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Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Wedged between the residential and commercial developments, the centuries-old ancestral halls are windows into the lives of the New Territories’ early clan settlers and their cultural heritage that has formed the bedrock of Hong Kong.
The Ping Shan Heritage Trail takes you on a journey through three villages and past temples, ancestral halls and a walled village, in a historical part of Hong Kong that has been populated by the Tang people since the late Yuan dynasty (1271–1368).
Starting point - Tsui Shing Lau Pagoda
MTR Tin Shui Wai Station, Exit E. When you arrive at the ground floor, cross Tsui Sing Road and you will see Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda.
Hong Kong’s oldest pagoda, Tsui Shing Lau, is believed to have been built in 1486. The three-storey, green-bricked building is hexagonal and stands 13 metres high. The top floor of the pagoda is home to Fui Shing (‘Champion Star’), the deity responsible for success or failure in exams. There are auspicious Chinese sayings inscribed on each floor.
Follow the Ping Shan Heritage Trail signs from Tsui Shing Lau Pagoda to Sheung Cheung Wai.
Just before entering Sheung Cheung Wai you will come across the Shrine of the Earth God, who is known as ‘She Kung’ in this village. The Earth God is believed to protect villages and homes, and his shrines are usually simple brick structures on which pieces of stone are placed to represent his presence.
Turn left at the Shrine of the Earth God.
This 200-year-old walled village consists of rows of symmetrical houses enclosed by a green brick wall. The gatehouse, shrines and some of the old houses are still standing. Part of the wall may be missing, but enough remains to give a feel for what a traditional Chinese walled village looked like.
Walk to the old well from Sheung Cheung Wai, the temple will be on your left.
Located in Hang Tau Tsuen, this temple is dedicated to the deity Hau Wong. The exact date of construction is unknown but renovations took place in 1963 and 1991. The temple is divided into three bays, which house the statues of Hau Wong, Kam Fa (Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers) and the Earth God.
Return to the last junction and then turn left. Continue to walk along the road until you see the Tang Ancestral Hall.
Constructed in 1273, this Tang clan ancestral hall is a magnificent three-hall structure with two internal courtyards, and is one of the finest examples of one of these types of buildings in Hong Kong. Note the high elevation of the pathway in the courtyard. This indicates that one of the Tang clansmen held a high-ranking position in the imperial government.
Immediately south of Tang Ancestral Hall, the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall was built in the 16th century by two 11th generation Tang clan brothers. The ancestral hall also served as a school for the children of the Ping Shan villages. The layout is identical to the Tang Ancestral Hall, with three halls and two internal courtyards.
Yu Kiu Ancestral hall is next to the Tang Ancestral Hall.
Follow the signs to the Kun Ting Study Hall and Ching Shu Hin. Enter the Kun Ting Study Hall from the side entrance.
Used both as an ancestral hall and a place of study, this 1870s edifice is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. It is a two-hall building with an enclosed courtyard, noteworthy for its finely carved granite columns and granite block base along the façade. The distinguished design in the interior reflects the impressive skills of the craftsmen of that time.
Ching Shu Hin is next to the Kun Ting Study Hall.
Built in 1874 as a guesthouse for scholars and prominent visitors, Ching Shu Hin is a memorable feast for the eyes, decorated with carved panels, murals, patterned grilles, carved brackets and plaster mouldings. In combination, these demonstrate the grandeur and elegance of a wealthy Chinese family’s residence.
Turn left onto Ping Ha Road, then continue to walk until you reach the Hung Shing Temple, which is next to Hang Mei Tsuen Park.
The deity Hung Shing is widely worshipped, especially by fishermen and people whose livelihoods depend on the sea. Built by the Tang clan in 1767, this temple commemorating him is a simple two-hall building with an open courtyard in between. This curiously differs from most other temples in Hong Kong, where the open courtyards are usually roofed over to make incense towers.
Follow the trail to its end after Hung Shing Temple or go straight there via MTR Tin Shui Wai Station Exit E.
Feel free to drop into the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitor Centre to get a better understanding of the Tang clan and the sites along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
The Visitor Centre is housed within the Old Ping Shan Police Station, which was constructed in 1899 and is one of the few remaining pre-war police stations in the New Territories. After being superseded by the Yuen Long Police Station in the 1960s, it continued on as a training centre and headquarters for the Hong Kong Police Dog Unit. It has been listed as a Grade II Historic Building.