Discovery Bay is not a tourist attraction. Despite the daredevil Robinson Crusoe name, this is actually a family orientated suburb modeled on US suburbia. It mostly caters to expats looking for a slice of home with trimmed green lawns and white picket fences and wealthy locals looking for more space than Hong Kong Island can offer.
While there are no dedicated tourist attractions in Discovery Bay — although Hong Kong Disneyland is next door — it can be worth a visit, if you want an insight into Hong Kong’s unique multicultural makeup and some downright weirdness.
Discovery Bay has its own dedicated ferry service running up to every 20mins at peak times to Central ferry piers. There are also local ferry services to Peng Chau Island.
What to See in Discovery Bay
Set on Lantau Island, Discovery Bay is a slice of the California suburbs here in Hong Kong. Wholly built by a private developer, nearly 16,000 people live in Discovery Bay — a sizable portion of them expats.
In stark contrast to the smelly, sweaty and crowded streets of Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, Discovery Bay is relatively low rise and spacious. Of course, its critics wonder why move to a vibrant, colorful city like Hong Kong only to retreat to a dull suburb.
Many people come here — for better or worse - simply to live a more western lifestyle, whether that be the backyard greenery and house or the English language neighbors and western restaurants. It’s heaven or hell hole and you’ll hear it called both.
Walking amongst the impeccably kept streets, perfectly trimmed grass and well-lit streets it’s definitely and distinctively very much not Hong Kong.
What to Do
Don’t expect to be dazzled — this is the suburbs after all — and aside from the beach and golf club, there isn’t a great deal to do in Discovery Bay (well unless you can get your hands on one of the zippy golf carts). There are no cars here.
The Plaza: The hub of life in Discovery Bay is the Plaza, where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants
Golf Course: Incorporating an 18 hole course and two 9 hole courses, the Discovery Bay Golf Course welcomes non-members on certain weekdays, although the $1,700 plus green fees aren’t cheap. There is also a swimming pool and tennis court on site and a selection of restaurants.
Beach: Discovery Bay has a 400m long private beach open to residents and visitors alike. Be warned; it can be heaving at weekends, especially in the summer holidays.
Nearby is Hong Kong Disneyland, although it’s easier to reach the theme park by MTR directly from Hong Kong Island.
Where to Eat
One of the most common grumbles from Discovery Bay residents is that they are often held ransom to inflated prices and it’s a grumble that certainly holds true in the restaurants out here. Several are copycat restaurants from Central but their prices are higher here — mostly because the locals can afford to dig a little deeper.
Luckily, most of the dining options outside the exclusive clubs are mid-range and the majority serve western food. This is not the best place to taste the local Cantonese cuisine.
Zaks is kids heaven. This gargantuan restaurant features an indoor nautical-themed playground and an international buffet of comfort food; from fish fingers and burgers for the kids to seafood risotto and lamb chops for the parents. The food is good rather than gourmet.
Mcsorley’s Ale House: An outpost of the SoHo branch which is itself an outpost of the New York branch, McSorleys is a very decent place for a pint — with their own brand ales. They also have some very good pub grub — including excellent burgers — and are a popular place to watch whatever sport is on the TV.
Caramba Mexican Cantina: If you can live with the relative lack of gunpowder in the spice department, Caramba Mexican Cantina does a decent line in fajitas, burritos and other Tex-Mex dishes.