Who sees the impressive skyline of Hong Kong sees a large modern city full of skyscrapers. But behind that gray facade is more: old colonial villages where you imagine yourself in the historic Far East. Hiking trails take you back into Hong Kong’s history. We hiked the Ping Shan Heritage Trail and literally discovered the other side of this city. Read on and let Hong Kong amaze you once again!
Hong Kong Ping Shan Heritage Trail: discover history in the New Territories
The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a walk through Hong Kong’s history, where you will pass temples, ancient quarters and a walled village. The trail is between 1 and 2 kilometers long, depending on how you walk and whether you want to see everything. Because of its location in the New Territories in the northwest of Hong Kong, you will literally see the other side of the city on this hike. During the heritage trail, you can visit 12 historic buildings and a museum, all dedicated to the powerful Tang family: the discoverers of this 500-year-old village and the first immigrants to settle in Hong Kong. In 1993, this first heritage trail opened in Hong Kong. How do you get to the trail? Take the subway and get off at Ping Shan Station (start trail: Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery Visitors Centre) or at West Rail Tin Shui Wai (start trail: Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda). All sights along the heritage trail are free.
Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery: the beginning of the hike
We begin our walk at the highest point: the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery. Besides being a museum, this is also the visitors center and thus a good point to start the tour. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored police station built in 1899, where we learn about the history of the Tang family.
Temples and ancient halls
In the heat, we hiked down to the temples and ancient quarters along this route. Unlike downtown Hong Kong, this seems like a sleepy village where not much is happening. A nice change from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city.
Ching Shu Hin house
Built in 1874 as a guesthouse for scholars and important visitors, Ching Shu Hin is truly a feast for the eyes! The murals, statues and beautifully finished panels and doors are truly beautiful to look at.
Kun Ting Study Hall
Right next to the Ching Shu Hin house is the Kun Ting Study Hall, which you can reach inside. The room was built in the year 1870 and used by students, among others, to study. Like the adjacent guesthouse, this building is also beautiful to look at. The way the walls, arches and gardens are finished is simply very clever precision work.
Tang Ancestral Hall
The Tang Ancestral Hall was built some 700 years ago and is the largest ancestral hall in the area. The hall is still used for traditional festivals and celebrations, and as a meeting place for Tang relatives. The building consists of three halls and two courtyards. Chinese motifs and pottery statues adorn the beams and roofs of this magnificent structure.
Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall
Right next to the Tang Ancestral Hall is the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall, which are very similar in architecture and design. Built in the sixteenth century, the hall was used, among other things, as a classroom for young people, and from 1931 to 1961 the building served as an elementary school.
Yeung Hau Temple
At the end of a small grassy field, we find the Yeung Hau Temple. This temple is dedicated to the God Hau Wong and the date it was built is unknown. It is a special temple: secluded in a patch of greenery, completely open, no entrance and incense burning everywhere with no one in sight.
Sheung Cheung Wai: an ancient Chinese village
Some walled villages can still be found in South China and Hong Kong. Like the other walled villages, Sheung Cheung Wai is characterized by row houses built in blocks separated by very narrow streets. The village was built some 200 years ago and is the only walled village along this heritage trail. Walking around here gives a sense of looking inside other people’s homes. There is no one in sight, but clearly inhabited. The narrow streets, gray houses, cluttered gardens and especially the silence make it feel like a ghost town. I wouldn’t like to wander around here in the dark.
Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda
At the end of the walk stands the only remaining ancient pagoda in Hong Kong. It is claimed that the pagoda once had 7 stories, which are now reduced to 3 stories due to erosion.
Discover the other Hong Kong
Hong Kong actually has everything: a bustling downtown, green islands, beautiful temples, plenty of shopping, history and many hiking opportunities. The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is one of the sights that complete a city trip Hong Kong. We enjoyed walking past these old buildings and through abandoned villages. Venture off the beaten path and discover the other Hong Kong! Prefer to explore Hong Kong with a local? Find your local guide who will take you to the most beautiful and interesting places.