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Kowloon (/ˌkˈln/; Chinese: 九龍; Cantonese Yale: Gáulùhng) is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait to the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island to the west, a mountain range, including Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock to the north, and Victoria Harbour to the south. With a population of 2,019,533 (2 million) and a population density of 43,033/km2 in 2006, it is the most populous urban area in Hong Kong. The peninsula's area is approximately 47 km2 (18 sq mi).


Kowloon as viewed from Hong Kong Island
Kowloon as viewed from Hong Kong Island
Dragon City
Location within Hong Kong
Location within Hong Kong
 • Land67 km2 (26 sq mi)
 • Total2,108,419 (2.1 million)
 • Density43,033/km2 (111,450/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)
Traditional Chinese九龍
Simplified Chinese九龙
Literal meaning"Nine Dragons"



Kowloon c. 1868, depicting the Qing-era Kowloon Walled City and Lion Rock (in the background)
Map of Kowloon in 1915
Hong Kong's old airport, Kai Tak, was located in Kowloon.

The name Kowloon stems from the term nine dragons, alluding to eight mountains and a Chinese emperor: Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate's Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow's Nest and Emperor Bing of Song.[1] The part of Kowloon south of Boundary Street, together with Stonecutters Island, was ceded by Qing China to the United Kingdom under the Convention of Peking of 1860. For many years the area remained largely undeveloped, used by the British mainly for tiger-hunting expeditions.[2] The part of Kowloon north of Boundary Street (New Kowloon) was leased by the British as part of the New Territories under the 1898 Second Convention of Peking for 99 years. Within New Kowloon is Kowloon City, an area of Hong Kong where the Kowloon Walled City used to be located. The Kowloon Walled City itself was demolished in 1993. The same area was called Guanfuchang (官富場) during the Song dynasty (960–1279). "New Kowloon" has remained part of the New Territories.

Statutorily, "Kowloon" is only the area south of Boundary Street and Stonecutters Island, but in common use, New Kowloon is not regarded as part of the New Territories but as an integral part of the Kowloon urban area whether north or south of Boundary Street.

Large-scale development of Kowloon began in the early-20th century, with the construction of the Kowloon-Canton Railway and the Kowloon Wharf, but because of Kowloon's close proximity to Kai Tak Airport, building construction was limited by flight paths. As a result, compared to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon has a much lower skyline.[1] After World War II, Kowloon became extremely congested when slums for refugees from the newly established China gave way to public housing estates, mixed with private residential, commercial and industrial areas.

The area of reclaimed land known as West Kowloon was once home to a dockyard for the Royal Navy.

One of the many tunnels that link Kowloon with Hong Kong island.

A 13-foot high stone wall was built in 1847 around Kowloon. The 1911 census recorded a population of 7,306, with most being Hakka.[3] The invasion of China by Japan in 1937 caused the population of Kowloon to explode. Between 1937 and 1939, 750,000 refugees arrived in Kowloon and nearby areas, with many being homeless.[4]


As of 2011, 2,108,419 people lived in Kowloon.[5]

94.2% of Kowloon's residents are of Cantonese ethnicity. The largest ethnic minority groups are Indonesians (1.8%), Filipinos (1.5%), Indians (0.5%), Nepalese (0.4%), and Whites (0.3%).[5] 86% of Kowloon's residents use Cantonese as their usual language, while 2.3% use English and 1.2% use Mandarin.[5]




Kowloon Peninsula panorama


  1. ^ a b Fallon, Steve. (2006) Hong Kong and Macau. Lonely Planet Publishing. ISBN 981-258-246-0
  2. ^ 10,000 Chinese Numbers. p. 207. ISBN 9780557006212. Archived from the original on 23 August 2016.
  3. ^ James Hayes, The Hong Kong Region 1850–1911. Hong Kong, 2012.[ISBN missing]
  4. ^ "Hong Kong 2003 – History". Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c District Profiles, Hong Kong Census, 2011, archived from the original on 27 September 2013, retrieved 27 September 2013

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Coordinates: 22°19′N 114°11′E / 22.317°N 114.183°E / 22.317; 114.183