Updated: Nov 17, 2019
This heritage trail was a pleasant surprise and a total juxtaposition from the high rise skyscrapers Hong Kong is notorious for. This trail allows one to envisage into the past of how life might have been like in the New Territories or even before Hong Kong was claimed as a colony.
Starting point: West Rail to Tin Shui Wai Station then change to Light Rail. Take Light Rail service 701P one stop to Hang Mei Tsuen then change to service 761P and travel two stops to Ping Shan Light Rail Station. From the station there are tourist signs to the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre (5/10 minutes walk) or you could start form Tin Shui Wai Mtr station.
Hike Duration: 1-2 hours, relax, have a break, discover and explore like a Tomb Raider
End Hike: depending on where you start from, either at Tin Shui Wai Station or Ping Shan Station, or the trail is not so long at all, you can retrace your trail back.
Hike Difficulty: 1/5
Scenery Rewards: 2/5
If you are coming from Central just allocate about half a day for this heritage trail. It is truly an eye opener of another side of Hong Kong. Also, a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Infomation about Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Stretching about 1.6 km in length, the heritage trail meanders through Hang Mei Tsuen, Hang Tau Tsuen and Sheung Cheung Wai. It links up a number of traditional Chinese buildings within easy walking distance of each other, and we were really surprise to see such traditional buildings still around in relatively preserved state.
The Tang Clan is one of the major clans in the New Territories who has a long and illustrious history. After settling in Ping Shan, the Tang Clan established “Three Wais (walled villages) and Six Tsuens (villages)” around Yuen Long area.
Ping Shan was reportedly established during the 12th century, by a father and son from the Tang clan.
We started from Tin Sui Wai Station, and our first stop was the pagoda. TSUI SING LAU PAGODA (c1400), hexagonal-shaped three-storey green brick structure about 13 metres in height “Pagoda of Gathering Stars” intended as a fung-shui structure to ward off evil spirits. The only ancient pagoda in Hong Kong.
According to the clan genealogy, the pagoda was built 600 years ago — during the Ming dynasty.
Open daily 9am to 5pm (closed for lunch 1pm to 2pm). Closed on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and the first three days of Lunar New Year. The pagoda is situated one minute’s walk from Tin Shui Wai MTR Station and makes a convenient starting or finishing point for the trail.
Continue walking along the path with the lake on the right. The lake is such a delightful distraction with birds, fish and tortoise. You will soon approach the shrine and Sheung Cheung Wai.
SHEUNG CHEUNG WAI (1800)
The only walled village along the trail. The gate house, shrine, parts of the wall and some old houses still remain.
We did not remember seeing a no entry sign at the walled village but there are residents staying beneath the wall, inside the walled villages and if you want to have a glimpse of the place, just enter unassumingly and be respectful and not make too much noise. There are few abandon houses, you could see the size and the layout of the unit, the unique design of the village is fascinating.
Walk past the well, take a short visit to the temple and continue down the path to an open area, you will see 2 huge chinese architecture building, they are the Tang and Yu Kui ancestral hall! #Pingshanheritagetrail
These two impressive ancestral halls are built side by side and with almost identical designs.
Yan Tun Kong Study Hall
To prepare for the Imperial Civil Service Examinations, the Yan Tun Kong study hall was built in Hang Tau Tsuen village. It is a relatively new addition to the Heritage Trail as the older route maps do not reference this building. From here we did a short walk into the village to the Yan Tun Kong study hall. They have restored the kitchen area and the courtyard with a yesteryear feel.
Open daily. Closed 1pm to 2pm. This area is surrounded by houses on all sides and is a rather quiet part of the trail, maybe that's why it is the study hall!
We had a short break here just taking in the space and the moment. We had the whole place to ourselves there, with the soft spring breeze blowing and household noises, and then the clanging sound of the metal wok against the spatula...... it was time for lunch break!
We headed back to the Tang Ancestral Hall, there are few eateries there and you can choose your pick!
After a hearty meal we continued our discovery to the Kung Tin Study Hall and Ching Shu Hin and the Shut Hing Study hall.
Shut Hing Study Hall 1847
The study hall originally a traditional two-hall building but the rear hall was demolished in 1977, leaving just the entrance hall where elaborate roof ridge decorations, murals, carved brackets and eave boards still remain.
Ching Shu Hin
Adjacent and connected to Kun Ting, the two-storey Ching Shu Hin was used as a guesthouse for scholars and prominent visitors. It is equally impressive in architectural detail and craftsmanship.
Among all the buildings we thought this was the most riveting, with the restored roof and ceilings, doors and walls.
Hung Sing Temple
Formerly constructed by the Tang Clan in 1767 and then re-built in 1866, the Hung Shing Temple which is a simple two-hall building with an open courtyard commemorates the deity Hung Shing who is extensively worshiped by fishermen.
Finally it is a short walk up the hill to this old police station site, which houses the Tang Clan artifacts and some information about the history or the village
Tang Clan Gallery/ Old Police Station
At the end of the trail, the old Ping Shan Police Station, a British colonial-era building, has been converted to the Heritage Trail Visitor Centre.
In 1899, the year the lease on the New Territories began, the colonial government built a police station atop the main hill at Ping Shan. The police moved out around the turn of this century, and the three buildings now house the inelegantly named Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre.
From here at the vantage point you can see your trodden path, ancestral burial grounds, some rice farm land of whatever is remaining from the past that powered Ping Shan prosperity and now, just scruffy suburb of what use to be a proud settlement!
From here you can retrace your path back or head home from Ping Shan Light Rail Station.
Note: You can start your trail from the Tang Clan Gallery/ Old Police Station too!
The heritage trail is truly a little gem of densely-packed heritage buildings in Yuen Long, all in half a day's work!