New Territories, Hong Kong
While researching my trip to Hong Kong, I discovered Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage trail from the Hong Kong Tourism Website. The heritage trail will get you to see the settlement of the Tang Clan of Qing Dynasty. They originated from Jishui of Jiangxi province and have the strongest claim to the royal descent among their fellow clansmen for they are the descendants of the eldest son of the princess of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). When the princess took refuge to the south she married to Tang Wai-Kap of Kam Tin. The eldest son of the royal couple moved to Lung Yeuk Tau at the end of the Yuan dynasty. As the clan prospered, it further branched out to the neighboring area, establishing the present day "Five Wais and Six Tsuens" (5 walled village and six villages) within a few hundred years.
I found that it was worth my time visiting the village as I was traveling from Lo Wu (Shenzhen) and it was the third stop from Lo Wu Station (East Rail Line) to Fanling Station.
When I arrived Fanling Station, I was walking to a nearby local mall to have a quick breakfast. It was great to visit the old mall with mostly locals of nearby residents. I had breakfast at a local noodle restaurant and could see the locals daily lifestyles.
After breakfast, I walked back to the MTR station and went through a pedestrian underpass to visit the Fung Ying Seen Koon, an important Toaism Temple in HK since 1929. This was a great stop to see the charity and religious organization to the local community.
From Fanling Station Exit C will get you to the Public Bus Station, where you can wait and board Bus #54K to Lung Yeuk Tau Village. The bus will circle around town for 10 minutes before arriving the Shung Him Church, or make sure you have the driver to stop you somewhere near the church.
From Shung Him Church, you will be able to walk around the village by foot. The heritage trail will get you to see old houses with remaining ancient walls including Ma Wat Wai and Lo Wai, then Tin Hou KungTemple and Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.
The mini bus #54K will pass through the streets of the Lung Yeuk Tau Village. You can always catch a bus at a corner street back to Fanling Station.
It is an easy walk, and a great way to see the new territory!
It was a shame to see the remaining of Ma Wat Wai in today HK. It was supposed to be a walled village that was built during the Qinlong reign (1736 - 1795) of the Qing Dynasty by the Tang Clan, which branched out from Kam Tin and settled in the Lung Yuek Tau Village in the 14th century. It is one of the eleven village settlements in the area which are commonly known as "Five Wais (walled villages) and Six Tsuens (villages)".
Ma Wat Wai is one of the five walled villages. Other four walled villages are Lo Wai, Tung Kok Wai, Wing Ning Wai, and Kun Lung Wai (San Wai).
Six tsuens or villages are Tsz Tong Tsuen, Ma Wat Tsuen, Wing Ning Tsuen, Sun Uk Tsuen, Siu Hang Tsuen and Kun Lung Tsuen.
Ma Wat Wai was originally a walled village with brick walls constructed on four sides and a watch tower on each corner. A pair of chained-ring door gates were installed at the main entrance, above which is a red sandstone lintel engraved with two Chinese characters "麻笏“. All the houses here were built in orderly rows. A communal altar was placed at the end of the main alley. However, owing to past development, most of the walls and all the four corner towers were demolished leaving only the historical entrance tower and part of the enclosing wall.
The HK Government has started to restore the entrance tower in 1995, and protects the remaining wall and the entrance since then. The restoration work is not impressive as most of the surrounding houses are modern concrete structures.
After visiting Ma Wat Wai (walled), it is a short walk to see Lo Wai (walled). It is the first and one of the five renowned walled villages in the Lung Yeuk Tau village. The Tang clan branched out from Kam Tin and settled in Lung Yuek Tau in the 14th century. They had since established the 11 villages in the area, commonly known as "Five Wais" or walled villages and "Six Tsuens" or villages.
Lo Wai is a village built on a small hill enclosed by brick walls on four sides. It has a narrow entrance to facilitate the defense of the village. The original entrance tower was located on the north of the village and later relocated to its present position to face east. It is the belief facing east can achieve better fung shui. The houses in the village are arranged in orderly rows. There is an old well near the entrance, which was the water supply to the villagers. A raised platform was built on the north wall as a watch towers. The walled village still maintains its original layout with most of the village's walls remian intact.
The restoration work was undertaken in 1991 with fund provided by the North District Office. In 1997, the Hong Kong Jockey Club donated more money to have a full restoration of the Lo Wai.
Tin Hou Kung Temple is one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong, believed it was constructed earlier than Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall. The main worship figures at the main hall is Tin Hau and her guards. Chin Lei Ngan, who had eyes to see things thousand li or miles in English and Shun Fung Yi, who had ears can hear things from heaven. Two bronze temple bells are placed on the floor of the left chambers, one of which was cast in 1695 as a gift from the Tang clan to thank Tin Hau after having their sons adopted to her. The other bell was cast in 1700 as an offering to Tin Hau so that the young men of the clan could be blessed during their journey to the city for taking the provincial examination.
Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall is the main ancestral hall of the Tang clan of Lung Yeuk Tau. It was built in the early 16th century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, the founding ancestor.
It is a three-hall building with the rear hall 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-kao whose posthumous title was jun-ma, husband of an imperial relative. Their soul tablets were elaborately carved with a dragon head, which distinguished them from the others. The chamber to the left is dedicated to the ancestors who had made significant contributions to the clan or whose who achieved high ranks in the imperial court. The chamber to the right, for the righteous members of the clan. The whole building is exquisitely decorated with fine wood carvings, polychrome plaster mouldings, and murals of auspicious motifs.
9 am - 1 pm & 2 pm - 5 pm daily.
Closed on Tuesday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and the first three days of the Lunar New Year.
Shung Him Church is also known as the Tsung Kyam Church in Hakka pronunciation. Shung Him Tong or Church is not a very attractive church, but it is one of the earliest Christian churches in Hong Kong. It has more than 100 years old history, founded by a Hakka Lutheran in 1901. It was the first Christian village in Hong Kong. You can find an old Kin Tak House, 2-story Hakka House and a Christian school nearby.
It is a private property. No admission for the public!
Fung Ying Seen Koon Taoist Temple is a short walk from the Fanling MTR Station. It is built beautifully on a hillside where the perfect Feng Shui location for a Taoist Temple. It was first established in 1929 as one of the most important organizations for Taoism in Hong Kong. During the period of the inception, Fung Ying Seen Koon was a place for its disciples to study Taoism. It worships the divine Tai Sheung Lo Kwan (Lao Zi), Lui Shun Yeung and Yau Cheung Chuen.
Due to the need of help from lower income group, it also actively involves in charities, social welfare and education to the community.
The Temple has a large piece of land with magnificent main hall standing amidst numerous pavilions and towers. Ming Terrace, the highest level in the temple, is a place where you can relax and enjoy the fine view of Fanling town.
This museum which opened in 2000 is on the banks of the Shing Mun river in Sha Tin. It is described by some as Hong Kong's best musuem but I personally like the Hong Kong Museum of History in East Tsim Sha Tsui more.
The highlight for me is the Cantonese Opera Hall. This is a very colourful and noisy exhibit which eloquently displays the culture and history of a once loved institution. If you are at the Heritage Museum on a Saturday afternoon you can register to join a free Cantonese Opera Appreciation Class run by the Hong Kong Tourism Board which explains the various displays in more detail.
The Museum also has re-creations of old fishing villages from pre-colonial times together with thematic exhibitions. The history of the New Territories is displayed in a permanent gallery.
While I was pleased I took the time to check out the Heritage Museum, I found there weren't enough displays to hold my interest and I only spent half as much time there as I had anticipated.
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is open everyday except Tuesday from 10am to 6pm. Admission is HK$10. The museum is a pleasant 5 minute walk across the river from Che Kung Temple MTR station. To get to Che Kung Temple you have to change trains at Kowloon Tong and Tai Wai. Che Kung Temple is one stop along from Tai Wai on the Man On Shan Line towards Wu Kai Sha. Alternatively you could stay on the MTR at Tai Wai and alight at Sha Tin which is the next stop. The museum is a 15 mins walk from Sha Tin MTR station.
From the moment we met our eccentric English tour guide we enjoyed this interesting tour into the history of a few influential Chinese families of Hong Kong.
The "new territories" act as a buffer zone between the peninsula of Hong Kong and Main Land China, although it is seen as part of Hong Kong.
Take yourself out to Tai Po Market mtr station and look around the wet and dry markets. Have a walk round the town. This is the old Hong Kong and as it was 20 years ago. The people are all very helpful. If you are a walker, take your gear and walk back along the waterfront, where there is a designated walking and cycling track. You can walk on the pavement from Tai Po to Shatin, passing the Shatin race track. Do remember to take plenty of water with you though, as no shops!
Pai Tau Village is located beside the Sha Tin KCR station in the New Territories near the 10,000 Buddha’s Monastery. A good way to visit the visit is to climb the steps up to the Monastery past the life-sized golden statues and then come back down through the village via the lower level of the monastery.
This wonderful new garden, opened in November 2006, is located in the Diamond Hill area of New Kowloon opposite the Chin Lin Nunnery. The garden is designed in the style of the Tang Dynasty, a classical circulatory landscaped garden based on the blue print of the Jiangshouju Garden in Shanxi Province, China. It covers an area of 35,000m2 and includes trees, rocks, hillocks and water features such as ponds, waterfalls and fountains. Along the route are timber structures in the Tang architectural style such as pavilions, terraces, verandahs, halls, bridges and gates. There are small exhibitions including an architecture gallery and rock gallery. It really is a lovely, peaceful spot in the middle of the urban hustle and bustle. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Taxi's, climbing fences, fishing, Police, clubbing, getting drunk together, forgetting what day of the week it is, missing my birthday (hahaha), shopping, movies, hanging out with friends, bowling .. just to name a few of the things i did in Hong Kong and missed my flight and trip to Beijing ... OMG's what a GREAT trip it was.
This Buddhist nunnery, in Diamond Hill was founded in the 1930's but reopened in the year 2000 and is a replica from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907)
Apparently not one nail was used in it's construction! Instead they used interlocking pieces of wood.
There are some beautiful lotus ponds in front of the Nunnery. It is quite an unusual sight with the backdrop of skyscrapers behind. It is worth a visit, especially if you are visiting the Wong Tai Sin temple, as that is only 1 MTR stop away from the Chi Lin Nunnery.
Open: Thurs-Tues 9am-3:30pm Free admission
PHOTOS TO FOLLOW
In the main temple there are 12,900 minature buddhas on view, either statues or plaques all gold plated. In the center there are 3 large buddhas - the Buddha of Medicine on the right, in the middle the Goddess of Mercy and on the left the Ti-tsany with a stick in his hand. Sitting in the middle of the front row is the founder of the Monastery, the Reverend Yuet Kai.