A Travellerspoint blog

Fanlinging?

A wander around Fanling.

semi-overcast

On the Lung Yeuk Tai Trail.

On the Lung Yeuk Tai Trail.

I have a friend who has two homes: one in Po Lam, which he shares with his wife, and his ancestral home in Fanling, which is used by him and other members of his family. At the weekend, he normally goes to his home in Fanling. When we used to work together, on Fridays I used to ask him:. "Are you going to Fanling for the weekend again?" Over time this question became so frequent that I shortened it to: "Fanlinging?" So I now have difficulty even thinking of the word Fanling without the made-up term Fanlinging coming to mind.

Anyway, yesterday I decided it was time I went for a stroll around Fanling. There are quite a few things to see in this area. I started by taking the train one stop further on to Sheung Shui, then walking back to Fanling in order to visit the North District Park. To get to the park I exited Sheung Shui Station through exit B, took the footbridge to San Wan Road, then headed right.

The North District Park turned out to be really beautiful and very tranquil. It centres around an artificial lake. There are pretty Chinese style buildings all around the lake and there were lots of different birds to observe there, as well as the usual fish and turtles. An old Chinese man saw my camera and pointed out one of the birds to me, then seemed pleased that I wanted to photograph it. Near the entrance to the park, I spotted a beautiful tree which I believe is known as a Chinese Chestnut Tree. I think its nuts are edible. This path also featured a very long foot massage path. I could have done with that by the end of my walk.

The North District Park.

The North District Park.

Map of the park.

Map of the park.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

This bird was happy to pose. I think it is a green heron.

This bird was happy to pose. I think it is a green heron.

This bird was happy to pose.

This bird was happy to pose.

Turtle enjoying the sun.

Turtle enjoying the sun.

An old Chinese man pointed out this bird to me when he saw me taking photos. I think this is a striated heron.

An old Chinese man pointed out this bird to me when he saw me taking photos. I think this is a striated heron.

This was a good place for bird photos. They seemed happy to stay still.

This was a good place for bird photos. They seemed happy to stay still.

A friend joined it.

A friend joined it.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

There was a second reason I had started my explorations on the north side of Fanling. I wanted to see Fanling Wai, one of Fanliing's best known walled villages. It's especially beautiful because there is a pond in front of it which reflects the walled village in its still waters. There are also several old canons around the entrance to the village. At the corners of the village there are watchtowers.

Fanling Wai was built by the Pang Clan between 1572 and 1620. It consists of a central walled village called Chung Wai, plus Pak Wai, or north hamlet, and Nam Wai, or south hamlet. The canons at the entrance of Chung Wai were to protect the village from pirates. They were buried during the Japanese Occupation and only dug up again in 1986.

I'm not sure if I could have wandered around inside the village or not. Some walled villages don't seem to mind, others charge a nominal fee and some have signs up asking people not to come in. This is for privacy reasons, but during COVID, it's also for health reasons, so I didn't want to barge my way in. I just stayed in the entranceway and took some pictures from there.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Canons in front of Fanling Wai.

Canons in front of Fanling Wai.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Shrine inside the entrance.

Shrine inside the entrance.

Inside the walled village.

Inside the walled village.

Watchtower.

Watchtower.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

I noticed an old building off to my right as I was about to leave the village. It turned out to be the Pang Ancestral Hall, also known as Tai Tak Tong. It is in the village's north hamlet. It was moved here in 1846 for feng shui reasons and was rebuilt in 1884.

The Pang Ancestral Hall.

The Pang Ancestral Hall.

I left the village through its large, ornate entrance gateway which as always was guarded by lions. The ones here were pretty fancy and decorated with bows.

Entrance gate to the village.

Entrance gate to the village.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

After looking at Fanling Wai, I knew I had a bit of a walk ahead of me, as I also planned to walk the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail and first I had to get there. To do that I headed along the very busy Hong Kong Jockey Club Road, then along the even busier Shau Tau Kok Road, before spotting a sign pointing me towards the Ma Wat River and the start of the trail.

The Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail is a 1.8km trail that was opened in 1999. It meanders its way through five wais and six tsuens. Wais are walled villages and tsuens are villages without walls. Lung Yeuk Tau means Mountain of the Leaping Dragon and the walk takes its name from a nearby hill which according to legend was once the home of a dragon.

The area the trail is based in was settled by members of the Tang Clan who originated from Jishui in Jiangxi Province. The Tangs who settled here can claim royal descent, as one of the founders of the villages here was the eldest son of Tang Wai-kap of Kam Tin and a princess of the Southern Song Dynasty.

This trail turned out not to be that easy to follow, as it was rather lacking in signage. However, it was very enjoyable even though I did not find everything. There was lots of greenery all around and the trail was generally peaceful, though it had no pavements and a bit of traffic.

The first building I came to on the trail was Tsung Kyam Church. This dates from 1903 when it was founded by a retired pastor from the Basel Mission. The church was extended with the addition of a second storey in 1951. Unfortunately it is not possible to go inside. This church was used until 1983 when a new church was built.

The new church.

The new church.

Painting outside the new church.

Painting outside the new church.

The old church.

The old church.

The old church.

The old church.

I went wrong with my next sight which should have been Shek Lo, an old mansion built by the founder of Wah Yan College in 1936. It is now empty and derelict. I spent quite a long time looking for this and actually it was pretty interesting wandering around the village. I found a large old house with no sign or information outside it and photographed that in the hope it was Shek Lo. I had no pictures so was not sure what I was looking for. When I got home, I discovered it wasn't the correct building. Oh well, never mind. Actually I don't think this house was derelict or empty either. I probably irritated the inhabitants by leaning through the rails to photograph it.

Gates of the building I thought was the old mansion House.

Gates of the building I thought was the old mansion House.

A photo taken through the rails.

A photo taken through the rails.

Wandering the village streets.

Wandering the village streets.

Some old village houses are left to crumble.

Some old village houses are left to crumble.

Old and New together.

Old and New together.

Farmland in the foreground; high-rise in the background.

Farmland in the foreground; high-rise in the background.

I'm now wondering if Shek Lo was just over a little bit from where I was. There was a path at the edge of the village and when I left the village I noticed old gateways in front of overgrown land which could have been the grounds of the mansion. I will put some pictures from the internet here to show what the mansion should be like.

Could these be the gates to the mansion?

Could these be the gates to the mansion?

Old gates.

Old gates.

I found lots of pictures of Shek Lo online. I'll put two here: one from its heyday and one from now. Maybe it's got so overgrown I just couldn't see it.

Shek Lo in the 1950's taken from the internet.

Shek Lo in the 1950's taken from the internet.

Shek Lo now taken from the internet.

Shek Lo now taken from the internet.

Next, I ventured on to the walled village of Ma Wat Wai. This was built by the Tang Clan between 1736 and 1795. There's an altar at the entranceway.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Houses behind the walls of Ma Wat Wai.

Houses behind the walls of Ma Wat Wai.

After a quick look at Ma Wat Wai and the Tsuen next to it, I walked on to the oldest of the walled villages, which is called Lo Wai. This was built in the fourteenth century. This village has a watchtower and a well. The walls surrounding the village were restored in 1999. I went inside this village, but stayed around the entrance gate so as not to bother anyone.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

The watch tower in the walled village.

The watch tower in the walled village.

The next sight was the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall. This is one of the few buildings on the trail you can normally go inside, but unfortunately it was closed because it was a Tuesday. This hall was built in the early sixteenth century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, one of the founding ancestors.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

Next to the hall there is a Tin Hau Temple. This is devoted to the goddess of the sea and her guards Chin Lei Ngan and Shun Fung Yi. Inside the temple there are two bronze bells, which date from 1695 and 1700. I was able to wander around inside the temple. I took some pictures of the colourful artwork on the outside of the building.

The Tin Hau Temple.

The Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Bells inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Bells inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Before leaving this village I had a good wander around the non-walled part. Some of the buildings were beautiful. There were lots of flowers around the doors, colourful tiles etc, but there were also lots of buildings that had been abandoned and left to crumble.

Doorway and bikes.

Doorway and bikes.

Wandering the village.

Wandering the village.

Wandering around the village.

Wandering around the village.

Some village houses have been abandoned.

Some village houses have been abandoned.

And left to crumble.

And left to crumble.

Most of the old villages have a shrine to the Earth god.

Most of the old villages have a shrine to the Earth god.

Banana trees in the village fields.

Banana trees in the village fields.

One of the problems with this trail was some sights had a notice board with the name of the sight in English and Chinese plus some historical information and some didn't. This meant you did not always know if you had found the sight or not. I followed a sign pointing to Tung Kok Wai, another walled village built in the thirteenth century by one of the Tang ancestors Tang Lung-Kong. It's name means Eastern Walled Village. I didn't manage to find this village.

Next I came to Wing Ning Tsuen. This village is three hundred years old, but a lot of it has been demolished and much of it is being redeveloped. There was quite a lot of construction going on around this area. I just had a look at the entranceway and a nearby shrine.

Wing Ning Tsuen entrance.

Wing Ning Tsuen entrance.

Wing Ning Tsuen.

Wing Ning Tsuen.

Outside the gateway.

Outside the gateway.

Outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Shrine outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Shrine outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Inside the shrine.

Inside the shrine.

In Wing Ning Tsuen.

In Wing Ning Tsuen.

Nearby was the older walled village of Wing Ning Wai which is around four hundred years old. I just walked inside the entrance way, looked at the shrine there and a couple of streets.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Shrine just inside the entrance way.

Shrine just inside the entrance way.

Looking inside Wing Ning Wai.

Looking inside Wing Ning Wai.

At this point I had to cross the busy Shau Tai Kok Road.

I had three sights left. I was tiring; my feet were hurting; it was thirty-two degrees and I had been walking around for hours. The next sight was the San Shut Study Hall built in 1830 to commemorate and worship Tang Wan-kai, a nineteenth generation ancestor of the Tang Clan. Once again I wasn't sure if I was looking at the correct building. This time I think I was. I had a stroll all round this village. There were some interesting buildings and another Earth god shrine.

The San Shut Study Hall.

The San Shut Study Hall.

Behind the Study Hall.

Behind the Study Hall.

Overgrown window.

Overgrown window.

Colourful house.

Colourful house.

Old and New.

Old and New.

Another Earth god shrine.

Another Earth god shrine.

The next sight was San Wai. This was the largest of the walled villages on the trail and was built around 1744. There are watchtowers at each of the four corners of the San Wai's walls. There is a tower over the main gate and an altar at the end of the main alley. Again I just looked inside from the entrance rather than going in and wandering around, though I think it may be acceptable to go inside this one.

Entrance to San Wai.

Entrance to San Wai.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Shrine at the entrance.

Shrine at the entrance.

The last sight of the trail is the village of Siu Hang Tsuen. I was really flagging by this point. I went the wrong way and by the time I had realised that, I was back on a main road. I cut my losses, headed for the bus-stop and jumped on a wonderful air-conditioned bus back to Fanling MTR. Back home I read up on this sight and discovered it was just an archway and a small shrine.

I don't mind that I went the wrong way as I passed a cute little garden and some photogenic houses.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

House and trees.

House and trees.

Bikes.

Bikes.

Village houses.

Village houses.

I enjoyed this trail and wasn't bothered that I didn't find everything on it as what I did see was interesting enough. I liked the village houses, the old buildings, the green fields and the contrast between old and new.

Meanwhile back in Discovery Bay, I haven't been taking many photos, but in the rainy days of last week I saw a beautiful lizard outside the bar we always go to and some pretty spectacular fungus growing on a tree stump.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Fungus.

Fungus.

Posted by irenevt 15:06 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Irene charms the wildlife !

by alectrevor

Loved the reflections in the north district park. It looks very tranquil. It was very nice of the birds to pose for you. They are not often that considerate . . .

by Beausoleil

Haha, don't think my charms had much to do with it, but yes for once some birds stayed still long enough for me to get my photos. Never have too much problem with turtles. They don't mind posing

by irenevt

The flora and fauna are spectacular- loved the Green heron and striated heron & friend/chick? The walled villages are amazing too and have a bit of mystic about them as you only photographed from the doorways.

by Catherine

Hi Catherine, a lot of the occupants of the village don't really like you traipsing around their property especially when there is a chance visitors may bring COVID in with them.

by irenevt

Turtles always makes me smile :) might be something to do with the fact that they remind me of the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that always reminds me the themesong which then starts to play in repeat in my head...:)

by hennaonthetrek

I like turtles, too and all those big fish.

by irenevt

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