Hong Kong Asia's World City

Yuen Long

Yuen Long

Ancient tales and trails

“Yuen Long is a world away from the artificiality of the city. Here, I feel close to nature.” – Gas Tong.

Travel up into the far northwestern reaches of Hong Kong and you may be surprised to discover that the once rural outpost of Yuen Long is now a modern town with residential and commercial developments to rival anywhere in the city. The district has certainly come a long way since its first Chinese settlers in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), but large parcels of land are still devoted to the area’s wealth of natural heritage in the form of bird-laden wetlands, scenic nature reserves and tranquil waterside villages.

Industrial Buildings

If you’re looking to get right to the heart of Yuen Long’s distinct culture, start with Ping Shan, as it’s here that the first settlers from Guangdong, the Tang Clan, established their walled villages. They constructed a large number of traditional Chinese buildings—halls, temples and pagodas—that you can see if you follow the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. This 1.6km-long route offers a window into the unique characteristics of life in Yuen Long. While you’re here, try poon choi—a time-honored village dish with layers of ingredients served in a metal basin. Ping Shan Traditional Poon Choi is regarded as one of the city’s oldest, and most traditional restaurants, and is still run by members of the Tang Clan.

Industrial Buildings

One of the best ways to learn about the area’s natural heritage is on a bike tour with Biciline, an eco-tourism group that trains low-skilled youngsters up as eco-tour guides. And there’s no-one better equipped to be your guide than young, enthusiastic Gas Tong—who grew up in a Yuen Long walled village. Describing the district, he said: “Having escaped major redevelopments, Yuen Long is a world away from the artificiality of the city. Here, I feel close to nature and have the opportunity to understand its changing habitats. You can get in touch with the heritage and natural environment any time you want. If you want to learn about our history, the Ping Shan Trail is a must-do! Our historic monuments will help you understand the lives of our ancestors. Every time there’s a festival, many of the villagers will go to the ancestral shrine to celebrate together. There is a warm, friendly feel,” Tong added.

Industrial Buildings

From traditional walled villages to ancient fishing villages, Yuen Long prides itself on protecting its age-old buildings and its lush green spaces. Head to Lau Fau Shan, a fishing village in Deep Bay, for an example of how life and the environment is being preserved. The rural village is traditionally famous for its oyster farming, however life today is somewhat sleepier—you’re more likely to find old fishing boats, rafts gently floating in the shallows, and expansive mudflats. It’s well worth browsing the lively seafood markets for the day’s fresh catch, and picking up a bottle of the region’s renowned oyster sauce.

A short walk away, the shoreline of Ha Pak Nai is a shutterbug’s paradise: you’ll see crowds gathering at the edge of the water looking across the bay to Mainland China, memorializing the breathtaking sunset as the day’s departing rays bathe the mangroves, fish ponds and sandy flats in a warm glow. Slightly further northeast lie the wetlands and salt marshes of Nam Sang Wai. The mangrove-clad shores of the Kam Tin River and the abandoned fish farms are ripe feeding grounds for an abundance of birdlife. If you spend enough time sitting quietly here, particularly if you visit during the migration season (late autumn to early spring) you might see Grey Herons, Black Kites, Great Cormorants or Black-faced Spoonbills.

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • Ho To Tai Noodle Shop
    Noodles for breakfast
    Ho To Tai Noodle Shop
    Opened in 1946, Cantonese noodle joint Ho To Tai Noodle Shop wins the heart of its customers with its shrimp roe lo mein. Start your day off the right way and sit down with a bowl of their signature wheat flour noodles topped with dumplings - choose from fillings such as pork, shrimp and bamboo shoots. Don’t forget to share: you can buy boxes of their dried noodles to take back home as souvenirs.
    Address:
    G/F, 67 Fau Tsoi Street, Yuen Long, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2476 2495
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Light Rail Tai Tong Road Station. Walk south along Tai Tong Road for 2 minutes and turn left into Fau Tsoi Street.
  • Biciline
    Get out on two wheels
    Biciline
    As it's still early, it's the best time of day for a spot of bird watching in Nam Sang Wai. Book a tour with Biciline, an eco-tourism social enterprise group that trains up low-skilled youngsters to become eco-tour guides. They'll give you the bikes and the expert guide who will be enthusiastically pointing out the local flora and fauna in no time.
    Address:
    G/F, Shop 4, Wai Fat Building, 5 Fung Cheung Road, Yuen Long, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2478 3880
    How to Get There:
    MTR Yuen Long Station, Exit A. Turn right on Long Yat Road onto Castle Hill Road and make a left onto Fung Cheung Road. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
Afternoon
  • Ping Shan Traditional Poon Choi
    Dine with the clan
    Ping Shan Traditional Poon Choi
    You’ve worked up an appetite, so the best way to fill it is with a big bowl of hearty fare. Head to Ping Shan Traditional Poon Choi for a proper basin meal: it's a time-honored village dish with layers of ingredients—namely seafood, poultry and root veg—all served together in a metal dish. This is one of the city's oldest and most traditional restaurants, and is still run by members of the Tang Clan. Book three days in advance.
    Address:
    36 Tong Fong Tsuen, Yuen Long, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2617 8000
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tin Shui Wai Station, Exit C. Turn left on Tin Fuk Road and left again onto Ping Ha Road. Make a right onto Tin Yiu Road and the restaurant lies at the start of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. It’s about a 7-minute walk.
  • Ping Shan Heritage Trail
    A walk back in time
    Ping Shan Heritage Trail
    After lunch you're well positioned at the start of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. This 1.6km walking trail, which was established by the Antiquities and Monuments Office in 1993, meanders through the ancient walled village of Ping Shan. It will take you past a number of traditional Chinese buildings - halls, temples and pagodas—that were constructed by the first settlers to arrive here from Guangdong, the Tang Clan.
    Address:
    Ping Shan, Yuen Long, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2721 2326
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tin Shui Wai Station, Exit C. Turn left on Tin Fuk Road and left again onto Ping Ha Road. The Ping Shan Heritage Trail will be signposted on your left hand side. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
Afternoon
  • Lau Fau Shan Main Street
    It's all about the oysters
    Lau Fau Shan Main Street
    If you’re a seafood lover, here's where you'll want to eat today. Lau Fau Shan is a small fishing village in Deep Bay which is traditionally famous for its oyster farming and fresh seafood. Now there's less of the farming, but the seafood markets are still lively. Wander through until some produce catches your eye, take it in to a local restaurant and they'll cook it for you.
    Address:
    Lau Fau Shan Main Street, Yuen Long, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tin Shui Wa Station, Exit B. Take green minibus 34 to its terminus. It’s about a 30-minute journey
  • Ha Pak Nai
    Snap the sunset
    Ha Pak Nai
    A short walk away lies Ha Pak Nai, whose shores line Deep Bay and look across to the hills of Shenzhen in Mainland China. It's a shutterbug's paradise here at sunset: join the crowds gathering at the edge of the water, memorializing the breathtaking sunset as the day's departing rays bathe the mangroves, fish ponds and sandy flats in a warm glow. This is one of the more beautiful locations to watch the sun set in Hong Kong.
    Address:
    Lau Fau Shan, Yuen Long, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    Take green minibus 33 from Tai Fung Street in Yuen Long and alight at the Ha Pak Nai terminus.

Map

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This guide was produced by HK Magazine Media Group from 2014-2015.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

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