Kwun Tong (Chinese: 觀塘; Cantonese Yale: Gūntòhng; originally 官塘) is an area in Kwun Tong District, situated at the eastern part of the Kowloon Peninsula, and its boundary stretches from Lion Rock in the north to Lei Yue Mun in the south, and from the winding paths of Kowloon Peak in the east to the north coast of the former Kai Tak Airport runway in the west.
One of the first New towns in Hong Kong, Kwun Tong was, and remains, a major industrial area. Its population has been growing rapidly, and the demand for housing, medical and educational facilities and services has been increasing. In view of this, a number of community development projects, such as the redevelopment of old housing estates and the construction of major parks, have been implemented in recent years. These projects have incorporated a wide range of supporting facilities, like primary and secondary schools, clinics, community centres and open spaces. All these facilities have brought about a new face to the Kwun Tong District, making it a more comfortable place for the people to live.
The Chinese name of Kwun Tong ("觀塘") was formerly written as "官塘" (transcribed as Koon Tong in Cantonese Yale). Despite the identical pronunciation of these two names in Cantonese, the local dialect, they have different meanings. "官塘" literally means Mandarin Pond, which was allegedly named after the Koon Fu salt yards (官富鹽場) set up by the government to secure central administration of the salt trade and prevent unauthorised salt preparation and trading starting from Song Dynasty. In those days, there were many salt yards around Kwun Tong, whose long coastline stretched to as far as Kowloon Bay and To Kwa Wan in the west. Troops were stationed here to monitor the salt yards' operation. Despite the government's close watch, illegal salt trade was still active on Lantau Island. When it was discovered by the officials, a full-scale crackdown was initiated. The Lantau villagers instigated an all-out uprising of salt farmers, leading finally to a major civil riot.
According to other stories, Kwun Tong was a typhoon shelter for the Kowloon Water Police, which made it an important political and defence point of north-west Kowloon. Black Hill (Ng Kwai Shan), which today rises up behind Lam Tin Estate, was known as Koon Fu Hill (官富山) at that time.
In the 1950s, when Kwun Tong was being developed as a new town, the local residents disliked the word Koon (官), which literally means official or government, and they persuaded the Hong Kong government to change the place name to Kwun Tong (觀塘), which literally means viewing a pond. The development of Kwun Tong spearheaded the construction and planning of new towns in the New Territories, although the first project was limited in scope and did not share the features of self-contained communities like the later ones.
Kwun Tong was one of the minor residential areas in Hong Kong, with factories having been built there since the 1950s. The industrial area has since then expanded to Kowloon Bay and Yau Tong. Since the manufacturing sector of Hong Kong is in decline, many factories have been torn down and commercial buildings are being constructed to replace them.
In recent years, the government has started to re-develop the coastal area of Kwun Tong to correspond with the re-development of the Kai Tak district. A promenade and a park has been built along the coast near Kwun Tong Pier.
The residential areas in Kwun Tong are mainly located in lower Kwun Tong, to the northeast of Kwun Tong Road.
Kwun Tong is situated at the eastern part of the Kowloon Peninsula, and its boundary stretches from Lion Rock in the north to Lei Yue Mun in the south, and from the winding paths of Kowloon Peak in the east to the north coast of the Airport (Kai Tak) runway in the west.
Roads that are serving the area include:
Kwun Tong Pier used to be a major transport hub for cross-harbour passengers until the opening of the MTR and the Eastern Cross Harbour Tunnel. Today ferries services to Sai Wan Ho and North Point are still available.
KMB bus terminus serving the area include:
Following some recent redevelopment plans in Kwun Tong, the Yuet Wah Street Bus Terminus is about to be demolished, and the routes originally terminating there will be moved to the New Kwun Tong Station Bus Terminus and Yue Man Square Bus Terminus.
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