Ap Lei Chau

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Ap Lei Chau
Ap Lei Chau 1.jpg
Ap Lei Chau viewed from Hong Kong Trail Stage 2, in the Hong Kong Island, across Aberdeen Harbour. (2008)
Ap Lei Chau location map.svg
Location of Ap Lei Chau within Hong Kong
LocationSouth of Hong Kong Island
Coordinates22°14′30″N 114°9′20″E / 22.24167°N 114.15556°E / 22.24167; 114.15556Coordinates: 22°14′30″N 114°9′20″E / 22.24167°N 114.15556°E / 22.24167; 114.15556
Area1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi)
Highest elevation196 m (643 ft)
Highest pointMount Johnston
DistrictSouthern District
Population86,782 (2007[1])
Pop. density66,755/km2 (172895/sq mi)
Ap Lei Chau
Ap Lei Chau in November 2016.jpg
Ap Lei Chau viewed from Ap Lei Chau Bridge in 2016
Traditional Chinese鴨脷洲
Simplified Chinese鸭脷洲
Literal meaningDuck-Tongue Island
Former Names
Ap Lei San
Traditional Chinese鴨脷
Simplified Chinese鸭脷
Literal meaningDuck-Tongue Island
Duck-Tongue Mountain
Hong Kong
Literal meaningFragrant Harbour Village

Ap Lei Chau or Aberdeen Island is an island of Hong Kong, located off Hong Kong Island next to Aberdeen Harbour and Aberdeen Channel. It has an area of 1.30 square kilometres (0.50 sq mi).[2] Administratively, it is part of the Southern District. Ap Lei Chau is the 4th-most-densely-populated island in the world.

Ap Lei Chau Bridge Road on Ap Lei Chau.


Before the First Opium War, Ap Lei Chau was a small fishing village, with its harbour forming an excellent natural typhoon shelter. The island appears on a Ming-era map[3] with its primary settlement labelled "Fragrant Harbour Village". This is the probable origin of the name for Hong Kong, although the town eventually took the name of its island.

Under the terms of the 1841 Treaty of Nanking, it was ceded to the British together with Hong Kong Island. It was sometimes known as Taplichan,[4] Taplishan,[5] &c. from an alternative name for the island.

The island had a largely uneventful history under British rule.

In 1968, Hongkong Electric opened a power station on Ap Lei Chau to provide electricity for the whole of Hong Kong Island. In 1980 and 1994, a bridge was constructed to connect the island to the Hong Kong Island, and this created momentum for rapid economic development. Public housing estates were built to accommodate people, including some who had suffered in a fire in the Aberdeen shelter. In 1989, the generators of the power station were relocated to Lamma Island, and the old power station was demolished. The site was re-developed into the South Horizons residential area, with the addition of some land reclaimed from the sea.

Geography and demographics[edit]

Mount Johnston on Ap Lei Chau, viewed from Ocean Park.

Ap Lei Chau was named after the shape of the island, which resembles the tongue of a duck. Ap means duck, Lei means tongue, and Chau means island. The northern part has the highest population, while the southern part of the island is less densely populated.

The highest point on the island is Yuk Kwai Shan (玉桂山; aka. Mount Johnston), with an altitude of 196 metres (643 ft).

It comprises four main residential areas — Lei Tung Estate, Ap Lei Chau Main Street, South Horizons and Ap Lei Chau Estate, each of which comprises several highrise towers. There is an industrial estate on the southern tip of the island.

The population of Ap Lei Chau is 86,782 as of 2007,[6] and its area is 1.30 square kilometres (0.50 square miles), giving it a population density of 66,755 people / km², and making it the fourth most densely populated island in the world.[7]

Ap Lei Chau also lends its name to the Ap Lei Chau geologic formation, which covers most of Hong Kong Island.[8]

Places of interest[edit]

Shui Yuet Temple on Ap Lei Chau.

The Hung Shing Temple located on Hung Shing Street, off Main Street, Ap Lei Chau, is a notable site. Dating back to 1773, it is the oldest temple in the Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau areas[9] and is a declared monument.

The Shui Yuet Temple aka. Kwun Yum Temple is located at No. 181 Main Street, Ap Lei Chau. Dedicated to Guan Yin, it was built at the end of the 19th century[10] and is a Grade III historic building. The temple site is adjacent to the site of the former Aberdeen Police Station. Clearly chosen for its feng shui, the superior dragons were seen as being protection from the 'threat of the tiger's jaw' from the police station. Although the police station has now been demolished, the dragons are still present and seen as enduring feng shui guards. Apart from Guan Yin, the temple also houses Kwan Tai, Tin Hau, Ji Gong and Wong Tai Sin.


Ap Lei Chau Bridge.

Ap Lei Chau and Hong Kong Island are connected by the four-lane Ap Lei Chau Bridge. Opened in 1983, it originally only had two lanes, and was widened to four in 1994.

Buses are the main form of transport for the residents in Ap Lei Chau. Bus routes depart from the six bus termini on the island to various places on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon:

  • Ap Lei Chau Estate
  • Ap Lei Chau (Lee Lok Street) and Ap Lei Chau (Lee King Street) in the industrial area
  • Ap Lei Chau Main Street
  • Lei Tung Estate
  • South Horizons

Green minibuses and taxis are available. Red minibuses are prohibited from entering the island.

There is a regular sampan service running between Ap Lei Chau Main Street and Aberdeen. (Service hours: 6am-12am)

The MTR South Island line opened on 28 December 2016 links Admiralty of Hong Kong Island to Ap Lei Chau by Aberdeen Channel Bridge. There are two stations on the island: Lei Tung (for Lei Tung Estate and Ap Lei Chau Main Street) and South Horizons (for South Horizons, Ap Lei Chau Estate and Ap Lei Chau Industrial Estate) serving the development of the same name.

Community Issues[edit]

Since Ap Lei Chau is currently the 4th most densely populated island in the world, public space is highly insufficient. In 2016, the Hong Kong government reallocated the waterfront land of the former Hong Kong Driving School on Lee Nam Road for building luxury apartments, ignoring the suggestion of the locals and intensified the problem of insufficient land use.[citation needed] In February 2017, it was reported that the land, measuring 11,761 square metres, had been sold by tender for a record price of HK$16.86 billion (US$2.17 billion) to a venture between KWG Property and Logan Property Holdings.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ District Council Election 2007 - Southern Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. The sum of the population in constituency areas D02 to D07
  2. ^ Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department: Hong Kong geographic data sheet
  3. ^ Kuo Fei, Yueh ta-chi, attached Guangdong Coastal Map (《粵大記》海防卷「廣東沿海圖」)
  4. ^ "Hong-Kong", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XII (9th ed.), 1881, pp. 141–2 |volume= has extra text (help).
  5. ^ "Hong-Kong", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XIII (11th ed.), 1911, pp. 657–9 |volume= has extra text (help).
  6. ^ District Council Election 2007 - Southern Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. The sum of the population in constituency areas D02 to D07
  7. ^ Island Superlatives
  8. ^ Ap Lei Chau Formation Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Chinese Temples Committee website - Hung Shing Temple, Ap Lei Chau Archived December 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Chinese Temples Committee website - Shui Yuet Temple, Ap Lei Chau Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Sito, Peggy; Zhen, Summer; Ng, Naomi (24 February 2017). "Chinese builders pay record HK$16.86 billion for Ap Lei Chau site". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]