Hong Kong Asia's World City

Tsuen Wan

Tsuen Wan

Tea, temples and tribes

“Tsuen Wan is an amazing area, where old and new can be found here side-by-side,” said restaurateur Alice Leung.

At the end of its eponymous MTR line, you would be mistaken for thinking Tsuen Wan is simply a remote rural backwater. For here exist many of Hong Kong’s greatest ancient monuments, nestled beside some of its newest residential estates and shopping centers. In Tsuen Wan, you’ll discover old Hong Kong at its most fascinating—as you walk its ancient trails, delve into historic temples and sup on traditional tea, you’ll realize that you don’t have to travel far from the modern city to experience traditional Hong Kong.

The most famous of these is Choi Lung Restaurant, which has been running for over 40 years. Perched mid-way up the mountain, this two-story venue is famed for using fresh spring water to brew its tea. Second generation owner Alice Leung explains, “My husband’s family members were the indigenous inhabitants of Chuen Lung Tsuen and I have been helping this family run the restaurant for over 20 years.” Explaining the concept behind the family’s success, Ms. Leung added: “We provide different types of dim sum, like quail’s egg shao mai, traditional black sesame rolls and tea that is brewed with fresh natural mountain water. However, most of our guests are not only local villagers, but also visitors from around the world, city-dwellers and weekend hikers.”

Another popular stop on the visitor’s route is Luk Kam Kee (Shanghai), a 50-year old establishment that’s referred to by locals as “King of the Melon Seeds”. Make a detour here to pick up these traditional Chinese snacks: you’ll find more than ten types of seeds including the signature five-spiced black melon seed and the A-grade red melon seeds.

One of the best places to learn more about the history of the ancient settlements is the Sam Tung Uk Museum, a 200-year-old Hakka walled village that was declared a historical monument in 1981. It was built by the Chan clan from Guangdong in 1786, who settled along the seashore in Tsuen Wan with initially just three rows of houses. His ancestors later developed annexes and an ancestral hall, which have been restored to health today.

Another remnant of the district’s agricultural past is the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, an old trading route between Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long, a district on the other side of the mountains that grew out of an equally historic village. Along the 12.5km-long historic trail through Tai Lam Country Park, take a minute to reflect on the juxtaposition of Hong Kong’s modernity as you gaze down over the world-famous Tsing Ma Bridge: spanning the Ma Wan Channel, this is the world’s longest road-and-rail suspension bridge.

For a more recent reflection of the district’s culture, head to the Western Monastery, a relatively new Buddhist temple at the foot of Tai Mo Shan. Established by the Hong Kong Buddhi Siksa Society in 1970, the temple was expanded in the late 1990s and now covers an area of 200,000 square meters. It’s worthwhile devoting a whole afternoon to exploring its nine pseudo-Chinese palatial architectures. There’s also an exhibition area about Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, displaying scriptures, her different forms in statues, and more.

“Tsuen Wan is an amazing area, where old and new can be found here side-by-side” added Ms. Leung, reflecting on the district’s dichotomy. “Over these past 20 years, with the development of the city, Tsuen Wan is now the major transportation hub between the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, but it’s also become a popular tourist area.”

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • Sam Tung Uk Museum
    Peek inside a walled village
    Sam Tung Uk Museum
    One of the best places to learn more about the history of the ancient settlements is the Sam Tung Uk Museum, a 200-year-old Hakka walled village that was declared a historical monument in 1981. It was built by the Chan clan from Guangdong in 1786, who settled along the seashore in Tsuen Wan with initially just three rows of houses. Their ancestors later developed annexes and an ancestral hall, which have been restored for visitors today.
    Address:
    2 Kwu Uk Lane, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2411 2001
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsuen Wan Station Exit E. Follow the signs and walk for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Luk Kam Kee (Shanghai)
    Pick up traditional snacks
    Luk Kam Kee (Shanghai)
    Don’t forget to tick Luk Kam Kee (Shanghai) off your list. This 50-year old establishment is referred to by locals as “King of the Melon Seeds” and you'll often find queues round the block here before a festival. Try its signature Chinese snack—the melon seeds—especially the five-spiced black melon and the A-grade red melon seeds. You'll also find sweet and salty prunes, nuts, dried ginger, lemon and mango.
    Address:
    5 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2492 2251
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsuen Wan Station, Exit A1. Follow the footpath onto Castle Peak Road, turn left and walk for 2 minutes. Cross Tai Ho Road, under the bridge, and the shop is on the right.
Afternoon
  • Western Monastery
    Seek out tranquility
    Western Monastery
    Spend an afternoon exploring Western Monastery, a relatively new Buddhist temple in Tsuen Wan. Established by the Hong Kong Bodhi Siksa Society in 1970, the temple was expanded in the late 1990s and now covers an area of 200,000 square meters. It consists of nine pseudo-Chinese palatial architectures. There is also an exhibition area about Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, displaying scriptures, her different forms in statues, and more.
    Address:
    Sam Dip Tam, Lo Wai Tsuen, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2411 5111
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsuen Wan Station, Exit B2. Cross Castle Peak road via a footbridge, turn right on Chung On Street, walk straight to Shiu Wo Road. It's about a 10-minute walk. Take green minibus 81 to Western Monastery. It’s about a 20-minute journey.
Morning
  • Choi Lung Restaurant
    Dim sum for breakfast
    Choi Lung Restaurant
    Make Choi Lung Restaurant your first stop of the day and catch the sun as its rays rise over Tai Mo Shan mountain. Running for over 40 years, this establishment is famous for using the fresh spring water for brewing tea. Don’t miss the traditional dim sum: quail's egg shao mai and black sesame rolls. It's self-service so grab your food and choose between the vibrant ground floor, popular with mahjong players, or the scenic first floor.
    Address:
    2 Chuen Lung Tsuen, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2415 5041
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsuen Wan Station, Exit A. Turn left on Tai Ho Road North and take minibus 51 from Tsuen Wan Station stop, alighting at Chuen Lung. It’s about a 30-minute journey. Cross the road and the restaurant is on the corner.
  • Chuen Lung Tsuen
    Sample village life
    Chuen Lung Tsuen
    One of Tsuen Wan's oldest villages is Chuen Lung Tsuen (“Dragon Stream Village”), in the foothills of Hong Kong's highest peak, Tai Mo Shan. After you've sampled its renowned tea house, spend some time wandering through its crooked lanes, past the old fruit trees and vegetable fields, which are still visible in this old community thanks to the clear mountain stream.
    Address:
    Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsuen Wan Station, Exit A. Turn left on Tai Ho Road North and take minibus 51 from Tsuen Wan Station stop, alighting at Chuen Lung. It’s about a 30-minute journey.
Afternoon
  • Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail
    Strap on your hiking boots
    Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail
    If you are feeling adventurous, head out on the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, an old trading route between Tsuen Wan and neighboring settlement Yuen Long and a remnant of the district's agricultural past. The 12.5km-long forested trail through Tai Lam Country Park starts at Ha Fa Shan and wanders up and down to Tai Tong. Along the way, you'll gaze down over the world-famous Tsing Ma Bridge.
    Address:
    Ha Fa Shan, Allway Gardens, On Yat Street, Tsuen Wan, New Territories
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    From MTR Tsuen Wan Station, Exit A, take minibus 39M to Allway Gardens Bus Terminus and follow the signs to the start of the trail. It’s about a 20-minute journey.

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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