Visit a Traditional Walled Hong Kong Village

Woman entering San Wai walled village, Fanling, New Territories, Hong Kong, China
Ian Trower / Getty Images

Visiting a Hong Kong Village (yes, they do exist) is a great way to see a more traditional side to Hong Kong. While the city’s glitzy skyscrapers tend to overshadow the rest of the territory, these, often ancient Hong Kong villages are a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

Some of the villages are over 500 years old and have witnessed the British come and go with the pace of life relatively untouched. You’ll often find ramshackle huts as homes, ornate ancestral halls and walls built to fend off pirates. And, while there are cars and satellite dishes, villagers still pride their heritage over the size of their bank account.

Kat Hing Wai

Built roughly 400 years, Kat Hing Wai is one of the most popular walled villages in Hong Kong, although there are rarely more than a handful of tourists on any given day. As with most of the villages, many of the buildings are modern, but you still find a number of ancient, crumbling dwellings, an intact outer wall and a small temple. The villagers are the descendants of the Tang clan, who settled the village, and you take a picture of them in their distinctive clothing, although you may have to stump up HK$10 for the privilege.

How to Get to Kat Hing Wai: Bus 64K from MTR Tai Po Market Station. Alight at Kam Tin Road bus stop. 2-minute walk.

Shui Tau Tsuen

Harder to reach than Kat Hing Wai, Shui Tai Tsuen is far less commercialized and well worth the extra legwork. The village is famed for its diminutive old buildings, which feature tiled roofs adorned with ornate dragons and fish decorations. The village is also home to a fantastic pair of 19th-century ancestral halls, which is where villagers commemorate their forefathers. Their names can still be found inscribed on the boards inside. The village is also home to a couple of temples and a traditional Study Hall.

How to Get to Kat Hing Wai: Bus 64K from MTR Tai Po Market Station. Alight at Kam Tin Road bus stop. 15 min15-minute

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