PLACES – Kuk Po, Part 1: Photos from the Abandoned Village Outpost in Rural HK

Kuk Po is an abandoned village in rural north-east Hong Kong… See also:

Kuk Po Abandoned Village

The town borders the Frontier Closed Area

The village was once home to about 160 people.

Villagers’ animals used to graze in the area – people kept cows, chickens and pigs and also fished. Salt farming was particularly popular.

Wild vegetation sprawls over what was once farmland.

Some ex-residents maintain their links with the village – a few visit frequently, especially on the first and fifteenth of the lunar months. At this time, there are festivities to provide offerings to ancestors and the Gods.

There is an old school, built in the 1928, inspired by the Guangzhou Military Academy School.

It was still in use until the early 1990s.

The last headmaster Mr. Ho, a couple of teachers, and a few children travelled across the bay to attend school everyday.

An altar is now installed inside.

A stall near to the school is open every Sunday to cater for the travellers, owned by local indigenous Kuk Po people.

The inhabitants of Kuk Po were Hakka speakers like the surrounding villages and those in the town of Sha Tau Kok.

Some homes are still supplied with electricity and running water.

As Hong Kong began to industrialise in the 50s, thousands of families left rural villages to move to the rapidly growing urban areas to find better-paid jobs.

Many moved to Europe, during a time when full UK residency was still available to Hong Kongers.

For over three centuries, the area of Kuk Po has been inhabited by seven clans, the Sung, Lee, Ho, Tsang, Cheng, Ng and Yang.

When farmers moved to cities, cows were left idle. Now many of them are left wandering through the Kuk Po valley.

Most of the houses are closed and many are well-locked up.

As with other abandoned villages, it has been difficult for the government to find all of the owners – many of whom have moved abroad.

Take green minibus 56K from exit C, Fanling MTR. Head to Luk Keng (last stop, 40mins) – locals will direct you to Fung Hang Family Walk.

Kuk Po is 45mins into the trail, which is 2.25km in total. The coastal path is well maintained, quiet and surrounded by hills.

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The entire Plover Cove hike, however, is a day-trip in itself and possibly the toughest hike in HK and not recommended for beginners.

Buildings in Shenzhen can be seen clearly across the water during the family trail, which is almost all flat and has a pleasant sea breeze.

The hike can easily be combined with a visit to Bride’s Pool, which is further down Bride’s Pool Road. It is best to visit on a Sunday when buses ply the route, otherwise it may be a long wait for taxis.

Boat access is possible but you would need a special border crossing permit.

Check out nearby Fung Heng (blog post coming soon) – a similar, semi-abandoned village en route. Hikers can get a basic meal and drinks from the cafe here.

New York Times article about Kuk Po.

Also on the blog…

Click here for more historical entries.

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