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About an hour away from buzzing Kowloon is a Western-style, pastel-looking suburbia named Fairview Park. A picture-perfect small town that would not feel out of place in North America, this quaint little suburb seems out of place in Hong Kong. The estate is home to about 15,000 Hongkongers living the suburban dream in our crammed concrete jungle.
Seen from above, Fairview Park looks like a well-planned geometrical city and is different from similar places like Discovery Bay and other luxury estates dotted around the city—an urban oasis targeted towards the local middle class. Join us as we take you through the history, evolution, and offerings of Fairview Park, Hong Kong’s very own suburbia.
The Fairview Park estate was built on a rocky start, causing controversy before and during its development due to ecological concerns. In fact, its initial application for construction in 1971 was rejected. Located on fishing and agricultural land, there were concerns regarding the effects of the estate on crop harvest as well the danger posed to migrating birds.
Another concern related to the size of the project and the existing poor infrastructure of the location in rural New Territories, which, at the time, had seen little urban development. As most of Fairview Park’s proposed residents would work closer to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, there were questions about transportation, with only a few narrow roads that could take people over the mountain to the Kowloon side in the 1970s.
Despite these obstacles, the project was launched in 1976, with over 5,000 houses to be built. It was one of the first housing projects in Hong Kong that used pre-manufactured components to cut costs and increase efficiency in construction. At the time, people were sceptical of the use of these components, but today, most public housing estates in Hong Kong have adopted the technique. At the time of the project launch, a two-storey, three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Fairview Park was listed for about $120,000, but in just a few years, the price increased exponentially to $550,000, proving the popularity of these houses amongst middle-class families and their confidence in the project.
Architect and developer Clifford Wong, who grew up in Hong Kong and studied in Canada, envisioned creating an alternative community that would foster personal space, togetherness, and outdoor areas for people who would normally live in densely populated high-rise buildings. As the estate was in a rural area at the time it was built, a shopping mall was also constructed to give residents a place to acquire living necessities without needing to travel far. The mall is in the middle of the estate, together with the largest artificial lake in Hong Kong, a town square, and a club for sports activities.
Wong’s way of creating a community and meeting place for the residents was to locate these things in the centre of the estate. Here, children could play together, residents could visit weekend markets, and enjoy open space. To make the community even better, schools were also built in the estate to make education easily accessible.
There are different types of houses in the estate, ranging in size and style. From 79 to 157 square metres, each house has a front and back garden and are easily recognised by their pitched roofs. Overall, they take on the look of American detached houses in suburban areas, as architect Clifford Wong took inspiration from the time he spent studying abroad. All the houses are ordered along the roads in concentric circles with the town centre in the middle, and painted in specific colours to keep a consistent style throughout the estate.
The town centre was refurbished in 2018 and now looks very different to the original that was built in the 1970s. Wall murals were added to create a fresh appearance and to add more colour to the town centre. New retail businesses were added too.
Several shuttle buses and minibuses head to Fairview Park.
The shuttle buses go from Fairview Park to Central, Hung Hom, Tsing Yi, Yuen Long, and Tsuen Wan. However, shuttle buses from Fairview Park operate mostly in the morning and those leaving for Fairview Park start operating mostly in the afternoon or evening. These services are also reduced in frequency during weekends and holidays.
To get to Fairview Park via MTR, take the Tuen Ma line and get off at Yuen Long Station. From there, take minibus 36 to Fairview Park, which runs every 10 to 15 minutes depending on the time of the day. Another option is to take minibus 76, but the closest alighting stop for this route will require a longer walk to the Fairview Park Town Centre.
It is also possible to drive to the suburb. There are two parking lots connected to the mall: Ginkgo Road Carpark and Lotus Road Carpark, both offering hourly and 24-hour rates.
Despite housing a smaller population than an estate in high-density districts, this suburbia still has many things to offer. Here are things to do on your next trip to Fairview Park.
Right by the lake and the shopping centre is the Fairview Park Country Club. It is one of the largest private clubs in Hong Kong, spanning 140,000 square feet in size. The club has several different offerings, including tennis courts, a fitness room, a swimming pool, a children’s playground and playroom, a basketball court, a badminton court, a golf cage, several indoor sports rooms, and two restaurants.
Fairview Park Country Club, Lotus Road, Fairview Park, Yuen Long
The Fairview Park Town Centre is a gathering point for the residents of the estate, as this is where they shop, eat, and perform other daily activities. If you take a trip to Fairview, this mall will be one of the places to put on your list. Try out some of the restaurants and browse around the different shops. The mall regularly hosts different types of activities and events for the local community, including yoga classes and Christmas markets.
Fairview Park Town Centre, Block G, Town Centre, Fairpark Boulevard, Yuen Long
Even Fairview Park cannot resist the coffee shop trend, so check out this newly opened café next time you visit the estate. Alright Coffee is a minimalistic café with classic beverage options, including coffee and non-coffee drinks like mocha, latte, matcha, hot chocolate, and more. Complete with simple pastries and cakes, this place offers a hassle-free and relaxing environment for visitors and residents.
Alright Coffee, G/F, 14A, Block E, Town Centre, Fairview Park, Yuen Long
Take a stroll around the artificial lake, which is the centrepiece of the estate. The manmade body of water is home to a dozen white and black swans, and they can usually be found lazing around. There is also a tortoise island in the middle of the lake for the animals. During sunset, the lake would be aglow, reflecting the shades of the sky, with a good view of the surrounding mountains—a truly romantic spot for those who need it.