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Sha Tin

Sha Tin

Rural Rambles

“Sha Tin is a cultural blend that’s divided by one road: one side is the developed new town, while the other side is still an old rural village—it seems like they’ve been separated by 200 hundred years!” explains local author Wai Yin.

Located in the easterly New Territories, Sha Tin has grown from a large piece of farm land—that was popular with migrating groups from mainland China—into a new town that boasts one of the city’s largest populations. As such if you visit the district today you’ll be able to spot a real cultural mix: from 19th century walled villages and Chinese traditional temples to modern, spacious parks.

Tsang Tai Uk

Some of the earliest immigrants to Sha Tin from the mainland were the Hakka people, who started to build walled villages upon their arrival to protect them from rival clans. You can still see some of these villages remaining: Tsang Tai Uk was built in the 19th century by the Hakka Tsang clan and is one of the biggest structures still standing. It totals more than 6,000 square feet and features the typical central courtyard and ancestral hall—so you can get the full picture of Hakka culture. Similarly built by a wave of migrants from Guangdong, the “Old House” is a remnant of the historical Wong Uk Village, a trading station for merchants that was built in the 1800s. This two-story structure was built out of green brick, boasting beautiful wall paintings and traditional interior decoration.

To view an enduring example of Chinese folk tradition, pay a visit to Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai, a temple that was built at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), to honor China’s great “General Che” or “Che Kung.” The temple connected different clans and villages, maintaining the communication and stability of the “nine unions” (nine small districts) of Sha Tin. Besides worshipping Che Kung, it was believed that turning the copper windmill would bring good luck! For more details on the town’s cultural traditions, step into The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. This leading authority will guide you through over 6,000 years of history—and the New Territories Heritage Hall in particular will help you get better understanding of the cultural transformation of Sha Tin through a series of different exhibits and artefacts.

interviewee - Mr. Yin

Up until even 40 years ago, Sha Tin was still chiefly rural with a population of only 30,000, the majority of whom could trace their heritage back to China. Local author Wai Yin is an authority on Sha Tin, having witnessed the region’s transformation: “In the past, Sha Tin was a rural village with pieces of large farm land facing the sea, with the hills in the background for good feng shui. Then it gradually developed other facilities such as railways and malls, turning into a new town in 1973. Sha Tin is a cultural blend that’s divided by one road: one side is the developed new town, while the other side is still an old rural village—it seems like they’ve been separated by 200 hundred years!” Does Mr. Yin have any advice for visiting the area? “When you come to Sha Tin, you can’t miss three things: pigeon, chicken congee and tofu fa,” he laughs. “Take a look at the temples here too, where you can also find the blending of culture and tradition.”

Lung Wah Hotel

Sha Tin is renowned for its pigeon, in part thanks to the area’s iconic venue, the Lung Wah Hotel. Built in the 1930s as a house by the Chung family from Guangdong, it was transformed into a hotel in 1951 and has even attracted celebrities such as Bruce Lee over the years. Lung Wah prides itself on its roasted pigeon—employing a dedicated pigeon chef who has the recipe tailored to perfection. But if you’re after a taste of old Hong Kong dishes, seek out Chan Kun Kee: this dai pai dong on a public housing estate in Sha Tin acts as a real hub for the community’s residents and serves up creative homely dishes from Guangdong. While you’re here be sure to try the wasabi hand-torn chicken, salt and pepper cuttlefish, and glutinous rice with eel.

Besides the traditional Chinese cultural elements on offer, Sha Tin has lots of beautiful natural resources for recreation. It’s worth adding the Shing Mun River to your itinerary—a wide waterway that gives incredible night views of the district. It’s also where you’ll find Hongkongers out cycling and running, plus during the annual Dragon Boat Festival, you can watch the exhilarating dragon boats races from here too. Right next door sits Sha Tin Park, a garden with traditionally styled Chinese archways, gardens and fish ponds.

Shiny Forest

If you’re inspired by this natural environment and want to create something for your skin, look to local brand concept Shiny Forest which provides workshops so you can build your own skincare and handcrafted soap. The classrooms and instructors allow you to tailor your own 100 percent natural skincare products made from plant oil or wax—so you can take home an organic souvenir which will also do you some good.

For a tour of the New Territories, a vast, intriguing area with ancient villages, temples and pristine countryside, offering a glimpse of rural Hong Kong in its earliest days, check out the New Territories Cultural Tour.

 

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin
    Make some temple time
    Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin
    To view an enduring example of Chinese folk tradition, pay a visit to Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai, a temple that was built at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), to honor China’s great “General Che” or “Che Kung.” The temple connected different clans and villages, maintaining the communication and stability of the “nine unions” (nine small districts) of Sha Tin. Besides worshipping Che Kung, it was believed that turning the copper windmill would bring good luck!
    Address:
    Che Kung Miu Road, Tai Wai, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2697 2660
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Che Kung Temple Station Exit B, follow the signs and walk for around 10 minutes.
  • Tsang Tai Uk
    Explore a village
    Tsang Tai Uk
    You can still see some of the ancient walled villages, built by the Hakka people, in Sha Tin. Tsang Tai Uk was built in the 19th century by the Hakka Tsang clan and is one of the biggest structures that’s still standing. It totals more than 6,000 square feet and features the typical central courtyard and ancestral hall—so you can get the full picture of Hakka culture.
    Address:
    Sha Kok Street, Sha Tin, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Che Kung Temple Station, Exit F. Walk along Tai Chung Kiu Road, and you will see Tsang Tai Uk on your right. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
  • The Hong Kong Heritage Museum
    Learn some history
    The Hong Kong Heritage Museum
    For more details on Sha Tin’s cultural traditions, step into The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. This leading authority will guide you through over 6,000 years of history—and the New Territories Heritage Hall in particular will help you get better understanding of the cultural transformation of Sha Tin through a series of different exhibits and artefacts. You’ll also find exhibits on Cantonese opera and Chinese art.
    Address:
    1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2180 8188
    How to Get There:
    MTR Che Kung Temple Station Exit A. Walk for approximately five minutes along the footbridge until you reach the museum.
  • Shing Mun River
    Take a river walk
    Shing Mun River
    It’s worth adding the Shing Mun River to your itinerary—a wide waterway that gives incredible night views of the district. It’s also where you’ll find Hongkongers out cycling and running, plus during the annual Dragon Boat Festival, you can watch the exhilarating dragon boats races from here too. Right next door sits Sha Tin Park, a garden with traditionally styled Chinese archways, gardens and fish ponds.
    Address:
    2 Yuen Wo Road, Sha Tin, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sha Tin Station, Exit A1. Walk along Sha Tin Centre Street, through New Town Plaza Phase 1 to Sha Tin Town Hall. The river is behind the Town Hall. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
Afternoon
  • Lung Wah Hotel
    Dine on pigeon
    Lung Wah Hotel
    Sha Tin is renowned for its pigeon, in part thanks to the area’s iconic venue, the Lung Wah Hotel. Built in the 1930s as a house by the Chung family from Guangdong, it was transformed into a hotel in 1951 and has even attracted celebrities such as Bruce Lee over the years. Lung Wah prides itself on its roasted pigeon—employing a dedicated pigeon chef who has the recipe tailored to perfection.
    Address:
    22 Ha Wo Che Village, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2691 1594
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sha Tin Station, Exit A1. Follow the footpath to Pai Tau Street and walk straight ahead until you see the sign for the Lung Wah Hotel on the left. It’s about a 15-minute walk.
  • Old House at Wong Uk Village
    Go house hunting
    Old House at Wong Uk Village
    Built by a wave of migrants from Guangdong, the “Old House” is a remnant of the historical Wong Uk Village, a trading station for merchants that was built in the 1800s. This two-story structure was built out of green brick, boasting beautiful wall paintings and traditional interior decoration. This lovely old building became a declared monument in 1989.
    Address:
    Wong Uk, Yuen Chau Kok, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sha Tin Wai Station, Exit D. Turn left on Yat Tai Street and left onto Shui Chuen Au Street. Cross Sha Kok Street and continue right until Kong Pui Street. Follow the road until you reach Yuen Chau Kok Road. The house is on your right. It’s about a 12-minute walk.
Evening
  • Chan Kun Kee
    Try a classic bite
    Chan Kun Kee
    If you’re after a taste of old Hong Kong dishes, seek out Chan Kun Kee: this dai pai dong on a public housing estate in Sha Tin acts as a real hub for the community’s residents and serves up creative, homely dishes from Guangdong. While you’re here be sure to try the wasabi hand-torn chicken, salt and pepper cuttlefish, and glutinous rice with eel
    Address:
    3-5 Wo Che Estate Market, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2606 1390
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sha Tin Station, Exit A2. Take minibus 60K to Wo Che Estate stop, turn left and you will find Wo Che Estate Market. It’s about a 20-minute journey.
Others
  • Shiny Forest
    D.I.Y your own skincare
    Shiny Forest
    If you’re inspired by this natural environment and create something for your skin, look to local brand concept Shiny Forest which provides workshops so you can build your own skincare and handcrafted soap. The four classrooms and expert instructors allow you to tailor your own 100 percent natural skincare products made from plant oil or wax—so you can take home an organic souvenir which will also do you some good. Reservations necessary.
    Address:
    Unit 24-28, 5/F, Topsail Plaza, 11 On Sum Street, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2686 8023
    How to Get There:
    MTR Shek Mun Station, Exit D. Walk left along On Ming Street and turn left into On Yiu Street. Make a right on On Sum Street. It’s about an 8 minute-walk.

Map

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This guide was produced by HK Magazine Media Group from 2014-2015.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

Information in this guide is subject to changes without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and HK Magazine accept no responsibility for any obsolescence, errors or omissions contained herein.

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