Tsuen Wan is a town located on the shore of a bay in the western new territories of Hong Kong. Initially, this town was a large collection of villages and fishing boats. Later on, the Hong Kong government started the establishment of new towns due to which Tsuen Win came into existence. Still, some of the old villages and boats exist as historical buildings and play their role in cultural significance.
Nestled on the western coast of the New Territories in Hong Kong, Tsuen Wan is a town that effortlessly marries its historical roots with the contemporary urban sprawl that characterizes the region. This article explores the intriguing story of Tsuen Wan, once a tranquil fishing village that has since evolved into a bustling modern city with a rich historical tapestry.
The Ancient Beginnings
Over two thousand years ago, the shores of Tsuen Wan bore witness to human settlements. Known as Tsin Wan, meaning “shallow bay,” the area later adopted Tsuen Wan. There’s also a nod to its pirate-infested past in the name Tsak Wan, which translates to “pirate bay” in Hakka dialect. It is stated that the pirates demanded three hundred coins from those who were passing through this area which is referred to as “Sam Pak Tsin”, a symbol of three hundred coins.
A Village Takes Shape
In 1911, Tsuen Wan was home to roughly 3,000 villagers. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the town began to transform with the establishment of factories, thanks to its proximity to Kowloon. The construction of Castle Peak Road in 1917 introduced motor vehicle access, complementing the existing accessibility by foot and boat. Bus services, as we know them today, commenced in 1933. The early industries revolved around incense stick production, preserved fruit, and agriculture, while post-war times brought metalware and textiles to the forefront. By the 1950s, Tsuen Wan had become the epicenter of Hong Kong’s textile industry.
A Satellite Town Emerges
The 1950s witnessed significant governmental developments, with Tsuen Wan designated as a satellite town, alongside Kwun Tong in Eastern Kowloon. In 1961, Tsuen Wan Satellite Town expanded to become Tsuen Wan New Town, encompassing Tsuen Wan and neighboring areas like Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi. This expansion included housing estates such as Fuk Loi Estate, which was constructed in 1967. By 1971, this burgeoning town was home to a whopping 400,000 residents. Notably, it was one of the last areas in Hong Kong to be developed without adhering to the “Colony Outline Plan.”
Preserving the Past
The Sam Tung Uk Museum in Tsuen Wan stands as a living testament to the town’s historical roots. This museum, housed within a 200-year-old walled village, immerses visitors in the traditional village life of yesteryears. It was donated in 1981 and opened to the public in 1987 after restoration during the construction of the MTR.
A Cultural Melting Pot
Tsuen Wan proudly boasts one of the highest concentrations of Shanghainese people in Hong Kong, particularly in the Fuk Loi constituency. This infusion of cultures enriches the town’s vibrant fabric.
Tsuen Wan is not just about history; it’s also a bustling urban center. Discovery Park, one of Hong Kong’s largest shopping centers, is a hub of activity in the heart of Tsuen Wan Town. It features a goldsmith street where you can purchase exquisite jewelry. Other notable landmarks include Tsuen Wan Plaza, Tsuen Wan City Landmark, Citywalk, and L’Hotel. The town is also home to the Sam Tung Uk Museum, Tin Hau Temple, and The Panda Hotel, one of Hong Kong’s largest hotels. The towering Nina Towers, including an 80-storey skyscraper, further accentuate the modern skyline. The headquarters of Hong Kong’s cable TV service provider, i-CABLE, are also located in Tsuen Wan at Wharf Cable Tower.
Despite its urbanization, Tsuen Wan remains in close proximity to nature. Surrounded by hills and woodlands, the town is enveloped by the Shing Mun Country Park and the Tai Mo Shan Country Park.
Connecting the Dots
Route Twisk, originally constructed as a military road by the Royal Engineers, now winds through the country parks, connecting Tsuen Wan with Pat Heung via Shek Kong. It was opened to the public in 1961.
An urban renewal project transformed Tsuen Wan, giving rise to shopping malls like Citywalk and Citywalk 2. Residential areas above these malls further modernized the town.
A Pricy Piece of Land
The former Tsuen Wan Sports Ground made way for the Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground. Tsuen Wan Town Lot 393, the site where the sports ground once stood, was sold by the government for something HK$4 billion in 2014 to Vincord Limited.
In Tsuen Wan, history blends seamlessly with modernity, creating a captivating tapestry of tradition, culture, and urban development. The town’s unique journey is a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of Hong Kong.
Tsuen Wan, located in Hong Kong, is a bustling urban district known for its vibrant mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas. This dynamic region offers a rich blend of cultures and lifestyles, with a range of shopping centers, restaurants, and outdoor spaces. Its strategic location and well-developed transportation infrastructure make it a popular choice for both residents and businesses. With a thriving community and a blend of modern and traditional elements, Tsuen Wan is an intriguing snapshot of Hong Kong’s diverse and evolving landscape.