Lai Kuk Ancient Trail
Ancient Trail Story
Lai Kuk Ancient Trail connects Kuk Po Village and Lai Chi Wo Village. In the past, it was the major route taken by villagers to Tai Po Market and Tung Wo Market (i.e. Sha Tau Kok Market). This boulder paved ancient trail meanders through valleys and mountain ridges. It is an easy walk suitable for hiking all year round and for savoring the culture and history of the villages of old Hong Kong.
The route’s starting point goes through Kuk Po Village, where a white two-storey building with lots of arched veranda can be found. Demonstrating a western architectural style, this is a hipster’s favourite photo spot. This Grade III historic building was once a school named “Kai Choi School”, which was built in 1931. It is difficult to imagine an old-style private study hall would be here in a village in the deep mountains. This was also the school for some 80 students, indicating that Kuk Po Village was once quite prosperous. Outside the school is an ancient well, providing water supply to Hakka villagers here. The school was closed in 1993. One of the classrooms was remodelled and became a Hip Tin Kung (a temple), where Kwan Tai is worshipped. This adds much Hong Kong character to the building.
Kuk Po Villagers moved from Wuhua County of Guangdong to Kuk Po during late Ming and early Qing. According to the information in the 1899 Sessional Paper “Extension of Colony of Hong Kong’’, Kuk Po used to be resided by 500 people. It had quite a population and the village had an adequate size that did not need to link up with other villages. Therefore, it did not join “Sha Tau Kok Sap Yeuk” ( The Alliance of Ten in Sha Tau Kok ) and was not subject to the governing of that “Yeuk”. However, it was quite influential amongst the 56 villages in Sha Tau Kok. Villagers carried the surnames of Song, Yeung, Lee, Ng, Cheng, etc. The valley of the village was wide and there were lots of farmland – produce was once abundant. The farmland is already abandoned, but it has unexpectedly become a bed of golden reeds. Opposite Kuk Po Village is Sha Tau Kok and Shenzhen, the abandoned Kuk Po pier – a transportation hub where nearby villagers took boats to travel to the urban area. It is now a popular photo spot amongst hikers.
The ancient trail leads visitors to another historic Hakka village with more than 400 years of history－Lai Chi Wo Village. Lai Chi Wo Village is a walled village sit facing the east. It is the oldest village in north eastern New Territories and also one of the largest and best-preserved villages amount the seven villages of Hing Chun Yeuk (Lai Chi Wo, So Lo Pun, Mui Tsz Lam, Kop Tong, Sam A, Siu Tan and Ngau Shi Wu). Since the stream behind the village has water flowing all year long, the village had generally good harvests of farm produce. A number of minimalistic and quaint ancient temples that worship different deities were built in the village, including “Hok Shan Monastery” and “Hip Tin Temple”, etc. The plaza in the village houses “Siu Ying School”, where villagers from nearby villages came to learn. Some villagers have returned to the village to farm again. Visitors travelling on holidays can on one hand trace history in abandoned grasslands and on the other, enjoy the Hakka glutinous rice cake (Cha Kwo) prepared by villagers. The scene bustles with crowds and fun.
The route on this website is listed to be conveniently accessible on public transport, which may differ from the actual alignment of the ancient trail.
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)
Shore of Starling Inlet
Wetlands next to Fung Hang
Kai Choi School and Hip Tin Temple
Abandoned village house in Kuk Po
Boulder track to Lai Chi Wo
Boulder track to Fan Shui Au
Stone tablet pointing to Lai Chi Wo and Mui Tsz Lam
Hok Shan Monastery
Siu Ying School in Hing Chun Yeuk