Sai Kung District

The Sai Kung District (Chinese: 西貢區) is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. Hong Kong itself is a special administrative region of China. The district comprises the southern half of Sai Kung Peninsula and Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the New Territories plus a strip to the east of Kowloon. It is made up of the Sai Kung Town, Sai Kung rural areas, Tseung Kwan O and over 70 islands of different sizes. The administrative centre is Sai Kung Town but the district's population is concentrated in Tseung Kwan O, as of 2011.[4] As of 2011, the district has the third youngest residents, with median age 39.3.[5] Known as the "back garden of Hong Kong", Sai Kung has been able to retain its natural scenery, and where the Hong Kong Global Geopark is located. Behind the modern buildings, a lot of traditional customs and cultures are still retained in the rural villages.[citation needed]

Sai Kung

Sai Kung District
Day view of Tseung Kwan O in the Sai Kung District
Day view of Tseung Kwan O in the Sai Kung District
Official logo of Sai Kung
Official emblem
Location of Sai Kung District within Hong Kong
Location of Sai Kung District within Hong Kong
Coordinates: 22°22′53″N 114°16′14″E / 22.38143°N 114.27052°E / 22.38143; 114.27052Coordinates: 22°22′53″N 114°16′14″E / 22.38143°N 114.27052°E / 22.38143; 114.27052
CountryPeople's Republic of China
SARsHong Kong
RegionNew Territories
Council Constituencies24
 • Council ChairmanNg Sze-fuk 吳仕福 (DAB)
 • District OfficerDavid Chiu 趙燕驊[1]
 • Land129.64 km2 (50.05 sq mi)
 • Total436,627
 Population data from 2011 census;[2] size of the areas from Table E489 (2018 ed.)[3]
Time zoneUTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)
Sai Kung District
Traditional Chinese西貢區
Simplified Chinese西贡区
JyutpingSai1gung3 Keoi1
Cantonese YaleSāigung Kēui
Hanyu PinyinXīgòng Qū


The modern geopolitical entity of Sai Kung District was formed after World War II. Settlements existed in the area prior to the signing of the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, which ceded the area to the colony of Hong Kong from the Qing Empire in 1898. Those ceded areas are now collectively known as the New Territories and New Kowloon.

According to Professor David Faure, unlike other villages of the New Territories, villages in Sai Kung did not form any yeuk (Chinese: ), a kind of inter-village alliances in the 19th century in the Qing dynasty.[6]:121–127 According to other authors, villages in Sai Kung were placed under Tung Yuek (also known as Tung Hoi Yeuk; Chinese: 東海約; literally: 'East Sea yeuk') after the colonial British government takeover of the administrate structure of the area.[7][8]

After the end of World War II, the New Territories was divided into 8 sub-divisions, one of which was named after Sai Kung.[8] In 1969, the District Administration (a department of the executive branch of the government for the New Territories administration), was sub-divided into 7 district offices, of which one was named after Sai Kung.[8]

The District and its District Council were formally formed in 1982.[8] A year before, the New Territories administration was merged with its Kowloon and Hong Kong Island counterpart, the Home Affairs Department to form the City and New Territories Administration (it was renamed the Home Affairs Department again in 1993), although the Administration had transferred some functions to the Lands Department in 1982. Since 1985, the district officers of the Hong Kong Districts no longer chaired their respective districts councils.[9] In a larger scale of history, due to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, which would hand over the whole colony to the People's Republic of China, the colonial government had made several political reforms on local politics.

A water route from the northern Sai Kung Peninsula to Tai Po existed at least since the Qing dynasty. For this historical and other reasons, the northern portion of the Sai Kung Peninsula belongs to the Tai Po District, but not part of Sai Kung District.

Sai Kung was a local industrial centre before the 1900s. For example, in Sheung Yu (Chinese: 上窰), villagers produced mortar and fertiliser from their own lime kiln.[10] Villages also scattered on the islands of Port Shelter, Rocky Harbour, on Sai Kung Peninsula, on Clear Water Bay Peninsula as well as other land areas of the District.[6] A temple located on High Island (known in Chinese as Leung Shuen Wan), dates back to 1741.[6]

Sai Kung market town was expanded into the local town centre of the district after the 1950s. However, the District's population are now concentrated around the Tseung Kwan O New Town, partially built on reclaimed land in Junk Bay (or known as Tseung Kwan O) in the 1980s.

Population and settlementEdit

Sai Kung District covers approximately 136 square kilometres (53 sq mi) and as of 2006, it had a population of 406,442 in 2006, most of it in Tseung Kwan O.

Sai Kung TownEdit

Sai Kung Tin Hau Temple, Sai Kung

Sai Kung Town is a former fishing village. The designation of the country park areas during the 1970s was a huge boost to the local tourist industry. Sai Kung town underwent significant expansion during the 1970s when the High Island Reservoir and associated water scheme required some villagers and fishermen to be rehoused in Sai Kung. This provided a core of government-funded new development, both housing and commercial, in the town centre. This was followed by the Tui Min Hoi (literal translation 'over the harbour') development under the government's market town programme.

Tseung Kwan OEdit

Tseung Kwan O New Town

In addition to Sai Kung, Tseung Kwan O, a booming new town, is also part of Sai Kung District. Tseung Kwan O connects Sai Kung Peninsula with the Kowloon urban area.

Junk Bay was once a natural bay area in Sai Kung, quite near the famous seafood village of Lei Yue Mun. There once was an iron and steel factory, and the area around Hang Hau Village was famous for the shipyards. In 1997, the Hong Kong Government started a major development project in this area, developing it into the seventh Hong Kong new town. Reclamation has since covered the whole bay area and it is now able to accommodate around 380,000 inhabitants, accounting for 95% of the district's total population. This new town was renamed Tseung Kwan O, its present name.

Tseung Kwan O now includes several high-rise residential estates and an industrial estate. The MTR metro system was extended to Tseung Kwan O, facilitating access to Sai Kung District.


In contrast to the densely populated areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Sai Kung District's heartland is a coastal area characterised by its scenery, small villages and seascapes.[citation needed] The area is known for its pristine beaches and quiet living.[citation needed] In as much as it remains only partly urbanised, Sai Kung is known as the "last back garden" of Hong Kong.

UNESCO Global Geopark & Country ParksEdit

Po Pin Chau, a stack island near the High Island Reservoir East Dam

Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region, Hong Kong UNESCO Global GeoparkEdit

Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region lies in Sharp Island, High Island, the Ninepin Group and the Ung Kong Group (Wang Chau, Basalt Island and Bluff Island), where volcanic rocks, intrusive rocks and world-unique acidic hexagonal volcanic columnar rock joints created by Hong Kong's last large-scale volcanic activity some 16.5 million to 14 million years ago crop out. With a host of volcanic rock coastal landforms, they form a comprehensive showcase of diverse and complex volcanic activities that explain Sai Kung's geological past.

Sai Kung East Country ParkEdit

Sai Kung East Country Park occupies a vast area of east Sai Kung Peninsula. With the High Island Reservoir, High Island, Tai Long Wan, Pak Tam Au, Chek Keng, Sheung Yiu, Wong Shek Pier and the surrounding countryside, the 4,494 hectare protected area consists of the largest number of bays and coves among all country parks in Hong Kong. Part of the Geopark is also located there.

Sai Kung West Country ParkEdit

Sai Kung East Country Park, including the Sai Kung West Country Park (Wan Tsai Extension), occupies a vast area of west Sai Kung Peninsula. Old preserved villages, such as Pak Sha O, Yung Shue O and Lai Chi Chong are the places of interest.

Clear Water Bay Country ParkEdit

Clear Water Bay Country Park occupies the rugged terrain around High Junk Peak in the eastern and the western part of the Clear Water Bay Peninsula. High Junk Peak, one of the four treacherous peaks in Hong Kong, is the no. 1 attraction of the park.


Sai Kung has some of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches in Hong Kong. Here is a list of the beaches in Sai Kung:

Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay), approximately 1.5 hours walk from the nearest road, is one of the few places in Hong Kong where surfing is possible, particularly in the winter months.


A kai-to carrying passengers to the outlying islands off the Sai Kung Peninsula

On summer nights, a lot of people hire small boats known as kaitos or sampan, some to catch cuttle-fish which is a popular pastime for local residents, others for leisurely trips through the island-dotted inland sea of Port Shelter. Popular islands to visit include:

The large island of Kau Sai Chau is the location for a public golf course developed and run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Local and tourist attractionsEdit

Sai Kung Hoi
Tai Long Wan
Sai Kung Public Pier

There are numerous cultural sites, heritage sites and country parks in the Sai Kung peninsula, such as:

The town centre of Sai Kung has a high concentration of seafood restaurants which attract a lot of tourists.

In addition there are golf courses and nature trails. The golf driving range center in Ho Chung is popular with local residents and tourists alike. Visitors can also enjoy barbecues at Ho Chung.

In recent years, the government has invested heavily in Sai Kung, with improvements being made to the town seafront, such as the Waterfront Park. An attractive mix of small boutique-style shops has sprung up as well, due to a sizeable expat population and increasing numbers of local visitors, selling everything from secondhand books to cat-themed accessories, and alternative lifestyle stores that offer items like surfboards, candles, incense, seashells, etc.


Sai Kung Waterfront Promenade, Sai Kung, Hong Kong

The MTR system's Tseung Kwan O Line currently has five stations in Tseung Kwan O New Town. The new town is also served by a comprehensive bus network that connects it to Kowloon via several main roads including Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and Po Lam Road.

Hang Hau Road and Ying Yip Road link Tseung Kwan O with Sai Kung Town and Clear Water Bay. The nearest MTR station to Sai Kung Town is Hang Hau.

Some of the most beautiful and thus isolated parts of Sai Kung Peninsula can only be reached on foot or by boat. Where a destination is accessible by public transport, it is usually served via a complicated network of bus routes. Information on certain bus routes may be found here.

Lists of bus transport to and from Sai Kung Town:

Scheduled ferry services also operate between coastal points on the peninsula and in and around the islands: [1].


The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, one of the eight publicly funded tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, is located in Clear Water Bay Peninsula, Sai Kung.

Coincidentally, the Chinese characters "西貢" for Sai Kung are also the Vietnamese chu nom characters for the name Saigon (now called Ho Chi Minh City), a major city in Vietnam.

Kitchee SC play in Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground.


Sai Kung District is served by Sai Kung Magazine, a free-distribution English language monthly magazine and the community website The magazine covers areas of Sai Kung Town, Clearwater bay, Pak Sha Wan, Ma On Shan and parts of Tseung Kwan O

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New District Officer for Sai Kung assumes office (with photo)" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 8 October 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Table 36: Proportion of Population by District Council District and Age Group, 2011" (PDF). 2011 Population Census - Summary Results (Report). Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department. February 2012. p. 86.
  6. ^ a b c Faure, David (1986). "Local Alliances". The structure of Chinese Rural Society: Lineage and Village in the Eastern New Territories, Hong Kong. East Asian Historical Monographs. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-583970-6.
  7. ^ Ho Puay-peng; Lo, Henry Ka-yu; Lam, Heidi Sze-man; Howes, Robin S.; Mak, Sophia (January 2008). "Consultancy for Conservation Study of Chik Kwai Study Hall at Pat Heung" (PDF). Retrieved 1 December 2019 – via Antiquities and Monuments Office.
  8. ^ a b c d 施志明 (November 2016). 緒論. 本土論俗──新界華人傳統風俗. 香港史學會叢書 (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Chung Hwa Book Company (Sino United Publishing). pp. 3–4. ISBN 9789888420186.
  9. ^ Hayes, James (2012) [Hardback edition first published in 2006]. "Convergence and Divergence: A Deteriorating Relationship". The Great Difference - Hong Kong's New Territories and Its People 1898–2004 (PDF) (paperback ed.). Hong Kong University Press. pp. 162–163. ISBN 978-988-8139-75-0.
  10. ^ "Sheung Yiu Village, Sai Kung - Declared Monuments". Antiquities and Monuments Office. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2019.

External linksEdit