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Sha Tin

Sha Tin
Chinese 沙田
Literal meaning "sandy field"
Lek Yuen
Traditional Chinese 瀝源
Simplified Chinese 沥源
Literal meaning Source of Trickling

Sha Tin, also spelt Shatin, is an area around the Shing Mun River in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of the Sha Tin District.

Geography

Sha Tin is located in a valley, on both sides of the Shing Mun River, running from the southwest to the northeast. It is bordered by Tai Wai in the southwest and by Fo Tan (left bank) and Shek Mun (right bank) in the northeast.

History

Sha Tin New Town under development in the late 1970s.

Tai Wai Village, located in Tai Wai, next to Sha Tin, and the oldest and largest walled village in Sha Tin District, was built in 1574, during the Ming Dynasty.

Before British rule in Hong Kong, the area of Sha Tin and its vicinity was referred to as Lek Yuen (lit. "source of trickling" or "source of clear water"). Colonial officials allegedly mistook the name of the Sha Tin Wai village as the name of the area and it has been used ever since. Nowadays, the original name is used to refer to Lek Yuen Estate.

Sha Tin was formerly a market town at the present location of Sha Tin Centre Street and New Town Plaza shopping centre, near the Sha Tin Station of the MTR East Rail Line.

Sha Tin was the location of the first flight of a powered aircraft in Hong Kong in 1911. The aeroplane was named as the Spirit of Sha Tin (Chinese: 沙田精神號). A full size replica of this plane now hangs in Hong Kong International Airport.

The area was formerly agricultural farmland. Before Sha Tin's development into a new town, Hung Mui Kuk (紅梅谷), southwest of Sha Tin, was perennially the main site for school picnics. The valley remains a popular barbecue site.

Starting in the 1970s, the area became part of the Sha Tin New Town development. Since then, the economy in the area has greatly improved and living standards have also increased. Sha Tin Town Centre was developed during the mid-1980s to help "link the town's currently dispersed residents into one cohesive community."[1] The 18-hectare site, adjacent to the railway station, was built up in stages to house an array of uses including the New Town Plaza, numerous smaller shopping centres, Sha Tin Park, magistracy, library, town hall, marriage registry, hotel, New Town Tower, a town square, and residential towers.

A panorama of Sha Tin taken from Sha Tin Lion Pavilion

Housing

Public housing estates

Private housing estates

Private housing estates in Sha Tin include:

Villages

Right bank of Shing Mun River. From west to east:

Left bank of Shing Mun River. From west to east:

Shopping centres

Sha Tin Plaza in the evening
New Town Plaza after renovation

Places of worship

Health

The Prince of Wales Hospital was officially opened in 1982. It provides about 1,400 hospital beds and 24 hours Accident & Emergency service to the eastern New Territories. Other institutions which provide hospital services include the Sha Tin Hospital, the Cheshire Home and the Union Hospital.

Other facilities

Education

Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, one of the oldest secondary schools in Sha Tin

At present, there are 46 primary and 44 secondary schools in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan.[4] Tertiary institutions include Hong Kong Baptist University (Shek Mun Campus), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Heng Seng School of Commerce, The Institute Of Vocational Education - Sha Tin (IVE-ST) and the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

Culture, sports and recreational facilities

A stall selling snacks at Pai Tau Village, located near New Town Plaza.

There are numerous cultural, recreational and sport facilities in Sha Tin including the Town Hall, swimming pools, football pitches, indoor recreation centres and various track and field facilities for the use of Sha Tin residents.

The 8-hectare Sha Tin Park was opened to public in 1988. Apart from its horticultural gardens and impressive water features, it also includes a large open plaza and a bandstand. The Ma On Shan Park, which is adjacent to Ma On Shan Swimming Pool, occupies 5.5 hectare of land.

The Sha Tin Racecourse, occupying approximately 70 hectares, rests on reclaimed flatland. At the centre of the racecourse is the Penfold Garden which opens to the public on non-racing days.

Located in Tai Wai, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum was opened at the end of 2000. Apart from introducing the art, culture and history of the New Territories, the museum also exhibits a variety of cultural artifacts for public appreciation. The museum, which can accommodate 6,000 visitors, is the largest in the territory.

Cycling has been a distinctive feature in Sha Tin and is very popular among both local people and visitors. The first cycle track in Sha Tin was opened to public in 1981, running along Tolo Highway to Tai Po, and this remains the territory's most popular cycling venue, drawing many occasional riders at the weekends, as well as dedicated cyclists. To tie in with the development of Ma On Shan, the cycle track was extended to Ma On Shan.

Local delicacies

Sha Tin is famous for certain southern Chinese food such as shanshui doufu (Chinese: 山水豆腐; lit. mountain-water beancurd), barbecued pigeon and chicken congee. The cooked food stalls in Wo Che Estate and Fo Tan are hotspots for food.

Transportation

There are numerous transportation links both within the Sha Tin District and connecting it to other places in Hong Kong.

Roads

The road network in Sha Tin is well developed to provide efficient cross-town and local access traffic. Connection between Sha Tin and Kowloon mainly relies on the Lion Rock Tunnel, Tate's Cairn Tunnel, Shing Mun Tunnel and Tai Po Road which makes it easy to reach from many areas of Kowloon as well as from Tsuen Wan.

At present, there are over 110 routes of public bus serving Sha Tin.

Railway

  • The MTR (East Rail Line) is a major means of transportation between Kowloon and Lo Wu via Sha Tin. After the electrification of the Line between 1979 and 1983, the East Rail now carries over 730,000 passengers daily.
  • The Ma On Shan Line opened on 21 December 2004. The 11.4 km long railway has 9 stations linking Ma On Shan and Tai Wai, where it connects with the main East Rail line (terminus). The MTR Maintenance Centre is located in Tai Wai.
  • Sha Tin to Central Link (Traditional Chinese: 沙田至中環線) is a railway project under construction which incorporates an extension to the Ma On Shan Line to Hung Hom via Kai Tak, as well as an extension of the East Rail Line to Central via a new tunnel under the harbour.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Shatin showplace taking shape". Hong Kong Standard. 21 February 1983. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 

External links

  • Shatin Babies Home also called Shatin Children's Home, a Hong Kong orphanage

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