Hong Kong
Where East meets West
Hong Kong Travel, Central New Territories

Central New Territories

From  Sha Tin  to  Tai Po Market

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Sha Tin, "the New Territories' unofficial capital" is where our journey begins.

 

This ultra-modern city has experienced a real boom during the last thirty years, as it rapidly grew from a small rural town of just around 30,000 people to a community of more than half a million people today. 

 

Built mainly on reclaimed land from the Tolo Harbour, Sha Tin gives a first impression of just another modern, yet boring, bedroom town.  The reality, however, is somewhat different... as the town boasts quite a few exciting points of interest, including one of Hong Kong's most popular shopping complexes.

 

Sha Tin Railway Station, along the KCR East Rail (which connects Tsim Sha Tsui and the Hong Kong/China border) is, possibly, the best starting point. 

Getting here is fairly easy: The train departs from Hung Hom Station in Kowloon (But you can start your journey in East Tsim sha Tsui Station, not far from Nathan Road, and change trains in Hung Hom) and travels northward via Kowloon Tong (where there is a MTR connection) before it gets to Sha Tin.

 

Trains on this route run daily, from 5:30 am until 1:00 after midnight.  They depart every few minutes and traveling time (from East Tsim sha tsui to Sha Tin) is approximately twenty minutes.

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The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, just a short distance from Sha Tin Station, is one of the town's most prominent tourist attractions.  Located on the slopes of a thickly forested hill, northwest of the station and the town centre, this 1950s built monastery houses an enormous collection of more than 10,000 statues, presenting Buddha in different poses and forms... almost 13,000 mini-size statues are located within the main worship hall, while many life-size golden Buddhas are located along the steps that lead to the monastery.

 

Another important site within the monastery's compound is the nine-storey pagoda, opposite the main worship hall, from which you can enjoy some outstanding views of Sha Tin town and its surroundings.

 

The monastery runs its own vegetarian restaurant, where you can get some fairly tasty food at reasonable prices.

 

Although very near to Sha Tin's KCR station, getting to the monastery takes its toll, as you need to climb up some 400 steps... From the station (exit B - to the bus park), walk along Pai Tau street to Sheung Wo Che (the small street between Grand Central Plaza and Sha Tin Government Offices). The signed path starts from the end of the street.

 

For more information, you can call the monastery on 2691 1067 or visit their website (Chinese only): www.10kbuddhas.org

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Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong's largest museum (and possibly most interesting), is located some ten minutes walk south of Sha Tin's KCR Sftation, facing the Shing Mun River.

 

Housed in a colossal modern structure that implements Chinese architectural motifs and resembles a traditional "Si He Yuan" (a historical type of residence that was common throughout China and consists of a compound with houses built around a courtyard), the museum presents the history, art and culture of Hong Kong and Southern China in a beautiful and interesting manner that appeals to adults and kids alike.

 

The museum's 12 galleries are scattered within its three floors. Six of them feature permanent exhibitions and the other six are "thematic galleries" thatf showcase temporary exhibitions.

 

The orientation theatre, on the museum's ground floor, is perhaps the right place to begin the visit from... Here you can watch a short movie about the region's rich history and culture, that explains the role of the museum... Just like an appetizer before you actually start moving around the galleries. 

 

The Children's Discovery Gallery, also on the ground floor, is a great place for those of you who brought the kids along... Eight interactive play-zones take the young ones through the nature, archaeology and history of Hong Kong... giving them a taste of how village life looked like hundreds of years ago, introducing them to the creatures of the wetlands, and showing them what archaeology is all about...

 

The New Territories Heritage Hall, on the first floor, is a fairly rich gallery that has eight "time tunnels" through which you can familiarize yourself with the territories' 6,000 years of history, including reconstructed scenes of old-times Hakka villages, ancient fossils and what not...

 

Also on the first floor, the Cantonese Opera Heritage Hall is where you can learn a lot about one of the most prominent cultural aspects of Canton... The opera.  Extravagant costumes and flamboyant stage décor are just some of the exhibits worth seeing.

 

Next in line (and also on the same floor), the Chao Shao An Gallery pays attribute to Professor Chao Shao An, founder of the Lingnan Art Studio in Guangzhou (Canton) and one of the greatest masters of Lingnan watercolor painting.  His students' works can be seen here.

 

Located on the second floor, the T.T.Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art presents some fabulous Chinese art from the private collection of Hong Kong businessman T.T. Tsui.  The exhibits range from the painted pottery of the Neolithic period to the porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, and from Ivory carvings and Jade ware to Han Dynasty tomb statues... (There are really quite a few marvelous pieces of art here... so try not to rush it...)

 

The museum is open daily (except Tuesdays that are not falling on public holidays) and the admission costs HK$ 10 for an adult and HK$ 5 for students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above.   Admission is free on Wednesdays.

 

For more information, you can call the museum on 2180 8188 or visit their website: www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk

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As already mentioned, the museum is within a comfortable 10 - 15 minutes walk from Sha Tin KCR station (from the station, walk out to New Town Plaza and continue to Sha Tin Centre Street, with which you can proceed to the Riverside park, near the museum).  If you decide to come from Che Kung Temple's station (Along the KCR's Ma On Shan Line that branches off the KCR East Rail at Tai Wai Station, one station before Sha Tin), than it is only five minutes walk or so... (take exits A or C, cross the bridge over the river and you are there...)

 

On the other side of the Shing Mun River, a stonethrow away from the KCR station which carries the same name, Che Kung Temple (also known as Che Kung Miu) was originally built in the 17th century, in honor of Che Kung: a respected military general during the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279), who saved the southern regions of China from disorder and saved the villagers of Hong Kong area from a plague.  Che Kung, who is also believed to be the one who protected the Emperor during his escape to Hong Kong (before the fall of the Song Dynasty), started to be worshipped after his death and became very popular around Hong Kong, where he performed most of his miraculous activities.

 

The temple was renovated in the 19th century and the current impressive Japanese-style structure was completed in the 1990s

 

The temple is open daily, from morning till evening and although admission is free, it is customary for visitors to leave a small donation for the maintenance of the place.

 

For more information, you can call the temple on 2603 4049

 

Just a spit away from Che Kung Temple, off Che Kung Miu Road, Ku Au Tseng Yuen is a Thai temple.  Worth seeing here is the Four-faced Buddha statue.

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Not too far from Che Kung Temple, on the other side of the KCR station (just near Lion Rock Tunnel Road), you can visit Tsang Tai Uk, one of only a few traditional Hakka walled villages that still exist (and one of the best preserved among them).

 

Built in 1848 as a stronghold for the Tsang Clan, the village is constructed with granite, grey bricks and solid timber and consists of three rows of houses, surrounded by grey-brick compound with high, thick walls and tall corner towers.  All the houses are interlinked by passages and small courtyards.

 

There are three arched gates in the village's Northern wall (the one that faces towards the river). The main one is located right in the middle and leads to the ancestral hall in the innermost row of houses, where ceremonies take place.

 

From KCR - Che Kung Temple (exits B or D): Turn left to Che Kung Miu Road and walk along it for something like five minutes (its name changes to Tai chung Kiu after you cross Lion Rock Tunnel Road), turn right to Sha Kok Street (near the sport recreational grounds) and right again (opposite the school), into the small street that leads to the village's carpark (the village is open daily and admission is, obviously, free).

 

From Tsang Tai Uk: walk back and turn right to Tai chung Kiu Road.  After some 750 metres (10 minutes walk), turn left to Sha Tin Rural Comitee Road and cross the river. Right after crossing the river, turn left to Yuen Wo Road (along the riverside garden) and right to Tam Kon Po Street (second street to your right - opposite Sha Tin Town Hall), which will take you to ShaTin Centre Street and the colossal New Town Plaza, one of Hong Kong's most popular shopping complexes.

A cultural tip from Metropolasia Man...

The open piazza of "City Art Square" surrounds the gigantic reddish building of Sha Tin Town Hall Plaza and features original and uniquely-styled sculptures and public art installations of 19 internationally known artists.

Located right next to Sha Tin's KCR station, above the bus terminus, New Town Plaza comprises of two interlinked malls (Phase I and Phase III) and boasts almost 400 shops and restaurants, occupying a retail space of about 200,000 m²

 

Other than the usual shebang of international brand-name shops, swanky department stores, cinemas, restaurants, cafés and foodcourt outlets... this modern shopping Mecca also houses some good non-chain shops that sell local and Chinese stuff at relatively reasonable prices.

 

If you happened to be here with the tots, don't miss a visit to Snoopy's World on the balcony of Phase 1, Level 3.  This fantastic outdoor playground is all about Snoopy and his Peanuts gang...

 

For a nice unwind and a decent lunch break, go up to the 7th level of Phase 1, where there is a rooftop-garden with a musical-fountain and some nice "alfresco" restaurants.  Foodcourt outlets and casual cafés can be found on Level 1.

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Our next stop is at Racecourse Railway Station, along the KCR East Rail (The second station from Sha Tin) and just next to Sha Tin Racecourse, one of the world's most impressive racecourses.

 

Originally built in 1978, with a capacity of only 35,000 spectators, the recently refurbished arena can accommodate more than 80,000 spectators and has all that it takes to be considered one of the world's finest racetracks, including an all-weather retractable top (the world's first retractable roof over a parade ring), the world's longest Diamond Vision TV screen, 23 stables with a capacity of 1,260 horses and a beautifully landscaped park (Penfold Park), encircled by the track.

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Over the years, horse racing became more and more popular among local Chinese residents, mainly because it was the only permitted form of gambling in Hong Kong.  The money involved in Hong Kong's horseracing industry is the highest in the world in terms of per capita (Sha Tin Racecourse is the home of the world's richest day of turf racing) and watching the races is an unbeatable experience... the stands are packed with excited spectators and the atmosphere is electric...

 

Tourists who wish to come and see the races can either stay within the public enclosure, or they can buy a Tourist badge which will grant them admission to the Members' Enclosure (including the Members' Betting Halls and trackside areas).  The badge can be bought on a race-day at the designated counter at the Members' Main Entrance (you must be over 18 years old though, and carry your valid passport, to prove you are a foreign visitor).

 

Alternatively, you can join one of Hong Kong Jockey Club's packages: The "Come Horseracing Tour" or the "Racing in style package" which include transportation, admission and buffet lunch or dinner...

 

For more information about the racecourse and its "special packages", you can call Hong Kong Jockey Club on 1817 or visit their website

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University Railway Station is the next station along the KCR East Rail (The third station from Sha Tin). It serves the adjacent Chinese University of Hong Kong, from which it got its name, and makes a good starting point for those who want to visit the excellent Art Museum at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as for those who want to catch a boat from the nearby Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier and venture for a relaxed day on one of the remote islands... Tap Mun (Grass Island) or Ping Chau.

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Founded in 1971, the Art Museum at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is a unit of the Institute of Chinese Studies, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a great place for you to familiarize yourself with the rich cultural heritage of ancient and pre-modern China.  With thousands of precious exhibits, including painting, calligraphy, epigraphy & rubbings, ceramics, bronze ware, jade ware, lacquer ware, ivories and what not... it is really a place worth visiting.

 

The museum is open daily, 10 am - 5 pm (closed on public holidays) and as the university campus is fairly large, it makes sense to take the on-campus shuttle light-bus from the railway station.  It departs every 15-30 minutes (slightly less frequently on Sundays and public holidays) and drops you quite close to the museum.

 

For more information, you can call the museum on 2609 7416 or visit their website

 

Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier is just a 15 minutes walk from the University KCR Station. From here, you can take a ferry to some of Hong Kong's remotest (and most picturesque) islands and beaches.

 

Read more about the islands of Tap Mun (Grass Island) and Ping Chau in The small islands chapter.

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The next station along the KCR East Rail (The fourth station from Sha Tin) is at Tai Po Market: another bedroom town, with plenty of government housing estates, built on a once traditional market town.  Although heavily urbanized, the town retains some of its old days' market character, with market stalls and an indoor market...

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The Hong Kong Railway Museum is housed in the Old Tai Po Market Railway Station.  Unlike most other railway stations around Hong Kong, this 1913s built station clearly features indigenous Chinese architectural style, with many small figures decorating the exterior, such as are commonly found in existing old southern Chinese temples.

 

The small museum is a must see for train fans, although families with kids and others are likely to enjoy it just as well.  It exhibits some train models and old equipment, as well as actual old locomotives and wagons.

 

The Hong Kong Railway Museum is open daily (except Tuesdays and some public holidays, like Christmas and Chinese New Year), from 9 am to 5 pm and the admission is free.

 

Located on 13 Shung Tak Street (along the railway), the museum can be reached by green minibus No. 22K from KCR- Tai Po Market (some other green minibuses also go this direction, although they won't bring you as close to the museum), or you can take a walk from Tai Wo Railway Station (one station after KCR- Tai Po Market).  For more information, call them on 2653 3455 or visit their website: http://www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/english/branch.htm

 

A stonethrow away from the museum, Fu Shin Street (also known as the "old market") is the last remnant of Tai Po's once-thriving authentic markets.

Other than the much expected shebang of fresh groceries and dry foods, you can also find here some authentic Hakka hats, traditional snacks and other surprises...

 

Along the street, there is the Man Mo temple. Built almost 100 years ago to commemorate the founding of the market community, this temple (just like its "counterpart" on Hong Kong Island) is built after two gods: the god of literature (Man) and the god of war (Mo).  It is not the most impressive of Hong Kong's temples but it has some historic significance and it also adds "flavor" to the market ambience, as the front courtyard is always busy with chatting old men...

 

The Tai Po Waterfront Park and Lookout Tower, just a short walk from either KCR- Tai Po Market or from Tai Wo Railway Station, is one of the loveliest parks across the new territories, and a great place to rest a bit... There is also a lookout tower within the park, from which you can get some nice views of the area.

 

To get there : From KCR- Tai Po Market, walk along Nam Wan Road (along the canal) and turn right to Plover Cove Road (near the football pitch), which will lead you to the park (10 minutes walk).

 

Those of you who love nature walks (and have enough time...) should pay a visit to the Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, south of Tai Po Market.  Unlike Hong Kong's country parks, this thickly forested nature reserve has no barbecue area or campsite, and lighting a fire is strictly prohibited.

 

This is Hong Kong's best site for forest birding, with species including Chestnut Bulbul, Scarlet and Grey-throated Minivets, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Fork-tailed Sunbird, and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker.

 

Several species that were certainly or probably escapees from captivity have become established here - for instance, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Blue-winged Minla and Silver-eared Mesia.

Migrants occur here, especially during spring and autumn, and in winter; the globally near-threatened Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher occurs annually in small numbers.

 

A beautiful and relatively easy way to explore the forest and its dwellers is to walk the Tai Po Kau Nature Trail. Located right next to the Nature Reserve's entrance, this less than a kilometer trail focuses strongly on forest ecology, and gives the visitor a chance to see the different vegetation groups around the woodland. 

 

Although short, the trail is somewhat hilly and takes about an hour of walk.

 

To get there (Starting point and Finishing point are at the same place) take any of the following buses to Chung Tsai Yuen (Tsung Tsai Yuen), along Tai Po Road: the nature reserve's entrance is just a few steps from the bus-stop.

 

From Tai Po Market town: KMB Nos. 72A or green minibus No. 28K from KCR- Tai Po Market.

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Still around the town of Tai Po Market, the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are one of the most prominent attractions of this region.  Located near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen Village, just a few kilometers west of Tai Po Market, the two banyan trees are known for making wishes come true, and while the one next to the temple is more popular among students who want to succeed in the exams, the older one (which is just further away) is popular among everybody. 

 

Droves of locals and tourists are coming here, especially during Chinese religious holidays, and trying their luck... Traditionally, you have to write your wish on a strip of Joss paper, tied to an orange, and throw it on the trees... If the paper wraps around the branches, your wish will become true...

 

Unfortunately, the barrage of oranges had damaged the trees, and during the Chinese New Year of 2005 two people were injured, when a fairly large branch broke down and fell on them.   As a result of that unpleasant incident, throwing oranges on the trees is not encouraged anymore and visitors are requested to just tie their wishes to the fence or to the special "wish-making wooden racks" next to the trees.

 

To get to the trees, take KMB bus Nos. 64K or 65K or green minibus No. 25K from KCR- Tai Po Market (drop off at Fong Ma Po stop).

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Occupying an area of almost 4,600 hectares northeast of Tai Po Market town, Plover Cove Country Park and the huge freshwater reservoir after which it is named, are among the finest natural treasures Hong Kong has to offer.

 

Covering a fairly large (and remote) peninsula, with rugged coastline, offshore islets, steep mountains, lush forests, streams, waterfalls and what have you...     it boasts some of the most picturesque coastal and inland sceneries in Hong Kong

The park is home to a wide range of plants and wild animals, including Leopard Cat (Felis bengalensis), Chinese Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata), Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura), , Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and Tree Squirrels.

 

Plover Cove Reservoir, Hong Kong's largest water storage facility (in terms of surface size) is famous for its impressive main dam. Measuring 2 Km. in length and 28 metres (almost 10 floors) in height, it is Hong Kong's longest dam and was one of the largest in the world when it was built, back in the late 1960s.

 

Being the world's first "reservoir in the ocean", it was once a cove (as the name suggests).  One main dam and three service dams were built to shut the cove off from the sea.  The cove was then drained and was converted into a fresh-water lake, with a capacity of 230,000,000 m3 (two hundred and thirty million cubical metres).

 

Tai Mei Tuk, on the fringe of the country park, is the first stop when coming from Tai Po Market.  Located right next to the colossal dam, this village is quite popular with holidaymakers and weekend visitors... it boasts a small harbor, where you can hire a dinghy and there are some waterfront restaurants.  Bicycles are also available for hire in the village and there are some lovely picnic areas and walking trails... try to come in the middle of the week if you want to really have it quiet...

 

Getting to Tai Mei Tuk is quite easy: KMB route No. 75K will take you from the bus terminus next to KCR - Tai Po Market, right to the middle of Tai Mei Tuk.   You can also catch green minibus No. 20C from Tai Po Market Station (Uptown Plaza) to Tai Mei Tuk.

 

Bride's pool is one of the country park's highlights... an extremely beautiful and picturesque waterfall that looks like a delicate curtain of water, falls into a pristine pool... Other than the beauty of this place and the serene ambience (not so much on holidays though...), it is also a good starting point for some easy nature walks (and you can also visit Mirror pool, another beautiful waterfall, just a few minutes away...).

 

Public transport to Bride's pool is only available on Sundays and Public holidays (KMB route No. 275R from the bus terminus next to KCR - Tai Po Market).  On weekdays, you can catch a taxi or a village bus from Tai Mei Tuk.

One of Hong Kong's most beautiful nature walks...

Those of you who have the time and the energy can walk from Tai Mei Tuk to Bride's Pool via Pat sin Leng Nature Trail, one of the most beautiful nature trails in Hong Kong.

 

The trail starts from the visitor's centre at the entrance to Plover Cove Country Park, just a short walk up the road from Tai Mei Tuk (You will see a proper directional sign) and climbs through the lush hills north of the reservoir, passing through spectacular vantage points, before descending down to Bride's Pool and Mirror Pool.

 

It is slightly more than 4 km. in length but takes 2 - 3 hours to walk, because of the somewhat steep terrain...

 

When coming back to Tai Mei Tuk, you can just use Bride's Pool Road

 

Those of you who want to explore the country park better, should either purchase the North-East & Central N.T map (published by The Survey and Mapping Office (SMO) of the Land's Department) or join one of the guided tours (for more details - click here).

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Our next stop is at Fanling Railway Station, along the KCR East Rail (Two stations after Tai Po Market). 

 

Fung Ying Seen Koon is a fairly impressive Taoist temple, just a stonethrow away from the station.  From its high hillside location, this 1929 built temple renders some great views of the town and its environs, not to mention the fabulous architecture and landscaping.

 

Occupying a fairly large compound, the temple consists of a beautiful main worship hall, surrounded by pavilions, towers, ancestral halls and meticulously manicured gardens. The main hall is built in a traditional Taoist style with a double-tier Chinese tiles roof, impressive red pillars and a wide flight of stairs, adorned with decorations, and the interior halls are loaded with rich decorations and flamboyant altars, worth spending some time at...

 

There is also a relatively good (and busy) restaurant within the temple's compound.

 

Getting to Fung Ying Seen Koon is truly a piece of cake... from KCR - Fanling simply cross the bridge over the railways and you are there.

 

Fanling Wai (粉嶺圍) is a walled village in Fanling, built by the Pang clan.  It is recognizable with the distinctive pond and layout including features such as cannons and watchtowers. All these elements were crafted to form an integral part of the village setting. Fanling Wai is the centre of the Pang clan who arrived in Hong Kong from Guangxi province late in the Song Dynasty.

 

Getting here from KCR - Fanling is fairly easy : you can either take a walk of 10-15 minutes or take a cab (which is even better).  By foot: walk out from the station to the large roundabout (using Fanling Station Road), turn left to San Wan Road and after something like 300 metres, turn right (next to the Squash court and the swimming pool) and walk towards North District Central Park.

 

Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (commonly known as Lung Ku Tau) is the area's most prominent tourist attraction.  Alongside the Ping Shan Heritage Trail in the western New Territories, it is one of Hong Kong's best heritage trails, but unlike its counterpart, this one is much longer.

 

Winding through a rural area, northeast of Fanling town centre and Luen Wo Hui (Luen Wo Market) the trail links up a number of old walled villages (Wai) and ordinary villages (Tsuen) built by the Tangs of Lung Yeuk Tau, one of the "Five Great Clans" of the New Territories.  The Tangs still live in those villages and practice several traditional village customs and festivals.

The trail facilitates the visit to some historical sites and declared monuments around the area.

 

The trail is properly signposted and there are information boards near the various stations, explaining on each of them.

 

Siu Hang Tsuen (小坑村) is the village from which the trail starts (or where it ends, depends on the direction you go). Built almost 200 years ago, it is not the most exciting site along the trail, but it does feature some interesting old-village architecture and has a gate that was relocated in the 1960s, to achieve better Feng-Shui.

 

Next in line is San Wai (新圍). Also known as Kun Lung Wai (覲龍圍), this walled village  was built towards the end of the 18th century and other than its well preserved brick-walls, it also boasts the corner watchtowers and a reasonably preserved gate.

 

A couple of minutes walk down the streets will bring you to the tiny village of San Uk Tsuen (新屋村) and to the next monument: Sin Shut Study Hall (善述書室),  a 1840 building which was erected to commemorate and worship Tang Wan-kai, the 19th generation ancestor of the Tang clan.

Wing Ning Wai (永寧圍), on the other side of Sha Tau Kok Road, is another walled village, believed to have a history of around 400 years.  Only a few old houses remained here.

Continue via Wing Ning Tsuen (永寧村), another old village with a just a few historical houses.

 

A couple of minutes from the village, near a cluster of small buildings, you can turn left and walk to Tung Kok Wai (東閣圍). This tiny walled village is, possibly, among the area's oldest settlements, with a history of more than 500 years.

The village was built on a raised platform which protects the houses against the risk of flooding.

 

Back to the trail, our next stop is at the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall (松嶺鄧公祠) and the neighboring Tin Hau Kung/Temple (天后宮).

 

Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall, one of the heritage trail's highlights, was built in the early 16th century in memory of the founding ancestor of the clan, Tang Chung Ling (1303-1387) and is the one of the largest and most impressive ancestral halls of Hong Kong.

 

The building has three halls: the central hall is where the "dong chung" is placed.

The rear hall is divided into three chambers. The central chamber houses the soul tablets of the ancestors of the clan, including the soul tablets of the Song princess and her husband Wai-Kap. Their soul tablets were elaborately carved with dragon head, which distinguished them from the others.

 

The chamber to the left is dedicated to those ancestors who had made significant contributions to the clan or those who achieved high ranks in the imperial court, while the chamber to the right is for the righteous members of the clan.

 

The whole building is decorated with fine wood carvings, polychrome plaster mouldings, and murals of auspicious motifs.

 

Open daily, from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays, New Year's Day, the first three days of the Lunar New Year, Christmas Day and Boxing Day).

 

The old Tin Hau Temple, just a minute away, is another declared monument.  Built in honor of Tin Hau (Matsu), Goddess of the sea, protector of the seafarers and Hong Kong's most beloved deity, its exact date of construction is not even known.

 

Lo Wai, just a minute walk from Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall and Tin Hau Temple is the first walled village built by the Tang clan of this area.  Despite of its old age, the walls and the gate are in a relatively good shape (mainly thanks to a comprehensive restoration which was undertaken in the late 1990s, short after the village was declared a monument).

 

Like some other walled villages around this area, Lo Wai's gate used to face the north, but was relocated later to face the east in order to achieve better "Feng Shui".

 

N.B: If you want to start the trail from this side, Green minibus No. 54K makes a stop near Lo Wai.

 

Next in line, Ma Wat Wai is another walled village, just around the corner. Unfortunately, it is far less impressive than its neighbor and, other than the massive red-stone gate, there is little you can see or do here...

 

Shek Lo, a couple of minutes walk from Ma Wat Wai, is a beautiful mansion house.  Built in a 1920s, it's still showing its old days glamour, despite of its relatively poor condition... Its architecture charmingly blends Chinese and classical-European motifs... (but it's a private property so you can't really walk in).

 

Tsung Kyam Church, the trail's last station, is another "piece of Europe" right in the middle of this very "Chinese" area... Originally built in 1926 by The society of Basel mission, it laid the foundation for a tiny Christian community that existed in the village of Shung Him Tong.

That is where the heritage trail comes to its end (or its beginning... depends how you look at it...).  From here, you can either catch green minibus No. 54K or simply walk back to KCR - Fanling : continue walking past Tsung Kyam Church, cross the crick on the bridge and continue walking along Lok Tung Street to its end.  Turn left into On Kui Street (near Jetta House) and walk with it to its end.  Right into Lok Yip Road and left into Sha Tau Kok Road, which will take you to the Railway Station.

 

How to get to Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail ?

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Green minibus Nos. 54K and 56K travels from KCR - Fanling to Sha Tau Kok Road.  56K reaches Siu Hang Tsuen (小坑村), where the trail starts from, while 54K reaches to the area of Lo Wai (老圍), where the trail ends.

 

KMB line Nos. 78K (has a stop near KCR - Fanling) and 79K (has a stop on Jockey Club Road, not far from KCR - Fanling) both depart from Sheung Shui Bus Terminus (one station after KCR - Fanling, along the KCR East Rail) and travel along Sha Tau Kok Road, not far from the place where the trail starts from.

 

If you really want to save time and energy, take a taxi from KCR - Fanling to Siu Hang Tsuen (小坑村), where the trail starts from.  It's just a short drive anyway, so it's not likely to cost too much.

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Sheung Shui Railway Station (one station after KCR - Fanling) is actually the last station along the KCR East Rail, before it reaches the Hong Kong/China border terminus.

Part of the Fanling-Sheung Shui New Town in the North District of Hong Kong, Sheung Shui is just another bedroom town, full of public estates... It does, however, boast a few interesting places... in case you have enough time to spend.

 

Sheung Shui Wai (上水圍), also known as Sheung Shui Heung (上水鄉), is one of the very few rural settlements having retained its original moat which was built in 1646.  Characterized by its magnificent moat and landscape setting, the walled village is the core of the Liu clan.

 

Located near the roundabout on the corner of Po Shek Wu Rd. and Jockey Club Rd., not far from Liu Man Shek Tong Ancestral Hall (see below) and within a comfortable walking distance from KCR - Sheung Shui.

 

Liu Man Shek Tong Ancestral Hall, the main ancestral hall of the Liu clan in Sheung Shui, is probably one of the town's most prominent sites... Built in the 1750s, it is one of the New Territory's biggest ancestral halls and one of the finest traditional Chinese buildings you can find in Hong Kong.  The building features the typical three-hall and two-courtyard structure that is found in other ancestral halls across the region, and is richly adorned with murals painted with auspicious motifs, wood-carvings, stone sculptures, ceramic decorations and what not...

 

The hall is open from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 to 5 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and the first 3 days of the Lunar New Year).   Admission is free.

 

Getting there is not too difficult: you can either take KMB 73K from KCR - Sheung Shui and drop off on Jockey Club Road (near Fung Kai No. 1 Secondary School) cross Jockey Club Road to the other side and walk through the village, or you can walk from KCR - Sheung Shui (takes about 15 minutes).

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