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Hong Kong: Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail

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Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail | Hong Kong | Asia

[Visited: October 2011]

Getting off at Fanling station in the New Territories, a taxi took us close to the trailhead of the Lung Yeuk Tau heritage trail on a warm, sunny day. We first visited the Tang Chung Ling ancestral hall, which provided some useful information, as well as holding the soul tablets of the ancestors of the Tang clan, the clan that founded the villages in the area. The name Lung Yeuk Tau is derived from the legend according to which a dragon once leaped through this region. The heritage trail consists of six villages (tsuen) and five walled villages (wai). From the ancestral hall, it was a short walk west to Lo Wai, the oldest of the five walled villages. Built on a low hill, you first have to climb stairs before you walk through the entrance gate, around which Chinese characters are placed on the wall. While the outside wall seems to be old, you can find modern and old houses inside, as well as several trees. It was extremely quiet here when we visited.

Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): The northern end of the heritage trail with traditional and modern houses

From Lo Wai, we walked past the entrance gate to Ma Wat Wai, another walled village, to the estate of Shek Lo, which is closed for visitors, and which looked abandoned. From here, we backtracked to the ancestral hall, and continued to Tung Kok Wai, another walled vilage with alleys in a grid pattern, and small altars with fresh fruit. The few people we met were mostly older, and greeted us in a friendly way. Walking further northwest, we came across the villages of Wing Ning Tsuen and Wing Ning Wai. Here, it was obvious that there is a struggle between old and new, between tradition and modernization; the road goes around old buildings. While you step through a centuries-old gate, a kid comes by on a plastic Made-in-China bike. Still now, the Tangs keep their traditions alive, as we learned in the ancestral hall.

Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Decorative altar witrh fresh fruit in Tung Kok Wai

The next structure of importance was the Sin Shut study hall, which looked beautiful from the outside, with ornaments above and besides the entrance gate. Unfortunately, the entrance was closed, and we were left admiring the building from the outside. The trail was narrower now, leading us through half-open landscapes, until we reached the walled village of San Wai. Square defensive towers at its corners, the village itself is square, and it was probably the most impressive walled village of the wais we saw. The gate was still intact, and it was surprising to see modern buildings inside, next to traditional houses with their characteristic roofs. What a pity that the new buildings were not built in any way according to the style of the old ones! From San Wai, it was a short walk to the last village of the trail, Siu Hang Tsuen. Here, you can continue walking in the countryside, there are hills beyond the village - perhaps the dragon once leaped right here? When we returned to Fanling, it was like fast-forwarding in time from the forlorn era in which we had just spent half a day.

Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Defensive tower at the corner of the walled village of San Wai
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Wall and entrance gate to Lo Wai, the oldest walled village founded by the Tang clan
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Red wooden decoration on a wall in Tung Kok Wai
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Part of the Shek Lo estate at the southern side of the Lung Yeuk Tau heritage trail
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Close-up of painting in Tang Chung Ling ancestral hall
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): The walled city of San Wai is still enclosed in its 18th century wall
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Large characters over the entrance gate to Sin Shut Study Hall
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Decoration above Sin Shut Study Hall
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Traditional house and modern buildings inside San Wai, walled village founded in 1744
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): The heritage trail leads through many small villages
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Roof with decorations at the Tang Chung Ling ancestral hall at the southern side of the heritage trail
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Close-up of display in the Tang Chung Ling ancestral hall
Picture of Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (Hong Kong): Landscape painted above the entrance to Sin Shut Study Hall

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