When you think of Hong Kong, you would probably conjure images of the vibrant neon lights, the incredible architecture, and the impressive skyscrapers. But this bustling metropolis has a hidden gem that you may have yet to explore: traditional villages.
These historical communities have seen a massive decline over the centuries in exchange for urbanisation. But the good news is that some of them still stand today––and while some are abandoned, they are still mostly preserved. Travel back in time and see these villages, before they disappear completely.
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1. Kat Hing Wai
Kat Hing Wai is possibly the most well-known traditional village in Hong Kong. Located just a short drive away from Yuen Long, this village was built during the Ming Dynasty. Today, it is home to about 400 Tang clan descendants, one of the “Five Great Clans” on the territory who arrived from China during the Song dynasty.
Notably, the Tang clan are Punti people who are descended from Southern China, they were also the first to settle in Hong Kong. The residents speak the Weitou dialect, a dialect of Yue Chinese which is mostly spoken by the older generation in Luohu and Futian in Shenzhen and parts of the New Territories.
Part of the reason that Kat Hing, also known locally as Kam Tin, is well-known is because of its reputation as both an architectural and historical site to be studied—the iron gates were destroyed during the Six-Day War in 1899 between the British Empire and Punti clans of New Territories.
The gates were then shipped to London for exhibition but the Tang Clan demanded its return in 1925. In celebration, the tablet is displayed by the entrance. The village itself has protected the Tang clan as a family stronghold well throughout the centuries from bandits, rival clans, and wild tigers.
How to get there: Take the West Rain line to Kam Sheung Road Station (Exit A). Cross Kam Po Road on the small bridge to a lane, walk until you see the Kam Sheung Road sign. Cross over to Kam Tin Road.
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