Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our house is a very, very, very fine house: Sam Tung Uk Walled Village Museum

A few old Hakka walled villages around HK have been restored and turned into museums. Sam Tung Uk  was founded in 1786 and populated until 1980. Below is an aerial photo of the village from one of the museum placards.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ping Shan Heritage Trail, Part Deux

Tang clan ancestral halls for the remembrance and veneration of the family forebears - these were built in the 19th century, although they were preceded by older ones on the site as early as the 16th. The Tangs were/are prominent in the Hakka community in this area and a lot of the sites on the trail are connected to or built by them. To the left of the photo there was a booth run by an old couple selling homemade snacks and candies, including a delicious sesame seed candy that I munched on for the next few days. Wish I'd gotten a photo of them. Wish I'd bought more of that candy.

Ping Shan Heritage Trail, Part 1

HK has several "heritage trails," mostly in the New Territories - signposted routes that take you through a series of traditional Chinese buildings and sites left from the centuries before urbanization, when the communities were rural and isolated. Supposedly this was one of the best and most easily accessible, so I took the train out to the suburban "New Town" settlement of Tin Shui Wai, which is the jumping-off point. (More info on the trail here from your friend and mine, the HK Tourism Board.)

My Rough Guide says, "this New Town shows how badly city planning can go wrong if it leaves out the human element: with no central focus, it's an alienating, depressing forest of anonymous concrete high-rises and main roads, all life and activity hidden away inside bland, faceless shopping malls." The little I saw as I passed through on my way to the trail didn't contradict this assessment, but it was a great trip anyway.