Lai Sam Ancient Trail
Ancient Trail Story

Trail Summary
Length
0 km
Duration
0 hours
Region
North New Territories
Overall Difficulty (0Star)

For a hike from Wu Kau Tang to Sam A Tsuen to enjoy a visit to historic ancient Hakka villages and a look at the stunning views of Yan Chau Tong, there are more options than Miu Sam Ancient Trail. Try Lai Sam Ancient Trail, which is also located in Plover Cove Country Park. Lai Sam Ancient Trail was built by Hakka villagers using mud and rocks. It was the main route to travel to Tai Po Hui (later called Tai Po Old Market) and Tung Wo Market (i.e. Sha Tau Kok).  A farmer’s market was the sales network and centre of economic activities for fishermen and farmers of the New Territories. It was where villagers bought household items and sold their farm produce in the old days.

Today, Lai Tau Shek Village is hidden in a dense forest of tangling old trees. Only tumbled building blocks remained. There is hearsay that villagers carried the surname Lee and there were walls that encircled the village houses. In the middle there were storied buildings and there were terraced field in the upper and lower end of the village. Fruit trees that bore longan, wampee and papaya were grown in the vicinity. The village houses became abandoned in mid-1970s. The past glory of the village has vanished. One could only observe the traces of villagers’ life from the stone walls and similar structures of the village houses. The stairs and entrance kerbs of the village houses are still preserved. From the tumbled down village houses, it could be seen that they were built with yellow mud and some lime as adhesives for stones. The village was not at all wealthy.

“Indigenous inhabitants” of the New Territories were all migrants from the middle plains, including the tribes of Guangfu and Hakka. Guangfu people began moving to the area since the 11th century and occupied most of the more fertile land in the plains of the New Territories. There was a substantial population and most farmers’ households had their own land and led well-off lives. Hakka, on the other hand, only moved in after “the Great Clearance and Border Restoration” in early Qing. As most of the plains were already developed, they could only become “hired farmers” of the locals or rent land to become “tenant farmers” or became “owner farmers” who opened up slopes and planted in more remote areas. Therefore, their lives were more difficult, and their population was smaller and scattered. Both tribes mainly supported their living by planting rice.

As you walk along the trail, imagine how the hardworking Hakka used to farm here and made use of locally sourced materials to build footpaths and huts with large rocks and led a quiet, peaceful life here. Yet, travelling to and from the farmer’s market on foot was quite inconvenient. Villagers have moved to downtown New Territories such as Fanling to live and work in the 1970s or earlier. Old farming tools can still be found in the abandoned village. For example, there is a manually operated stone mill. In the past, villagers used stone mills to process pulses, rice, wheat and other foodstuffs into powder for self-use or for sale. Country Parks do make a good volume of an encyclopaedia of Hong Kong history.

A grand event was celebrated in this village in the 1950s, when the daughter of the village representative of Sam A Chung Village was married to a man from Lai Tau Shek Village. Village men from nearby villages such as Lai Chi Wo and Wu Kau Tang went to Lai Tau Shek to congratulate the couple and to join their exciting wedding banquet!

The route on this website is introduced to be conveniently accessible by public transport, which may differ from the actual alignment of the ancient path.

Hiking Etiquette
Keep the noise down in the countryside
Respect villagers and their properties
Do not enter private places or architectures that might pose hazards of collapsing
Do not pick any farm produce
Do not climb on or take away any item in the village
Take your litter home

Overall Rating (5 hearts is the highest)

(Rating 5-Heart)

Transportation Information

Start Point
Travel to Wu Kau Tang bus terminus by the following public transport

KMB route — 275R (only operates on Sundays and public holidays)
Green Minibus route — 20R


End Point
From Sam A Tsuen, turn back and walk along the same route to Wu Kau Tang, or walk to Lai Chi Wo pier and take a ferry to Ma Liu Shui (only operates on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, departs at 15:30 from Lai Chi Wo pier).

The transportation information provided in this website is for reference only. Please check the updated transportation information from the websites of Transport Department and relevant transport utilities before setting off.

Hong Kong eTransport web page
https://www.hkemobility.gov.hk/

Route Map

The map below shows the location of the scenic spot.
For details, please refer to the transportation information above and photos captions text below.

Related trails