Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sha Tin (Chinese: 沙田 Pinyin: Shātián, literally "Sandy Farm"), formerly named Lek Yuen (Chinese: 瀝源 Pinyin: Lìyuán, literally "Source of Trickling" or "Source of Clear Water"), is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. It is located in the New Territories and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of over 600,000, including about 27,000 people living in 48 indigenous villages.
Tai Wai Village, the oldest and largest walled village in the town, was built in 1574. Sha Tin was the first satellite town, or new town, to be built in the New Territories, on land reclaimed from the sea.
Covering an area of approximately 60 km² and built mostly on reclaimed land along the banks of the Shing Mun River, Sha Tin is a well developed new town comprising mainly residential areas. In the early 1970s it was a rural township of about 30,000 people. After Sha Tin's first public housing estate, Lek Yuen Estate , was completed in 1976, the settlement began to expand. Today, about 65% of the district's population live in public rental housing, housing under Hong Kong's Tenants Purchase Scheme , or Home Ownership Scheme (HOS). Sha Tin has now become a major new community, including an extenstion at Ma On Shan, of about 640,000 people today. The total development area of Sha Tin and Ma On Shan is about 20 km².
The Hong Kong government used to showcase Sha Tin as an achievement in building a modern new town. Visiting foreign dignitaries were often invited to tour Sha Tin and its housing estates.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is also located in Sha Tin. People can get there via the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) East Rail and get off at the University station. A minibus service operates on campus.
Sha Tin is the location for Hong Kong's second equestrian racecourse (the first and most famous being in Hong Kong Island's Happy Valley - see Hong Kong Jockey Club), which has a capacity of up to 85,000. This course has been proposed to host the equestrian events during the 2008 Olympics. The Olympics are to be hosted by Beijing; however, there is concern over proper quarantine and disease monitoring in the Chinese capitol.
Penfold Park is located inside the racecourse and closed on race days. Penfold Park is best accessed via the Fo Tan KCR Station.
There are four hospitals in Sha Tin.
- The Prince of Wales Hospital, one of the epicenters of the 2003 SARS outbreak among health care workers;
- The Sha Tin Hospital;
- The Cheshire Home; and
- The Union Hospital, a private hospital.
Shing Mun River
Main article: Shing Mun River
The Shing Mun River is a 7 km long, 200m wide channel running from the Tai Wai area, through the Sha Tin town centre to the Tolo Harbour. It has three main tributaries, namely Tai Wai Nullah , Fo Tan Nullah and Siu Lek Yuen Nullah . Along the Shing Mun River are high-rise residential, commercial and industrial buildings with numerous village type developments scattered around.
Sha Tin has the largest number of KCR East Rail stations of any district in Hong Kong. It has thirteen stations, namely Tai Wai, Sha Tin, Fo Tan, Racecourse and University. And Ma On Shan Rail running along between Che Kung Temple, Sha Tin Wai, City One, Shek Mun, Tai Shui Hang, Heng On, Ma On Shan, and Wu Kai Sha station.
A network of cycle tracks throughout Sha Tin measures about 50 kilometers long and is the longest cycle track network in Hong Kong.
Increasing population in the town exerts pressure on the transportation. Several construction plans have been launched to cope with the demand. The construction of Route T7 linking Ma On Shan Road to Sai Sha Road has been started on January 2001 and scheduled to complete in 2005. The Route 8 connecting Cheung Sha Wan , Kowloon and Sha Tin is scheduled to construct at the end of 2003 and complete at the end of 2007. The construction of the Ma On Shan Railway (11.4 km long) commenced in December 2000 and was completed by the end of 2004.
Local and tourist attractions
Local and tourist attractions in Sha Tin include, most famously, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which is Hong Kong's newest and arguably best museum. The Museum was opened on 16 December 2000 and includes 12 galleries, a cafe and museum shop. Other attractions include:
- Che Kung Temple (車公廟). This three-centuries-old temple was built in Japanese style and has its own Wheel of Fortune (open daily 0700-2100).
- Amah Rock (望夫石)
- Tsang Tai Uk (曾大屋). An 1848 dwelling of granite, timber and green brick, with defence towers and a still-used ancestral hall.
- Lion Pavilion (獅子亭)
- Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (萬佛寺)
- Shing Mun River
- Lion Rock (獅子山)
- Sha Tin Park (沙田公園). This popular park runs alongside the Shing Mun river channel (open daily 0700 - 2245).
- Penfold Park
- Sha Tin Town Hall. The number one cultural venue in the eastern New Territories, hosting cultural events and exhibitions.
- Snoopy's World . Six zones of amusements on the third floor of the New Town Plaza, including Snoopy's House, a canoe ride and a museum of Peanuts characters (open daily, 1000-2200).
- Sha Tin District Council
- Electoral Boundary Map
- Sha Tin New Town
- Prince of Wales Hospital
- Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum
- Hong Kong Tourist Board's Sha Tin website
- Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong
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