Header image courtesy of “Chinese residences Ly Ee Mun—Hong Kong” (1908) Arnold Wright (via Wikimedia Commons)
If you already know all about Hong Kong’s major landmarks, you will be interested to learn that the vibrant history of the city is often hidden in plain sight, surrounded by high-rises interspersed with traffic-packed streets.
With the best-kept historical secrets woven into the fabric of everyday life, location names are a big part of our rich cultural landscape, revealing some of the most interesting aspects of the past. From local pirates to a royal visit, our “Behind the Name” series explores a whole host of places in Hong Kong with fascinating stories behind their names.
A small channel located between Junk Bay and Victoria Harbour, Lei Yue Mun lies on the eastern entrance to the harbour itself, and its name extends to cover the land surrounding the channel, too. “鯉魚門” translates to “carp door,” as the outline of the channel resembles the opened mouth of a carp (this was more the case before the major land reclamation project in Kwun Tong that added another stretch of land in Yau Tong Bay, which is lined all the way to the Lei Yue Mun Channel).
Before the reclamation, the area was home to fishermen and, later, miners working in nearby quarries. Some of Hong Kong’s oldest settlements were found in this neighbourhood—in fact, many of the early inhabitant’s descendants still live in the neighbourhood to this day, and fishing boats continue to line the shore, referencing the nature of Lei Yue Mun’s name. The area is also a popular destination for enjoying seafood, beaches, and a plethora of natural phenomena.
A Tin Hau temple is tucked away behind boulders along the Lei Yue Mun coast, a sacred shrine with a very remote location compared to other temples dedicated to this deity in the city. Uphill from the temple, a route will lead you to Devil’s Peak, a hiking trail scattered with remnants of British bunkers, sentry posts, cannons, and the location of the ruins of Gough Battery.