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Sha Tin


Sha Tin (Chinese: 沙田 Pinyin: Shātián, literally "Sandy Farm"), formerly named Lek Yuen (瀝源 Lìyuán "Source of Trickling" or "Source of Clear Water"), is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. It is located in the New Territories and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of over 600,000, including about 27,000 people living in 48 indigenous villages. Tai Wai Village, the oldest and largest walled village in the town, was built in 1574. Sha Tin was the first satellite town, or new town, to be build in the New Territories, on land reclaimed from the sea.

Table of contents
1 New town
2 Non-residential areas
3 Hospital
4 Shing Mun River
5 Transportation
6 Food
7 Local and tourist attractions
8 External links

New town

Covering an area of approximately 60 km² and built mostly on reclaimed land along the banks of the Shing Mun River, Sha Tin is a well developed new town comprising mainly residential areas. In the early 1970s it was a rural township of about 30,000 people. After Sha Tin's first public housing estate, Lek Yuen Estate, was completed in 1976, the settlement began to expand. Today, about 65% of the district's population live in public rental housing, housing under Hong Kong's Tenants Purchase Scheme, or Home Ownership Scheme (HOS). Sha Tin has now become a major new community, including an extenstion at Ma On Shan, of about 640,000 people today. The total development area of Sha Tin and Ma On Shan is about 2,000 hectares.

The Hong Kong government used to showcase Sha Tin as an achievement in building a modern new town. Visiting foreign dignitaries were often invited to tour Sha Tin and its housing estates.

Non-residential areas

In addition to the residential areas, there are four industrial areas for light industries: Tai Wai, Fo Tan, Siu Lek Yuen and Shek Mun.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is also located in Sha Tin. People can get there via the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) East Rail and get off at the University station. A minibus service operates on campus.

Sha Tin is the location for Hong Kong's second racecourse (the first and most famous being in Hong Kong Island's Happy Valley - see Hong Kong Jockey Club), which has a capacity of up to 85,000.

Penfold Park is located inside the racecourse and closed on race days. Penfold Park is best accessed via the Fo Tan KCR Station.


There are four hospitals in Sha Tin.

The Prince of Wales Hospital, one of the epicenters of the 2003 SARS outbreak among health care workers; The Sha Tin Hospital; The Cheshire Home; and The Union Hospital, a private hospital.

Shing Mun River

It is a 7 km long, 200m wide channel running from the Tai Wai area, through the Shatin town centre to the Tolo Harbour. It has three main tributaries, namely Tai Wai Nullah, Fo Tan Nullah and Siu Lek Yuen Nullah. Along the Shing Mun River, are high-rise residential, commercial and industrial buildings with numerous village type developments scattered around.

Although Shing Mun River is primarily designed for the drainage of stormwater from Shatin with a catchment area of 37km2, it is also a popular place for the recreational users such as rowers, riverside walkers and cyclists to have fun and enjoyment.

Shing Mun River had once been heavily polluted from the indiscriminate discharges from livestock, industrial, commercial and domestic sources. The total organic pollution load from these discharges amount to a population equivalent of 160,000 in the 1980s. At that time, there was hardly any living creatures found in the river.

The water quality of Shing Mun River has improved from bad to good in terms of Water Quality Index since 1993. Natural habitat including fishes and invertebrates has also reappeared in the Shing Mun River.

An artificial river bank was built along a 250-metre section near Man Lai Court, where there are relatively severe sediment accumulations and odour problems.


Sha Tin has the largest number of KCR East Rail stations of any district in Hong Kong. It has five stations, namely Tai Wai, Sha Tin, Fo Tan, Racecourse and University.

A network of cycle tracks throughout Sha Tin measures about 50 kilometers long and is the longest cycle track network in Hong Kong.

Increasing population in the town exerts pressure on the transportation. Several construction plans have been launched to cope with the demand. The construction of Route T7 linking Ma On Shan Road to Sai Sha Road has been started on January 2001 and scheduled to complete in 2005. The Route 9 connecting Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon and Sha Tin is scheduled to construct at the end of 2003 and complete at the end of 2007. The construction of the Ma On Shan Railway (11.4 km long) has been commenced in December 2000 and is expected to complete by the end of 2004.


Shatin is famous for its delicous food such as sanshiu tofu (山水豆腐), barbequed pigeon and chicken congee. The cooked food stalls in Wo Che estate and Fo Tan are hotspots for food.

Local and tourist attractions

Local and tourist attractions in Shatin include, most famously, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which is Hong Kong's newest and arguably best museum. The Museum was opened on 16 December 2000 and includes 12 galleries, a cafe and museum shop. Other attractions include:

See also: List of buildings, sites and areas in Hong Kong

External links