Updated: Nov 17, 2019
Lai Chi Wo is located in the north-east of the New Territories, near Plover Cove Country Park. Walking along the isle of the empty dwellings, peeking through the windows gives such a vivid glimpse of the moment in time the house was left, maybe with intentions to return but only to let it decay withe tides of time.
Starting point: Minibus 20R from Tai Po Market Railway Station, get off at Wu Kau Tang, it is the last stop basically, or can get her by ferry. A ferry departs for Lai Chi Wo on Sunday and public holidays at 9am from the Ma Liu Shui Pier near the Chinese University and returns at 3.30pm. It's HK$80 return and takes 90 minutes, or HK$50 single trip.
Hike Duration: 1 and a half hour and depending if you stop at the other villages.
End Hike: Back to Wu Kau Tang or you could take the ferry back from the pier at Lai Chi Wo, at 3.30 pm to Ma Sui Sui pier in Ma On Shan. Go early in case it is too crowded.
Hike Difficulty: 1/5
Scenery Rewards: 2/5
Infomation about Lai Chi Wo
Lai Chi Wo, surrounded by mountains on three sides and facing the sea, is regarded as the feng shui woodlands of New Territories Northeast. Fung Shui Wood is a characteristic landscape feature of traditional South China farming villages, which protects the village from landslides and hill fires as well as moderates the microclimate and provide natural resources. #laichiwo
Lai Chi Wo is one of the Hakka villages in Sha Tau Kok, with her history dated back to the 17th century. The village was founded by two Hakka (客家) clans, the Tsang’s (曾) and the Wong’s (黃).
Abandoned in the mid 1990s, the village is said to have been founded in the 17th century and have housed up to 200 residents in the 1950s.
Today, many of the empty dwellings are in state of sad decay. However, currently the village is the site of a revitalisation project managed by the Kadoorie Institute of the University of Hong Kong, many of the heritage structures such as the ancestral halls, temples and school are being restored. #abandonvillageofhongkong
Begining of Hike
At the bus stop just follow the sign to the village, take note the time for the last bus, otherwise you may need to call in a taxi or hike all the way out.
You will hike up a trail along a brook with clear murmuring water flowing for around 200m, pass a wooded area, a the bends up the hill, you could see Shenzhen in the yonder. When you arrive at the clearing, you will be rewarded with views of the reservoir. #hongkongghostvillage
From here you walk along the river and will approach the chimney shoot. Perhaps it was used in the past to burn 'hell money' for ancestors.
From here you can either go up the stairs to view the famed trees or walk straight and soon arrive at the entrance of the abandon village. If you go up the stairs, there is a board walk that leads you to the edge of the village. From that point you can view some grey tile roof tops.
Walk down the steps and there is a well on the left and you could walk along the isle of the houses. I noticed some houses were bigger than others, some built in traditional Chinese lay-out, maybe those used to belong to a chief villager.
There is a nostalgic feel as I walk along the isle of the row of houses. You could peep into the windows and see the things the has been left behind and perhaps the period of time when it was abandon.
During the era, wood stove was being used in the village, a farmer's house, rather simple and basic, an olden day sink also indicates that the village had no flowing water unlike now. You hear the buzzing of a round florescent lamp of a bygone era, the owner must have forgotten to turn off the lights, you look further in the house and see a pendulum clock stopped at 5..... a soup pot, maybe still fill with herbal soup?
I figure out that it may have been 30, maybe 40 years since the owner has last been back home! ..........SAUDADE
Where to eat
Just like many weekend villages, the locals return to mend their eateries. There are about 2 or 3 food stores in the village and they cook up original Hakka fare that is simple yet delicious with some love! There is a sweet dessert store by the square at the temple and school that serves sweet tofu pudding and red bean soup.
After a good meal you could walk along the Nature Walk trail. You can see the mangrove forest and some good view of the village too. There is also a walk up to a little hill where you may get better views of the village.
However, if you are taking the ferry back just keep track of the time.
The ferry back to takes about 1 and half hour and arrives at the Ma Sui Sui about 5pm. From Ma Sui Sui, you could either walk to the University MTR station, about 10-15 min walk or take a taxi.
The ferry trip back through the double haven cove, past island, islets and beaches was the cherry on the cake. It was such a delightful treat and a great closing to a moderate and enjoyable hike!