Sha Tin

Sha Tin, also spelt Shatin, is a satellite town along Shing Mun River in Sha Tin District of East New Territories, Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of the Sha Tin District. It is one of Hong Kong's most prominent examples of new town developments in the 1970s. Together with its satellite town Ma On Shan, Shatin is the most populous city in the New Territories, with a 2011 population census of 630,273 within an area of 35.87 km2 (13.85 sq mi). Situated in the southern half of New Territories East below Tolo Harbour, it is the principal city of Sha Tin District, which is the second most populous district of the territory.

Sha Tin

Shing Mun River Promenade
Shing Mun River Promenade
Sha Tin is located in Hong Kong
Sha Tin
Sha Tin
Location within Hong Kong
Coordinates: 22°22′30″N 114°11′00″E / 22.37500°N 114.18333°E / 22.37500; 114.18333Coordinates: 22°22′30″N 114°11′00″E / 22.37500°N 114.18333°E / 22.37500; 114.18333
Country Hong Kong
RegionNew Territories
DistrictSha Tin District
New town1973
Administrative complexSha Tin Government Offices
 • TypeLocal council
 • ChairmanHo Hau-cheung
 • City35.87 km2 (13.85 sq mi)
 • City630,000
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)
Mean solar time   UTC+08
Sha Tin
HK Shatin Magistrates Courts 2008.jpg
Lek Yuen Bridge over
Shing Mun River in Sha Tin central
Literal meaningSandy Field
Lek Yuen
Traditional Chinese瀝源
Literal meaningSource of Trickling
Shatin New Town
Traditional Chinese沙田新市鎮
Literal meaningShatin New Town

The city was founded in 1973 under the New Towns Development Programme of the Hong Kong government. Its current name was named after the nearby village of Sha Tin Wai. Housing the industrial area of Fo Tan, Shatin's economy once heavily relied on manufacturing, logistics and transportation. Since the late 1990s, it has undergone an extensive transition into areas such as business, service, tourism, entertainment, culture, education, sports, technology and scientific research. This has been marked by the building of Sha Tin Racecourse, Hong Kong Sports Institute and the Hong Kong Science Park in its outskirts.


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 (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 hillside area 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.


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

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.

Cross-border activitiesEdit

Due to their proximity to the Shenzhen border, towns in the northern parts of Hong Kong, notably Sheung Shui and Yuen Long, have become hubs for parallel traders who have been buying up large quantities of goods, forcing up local prices and disrupting the daily lives of local citizens.[2][3] Since 2012, there has been an increase in mainland parallel traders arriving in the North District of Hong Kong to re-export infant formula and household products – goods popular with mainlanders – across the border to Shenzhen.[4] The volume of smuggling activity spilled over into Tuen Mun and Sha Tin in 2014.

The first anti-parallel trading protest was started at Sheung Shui in September 2012.[5] As government efforts to limit the adverse impact of mainland trafficking were widely seen as inadequate, so there have been further subsequent protests in towns in the North District including Sha Tin.[6][7]


Public housing estatesEdit

Private housing estatesEdit

De Yucca, a high end residential area in Ma Liu Shui

Private housing estates in Sha Tin include:


Sand Martin House of Sha Kok Estate, a second phase public housing complex in Sha Tin Wai.

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

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

Shopping centresEdit

New Town Plaza after renovation

Notable places of worshipEdit

Shatin Assembly of God Church


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 facilitiesEdit

Sha Tin Park's main plaza.


Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, one of the oldest secondary schools in Sha Tin
Sha Tin College, a prestigious secondary school in the region.

At present, there are 46 primary and 44 secondary schools in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan.[10] Tertiary institutions include Hong Kong Baptist University (Shek Mun Campus), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education - Sha Tin (IVE-ST) and the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

Culture, sports and recreational facilitiesEdit

Sha Tin racecourse.

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.

Sha Tin Plaza in the evening
The Heritage Museum.

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.

Hiking is also a wonderful activity you could do in your leisure time living in Sha Tin. There are several starting points including Hin Tin Village, Sha Tin Tau Village and hung mui kuk barbecue area leading to the track of Lion Rock Mountain hiking route. It would take you 1 hour to 4 hours to complete the track depends on the starting point and ending point you choose.

Local delicaciesEdit

Sha Tin is famous for certain local variants of Cantonese food such as ShanSui Tofu (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.


Roads leading to the Shui Chuen O outskirts.
Sha Tin railway station

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


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.[citation needed]


  • 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 (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.


While having been mass developed in the 1970s, Shatin's architecture maintains a degree of diversity. Most public housing estates developed in the era followed the UK's Brutalist architecture. Several shopping centres, hotels and government buildings around Shatin Central are cladded in red brick and resemble styles of American Modernism.

Shatin's cityscape viewed from North Fo Tan
A panorama of Sha Tin City taken from Sha Tin Lion Pavilion


Climate data for Sha Tin (1985–2016)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.6
Average high °C (°F) 19.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 15.5
Average low °C (°F) 12.6
Record low °C (°F) 2.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31.2
Average relative humidity (%) 73 77 80 81 82 82 80 81 77 72 71 69 77
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Shatin showplace taking shape" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 21 February 1983. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  2. ^ "近百名人到上水示威不滿內地水貨客". 15 September 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  3. ^ Ma, Mary (10 February 2015). "Parallel lines of concern need fixing"[permanent dead link]. The Standard
  4. ^ Jennifer, Ngo "Milk powder supplies still not meeting needs". South China Morning Post. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014
  5. ^ Luk, Eddie (21 September 2012). "Seeing red (white and blue)" Archived 2015-03-11 at The Standard
  6. ^ Wong, Hilary; Cheng, Kevin (9 March 2015). "Targeting mainlanders ... young and old" Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. The Standard
  7. ^ "Hong Kong Protests Against Day Trippers as China Eyes Action". Bloomberg L.P.
  8. ^ a b c thaiworldview: Sha Tin
  9. ^ International Fellowship North website
  10. ^ "School List". Hong Kong Education Bureau. 2008. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Monthly Means of Meteorological Elements for Sha Tin, 1985-2016". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 8 February 2017.

External linksEdit