Lai Chi Wo Ancient Hakka village

Lai Chi Wo (CN: 荔枝窩) is a 300-year-old Hakka village near Sha Tau Kok, in the northeastern New Territories of Hong Kong. It is part of Hong Kong Global Geopark. It is an area and attraction that is popular with eco-tourists and hikers.

The Hakka village has come back to life of recent with many buildings and ways of life being restored in this very special location. The locals here also offer tours of the village and classes on cooking Hakka specialties. More on that here

 

Wikipedia Says

History

The History of Lai Chi Wo dated back to 400 years ago before the Hakka people settled there. It was once a prosperous Hakka walled-village in the North-Eastern part of New Territories. There were around 500-600 residents in the most prosperous period.

Around a hundred years ago, Lai Chi Wo village was once a poor village. At that time, a feng shui master suggested building 3 feng shui walls for the village to get rid of the evil spirits and keep the property safe inside the village. After the setting-up of the three walls, the village regained its prosperity as before.

In the recent years, most of the younger residents have moved out for a better living in town areas like Fanling and Tai Po, or emigrated to overseas, leaving the village with the older residents only. The original residents will, however, go back to the village whenever there are celebrations, like the Tai Ping Qing Zhao (the Bun Festival) once every 10 years.

Lai Chi Wo is now the 16th special region inside Hong Kong. This special region is legalised in 2004 and enacted in 2005. Moreover, it has become one of the frequent Hiking sites in Hong Kong. Local tours have developed their route to Lai Chi Wo, and the hikers will start their route from Wu Kau Tang near Tai Po or Luk Keng near Fanling. Hikers generally take Lai Chi Wo as a mid-way station.

Name
As the name suggests, this area was once known for its lychee trees and it got its name before the Hakka settlement. In the 1960s and 1970s villagers found it more profitable to plant mandarins, which could fetch good prices towards Chinese New Year (as they are seen as auspicious). However, even the local villagers still can not confirm if the village got the name because of the lychee trees or another reason.

Location

Lai Chi Wo is situated inside the Plover Cove Country Park and Yan Chau Tong Marine Park. The area is situated in the North-eastern part of New Territories, near Sha Tau Kok. The altitude of Lai Chi Wo is about 10 metres. It is around 1 hectare of special region inside the area of Lai Chi Wo.

Structure of the village

The buildings
Lai Chi Wo walled-village and the houses inside adapt the structure of typical Hakka village. There are a total of 211 houses inside the village, including 3 ancestral halls (the Tsang’s ancestral Hall, the Wong’s ancestral Hall and the Wong’s Weixing ancestral Hall). 131 of the houses are single storied buildings. Another 76 are double-storey buildings, and the remaining four are three-storey building. The village is structured in 3 rows and 9 columns.

The residents
Inhabitants of this village were from the Tsang and Wong Hakka families. Only one family still lives there and the rest have either moved overseas or to other parts of Hong Kong. The Hakka residents originate from Kaifeng, Henan at around 2500 years ago. Moreover, the Wongs in Lai Chi Wo are from Fujian, via Huizhou to Hong Kong during early Qing dynasty. No-one lives there except the occasional members of the Tsang family nowadays.

Conservation

Hip Tin Temple and Hok Shan Monastery are Grade II historic buildings. The Lai Chi Wo Special Area was designated as a Special Area in 2005 and covers 1 hectare. Lai Chi Wo Beach was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1979.

Transportation

A ferry service runs between Ma Liu Shui and Landing Steps No. 3 at Lai Chi Wo on Sundays and public holidays. Alternatively, Lai Chi Wo can be reached by walking there via one of the two hiking routes.
The first one is from Wu Kau Teng, and then via Kau Tam Tso, Miu Tin and Lai Tau Shek. Green mini-bus route 20C connects (the special route) Tai Po Market and Wu Kau Teng or Bus route 275R (served on holidays only) connect Taipo Station and Bride’s Pool at Plover Cove from which one can hike to Wu Kau Teng.

The second one is from Luk Keng, which green mini-bus 56K. Hikers can walk from Luk Keng, via Tai Wan, Kuk Po and Fan Shui Au.

Visitors who carry the Sha Tau Kok permit can travel to Lai Chi Wo through boats. They can go to Sha Tau Kok by KMB bus route 78K or green mini-bus 55K.

Source: Wikipedia

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Details

  • Website: www.geopark.gov.hk
  • EN Address: Plover Cove (Near Yan Chau Tong Marine Park), Sha Tau Kok, New Territories
  • Getting There: Take minibus 20R from MTR Tai Po Market Station to Tin Sam Village at Wu Kau Tang, then walk for about two hours to Lai Chi Wo. Or, take bus 275R (Sundays and public holidays only) from Tai Po Market bus terminus to Bride’s Pool, walk for about two hours to Lai Chi Wo via Wu Kau Tang. Or, on Sundays and public holidays: MTR University Station Exit B, and take a ferry to Lai Chi Wo from Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier (90mins – Leaves 9am and returns at 3:30pm).

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