LUNG YEUK TAU HERITAGE TRAIL (1.8km)
Located just outside Fanling in the North East New Territories, the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail was opened in 1999. The name Lung Yeuk Tau was derived from the nearby mountain range Lung Yeuk Ling (Mountain of the Leaping Dragon) whose name came from the legendary saying that there was once a dragon leaping in the area. Lung Yeuk Tau is another Tang Clan area (see Ping Shan Heritage Trail) and the Tangs of Lung Yeuk Tau, who originated from Jishui in Jiangxi province, have the strongest claim of royal descent among their fellow clansmen being descendants of the eldest son of the princess of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). When the princess took refuge in the south she was 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 and as the clan prospered it spread out to the neighbouring area and established the “Five Wais (walled villages) and Six Tsuens (villages)” which form part of the heritage trail. The Tangs still practice traditional village customs some of which include a Tin Hau Festival, a lantern lighting ceremony for new born baby boys on the fifteenth day of the first Lunar month. On the first day of the second Lunar month there is an ancestral worship ceremony and vegetarian feast. Once every decade the Tai Ping Ching Chiu Festival (meaning “the Purest Sacrifice Celebrated for Great Peace”) is held and celebrated by the whole Tang clan and people from surrounding villages. Many traditional Chinese buildings and structures such as temples and ancestral halls, walls and entrance gates of walled villages and residences still retain their original appearance and can be visited along the trail.
TRAIL GUIDE BOOKLET
A free booklet published by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department Antiquities and Monuments Office with a trail map and description and history of the buildings and monuments is usually available from Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre (closed Thursdays) in Kowloon Park, at the Hong Kong Planning and Infrastructure Exhibition Gallery at 2 Murray Road, Central (closed Tuesdays) and also on the trail at Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall (closed Tuesdays). Visitors may find it useful obtain a copy of this booklet before starting the trail.
UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2012. CERTAIN PARTS OF THIS TRAIL, PARTICULARLY TUNG KOK WAI AND THE SECTION NORTH OF SHAU TAU KOK ROAD (SIN SHUT STUDY HALL, SAN WAI AND SIU HANG TSUEN) ARE HAVE BECOME POORLY SIGNED. IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT VISITORS TO THIS TRAIL OBTAIN THE LEUNG YEUK TAU HERITAGE TRAIL GUIDE, PUBLISHED BY THE ANTIQUITIES AND MONUMENTS OFFICE AND AVAILABLE ON THE TRAIL FROM THE TANG CHUNG LING ANCESTRAL HALL OR FROM HONG KONG DISCOVERY CENTRE IN KOWLOON PARK, BEFORE STARTING THE TRAIL. THIS PAGE WILL BE FURTHER UPDATED SHORTLY. ADDITIONALLY, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT TWO ROWS OF HOUSES AT WING NING TSUEN, WHICH FEATURED IN THE TRAIL HAVE BEEN DEMOLISHED DURING 2012 TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW HOUSING.
MONUMENTS AND BUILDINGS ALONG THE TRAIL (starting from Lok Tung Street at Tsung Kyam Church on 54K green minibus route - see "Getting There and Back" below);
TSUNG KYAM CHURCH - built 1926 is a church of the Basel Mission and was extended in 1951. A village gradually developed around the church and two old houses named “Kin Tak Lau” still survive today. The church is private property and not open to the public.
Tsung Kyam Church
SHEK LO – located just east of Tsung Kyam Church, the private residence Shek Lo was built by the founder of Wah Yan College in 1936 and is a colonial-style building with a mixture of Chinese and Western architectural styles. The property is not open to the public.
MA WAT WAI – built by the Tang Clan during the reign of Qianlong (1736-1795). The village is enclosed by walls on four sides although some parts have unfortunately been demolished. A communal altar stands the end of the main alley.
Entrance Gate of Ma Wat Wai
LO WAI – the first walled village to be built by the Tang clan. The village has a raised platform on the north wall to serve as a watchtower. The village wall was restored in 1998/99 with substantial financial support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. A well which once supplied water to the village stands just outside the entrance gate.
TANG CHUNG LING ANCESTRAL HALL – the main ancestral hall of the Tang Clan of Lung Yeuk Tau was built in the early 16th century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, the founding ancestor. It is a three-hall building exquisitely decorated with fine wood carvings, polychrome plaster mouldings and murals of auspicious motifs fully reflecting the superb craftsmanship of the old days. Open daily 9am to 5pm (closed 1pm to 2pm for lunch), except Tuesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and the first three days of Lunar New Year.
Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall
Elaborate carvings and plaster mouldings are a feature of some buildings on the trail including (above) roof of the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall and (below) Tin Hau Temple
TIN HAU TEMPLE – adjacent to the Tang Ling Ancestral Hall and devoted to the worship of Tin Hau and her guards Chin Lei Ngan and Shun Fung Yi. There are two bronze bells, cast in 1695 and 1700, placed on the floor of the chamber alongside the main hall. The date of construction of the temple is unknown but it was restored in 1913 and again in 1981.
Tin Hau Temple stands alongside the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall
It should be noted that construction works taking place along the trail in the area between Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall and Tung Kok Wai may result in path diversions
TUNG KOK WAI – built by the 13th generation ancestor Tang Lung-Kong (1363-1421) the name is translated as “Eastern Walled Village”, the name arising by virtue of the village being situated in the east of the Lung Yeuk Tau area. The village is constructed on a raised platform and was originally surrounded by a moat.
The entrance gate to Tung Kok Wai
WING NING TSUEN – built about 1700 and also known as Tai Tang, the village houses were arranged in three rows with houses in the front rows being lower than those in the rear rows to obtain good fung-shui. Unfortunately, two rows of houses, which did not have heritage grading, were demolished in early 2012, to make way for new houses and now only a small section of one row remains.
Sadly, during 2012, two rows of houses at Wing Ning Tsuen were demolished to make way for new houses, seen here under construction in December 2012
WING NING WAI – believed to have built about 400 years ago, this village is now rather dilapidated. There are three rows of houses but there has been considerable recent development in the area and only a few traditional Chinese houses remain. The west side of the village borders the Ng Tung River.
THE TRAIL CROSSES A MAJOR ROAD, SHAU TAU KOK ROAD, BETWEEN WING NING WAI AND SIN SHUT STUDY HALL
On reaching the traffic lights at the junction with Shau Tau Kok Road, the main road from Fanling to the mainland border, the trail continues straight ahead
SIN SHUT STUDY HALL – situated in San Uk Tsuen the hall was built in 1840 to commemorate and worship Tang Wan-kai, the 19th generation ancestor of the Tang Clan. It is a two-hall building with a courtyard flanked by covered aisles. The building was used for ancestral worship as well as a study hall. The hall is nowadays used occasionally for holding banquets. This is a private property not normally open to the public.
Sin Shut Study Hall
Shrine at Sin Shut Study Hall. The building, which is still occasionally used for holding banquets is private property, not normally open to the public
SAN WAI – also known as Kun Lung Wai as the lintel of the entrance to the village is engraved with the characters “Kun Lung”. The walled village was built in about 1744 and has watchtowers at each of the four corners of the enclosing walls. There is a tower over the main gate and communal altar at the end of the main alley. Unfortunately most of the old houses inside the village have been replaced by new buildings.
Entry gate to San Wai. The moat which once surrounded the village has since been filled in and most of the old houses inside the walls have been replaced by new buildings
SIU HANG TSUEN – situated north-west of San Wai, the village was established in about 1800. The Tang clan of Siu Hang Tsuen had originated from Lo Wai and moved to Lung Tong before settling at Siu Hang Tsai after being harassed by bandits. The wall in front of the village and archway at the eastern village entrance were built in 1960 to obtain better fung-shui for getting more male offspring. There is a small temple Fok Tak Tsz built to worship the God of Earth. It should be noted that the archway pictured below, was found to be partially hidden by renovation works in November 2012.
Siu Hang Tsuen, once frequented by bandits, the end of the trail
FROM SIU HANG TSUEN TAKE GREEN MINIBUS 56K BACK TO FANLING STATION (see below)
GETTING THERE AND BACK –
MTR (East Rail) to Fanling Station. From the green minibus terminus near Exit C (not to be confused with green minibus terminus near Exit A), take green minibus 54K. There is a rather faded “Lung Yeuk Heritage Trail” poster for the trail on one of the bus stand supporting columns. Frequency is 10/20 mins from 6am to 10-45pm. Octopus Card is accepted. Get off at the first stop after the bus has crossed a river (Ma Wat River). The journey takes about 10 mins. The first building on the trail, Tsung Kyam Church, will be just ahead. The end of the trail at Siu Hang Tsuen is served by green minibus 56K to Fanling Station, every 15 mins, departing Siu Hang Tsuen on the hour, and 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour.
The 54K bus stop for the trail is marked by a rather faded Leung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail poster on one of the bus stand columns at the Fanling Station Green Minibus Terminus, near station exit C
An alternative to the green minibus is to take KMB bus service 78K or 79K from Fanling Station and get off on Shau Tau Kok Road at Lung Yeuk Tau bus stop (bus stop names are displayed inside the bus). However this point is mid-way along the trail which means to cover the whole trail will involve retracing your steps for part of the way. These buses operate at about 10/20 minute frequency.