Ap Lei Chau

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Location of Ap Lei Chau within Hong Kong
Ap Lei Chau viewed from Hong Kong Trail Stage 2, in the Hong Kong Island, across Aberdeen Harbour.

Ap Lei Chau (Chinese: 鴨脷洲; Cantonese Yale: aap3 lei6 jau1), or Aberdeen Island, is an island of Hong Kong, located south-west of Hong Kong Island, next to Aberdeen Harbour and Aberdeen Channel, with an area of 1.30 square kilometres (0.50 sq mi).[1] Administratively, it is part of Southern District. Ap Lei Chau is the second most densely populated island in the world.

Ap Lei Chau Bridge Road on Ap Lei Chau.

History[edit]

On a map dating from the Ming Dynasty, the island is shown, together with a village with the name "Heung Kong Tsuen", the literal meaning of which in Chinese is "Fragrant Harbour Village" (香港村). This is probably the origin of the name "Hong Kong".

Before the First Opium War, Ap Lei Chau was essentially a fishing village. As a consequence of the Treaty of Nanking, it was in 1841 ceded to the British together with Hong Kong Island.

Since then, little attention had been paid to this small island, although Ap Lei Chau does shelter Aberdeen Harbour, creating an excellent natural typhoon shelter.

In 1968, Hongkong Electric opened a power station on Ap Lei Chau to provide electricity for the whole of Hong Kong Island. In 1980, 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 power station was relocated to Lamma Island, and the old power station demolished. The site was re-developed into the South Horizons residential area, with the addition of some land reclaimed from the sea (seeland reclamation).

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 estatesLei Tung Estate, Ap Lei Chau Main Street, Ap Lei Chau Estate and South Horizons, 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,[2] and its area is 1.30 km², giving it a population density of 66,755 people / km², and making it the third most densely populated island in the world.[3]

Ap Lei Chau also lends its name to the Ap Lei Chau geologic formation, which covers most of southern Hong Kong Island.[4]

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 [5] and is a Grade I historic building.

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 [6] and is a Grade III historic building. The temple site is adjacent 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.

The island is known for being the location of 8th Estate Winery, the first winery in Hong Kong.

Transportation[edit]

Ap Lei Chau Bridge.
Night view of Ap Lei Chau.

Ap Lei Chau and Hong Kong Island are connected by the four lane Ap Lei Chau road 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. There are five bus termini in total on the island:

  • Ap Lei Chau Estate
  • Ap Lei Chau Industrial Estate
  • Ap Lei Chau Main Street
  • Lei Tung Estate
  • South Horizons

Minibuses and taxis are available.

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

The MTR South Island Line is under construction and will link the North of Hong Kong Island to Ap Lei Chau. There will be two stations on the island, one "Lei Tung" for Lei Tung Estate and one "South Horizons" serving Marina Square, a mini mall with a food market, and South Horizons, a private estate covering the western edge of the island. The line is expected to be completed in 2015.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°14′30″N 114°9′20″E / 22.24167°N 114.15556°E / 22.24167; 114.15556