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Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail
The Lung Yeuk Tau (‘Mountain of the Leaping Dragon’) Heritage Trail takes visitors on a scenic journey into the history of the Tang clan, one of the five largest clans in the New Territories. It is said that a dragon could once be seen leaping in the mountains here, which is how the area got its name.
In 13th century China, when the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) was succumbing to overwhelming Mongol forces, a pursued princess took refuge with the Tang clan, who hailed from China’s Jiangxi province. She ended up marrying one of the Tang men, and their descendants moved to Lung Yeuk Tau sometime towards the end of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). These descendants built 11 villages in the area, five of which are walled, which serve as a reminder of the dangers marauding bandits and pirates presented in the area in bygone times. Many of the clan’s relics have been well preserved and can be seen along the trail, which begins at the magnificent Taoist temple complex Fung Ying Seen Koon, and passes the walled villages of Ma Wat Wai and Lo Wai, before ending at the 18th century Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.
The Tangs in the area still practise traditional village customs, including communal worship in the spring and autumn, and the annual Tin Hau Festival. A lantern-lighting ceremony is held for newborn boys on the 15th day of the first lunar month, while on the first day of the second lunar month, an ancestral worship ceremony and vegetarian feast is held. Once every decade, the clan celebrates the Tai Ping Ching Chiu Festival, which is also enjoyed by the inhabitants of neighbouring villages.
Starting point - Fung Ying Seen Koon
MTR Fanling Station. Look for the temple’s distinctive double-tiled orange roof.
You can learn more about the magnificent Taoist temple complex of Fung Ying Seen Koon here.
Go back to MTR Fanling Station and follow the signs to Luen Wo Hui. Turn left and go downstairs to the minibus station and take minibus 54K to Lung Yeuk Tau. Alight at Shung Him Tong.
Hakka Lutherans founded this village in 1901 after escaping persecution. Of particular note is the Tsung Kyam Church (‘Tsung Kyam’ is ‘Shung Him’ in Hakka), which is the only church in the area with services in Hakka. Please note that Shung Him Tong is private property and is not open to the public.
Ma Wat Wai is located near the Ma Wat Wai children’s playground.
The village of Ma Wat Wai is a clear indication of just how unfriendly some of this area was a few centuries ago. The gun platform over the gate dates back to 1740. It’s made of thick-plated wrought iron in two leaves, which allow air to circulate while still providing sufficient support. Access to the village is through a single narrow gate on the northwest side. The entrance gate of Ma Wat Wai is preserved as a Declared Monument.
Continue to walk along the route.
A highlight of the trail, Lo Wai features thick walls accessible only through the single narrow gateway on the east side. The walls and gatehouse have been restored and are now preserved as Declared Monuments. The gatehouse contains a shrine to the Earth God and has a gun platform above, but the village’s small canon is no longer there.
Continue to walk along the route.
Originally built in 1525 and rebuilt around 1700, the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall is the oldest and largest ancestral hall in Hong Kong. Dedicated to the founding members of the Lung Yeuk Tau Tang clan, it houses the only imperial tablet in Hong Kong, which honours the clan’s ancestors, the Song Chinese princess and her Tang husband.
In addition to ancestor worship, the hall is also where the clan regularly holds events, educates their young and resolves their differences. Clan members use the main hall to discuss social and family affairs. The chamber to the left is where they honour their ancestors who made significant contributions to the clan and those who achieved high ranks in the imperial court. The chamber to the right is reserved for the most righteous members of the clan, such as Tang Si-meng, a brave servant who sacrificed his life so that his master could live.
The whole building is exquisitely decorated with fine wood carvings, polychrome plaster mouldings, ceramic sculptures and murals containing auspicious Chinese motifs.
The Tin Hau Temple is located next to the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.
The local temple dedicated to Tin Hau is an excellent piece of workmanship, entirely traditional in form and decoration, and was last restored in 1981. A statue of Tin Hau, protector of fishermen and one of Hong Kong’s most popular deities, lives in the main hall, while the image of Kam Fa, Goddess of Childbirth, rests in the side hall. Make sure you don’t miss the magnificent wall orchid that has been growing here for the past 70 years.