Deep within Plover Cove country park in the north-eastern fringe of Hong Kong lies the semi-abandoned Hakka Walled Village of Lai Chi Wo 荔枝窩.
It is surrounded by forests, mangroves and remains home to many plants, trees and insects which are unique to the protected ‘GeoPark’ region.
Over 100 years ago, Lai Chi Wo remained a poor village. A Feng Shui expert recommended that a wall be built around the village to retain wealth and ward off bad luck.
Soon, the village was producing famous scholars and, as the resident’s luck improved, more of them embraced Feng Shui principals – preserving the local forests and protecting their Feng Shui woods.
The village has nine narrow horizontal lanes and three vertical lanes. There are 3 ancestral halls, a school, geo-heritage centre and 211 houses, though many are now abandoned and crumbling.
Only a few dwellings are inhabited and properly maintained – one is even flying the Chinese flag…
As with many old villages in Plover Cove, old residents and descendants of villagers return at Chinese New Year for ceremonies at the temples.
Most left the village in the 50s and 60s when their trade in rice, fish and bamboo products dried up against competition from the mainland.
With political turmoil in Hong Kong, many residents quickly took the opportunity to move to Europe.
As far as Hong Kong is concerned, the village is very rural and attracts only a trickle of hikers, school groups and eco-tourists. However, just across the bay is a burgeoning container port in a booming area of Shenzhen.
Many ex-residents are eager to retain rights to their land, perhaps with an eye on the future, as Hong Kong grows ever-closer to the mainland.
Lai Chi Wo is best visited as part of a whole-day tour of Plover Cove’s ghost villages.
Transport links are more reliable if you begin the day at Tai Po Market MTR. Head to Exit B for a green taxi (HK$100) to Wu Kau Tang. Bear left then out of the village, following signs for Sam A. Continue to Lai Chi Wo > So Lo Pun > over the ridge to Yung Shue Au > Kuk Po > Fung Hang > Luk Keng. Minibuses from Luk Keng run regularly to Fan Ling MTR.
80% of the 8-hour hike is flat with some of the best scenery in the territory. There are cafe stalls in Sam A, Fung Hang and (on Sundays) Kuk Po – otherwise there is little food/water available, so take supplies. Hikers will pass by mangrove forests, old farmland, lots of coastal features and huge trees. It is a full-day hike, though some choose to camp at a half-way point such as So Lo Pun.
Exploring forgotten corners of HK where nature is winning…
- Abandoned TV studios near Sai Kung.
- Abandoned Villages in HK’s ‘Wild West’ (Fan Lau).
- Central’s Abandoned Prison and Police Station.
- Fung Hang Semi-Abandoned Village.
- HK’s Abandoned ‘Ghost Island’, Yim Tin Tsai.
- Kuk Po, Part 1: Photos from HK’s Borderzone Ghost Town.
- Kuk Po, Part 2: More Shots from the Abandoned Village Outpost.
- Kuk Po: Part 3: Interview with the Only Villager.
- Kuk Po, Part 4: Plover Cove Abandoned Ghost Town Revisited.
- Luk Keng Chan Uk Semi-Abandoned Village.
- Ma Wan Abandoned Town, Part 1.
- Ma Wan Abandoned Town, Part 2.
- Shing Mun Redoubt, HK’s Secret WWII Tunnels.
- The Creepy Abandoned Holiday Resort of Broken Dreams, Part 1.
- The Creepy Abandoned Holiday Resort of Broken Dreams, Part 2.
- The Half-Submerged Cargo Ship Currently Abandoned off Cheung Chau
- Tung Ping Chau, Part 1: Video discussing HK’s Abandoned, Wild Island Outpost.
- Tung Ping Chau, Part 2: The Abandoned Hamlets of Hong Kong’s ‘Jumanji Island’.
- Tung Ping Chau, Part 3: The Abandoned Military Base on HK’s Wild Outpost.
- Wanchai’s Abandoned Police Station.