Formerly known as Waterloo, Yau Ma Tei forms part of the Yau Tsim Mong District on Hong Kong’s Kowloon Peninsula. It was once a beachside village where Tanka fishermen gathered and remains a harbour today, despite successive land reclamation projects. Yau Ma Tei is home to several historic landmarks and markets that date from British rule, including the first hospital to be built on the Kowloon Peninsula.
Things to do in Yau Ma Tei
A significant architectural landmark in the area is the Yau Ma Tei Theatre, which opened in 1930 and was once the largest theatre in Kowloon. It’s now protected as a Grade II listed building and regularly hosts Cantonese Opera productions. The theatre is located adjacent to the historic Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, a pre-World War II market where you can pick up seasonal fruits and freshly squeezed juices.
One of Yau Ma Tei’s most unique museums is the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Museum, which is housed in a former building of Kwong Wah Hospital. Learn about the Main Hall’s construction in 1911 and browse the artefacts and plaques on display, which reflect the changes in Hong Kong’s health system over the years.
In the late afternoon, head to the Temple Street Night Market where you can browse the souvenirs, clothing and accessories on sale. It’s a short stroll from Kowloon King George V Memorial Park, an urban green space dating back to 1940 where you’ll find sporting facilities, a children’s playground and a Chinese pavilion.
Getting around Yau Ma Tei
Yau Ma Tei is 15 minutes by train from Central Station and around 40 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport. Trains connect from destinations across Hong Kong to the Yau Ma Tei, Austin, Jordan and Kowloon subway station and buses travel throughout Yau Ma Tei.