Friday, February 6, 2015

Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail

I've been wanting to check out the Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail for a few months now.  Since the weather has been so beautiful, my husband and I decided to trek out to Fanling to see what the fuss was all about.

From Fanling MTR Station, the easiest way to get to the starting point of the Heritage Trail is catching a taxi.  

We asked the taxi driver to take us to Shung Him Tong and also told him we were checking out the Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail.  He seemed to know exactly where it was, which may be a good thing for anyone else who is also interested in checking out the Trail and can't speak Cantonese (like myself).

Suggestion:  Print out Lung Yuek Tau (龍躍頭) and Shung Him Tong, which is the name of the church that is the landmark for the start of the trail (崇謙棠).  If the taxi driver can't understand your pronunciation, then you will will have the Chinese Characters for back up!

The Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail is a lot more spread out than the one in Ping Shan.  Though there are signs that direct you to different spots, they may not be noticeable if you aren't looking out for them. 

The unique thing about this trail is the fact that it can be broken up into two sections:

(1)  The first part of the trail features several colonial-style buildings.

(2)  The second part of the trail takes you around the Lung Yeuk Tau villages.

Usually, when I see the colonial-style buildings around Hong Kong, they have been urban renovated.  It was beautiful to see what colonial-style buildings look like in their dilapidated states.  The two building below (the first building is called Shek Lo) are blocked off by a fence, just to note.

Walking around the area, we also found a lot of hidden gems, like this little shelter or storage vestibule. Though we were walking around the villages of the area, we did come across patches of "wilderness," which deems this, in my book, as a great outdoor hiking experience.

Along the trail, we discovered an abandoned complex, which was quite eerie to walk through.  It looked like an old school and partially, perhaps, a set of dormitories.  We weren't sure if this complex was actually apart of the actual Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail, but it was still open to explore.

NOTE:  The Lung Yuek Tau village was established by the Tang clan, who were one of the five great clans of the New Territories.   Reading up on the Tang clan, they were said to have been able to trace their lineage back to the eldest son of one of the princesses of the Song dynasty (which evidence can be seen in the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall below).  The Tang clan also has a presence in the Kam Tin/Yuen Long area

One of the most impressive things about this Trial is the fact that it showcases some of Hong Kong's walled villages:  Lo Wai is pictured below.  Because it is a village, tourists and trail walkers aren't really allowed beyond the village walls.  But, it is still impressive to see these walls still standing strong (thanks to the renovation works).

NOTE:  There are five walled villages on this Trail:  Lo Wai, Ma Wat Wai, Wing Ning Wai, Tung Kok Wai, and San Wai.  A great map to follow is the one provided by the Antiquities and Monuments Office.

Featured below is the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.  It's a beautifully impressive structure, which houses the ancestral tablets of the Song Princess and her husband, a chamber honoring the ancestors who made noteworthy contributions to the clan, and a chamber that serves to honor virtuous members of the clan.

Along the trail, there is another of Hong Kong's famous Tin Hau Temples.  This Tin Hau Temple, like most I have come across, is still a full functioning temple.  Patrons still come to pray for good studies or protection.

Learning a little about the Lung Yuek Tau villages was really eye opening.  It really made me want to see more of the Heritage Trails around Hong Kong so that I could learn more about the City's history.

My lasting impressions of this Heritage Trail:  Though the Trail wasn't as clear as daylight to follow, it's still great to be able to have the opportunity to just wander...