Ma On Shan | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Ma On Shan

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Ma On Shan

This photo has 'The Ferry' written underneath it and is from a page in the album entitled Ma On Shan.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Saturday, July 17, 1954


Hi Pauline,

A friend recently lent me a copy of 'Rambles in Hong Kong' by G S P Heywood. it's the 1992 reprint, but the original version was first published in 1938, and again in 1951. I wonder if your husband had a copy that inspired him to head off into the countryside?

It's a lovely read, and chapter 5 talks about Ma On Shan:

The south and west sides of Ma On Shan can most easily be reached by taking a sampan from Lok Lo Ha, about a mile and a half beyond Shatin on the Tai Po Road. The voyage across Tide Cove takes twenty minutes or so, and is a pleasant way of beginning and ending a day's scrambling. Some bargaining will be necessary to secure a sampan at a reasonable price; two dollars used to be the fare for the return trip for a small party; ten will now be demanded. The sampan lands you at Tai Shui hang, the village on the far shore, and there it will wait for your return.

Does anyone recognise if the skyline in the photo matches the view from either of those locations?

Regards, David

It's a bit fuzzy but there is a darker small island just above the tip of the right hand rod. This is Centre Island which has a very distinctive shape (I believe Ken referred to this as Turtle Island when we were trying to locate the position of Sean's St Christopher Home snaps).

The hill immediately above and behind that small island is Yim Tin Tsai - a headland leading off from Sam Mun Tsai village. And in the far background furthest from camera and poking up at the back (above the apex of Yim Tin Tsai) is the distinctive western end of Wong Long.

Given that angle I would put Pauline's husband somewhere around the current Heng On estate in Ma On Shan looking approx NNW. I'm not sure how much of that land is reclaimed but I imagine the original coastline was probably somewhere near to the current route of the Ma On Shan Road.

I found a similar angle on Panoramio, but this was taken from the waterfront which is probably at least 1KM closer from where I'm guessing the original was snapped. Just a guess of course.

EDIT: Tai Shui Hang still exists and it's very possible the angle could be from that location. It's located very close to the current northernmost road bridge crossing. But to me looks to be a little too far south for the angle of Pauline's snap - it's possible the Tai Shui Hang name encompasses a larger area and extends further to the north?

Hi Phil,

Tai Shui Hang Village still exits, however it is quite far away from the present day water front.  At least 200 metres according to Google Maps.

The actual stream could still be seen from maps, however we need old maps or old aerial photos to estimate where was the original coast line.

Best Regards,


I agree with Phil's assessment.  I would say the photographer was probably on the coast between present day Heng On Station and Ma On Shan station.

From a book I flipped through ( some weeks ago about place names in New Territories, it mentions a number of ancient piers that had ferries that went mainly to Tai Po Market, for the benefit of Ma On Shan residents to sell their produce.  The ruins of the one in Wu Kai Sha is still there.


Interesting! I'd looked at the photo with land on the left, and assumed they were over on the western side of Tide Cove. But the photo Phil found on Panoramio is a good match, so I guess the photo shows some small headland over on the east side?

Regards, David

Lok Lo Ha village is also still around and sitting right next to the Tai Po Rd behind the racecourse and Royal Ascot development. I guess before the reclamation, that part of the Tai Po Road ran quite close to the coast.

I was at Ma On Shan over the weekend and between thunderstorms I managed to take this picture just outside the Horizon Suite Hotel facing NNW.  As far as I can make it, the photo shares the same angle as the 1954 one.

This is the first time ever I have posted a photo on this site, after two years.  Please can someone tell me how to insert the picture with the post?


It's a good match, and surprisingly similar in terms of development (or lack of I should say).

To add it in the same post you can click the camera icon at the top of the comment box and your most recently loaded pictures should load into a pop-up by default .


Congratulations on your first photo! It looks a good match with the old photo.

You can see some tips on inserting photos here. (The screen captures are a bit out of date, but the general steps to follow are the same). Let us know if you run into any trouble.

Regards, David