Tai Wai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tai Wai
TaiWaiVillage MainEntrance Front 2007.JPG
Tai Wai area is the home of several villages. This is the entrance gate of Chik Chuen Wai aka. Tai Wai.
Traditional Chinese 大圍
Simplified Chinese 大围
Literal meaning Big Encirclement
Aerial view of Tai Wai, looking south. The mountains at the back mark the limit between the New Territories and New Kowloon, which is located beyond.

Tai Wai /ˌt ˈw/ is an area in the New Territories of Hong Kong, located between Sha Tin New Town and the Lion Rock. It is the largest part of the Sha Tin District.[citation needed]

With an MTR station serving two lines, 5 bus termini and several tunnels and roads connecting it to other parts of the New Territories, Kowloon and Tsuen Wan, Tai Wai is an important transportation node in Hong Kong.


View of Tai Wai and the Shing Mun River, looking southwest. Che Kung Temple Station is visible on the left and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on the right.

Tai Wai occupies the southwestern end of the Sha Tin Valley. The Sha Tin area is located directly northeast of Tai Wai. Hill ranges separate Tai Wai from Kowloon in the south, and from Tsuen Wan in the west. The Tai Wai Nullah, sometimes referred to as the upper stream of Shing Mun River, flows through Tai Wai, where it joins the Shing Mun River. The Shing Mun River then flows in a southwest-northeast direction across the Sha Tin Valley toward Tolo Harbour.


View of Sha Tin New Town under development in 1983, looking northeast toward the Shing Mun River and Tolo Harbour. Tai Wai is in the foreground.

Sprouting from traditional Chinese farming villages growing rice, vegetables and fruits, such as choy sum, Chinese broccoli, bamboo, banana, peach, and lychee, Tai Wai area once functioned as a light suburban industrial park in the 1970s. Few factory buildings are still in use, mostly as warehouses. The current urbanization of the area is the consequence of the development of Sha Tin New Town that started in the 1970s.

Tai Wai village, where the name of the area came from, was the largest and oldest walled village in Sha Tin. It was built in 1574 during the Ming Dynasty, and was called Chik Chuen Wai (Chinese: 積存圍) at the time. It was originally made up of 16 families, Wai (韋), Chan (陳), Ng (吳), Yeung (楊), Wong (黃), Lee (李), Hui (許), Cheng (鄭), Tong (唐), Yuen (袁), Yau (游), Lam (林), Lok (駱), Tam (譚), Mok (莫) and Choy (蔡).

The Wai family, being the largest family, is thought to be the direct descendants of the famous founder general of the Han Dynasty, Han Xin, who purportedly fled there to escape executions ordered by Emperor Gao of Han's empress Empress Lü Zhi. The Han descendants changed their surname into Wai by splitting the word Han (韓) in two halves and took up the character on the right hand side.

The Cheng family, on the other hand, originated from a place called Xingyang in Zhengzhou, Henan which is the place where Chang'e supposedly flew to the Moon. It is also the birthplace of Li Shangyin, one of the most famous poets in the late Tang Dynasty.

The first public housing estate built in the area was Mei Lam Estate, with the first two blocks of its Phase 1 completed in 1981. Tai Wai Station opened in August 1983.


Tai Wai has a population of approximately 91,300 (2008)[1] It is composed largely of low to medium income households of different ethnic backgrounds ranging from local Chinese to Westerners.


Housing estates in Tai Wai, including King Tin Court, Sun Chui Estate and Man Lai Court. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is visible at the bottom left.

A large part of the population of Tai Wai lives in public housing estates. Privately owned apartment blocks are also common and higher income luxury housing is also available in various parts of Tai Wai. Hundreds of three storey village houses (some western styled, others more traditional) can be found in the villages of the area.

Public housing[edit]

Mei Fung House of Mei Lam Estate, built in 1981.
Hin Keng Estate and Ka Keng Court, with Lion Rock in the background.

The table below lists all the public housing estates in Tai Wai, including Public Rental Housing (Public), Home Ownership Scheme (HOS), Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) and Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS).

Name Type Inaug. No Blocks No Units Notes
Carado Garden 雲疊花園 PSPS 1990 6 1,988
Chun Shek Estate 秦石邨 Public 1984 4 2,166
Fung Shing Court 豐盛苑 HOS 1985 3 2,448
Grandway Garden 富嘉花園 PSPS 1989 3 864
Hin Keng Estate 顯徑邨 TPS 1986 8 1,004
Hin Yiu Estate 顯耀邨 Public 2005 1 799
Holford Garden 海福花園 PSPS 1985 3 800
Ka Keng Court 嘉徑苑 HOS 2002 2 640
Ka Tin Court 嘉田苑 HOS 1988 6 1,680
King Tin Court 景田苑 HOS 1983 6 1,424
Lung Hang Estate 隆亨邨 Public 1983 6 4,376
May Shing Court 美城苑 HOS 1982 3 2,192
Mei Chung Court 美松苑 HOS 1996 6 1,940
Mei Lam Estate 美林邨 Public 1981 4 4,156
Mei Tin Estate 美田邨 Public 2006 4 3,164
Sun Chui Estate 新翠邨 Public 1983 8 6,692
Sun Tin Wai Estate 新田圍邨 Public 1981 8 3,430

Festival City[edit]

Final stages of the construction of Festival City, in 2011.

Festival City (名城) is a HK$20 billion residential-commercial development project by Cheung Kong and MTR Corporation located above the Tai Wai (Station) Maintenance Centre. Phase I was completed in September 2010, Phase II in October 2011, and Phase III in August 2012. The plan was to build 12 50-stories high residential towers with a total construction area of 313,955 square meters as well as 25,890 square meters for the general public's use. It offers 4,264 flats to families, two schools and one community facility. This residential project raised the population of Tai Wai significantly. The controversy of this project is that the 12 towers would create an urban heat island effect and block off the air flow of the area.[2][3]

Other estates[edit]

Entrance of The Great Hill along Tung Lo Wan Hill Road.

Private housing estates in Tai Wai include:

  • Glamour Garden (金輝花園)
  • Golden Lion Gardens (金獅花園)
  • Grandeur Garden (金禧花園)
  • Greenview Garden (愉景花園)
  • Julimount Garden (瑞峰花園)
  • Lakeview Gardens (湖景花園)
  • Man Lai Court
  • Parc Royale (聚龍居)
  • Peak One (壹號雲頂)
  • Pristine Villa (曉翠山莊)
  • Sha Tin Heights (沙田嶺)
  • The Great Hill (嘉御山)
  • Worldwide Gardens (世界花園)


Aerial view of Ha Keng Hau.
Yeung, Law, and So Ancestral Halls in Hin Tin. The towers in the background are part of Hin Keng Estate.
Three storey village houses of Tin Sam Village, with the towers of Festival City in the background.
Historic Entrance Gate of Tin Sam Village.
Shrine in Tin Sam Village.

A number of villages still exist in Tai Wai and most of them are surrounded by the towers of housing estates.[4] Traditional village layout and some historic buildings can still be found.

  • Tai Wai Village, aka. Chik Chuen Wai (see above for history). It is located next to Tai Wai Station and the main commercial streets of the area. The village was walled to protect the villagers from bandits, pirates and/or unfriendly neighbours. It was rectangular in shape with 4 watch towers at its four corners. The towers and the walls have long been demolished leaving only the entrance gate and part of the front wall. The houses inside the walls are in rows, and many houses have been built outside the walls due to later development.[5] Historic and traditional buildings include the Entrance Gate, a Hau Wong Temple, the Wai Ancestral Hall and several old houses.
  • Tai Wai New Village (大圍新村) is located on a slope alongside Tai Po Road, just minutes walk away from the old village. It was established in the 1980s as the then colonial government's effort to compensate the villagers for effectively confiscating their land for development. Each male villager was given a piece of land at a premium of HK$20,000 of which he has the right to build a Spanish styled 700 sq.ft. three story house to live in. Most of these houses are now rented by outsiders for the relatively tranquil countryside surroundings. The land occupied by the village was once cultivated for pineapples.[6]

Ha Keng Hau, Sheung Keng Hau and Hin Tin are three adjacent villages located along Hin Keng Street (顯徑街), along a northeast-southwest direction. Hin Keng Estate, located northeast of the villages and across Hin Keng Street, was named after them.

  • Ha Keng Hau (下徑口) is located east of Hin Keng Estate and west of Lung Hang Estate. It was established by the Law (羅) and the Mak (麥) during the 18th century.[7] The Mak who settled there had branched out of Pan Chung (泮涌) in Tai Po.[8]
  • Sheung Keng Hau (上徑口) is located southeast of Hin Keng Estate. It is a single-surname village, Wai (韋), with a history of over 300 years. The Wai Ancestral Hall was rebuilt in 1930.[9]
  • Hin Tin (顯田) is located south of the main part of Hin Keng Estate. The village was erected with government funding in the 1920s to resettle three clans of villagers from Shek Lei Pui Valley (石梨貝谷), to make way for the construction of the Shek Lei Pui Reservoir, completed in 1925. Some 80 people lived in 26 houses in the former Shek Lei Pui Village. The Yeung (楊), the Law (羅) and the So (蘇) were Hakkas from Nantou who had settled in the Valley for some 300 years. Another clan in the Valley, the Lau (劉), moved to Kwai Chung instead of Hin Tin at the resettlement.[10] The ancestral halls of the three clans were built in Hin Tin, connected together to form a single block on the front row of the original three rows of houses.[11] They have been listed as Grade III historic buildings since 2010.[12] In 1982, the Housing Department demolished 600 structures at Hin Tin and relocated 167 families.[4]

Villages in the vicinity of Che Kung Temple:

  • Kak Tin (隔田) is located south of Sun Chui Estate and Sun Tin Wai Estate. It was one of the five Punti villages in Sha Tin founded about 400 years ago by Tsang (曾) clanspeople, originally from Shandong. The villagers were historically farmers engaged in rice and vegetable growing supported by pig and poultry rearing. The village had a population of 130 in 1899 and 220 in 1960. About 80 households of the Tsangs are still residing in the village. While most of the village houses have been demolished and replaced by modern small houses, the houses Nos. 11 and 12 of Third Street, erected in the 1920-1930s, remain.[13] No. 11 has been listed as a Grade III historic building since 2010.[12]
  • San Tin Village (新田村) is located south of Che Kung Temple and east of Sun Chui Estate. It was historically a single-clan village of the Lau (劉), and it now features the Lau Ancestral Hall (劉氏家祠). The Lau were Hakkas who first moved from Huizhou to Grassy Hill, northwest of Sha Tin, during the 18th century. They were farmers engaged in cultivation. As their population increased, they bought a piece of land from the Kak Tin and Tin Sam villages and established a new village called 'San Tin' (lit. "new field") in the late 1890s.[15]
  • Sha Tin Tau (沙田頭) is located east of Chun Shek Estate, north of Fung Shing Court and south of Tsang Tai Uk. Historically the only Hakka multi-surname village in the Sha Tin area,[16] it was first settled by the Chan (陳) and later by the Law (羅), the Lam (林), the Yip (葉), the Lau (劉) and others. There are several ancestral halls in the village, including the Lau Ancestral Hall (劉氏家祠), that was built before 1900. The founding ancestor of the Lau clan of Sha Tin Tau village moved from Longchuan in the mid-19th century. The clan has lived there for nine generations by the early 21st century.[17]
  • Sha Tin Tau New Village (沙田頭新村)

Other villages in Tai Wai include:

  • Tin Sam Village (田心圍) is located west of Sun Chui Estate, north of Lung Hang Estate, and southeast of Festival City. It was founded in the late Ming Dynasty as a Punti walled village[18] and was historically inhabited by the Choi (蔡), the Wai (韋), the Leung (梁), the Tsang (曾) and the Liu (廖). A moat was built for its protection, and was later filled up and used as a fish pond. Historic buildings in the village include the Choi Ancestral Hall, also known as Chung Kwong Family Hall (宗光家祠), built around the 1920s, the Leung Ancestral Hall (梁氏祠堂), largely rebuilt and occupied by tenants,[7][14] the Liu Ancestral Hall (廖氏祠堂), and the Entrance Gate, built during the Qing Dynasty.[19] Two rectangular holes are above the front doorways of the Gate for feng shui benefit and for security watching. The Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai was originally built and managed by the Tin Sam Village, but the village lost its managerial rights in the late 19th century.[20]
  • Tung Lo Wan (銅鑼灣) is located east of Mei Lam Estate, across the Tai Wai Nullah. It was historically a Hakka village occupied by families of different surnames, the Yau (邱) being the majority. The first generation of the Tse clan who settled in the village moved to Tung Lo Wan in the early 20th century. The Tse Ancestral Hall (謝氏祠堂), also called Tse Po Shu Tong (謝寶樹堂), was built before 1910. It is the only ancestral hall in the village.[21] The Li Cottage (玉山艸堂), located nearby, at the corner of Tung Lo Wan Hill Road and Chung Ling Road, was built around 1918. It is connected by a path to the Li Tomb (李玉山伉儷墓) uphill.[22]


Several public housing estates have a shopping centre. The only private shopping centre is located within Grandeur Garden.


Hin Keng Sports Centre, at the corner of Che Kung Miu Road and Hin Keng Street.
Tai Wai near the MTR station

Sports centres[edit]

There are two public sport centres in Tai Wai, making up 40% of the total number of centres in Sha Tin.[23] They are both located in major estates in Tai Wai, namely Mei Lam Estate and Hin Keng Estate. The two sport centres offer a wide range of facilities including a fitness centre with weight training and cardiovascular equipment, squash courts as well as badminton courts. These sport centres are owned and operated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, however the facilities are charged prior to booking with several exceptions.[24][25]

  • Hin Tin Swimming Pool


The Tai Wai Cycling Park, where beginners could practice their cycling skills, was demolished in 2001 to make way for the railway terminus of the Ma On Shan Line. A number of bicycle rental shops can be found in Tai Wai and bicycle lanes run along the Shing Mun River and link Tai Wai to Tai Po, Ma On Shan and Plover Cove Reservoir.[26]


Hiking is also a popular activity in Tai Wai. Situated at the end of a valley, Tai Wa is surrounded by country parks: Shing Mun (north), Kam Shan (west), Lion Rock (south) and Ma On Shan (southeast). Sections of the Wilson Trail and the MacLehose Trail run across the hills near Tai Wai.


Some sources mention Tai Wai as being famous for its chicken porridges and roast baby pigeon.[27]


Tai Wai has tens of primary and secondary schools, mostly public, some with religious background. They include:


Che Kung Temple
ELCHK Living Spirit Lutheran Church


  • Che Kung Temple: Hundreds of thousands flock to the Taoist Che Kung Temple on the 2nd day of each Chinese New Year to worship Che Kung - a general of the Song Dynasty, and queue up to turn the wheel which symbolizes both the cosmic movement in the turning of the year and the hope of each wheel spinner for a good turn of fortune in the forthcoming year.
  • Chi Hong Ching Yuen, also Tze Hong Monastery (慈航靜苑). Located next to Che Kung Temple. It is a Buddhist nunnery established in the early 20th century.[14][28]
  • Koon Ngam Ching Yuen, also Ku Ngam Ching Yuen or Ku Au Tseng Yuen or "Wat Tai Wai" (古巖淨苑) near Lei Uk Tsuen. It is a Chinese Thai temple[29] established in the early 1990s.[14]
  • A Hau Wong Temple is located within Tai Wai walled village. Originally sited outside the walled village, it was moved inside during the reign of Xianfeng (1850–1861).[5] The current temple has replaced an earlier temple, probably built in 1884 and demolished in 1982.[30]
  • Puguangming Temple (普光明寺), near Pak Tin Village and directly north of Mei Chung Court. Contains a controversial private columbarium.[31][32][33]


  • Tao Fung Shan:
    • Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre
    • Tao Fong Shan Christ Temple
    • Lutheran Theological Seminary[34]
    • ELCHK Living Spirit Lutheran Church
  • High Rock Christian Camp. Built in 1924.
  • St. Alfred's Church (聖歐爾發堂)[35]
  • Shatin Assembly of God Church (沙田神召會)

Other structures and facilities[edit]

Other historic or otherwise notable buildings and structures in Tai Wai include:


Exterior of Tai Wai Station in 2007.
Interior of Tai Wai Station.
Northern portal of Sha Tin Heights Tunnel, in Tai Wai.


Tai Wai Station is on the East Rail Line and is also a terminus for the Ma On Shan Line of the MTR. The northward termini of the East Rail Line, Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations, located at the border with Shenzhen, are about 30 minutes away.[39] The station was opened in 1983 and its expansion for the Ma On Shan Line was completed in September 2004.

Che Kung Temple Station of the Ma On Shan Line is also located in the Tai Wai area. It opened in 2004.

In 2002 KCRC won the bid to plan, build and operate the Sha Tin to Central Link,[40] and in 2004 it submitted the Draft Final Proposal to the Government. The March 2008 MTR-KCR revised proposal includes the extension of East Rail Line across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island and the extension of Ma On Shan Line to West Rail Line via East Kowloon. This project will start construction in 2010 while the Tai Wai to Hung Hom section will be completed in 2015 and Cross Harbour section to be completed in 2019.[41] As part of this project, a new station is planned in the Tai Wai area, Hin Keng Station.

Road connections[edit]

Tai Wai is the main gateway of tunnels and roads connecting the New Territories to Kowloon as well as Tsuen Wan due to its convenient location. In the early 20th century and until the Lion Rock Tunnel, the first road tunnel in Hong Kong, was built in 1967, Tai Po Road was the main road connecting Tai Wai and the New Territories to Kowloon.[42] Tai Po Road to this day remains as the only toll-free road connecting the two areas.

The tunnels are: Lion Rock Tunnel (1967), Shing Mun Tunnels (1990) and Sha Tin Heights Tunnel (2008). Sha Tin Heights Tunnel opened in March 2008 to lessen the traffic of the Kowloon Tunnels and Tai Po Road. It is part of Route 8 that connects Tai Wai to the airport over the Stonecutters Bridge and through the Nam Wan Tunnel.


A large percentage of the bus routes that go past Tai Wai are circular routes which both start and terminate in Sha Tin. There are also long-distance routes that go past famous Hong Kong landmarks and attractions. They include 170, which goes to Ocean Park; E42 goes to the airport (via Tung Chung)[43] and R42 to Disneyland.

There are 5 major bus termini in Tai Wai :

  • Mei Lam (美林巴士總站)
  • Mei Tin (美田巴士總站)
  • Sun Chui (新翠巴士總站)
  • Hin Keng (顯徑巴士總站)
  • Tai Wai Railway Station (大圍鐵路站總站)


Many green minibus (GMB) routes that pass Tai Wai go around all parts of Sha Tin to provide feeder services for major public transport operators such as the MTR. Routes such as 481B go to the Tsuen Wan area via Shing Mun Tunnel offering a fast but cheap alternative to buses and the MTR. Residents' buses also operate at Tai Wai Station. Union Hospital's free shuttle bus also operates from there at 10 minute frequencies.


  1. ^ "Proposed Geographical Constituency Areas" (PDF). Electoral Affairs Commission. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  Note that: 1) This data was of June 2008, it may be outdated 2) The population data are from sections 'Lower Shing Mun, Keng Hau, Tin Sum, Sun Chui and Tai Wai'. They are added together due to the geographic closeness.
  2. ^ "KCRC receives 11 tenders for Tai Wai Maintenance Centre property development project". Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation. 2006-03-17. Retrieved 2008-09-25. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Developers vie for West Rail site". The Standard Finance. 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  4. ^ a b Jeffrey W. Cody and James R. Richardson (1997). "Urbanizing forest and Village Trees in Hong Kong's Sha Tin Valley, 1976-1997" (PDF). Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review IX (1): 21–33. 
  5. ^ a b c d SCL - NEX/2206 EIA Study for Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section, Final Environmental Impact Assessment Report, 4. Cultural Heritage Impact, October 2011
  6. ^ HK River Net: The Ebb and Flow of Agriculture
  7. ^ a b SCL - NEX/2206 EIA Study for Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section. Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Appendix 4.3. Built Heritage Survey. October 2011
  8. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on No Grade Items. Item #1403
  9. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on Proposed Grade 3 Items. Item #1153.
  10. ^ Hayes, James (2006). The great difference: Hong Kong's New Territories and its people, 1898-2004. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN 9789622097940. 
  11. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on Proposed Grade 3 Items. Items #852, 853, 854.
  12. ^ a b Antiquities and Monuments Office: List of the Historic Buildings in Building Assessment (as of 23 November 2011)
  13. ^ Brief Information on Proposed Grade 3 Items. Items #1130, 1131
  14. ^ a b c d East Rail Extensions - Tai Wai to Ma On Shan. Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Archaeological and Cultural Resources, 1999
  15. ^ Brief Information on No Grade Items. Item #1359.
  16. ^ Faure, David; Hayes, James; Birch, Alan (1984). From village to city: studies in the traditional roots of Hong Kong society. Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong. p. 131. ASIN B0000EE67M. 
  17. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on Proposed Grade 3 Items. Item #1359.
  18. ^ Tin Sam Wai on MTR website (archive)
  19. ^ SCL - NEX/2206 EIA Study for Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section, Final Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Figure 4.2.1. Locations of Known Built Heritages (Sheet 1 of 8), October 2011. Shows the location of the historic buildings of Tin Sam Village.
  20. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on No Grade Items. Items #1176, 1256.
  21. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on No Grade Items. Item #1337.
  22. ^ Antiquities and Monuments Office: Brief Information on Proposed Grade 1 Items. Items #183.
  23. ^ "Sports Centres". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  24. ^ "Non-Fee Charging Facilities". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  25. ^ "Non-Fee Charging Facilities". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  26. ^ Ng, June, "Tai Wai On Tires", HK Magazine, July 16, 2009
  27. ^ "Shatin Chicken Porridge (沙田雞粥)". Hong Kong Tourism Board (archive). 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  28. ^ thaiworldview: Chi Hong Ching Yuen
  29. ^ thaiworldview: Wat Tai Wai
  30. ^ Hase, P.H., "Old Hau Wong Temple, Tai Wai, Sha Tin", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol. 23, 1983. p.233-240
  31. ^ China Daily: "Protest over columbarium", Aug 24 2010 (archive)
  32. ^ China Daily: "Authorities should stop sale of illicit niches: Protesters", 2012-12-28
  33. ^ South China Morning Post: "Angry residents protest over temple and urn site", 31 March, 2012
  34. ^ Lutheran Theological Seminary website
  35. ^ St. Alfred's Church website
  36. ^ About MTR: Depots
  37. ^ Kennedy Cheung, Charles Chor, David Pegg "Tai Wai maintenance centre: planning, design, and construction",The Arup Journal, 3/2007.
  38. ^ See corresponding Chinese Wikipedia article
  39. ^ "Journey Time & Fare". MTR Corporation Limited. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  40. ^ "Railway Development" (PDF). HKSAR Highways Department. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  41. ^ "Projects - Shatin to Central Link". MTR Corporation. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  42. ^ Cheng Siu Kei, "Making of a New Town: Urbanisation in Tai Po", Tai Po Book p. 271
  43. ^ "Bus Services- Route E42". Kowloon Motor Bus. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°22′32″N 114°10′43″E / 22.375674°N 114.178627°E / 22.375674; 114.178627