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Uniquely HK

Feature Story

Discover Sha Tin and Beyond

Lede: The most populous district in Hong Kong offers much more than just being the city’s largest bedroom community. CityLife helps you discover its diverse attractions and destinations

For centuries, dating from at least the Ming Dynasty, Sha Tin comprised scattered rural villages that were settled along Shing Mun River which ran through the valley. It became a pass-through market town with the completion of the Kowloon Canton Railway. Sha Tin remained a quiet enclave on the city’s outskirts until the 1960s when the Hong Kong Government began its new town development program to house the city’s burgeoning population. In 1973, Sha Tin New Town was built on reclaimed land from the Tolo Harbour along the Shing Mun River, and it grew rapidly to become one of the largest communities in Hong Kong. 
Today, Sha Tin District is home to over 650,000 residents, the city’s most populous district. Its neighbourhoods include Sha Tin, Tai Wai, Siu Lek Yuen, Fo Tan, Ma Liu Shui, and Ma On Shan – a rapidly growing new town on the edges of Tolo Harbour. 
Sha Tin is not just all residential neighbourhoods. It is home to Sha Tin Racecourse, one the world’s premier horse-racing venues. It houses several universities, headlined by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Ma Liu Shui.  The Prince of Wales Hospital, one of the city’s best research hospitals, is in Siu Lek Yuen. The Hong Kong Science Park, Hong Kong’s technology hub, is in Ma Liu Shui on the Tolo Harbour. 
 
 
Sha Tin is also to a myriad of temples and heritage destinations, including the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. It is a haven for outdoor activities as well. The Shing Mun River offers parks and promenades for walking and relaxing; hiking trails abound in Ma On Shan Country Park which partially falls within the district; and Sha Tin is unquestionably the bicycling hub of the city, with extensive dedicated bicycle trails along the Tolo Harbour and Shing Mun River. 
Sha Tin has also all the urban amenities one would expect - a handful of shopping malls, including  one of the city’s largest; several hotels with full amenities and prefect for staycation; and an increasingly diverse dining haven combining traditional local eats and trendy restaurants and cafes. 
Finally, Sha Tin is easily accessed by MTR and buses, with over 11 MTR stations located in the district. A trip to Sha Tin is convenient and fast. So, why not take advantage of what Sha Tin has to offer and spend a fun and enjoyable day out! 
 
 
 
 
Heritage and Culture
 
 
Hong Kong Heritage Museum: One of the city’s best, this large museum beside the Shing Mun River comprehensively lays out the city’s history, art and culture. The museum houses six permanent exhibition galleries as well as temporary exhibitions, including the highly popular Bruce Lee: Kung Fu-Art-Life exhibition. 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin. Get there: MTR Che Kung Temple Station, Ma On Shan Line.
 
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery: Locate only half a kilometre from Sha Tin MTR Station, the well-frequented monastery is built on a steep hillside, comprising five temples, four pavilions, one veranda and one pagoda, all connected by a steep path consisting of 431 steps. Over 500 life-size Arhans – Buddhist saints – line the way up. There are almost 13,000 Buddha statues housed through the monastery grounds. 221 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin. Sha Tin MTR Station, then walk 500 metres. 
 
 
 
Che Kung Temple: Built in honour of Che Kung, a great general from the Song Dynasty, the Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai is visited by thousands, especially during Chinese New Year. Built at the end of Ming Dynasty and renovated several times since, a giant statue of Che Kung stands in the main hall. A wheel of fortune supposedly brings good luck when the fan blade is turned three times. 7 Che Kung Miu Road, Tai Wai, Sha Tin. Tai Wai MTR Station, Exit B, 10-minute walk.
 
 
Tsang Tai Uk (Big House of the Tsangs): This historic village compound belonging to the Tsang clan was built in 1847 and remains one of the best-preserved walled villages of the Hakka people. The buildings retain the original granite, bricks and solid timber of the interlinked residential houses and ancestral hall, with a large courtyard in front. Tsang Tai Uk. Che Kung Temple MTR Station Exit B and follow the signs.
 
 
 
Parks and Recreation: 
 
Shing Mun River and Sha Tin Park: An expansive riverside promenade traversing most of the 7-km long Shing Mun River, headlined by the expansive Sha Tin Park. The park is a perfect spot for a break from your sightseeing.  The nicely landscaped green space comes with the usual park amenities of gardens, lawns, ponds embellished with traditional archways, and a children playground. 2 Yuen Wo Road, Sha Tin. Sha Tin MTR Station exit A
 
 
New Territories Bicycling Network: Sha Tin/Ma On Shan to Tai Po. Sha Tin is unquestionably the city’s most well-known cycling destination. Dedicated cycling paths connect Sha Tin to Ma On Shan along Shing Mun River, and on to Tai Po Waterfront Park and further down to Tai Mei Tuk.  The ride along the scenic coastline of Tolo Harbour is ideal for the whole family. You can rent bikes from shops in Sha Tin Park or Ma On Sand return at the other end in Tai Po. 
 
 
Ma On Shan Promenade and Wu Kai Sha Pebbles Beach: This 3.2 km promenade on the edge of Tolo Harbour passes by Sha Tin Twin Bridge, a cycling park for kids, and Ma On Shan itself. Besides enjoying the scenic views of Tolo Harbour, visitors can check out Wu Kai Sha Beach off at the end of the promenade for sunset viewing. 
 
 
 
Hiking
 Mui Tsz Lam Tsuen to Ngong Ping, Ma on Shan Country Par: This moderate hike (5.0 km) offers panoramic views of Tolo Harbour and Sai Kung along the way. The destination Ngong Ping is a ridge with a surprising grassy meadow overlooking Ma On Shan town and beyond. The more intrepid hiker can continue further on Maclehose Taril Section 4 to Sai Kung via Pyramid Hill. From Tai Shui Hang MTR Station walk to Mui Tsz Lam Village, then follow Mui Tsz Lam Road to Mui Sze Lam, then Mau Ping Ancient Trail and on to MacLehose Trail Section 4 to Ngong Ping Plateau
 
 
Ma On Shan Country Park to Grace Youth Camp: Another pleasant hike from the entry point to Ma On Shan Country park to Grace Youth Camp, an educational museum. There is an adjacent old mine that is worth checking out. There are pleasant scenic views of Wu Kai Sha along the way. Take NR84 (village bus, infrequent) or walk from Ma On Shan MTR Station to Ma On Tsuen Village along Ma On Tsuen Village Road. 
 
 
Hiking to Amah Rock. The Amah Rock is a 15-metre-high rock in the shape of a woman holding her baby. Legend has it that she waits for her husband who never returned from the sea. It can be reached by an easy hike from Tai Wai and you’ll be rewarded with a good view of Sha Tin. You may want to continue the trail and reach the top of Lion Rock Hill for a panoramic view of Kowloon and Hong Kong beyond. Start from Tai Wai MTR Station, locate the forest trail along Hung Mui Kok Road. 
 
 
 
 
Shopping 
 
New Town Plaza: One of the largest and busiest shopping complexes in Hong Kong, New Town Plaza houses a wide spectrum of brands from luxury retail to electronic appliances to home furniture along with a plethora of cafes and restaurants. On the Podium of Phase 1 is the outdoor playground “Snoopy World”, the first Peanuts outdoor playground in Asia. 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin MTR Station Exit A.
 
MOSTown: The de facto town centre of Ma On Shan is a large and sprawling shopping centre with a large residential development on top. MOSTown offers s smorgasbord of shops ranging from chain outlets to boutique designer shops and a large array of dining outlets – easily reached by MTR and buses.  18 On Lok Street Ma On Shan. 
 
 
 
 
Local Eats  
 
Lung Wah Hotel Restaurant: The post-war built hotel is gone, but the famous restaurant remains. Try out its roast pigeon, chicken congee and tofu. 22 Ha Wo Che Village Sha Tin. Sha Tin MTR Station, walk north for 10 minutes.
 
 
 
Dai Pai Dong at Wo Che Estate Market. The cluster of dai pai dongs (cooked food stalls) in the middle of a public housing estate is a local favourite. Check out Chan Kun Kee, one of the more established, and sample local classics including drunken chicken, crispy tofu rolls and stir-fried clams in black bean sauce. 3 Tak Hau Street, Sha Tin. Fo Tan MTR Station, Exit A. 
 
Chan Kun Kee: This unassuming restaurant is known for its wasabi shredded chicken and marinated Meat Combination, among others; Shop 5, G/F, Kings Wing Plaza 2, Shek Mun
 
Sun Cheong Seafood Restaurant. You can get authentic local favouriets such as oyster cake; salt and Pepper Squid plus more at this well-known restaurant in Tai Wai. 151 Ha Keng Village.
 
Rich Pot: This popular place serves Hong Kong–style Spicy Chicken Pot and Hot Pot, especially welcome in Winter.  Shop 137, Kings Wing Plaza 1, 3 On Kwan Street, Shek Mun, Sha Tin
 

 

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