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Tai Po

Tai Po
Aerial view of Tai Po Market and Tai Po Town
Traditional Chinese 大埔
Simplified Chinese 大埔
Tai Po Town. Notice the old low-level buildings in the foreground, compared with the high-rise apartments in the distance
Lam Tsuen River
Tai Po Central Town Square
Tai Po Waterfront Park and Fu Shin Estate

Tai Po is an area in the New Territories of Hong Kong. It refers to the vicinity of the traditional market towns in the area presently known as Tai Po Old Market or Tai Po Kau Hui (大埔舊墟) (originally Tai Po Market) and the Tai Wo Town (Tai Wo Market) on the other side of the Lam Tsuen River, near the old Tai Po Market Station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (British Section). Administratively, it is part of the Tai Po District.

Both market towns became part of the Tai Po New Town in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In present-day usage, "Tai Po" may refer to the area around the original market towns, the Tai Po Town (Chinese: 大埔市), or the entire Tai Po District.

It is becoming a popular suburb of Hong Kong and also for people working in Shenzhen. There are a mixture of public housing complexes in the densely populated area of Tai Po plus many expensive high-end private properties in the sparsely populated area surrounding Tai Po.


  • History 1
  • Environment 2
  • People 3
  • Housing 4
  • Transportation 5
    • Buses 5.1
      • MTR System (East Rail Line) 5.1.1
  • Education 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Tai Po, called Big Step in the pass. The name of Big Step is because that Tai Po was a big forest and there were many beasts lived in here. Many walkers walked quickly to avoid attack from the beasts. Therefore, the residents called this place 'Big Step'. Subsequently, the government beautified big Step to Tai Po.[1] From AD 963, the indigenous inhabitants of Tai Po lived by clamming and making the pearls. The pearl making business reached its peak in the Song Dynasty and started to decline gradually in the midst of the Ming Dynasty. Tai Po had been developed as a fishing port around the late Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty.

Due to battles and political struggles in modern history, a lot of people migrated to Hong Kong from China; one of the destinations for them was Tai Po. People first began to settle around the riversides of Lam Tsuen River and finally Tai Po Old Market and Tai Wo Town were developed.

In the 1970s, the Hong Kong government began to develop satellite cities: the first industrial estate in Hong Kong was built in Tai Po in 1974; Tai Po was named as a "new town" in 1979; the first public housing estate in Tai Po – Tai Yuen Estate – was established in 1981. The population has soared to 320,000 and Tai Po began to prosper following the completion of the Tolo Highway which were integrated with the older urban areas. Tai Po Industrial Estate, is an estate of industrial plants east of Tai Po Town, was the first industrial estate in Hong Kong. Plants and companies such as Vita Soy (famous internationally for their different types of juice) are located there.

Information credits from


As Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in world, it is known for its high air pollution. However, although Tai Po is one of the newer Districts with a densely populated public housing and industrial estate, it is the second lowest polluted district in Hong Kong.

Apart from the busy Tai Po Town and the rapid pace of development, Tai Po is lucky to have a large amount of green areas which is rare in Hong Kong's towns . Pat Sin Leng (The ridge of Eight Immortals) is one of the many symbolic natural landmarks in Tai Po as well as Hong Kong. With a great variety of creatures, it is especially known for its quantity of species of butterflies. Tai Po also has the potential to become a geology park of UNESCO.


Before the 1970s, immigrants from Guangdong Province of China migrated to Hong Kong. Many of the Hakka people moved to Tai Po Town, Fanling Town and Sheung Shui Town. In Tai Po Town, there is a noticeable large population of Hakka people in Tai Po Market (大埔墟), especially around the area of "Little Park" (公園仔). However, there are a lot of people from Guangdong Province, especially from the Guangzhou area and many small villages that are scattered around along Guangdong. Most claim to be from the Han ethnic group, the largest Chinese ethnic group out of the other 55. There may be other South Asian races, but they are rare.


Because Hong Kong is in a very densely populated region, Tai Po Town has copied the many urban areas of Hong Kong by building high-rise apartments. 320,000 people have residences in the town, making high-rise apartments necessary and mandatory. These high-rise apartments are located inside estates, such as Tai Yuen Estates and Fu Heng Estates. These high-rise apartments have floors ranging from the low apartments in Tai Po Old Town to the new estates in northern Tai Po ranging from 20 to 34 levels. The area is serviced by the Tai Po Hui Market, Built in 2004.[2]

The Tai Po area also has many "village houses", resulting from a 1972 Hong Kong legislation which gave any male heir over the age of 18 who could prove he was descended from one of Hong Kong's original villages in 1898 the right to build a small house on a plot of land, either owned by the village itself or on leased government land. These houses are restricted by law to be no more than three stories and 27 feet (8.2 m) in height, and no more than 2,100 square feet (200 m2) in total floor space.

There are also a few private housing development in the Tai Po area with "detached" and "semi-detached" houses which include communal recreational areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts and children's playgrounds, and entertainment facilities such as private cinemas, health spas and karaoke rooms. These developments are excluded from the "village house" law, and therefore units are often much larger than 2,100 square feet (200 m2), with a notable example being The Beverly Hills development, which has units as large as 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2). Due to the rarity of such accommodation in Hong Kong, these developments are considered by locals to be part of the extreme high-end of the luxury property market, and are generally populated by very wealthy residents. Area of those includes the housings alongside Lo Fai Road, and the housings around Tai Po Road (Tai Po Kau Area).


Tai Po Central Bus Terminus
Tai Po Market Station in 2008


Transportation in Tai Po Town is much like any other places of Hong Kong. Due to the high population, Hong Kong has double-decker buses. There are some buses that lead to the rest of Hong Kong such as the bus route 271 that goes from Fu Heng Estate in Tai Po Town to Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and bus route 307 which goes from Central Tai Po Town towards the Central Ferry Piers via Central and Wan Chai of Victoria. There are also buses that lead directly to the airport such as E41 from Tai Po Centre (Tai Po Plaza and Tai Po Mega Mall) to Hong Kong International Airport.

MTR System (East Rail Line)

Currently, there are two stations in the East Rail Line for the entire Tai Po Town, Tai Po Market Station (old district) and Tai Wo Station (for Tai Wo Estates and other new estates in the part of Tai Po Town above the Lam Tsuen River). These trains go from the Hong Kong-Chinese border at either Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau and go to Hung Hom Train Terminal in Hung Hom, Kowloon, where there's an interchange to through train services throughout different metros across China as well as an interchange towards the West Rail Line in Hong Kong. It was formerly run by Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCR) but has been leased for 50 years to the MTR Corporation, which is partially owned by the Hong Kong Government. These trains are operated by the MTR Corporation Limited (Mass Transit Railway) since the end of 2007 and come from Lo Wu Station or Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and go to Tsim Sha Tsui East Station. The same goes for trains coming from Hung Hom Station and trains go to either the Lo Wu Border Control Point (Luohu in the Chinese Customs in Shenzhen) or the Lok Ma Chau Border Control Point (Lok Ma Chau is the Chinese customs port for Shenzhen). Mainly, trains toward the Lo Wu Station only take 3–4 minutes between each train while trains to Lok Ma Chau Station take about 6 mins between each train. There are two interchanges in the line, one in Kowloon Tong Station with the Kwun Tong Line towards either Tiu Keng Leng or Yau Ma Tei and at Tsim Sha Tsui Station with Tsuen Wan Line towards either Tsuen Wan Station or Central Station (Hong Kong Station is considered another station, yet it only takes a few minutes to walk from Central Station to Hong Kong Station).


In historical eras clan villages organized private study halls or sishu. Village schools opened with government subsidies in the early 20th century.[3] In the 1920s and 1930s secondary schools in the vernacular medium opened in Tai Po.[4] Many village schools opened after World War II. Due to a decline in the birthrate, by the 1990s the number of school students was declining and many village schools began to close.[3]

The Hong Kong Japanese School's International Section is in Tai Po. The campus opened in 1997.[5]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ CNN Travel Best wet markets in Hong Kong 23 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011
  3. ^ a b Poon, Shuk Wah. "Education in Tai Po: From the Founding of Rural Normal School to the Demise of Village Schools" (Archive). Traditions and Heritage in Tai Po. p. 256.
  4. ^ Hase, Patrick H. Custom, Land and Livelihood in Rural South China: The Traditional Land Law of Hong Kong's New Territories, 1750-1950 (Volume 1 of Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series). Hong Kong University Press, April 1, 2013. ISBN 9888139088, 9789888139088. p. 18.
  5. ^ "About JIS" (Archive). Hong Kong Japanese School. Retrieved on 12 January 2015.

Further reading

  • Cheung, Kwok-hung Stephen (張國雄). "Traditional folksongs in an urban setting: a study of Hakka Shange in Tai Po, Hong Kong" (Archive). University of Hong Kong, 2004. - Information

External links

  • Tai Po District Council
  • Tai Po Rural Committee
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