Shau Kei Wan

View of Shau Kei Wan and Shaukeiwan Typhoon Shelter. Mount Parker is in the background.

Shau Kei Wan (Chinese: 筲箕灣) or Shaukeiwan, Shaukiwan is a town in the Eastern District, located in the north east of Hong Kong Island. Literally, Shau Kei means a colander, and Wan implies that the town is developed along the coast. Nowadays it is a relatively densely populated town compared with some developing areas.


The name Shau Kei Wan comes from the bay where the town is located. The bay is so named because its shape looks like a Shau Kei (colander). The bay had another name in the past - Ngor Yan Wan (Chinese: 餓人灣; literally: "Harbour of Starving Men"). It is said that there was a ship of people forced to dock by a typhoon. They landed hoping to buy some food and found that there was no agricultural products at all in the place. They left almost starving. Another version of the story is linked to the area's poor transportation during the dawn of the Colonial age, when people who live in the area can only rely on a sparse and unreliable Sampan service to get to the Central District. It was often jokingly said that people who live in this area will starve to death.

The name of the bay is changed to Aldrich Bay. It is named after a British navy captain who worked there. Shau Kei Wan is now the name of the town, while Aldrich Bay is the name of the bay. On maps in 1950s, Buffalo Bay is also marked, together with Aldrich Bay.

There is another story behind the name of Shau Kei Wan, which could be translated into "Colander Bay" directly in Cantonese. It is said that in the late Southern Song Dynasty, a man named Cheung Chun (Chinese: 張進) dropped a colander full of ancestral heirlooms into the bay as he sailed back to the area with the navy. The colander fell into sea just off the coast of the area now known as Eastern District.

A sadder story tells of a boatwoman, Chu Tee (Chinese: 朱蒂), who was widowed soon after getting married. She gave birth to a son, Ah Ha (阿蝦, literally little shrimp), after her husband's death. Ah Ha was a good boy who, tragically, lost his sight after catching smallpox. When he was 15, his mother fell ill. To support the family, Ah Ha became a beggar, sitting on the waterfront every day with a colander, until one day he was swept away in a violent storm. Only his colander was ever found. Chu Tee missed her son so much that she went insane, but Ah Ha's filial deed was immortalised in the name of Shau Kei Wan. However, this tale is viewed with suspicion, due to the fact that it supposedly took place during the early Qing Dynasty. The modern area of Shau Kei Wan already appeared in Ming Dynasty naval maps under the name used today.


In the early 18th century, local fishermen discovered Shau Kei Wan as a good storm shelter and eventually, the fishing population began to move into the area, away from Chai Wan, which housed most of the fishing populations for years. Also, Hakka people from Huizhou began to move into the area to operate quarries during this time, and began building houses along the coastline. The population grew, and by the 1841 Hong Kong census, the area housed approximately 200 people, roughly 5% of Hong Kong Island's population. Most of the residents in the area lived in fishing boats at the time.

By 1860, piracy became a serious issue, and Colonial Governor Richard Macdonnell began to crack down on crime and revitalise the area. During the process, the entire area was replanned with proper roads and housing. Police dispatch posts were also built for the authorities to better combat piracy.

By 1911, Shau Kei Wan housed a total of 7,000 people, and life for Shau Kei Wan as an industrial area began in the 1920s, when light industries began to move into the area.

After World War II, Shau Kei Wan gradually developed into a fish-trading market (a position it still holds today). Also, many Mainland China refugees began to settle into the area at this time, and built around 13 mountain villages in the ensuing years. Most of them were slum houses, and sanitations in those areas were generally atrocious. In the 1960s, the Hong Kong Government began to replan the area once more, building public housing estates and beginning landfill projects. The plans went ahead slowly until 1975, when a large fire burnt down many of the slum houses in the Aldrich Bay Typhon Shelter which were built along the shore & over the water of the bay. Afterwards, the government began to bulldoze slum areas and built public housing in its place.

Today, Shau Kei Wan is a densely populated residential district. However, the change over the years has come with a cost: it is said that the coastline has suffered a great change since the late 19th century.


Eastern District Tourist Trail (Shau Kei Wan Section)

Hidden amidst the high-rise residential towers of the Eastern District is a trail that will showcase the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the area. Visitors can discover vestiges of Hong Kong's seafaring past at the A Kung Ngam Shipyards and the Shau Kei Wan Wholesale Fish Market. (The sea has always been an important part of life in Shau Kei Wan. Its name comes from the shape of the neighbouring bay: shau kei means "colander" and wan means "bay".)

The historical trail starts at the tram terminus and heads along Shau Kei Wan Main Street East towards the waterfront before ending at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence. Along the way, you will see temples dedicated to different gods: Shing Wong, Tin Hau, Tam Kung and Yuk Wong.

Shau Kei Wan Main Street East

Shau Kei Wan Main Street East (Chinese: 筲箕灣東大街) is one of the most important streets in Shau Kei Wan district. In the 19th century, the street was on the waterfront. In 1860s, to crack down the pirates hiding in the area, the Hong Kong government decided to open up the area and to build houses and stores on the two sides of the road.

Today, restaurants and groceries handed down from the past still operate along the street while the old houses have been replaced by modern high-rises. It becomes a popular dining place with a myriad of well-known international restaurants and street food stores.

When the street was widened the hundred-year-old fig tree in the middle of the street was preserved on the request of the community. The botanical name of this old fig is Ficus superba.

Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

A famous tourist attraction of SKW is the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence. It is a museum located near Lei Yue Mun with a total area of 34,200 square meters. The museum was built by the British in 1887. It was originally built for coastal defence, especially for the east Victoria Harbour, but it is currently an exhibition center. Inside, there are castle, defence basement, military vehicle and weapons on display.

Shau Kei Wan Wholesale Fish Market

One important primary product of Hong Kong is marine fish. Fresh marine fish are distributed to outside retail market after wholesaling in Shau Kei Wan Wholesale Marine Fish Market, which is located at 37 Tam Kung Temple Road, Shau Kei Wan (22°17′00″N 114°13′57″E / 22.28339°N 114.23263°E / 22.28339; 114.23263). Facilities for the landing and wholesale of fresh marine fish are provided. It is one of the seven wholesale fish market operated by the Fish Market Organization. It is currently the second largest in Hong Kong, after the one in Aberdeen.


Developed from a fishing village, special religious beliefs are formed. Besides worshiping Tin Hau, residents, who were historically mainly fishermen, also worship Tam Kung. It is believed that since Tam Kung can control the weather and heal the sick, people worship Tam Kung for a safe return from the sea. Tam Kung is a unique religious belief in Hong Kong and temples worshiping Tam Kung can only be found here.

There are temples on Shau Kei Wan Main Street East which are dedicated to Shing Wong, Tin Hau, Tam Kung and Yuk Wong. Tin Hau Temple and Tam Kung Temple are relatively famous. In the past, fishermen worshiped them for safety at sea. Although the fishing industry in the area has been diminishing, the tradition still continues.

Tsung Tsin Church

Located on Basel Road adjacent to Shau Kei Wan Main Street East, the church was built in 1862 by local Hakka and priests from the Swiss Basel Church. It was originally built to a country house style. After reconstruction in 1933, it became a well established church. It was occupied as the temporary headquarters of military police during the Japanese invasion in 1941. In 1958, a school was built next to it. After that, it was rebuilt and used as church again and was expanded in 1984.


Shopping Centres

There are several shopping arcades in Shau Kei Wan, such as Yiu Tung Shopping Centre, Oi Tung Shopping Centre, Hing Tung Shopping Centre and SoHo East. Each is located underneath a housing estate, and was built mainly for the residents in that area. The structure and the interior design of these shopping centres are different from those found in Central; the emphasis is placed on the internal function and practical space rather than detailed decoration or facade. The shopping units inside include stores such as supermarket, Chinese restaurants and clothes shop. The goods here are relatively cheaper and usually are commodities.

Public Facilities

There are recreational facilities for the public. The Yiu Tung Public Library provide a place for people to read and borrow books and other publications. There is also the Island East Sports Centre (Chinese: 港島東體育館), a sport complex which provides various sports facilities such as gym rooms and ball courts.


A number of schools including both primary and secondary schools can be found in Shau Kei Wan.

Secondary Schools (in alphabetical order):

Munsung College (Hong Kong Island) 港島民生書院

Primary Schools (in alphabetical order):


The Shau Kei Wan Jockey Club Clinic provides various medical services, such as maternal and child health, and family health. The nearby UMP Aldrich Garden Medical Centre also offers medical care to local residents. Various private clinics are located in different housing estates.

Dental service is provided by a satellite location of Yan Chai Hospital, located on the main street of Shau Kei Wan. It was built to serve other nearby areas such as Chai Wan along with Shau Kei Wan.

Authority office

There are also some authority offices located at Shau Kei Wan, such as The Film Service Office. It aims to promote film relevant service to local area. Details can be referred to the official site.



In the past

In earlier times, Shau Kei Wan, along with the rest of the Island, did not have a good transportation system. This, coupled with the relative distance of Central and Wan Chai (other population centers of the time), made transportation rather inconvenient.

For most of its modern history, Shau Kei Wan's major connection with the rest of the island was King's Road (英皇道). Its only major connection with its eastern neighbour of Chai Wan was Chai Wan Road (柴灣道), which was notorious for its steep incline.

In 1904, a single-track tram service between North Point (北角) and Shau Kei Wan was established.

After World War II, Hong Kong experienced a population boom, and factories, along with people, started to move into Shau Kei Wan. This created considerable congestion, and public buses began to serve the area in an effort to alleviate the problem. Their efforts proved to be ineffective, and congestion continued up until the point where the MTR and the Island Eastern Corridor were completed and introduced to the region. To further alleviate congestion problems, ferry companies began a service from Shau Kei Wan to Central in order to get people to work on time.

All of these transportation impediments gave birth to a once-popular maxim: "英雄被困筲箕灣,不知何日到中環". This translates to "A 'hero' is trapped in Shau Kei Wan without knowing which day he will reach Central."

Nowadays, as different means of transportation are well developed, one can travel between the two places within very short time, even if one takes the slow tram.


One of the seven Hong Kong Tramways termini is located in Shau Kei Wan. It is at the junction of Shau Kei Wan Main Street East and Kam Wa Street. The track system runs east from Sai Wan Ho to the west of the northern part of Hong Kong Island linking Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town. It is the longest tram track in Hong Kong while the whole track system was completed in 1904. Although there exists various types of transportation, some residents still prefer using trams because of tradition and the extremely low price.


Shau Kei Wan is served by the station of the same name on the Island Line of the MTR metro system. The station is between Sai Wan Ho and Heng Fa Chuen. The MTR connects Shau Kei Wan to the rest of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It takes 18 minutes to travel to Central, and 26 minutes to travel to Mongkok.


There are over 20 bus lines passing through Shau Kei Wan which connects Shau Kei Wan to other districts. Passengers can take routes 2, 2X, 9, 77, 99, 85, 102, 102P, 110, 720, 720A, and N122 from the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus at Nam On Street. Other bus lines include: 14, 81, 81A, 82, 82X, 106, 606, 606A, 606X, 682, 682A, 682B, 682P, 694, 698R, 802, N8 and N8X. Passengers can also travel to the Hong Kong International Airport via route A12.


There are several green mini-buses that have their terminus at Po Man Street in Shau Kei Wan. These include 32 and 57M. Other minibus services include Routes 50, 65, and 66 and also:

Passengers can also easily board red mini-buses in Shau Kei Wan, which bring them to places such as Wan Chai, Chai Wan and Causeway Bay. Overnight minibuses are also available to Mong Kok, To Kwa Wan, Kwun Tong, Sai Wan and Kennedy Town.


There are boat service at Saturday 9am, 10am, 11am, going to Tung Lung Island(東龍島); a famous hiking site.

Housing development


A long term strategic implementation is taken up by The Housing Society and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA). URA will focus on project on Shau Kei Wan Road and Nam On Street.

The stage of the project is now at the beginning, the 17 buildings that will be acquired are over 40 years old. Project is expected to be finished on 2009 and will provide 300 residential units.

Project Information

Site Area 1,890 square meters
No. of affected buildings 17
No. of affected households about 230
No. of affected shops about 35
No. of affected property interests about 130

Development Content

Residential about 17,800 square meters
Commercial about 1,700 square meters

Housing developments in Shau Kei Wan include:


There are two Champion Trees in Shau Kei Wan, both of which are located on Shau Kei Wan Main Street East by the side of the road. One is located beside Shau Kei Wan Government School. It is a large-leaved banyan. The other is a Coconut Palm, which is located in front of the Urban Council market.

On Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 (27 September 2015), fire swept through boats at Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter in the afternoon, completely destroying at least 10 boats, causing 5 to injure and 2 fishing families became homeless. Residents nearby reportedly heard loud explosions and a massive plume of black smoke rose from the flame.[1]

See also


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Coordinates: 22°16′46″N 114°13′49″E / 22.27945°N 114.23022°E / 22.27945; 114.23022

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