Tai Po is a historical market town in the north-east New Territories. Due to its geographical location it has been a trade centre for several centuries. With its rich history, Tai Po boosts a large number of temples and other historical features. It is a bustling town, home to about 300,000 people of which about 220,000 live in Tai Po proper, the rest living in the surrounding villages.
One of the main areas in Tai Po nowadays is the area around Tai Ming Lane Square. This square is lined with shops and restaurant, and the new Tai Po Hui market, home to a large wet market, a cooked food centre, a library and a sports centre is close by. This square is roughly the place of where, long time ago, the boats carrying produce from farms around Tolo Harbour and Plover Cove would berth. Since then the sea shore has been pushed out more and more, partly due to natural sedimentation, later also due to large-scale reclamation.
The original Tai Po Market was at the area that is now occupied by Tai Po Central and Eightland Garden.
In the late 19th century, a second market was built: Tai Wo Market. This market quickly gained in importance over the original Tai Po Market, especially after the construction of Kwong Fuk Bridge crossing Lam Tsuen River, and the Man Mo Temple.
The original Tai Po Market became then known as Tai Po Old Market, a name still in use, and Tai Wo market became known as Tai Po Market. At the same time, a Man Mo temple was constructed at Fu Shin Street. This temple is still there, and Fu Shin Street is to this day a bustling market street, while Tai Po Old Market has disappeared. The name is preserved in the Tai Po Old Market Playground, a small park where the market used to be.
Shortly after the lease of the New Territories to Britain in 1898, plans were drawn for a railway to Guangzhou – the current East Rail Line of the MTR. The old Tai Po Market station of the KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railway), located halfway the current Tai Po Market and Tai Wo stations, has been turned into a railway museum. The original Tai Po station was located a bit east of the town at the sea shore, near what is still called the Tai Po Railway Pier.
To get around Tai Po, a bicycle is the most convenient option. There are many bicycle rental shops near Tai Po Market station, where you can rent a bike for little money. Use it to cycle around this interesting town, or take it for a spin towards Tai Mei Tuk or Sha Tin along the shores of Tolo Harbour. Some bike shops allow you to return the bike in Tai Mei Tuk or Sha Tin, ask the shop keeper for details.