fearful younger ones. If you’re one to worry about trips to the dentists, this is the place to visit to soothe your anxiety.
Avon in DB
Run by the tireless Renu Malani, Avon in DB brings much-loved British brand to the doors of Lantau (and across Hong Kong). For locals in DB, it’s super convenient to pick up your stash of goodies. Renu stocks all the best-sellers and is hugely knowledgeable on what works for different skin types. If you or your family are prone to bug bites, she sells the Skin So Soft Dry Oil Spray, which magically keeps midges and mosquitoes (real pests in DB) away. The charming, thoughtful and responsive customer service is an additional bonus!
DB Health & Beauty
Microbiologist, Joanne Li, set up a firm to offer an alternative to those searching for chemical-free household and beauty products. Fed up with the high prices, she decided to create her own versions of them. Bestsellers include her Mold Cleaner/Mold Prevention spray, which uses essential oils, herbs and spices, as well as the all-natural Sunscreen and Insect Repellant. DB Health & Beauty has also recently launched a beauty line, suitable for the delicate skin of tweens and young teens because the products are made with ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, and arrowroot powder.
Sport and Leisure
Club Siena and the Discovery Bay Recreational Club are hives of activity. The former boasts an enormous outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a kids water play park and a toddler pool, as well as an indoor pool. The latter, which is just a few minutes walk from the ferry, has plenty of tennis courts and a couple of outdoor pools to suit lane swimmers and also for children learning to love the water. The venues offer every type of class imaginable (for an additional charge), with options to suit most schedules. There are also plenty of smaller package options if you don’t want to commit to the monthly fees and vast deposit.
Classes for Adults
The Beat is less than a year old but already the most popular spot for adult dance and fitness. Always at the forefront of innovation, it offers Piloxing and Fatburn Extreme sessions, as well as more traditional yoga and pilates classes. Run by two champion ballroom dancers, they also teach latin, bellydance, and hip hop. With an easy app-based booking system, and great discounts for block purchases, they’ve really thought of everything.
These experts claim that a 20-minute training session is equivalent to around 5 hours of gym time. Trainers use Electro Muscle Stimulation training to work on multiple groups, or they can focus on problem areas and target deeper muscles. The medically-approved machines stimulate the body using electrical currents which cause the muscles to contract. The technology has been used by those undergoing physiotherapy, and professional athletes alike.
This studio is hugely popular for yoga and pilates, and it also offer a strong range of options for kids and is loved by mamas for its pre and post natal options. They have a $75 special deal for the first class and also have a good range of early morning options for those that have to get to the office.
The Hit Room
This high-octane approach combines weight-based resistance training helps build strength and burn calories. The group classes and personal trainers work to get the best out of you.
This gorgeous studio has a real passion for the discipline – in all its forms. Lessons here feel more like a lifestyle choice, with special retreats held in other parts of Asia, and the website opening up discussion on every aspect of clean living.
From the engaging dragon boat team to adult rugby, netball, and football, DB Pirates offer plenty to keep you active here. Make sure to check out the social and beach events too!
Discovery Bay Yacht Club is great if you’re interested in sailing in regattas and races. Whilst the Lantau Boat Club offers non-powered water sports, specifically sailing (catamarans and dinghies), paddling (outrigger canoes, surfskis, kayaks), and coastal rowing (singles, pairs, quads).
d.Be Fit and Kip Movin offer options for those keen to run in a group or wanting to improve their times or range. Both also have options for children. There is also a Monday night 5km run club open to every one.
Based in South Lantau, Melanie is an excellent choice for those that want to have a shoot that explores the island’s wilder side or quieter beaches. Her street, family, and maternity shoots make her a firm favourite.
High Jump Photography: Claire Fraser
The go-to-girl for DBers in the know – and the official photographer for school photos and student portraits. Claire has built up more than two decades of experience, tackling everything from newspaper photography, high-class fashion events and family portraits. As a mother of two, she specialises in photoshoots of family, maternity and newborn shots, and is brilliant at teasing out a smile from camera-shy kids.
Read more: The Sassy Mama guide to Hong Kong’s best family photographers
Planning on moving? Discovery Bay is a resort town made up of lots of little “villages”, offering a range of properties – from simple studios at the plaza, to grand houses on the beach and on the headland. Some have pools, almost all have their own playgrounds, and all are served by dedicated buses. Budget will be the largest factor on where you can live – but there are two beds available for under $20,000 and luxury houses in excess of $100,000. Plus there’s even the option of living on a houseboat at the marina! Whilst the regular buses mean it’s easy to get around, if you need to get the ferry to Hong Kong island regularly it’s best to live closer to the terminal.
Options and Activities for Children
The two main schools in the area are Discovery Bay International School, which accepts children from kindergarten and up, and Discovery College, which takes them from Year 1. There are a few schools for the under 5s (plus plenty of playgroups, see below) including Bayview House of Children, Sunshine House, Discovery Bay Montessori School, and Discovery Mind Kindergarten.
The DB arm of Miss Darit’s playgroup is held at Epicland, and kids get a free hour to explore the indoor entertainment centre after each session. The classes feature messy play, free play, song and dance, as well as arts and crafts.
Tree of Joy
Tree of Joy offers tots everything from cooking classes to arts and crafts. There are kids-only nursery classes for the over-2s and the over-3s, or Pumpkin Seed Classes for younger kids, which parents or helpers can attend.
Full of light and beautifully put together, this adorable new playgroup has already become a favourite for local families. It offers options for children aged 1-3.5 with both accompanied or unaccompanied and is a big hit with the little ones.
Activities for Kids under 4 years old
Little Bubs Music Class
The popularity of Miss Amanda’s classes is proof of her success. As an experienced teacher in the UK and HK, with a Masters in Early Childhood Education, she began the music group after the birth of her first child. She explains: “Music fosters all aspects of child development, including language, literacy development, pattern recognition skills, as well as social and emotional growth.” Her sessions are the only ones of their kind for younger kids in DB.
If you have a toddler who is a bundle of energy, RugbyTots is the perfect way to get them to let off steam, whilst improving hand-eye coordination and encouraging teamwork skills. Plus its held directly on the beach – a much needed option for Hong Kong children to get some fresh air.
Miss Melissa runs this brilliant programme held at DB’s Siena Club. There’s lots of sensory and physical play, plus an array of activities to stimulate different areas of development. Kids love the slide, obstacle course and ball pit, as well as the chance for a bit of messy play.
Activities for Kids Aged 4 to 16
If you’re keen on the littles learning Mandarin, this is the spot in DB. This cute little school in the North Plaza has options for aged 2 and above. Familiar topics such as family, food, shopping and sports provide the basis for learning at this young age, with classroom based activities reinforcing the new language.
DMR School of Ballet
This dance school takes children from aged 3 to 20 – with classes for ballet, modern, tap and jazz. Many of these classes are based on the RAD or ISTD syllabi and others are more loosely based on creative dance methods such as Dalcroze or musical theatre repertoires.
This great little group encourages kids to explore science through experiments and all their senses. Run by Joanne Li, the talent behind DB Health & Beauty, youngsters are encouraged to learn about the world around them with safe materials and a sense of adventure.
This gymnastics camp offers classes for kids aged 3 to 14. There’s an array of classes for different skill levels, and the beginner classes motivate new starters by incorporating games, arts and crafts.
The aim here is for children to play and socialise with friends while learning fundamentals of engineering and architecture in a noncompetitive setting. Whilst all little ones know how to play with Lego, a little coaching means they can use the bricks to help them understand a little about engineering, architecture, physics and maths.