• Due to a technical issue at the Hong Kong International Airport, the airlines are currently required to process check-in procedures manually. Flight operations have not been impacted so far. Departing passengers are advised to closely monitor their flight information and allocate additional time for the check-in process. Hong Kong International Airport website: https://www.hongkongairport.com/en/

  • Increase of duty-free allowance for luggage articles brought into the Mainland by Mainland residents travelling from Hong Kong takes effect from 1 July 2024. Click here for details.

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Plover Cove Country Park: discovering heritage and harmony with nature

National Geographic
  • Written by National Geographic
Plover Cove Country Park: Discovering heritage and harmony with nature

Photo credit: Tugo Cheng

Average hiking time: About 3.5 hours (About 7 hours round trip)  | Distance: About 8 km | Difficulty: Difficult

For a day escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, Plover Cove Country Park has it all — from traditional walled villages to amazing coastal scenery, “fung shui” woods and the stunning geological features of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark.


Your day starts in the village of Wu Kau Tang, dating back some 400 years, where you can see traditional Hakka houses with their tiled roofs and groves of bamboo — a material that was put to good use by the local community in the past and is still used extensively today in scaffolding.

Hakka houses

Heading eastwards you pass through verdant valleys and join the cobbled Miu Sam Ancient Path that takes you towards the coast. At Sam A Wan there’s a chance to refuel and take in the serene views over Double Haven harbour — and perhaps catch a glimpse of crabs scurrying through the mangroves.


From Sam A Wan pier you take the path to Lai Chi Wo , which is home not only to one of the best-preserved Hakka villages in Hong Kong, but also to an abundance of wildlife. An estimated 163 plant species and 112 freshwater insect species, along with a huge variety of birds, butterflies and reptiles, inhabit the area including the endangered Yellow-Breasted Bunting songbird and the rare White Dragontail butterfly. Lai Chi Wo is also the place to find Hong Kong’s largest mangrove trees and one of the most impressive mangrove forests in the territory.


A look around the almost-deserted village brings its own rewards, with restorations of the Hip Tin Temple, Hok Shan Monastery and village walls helping to bring back some of its character and vitality. And don’t miss two of the village’s natural highlights — the famous ‘five finger’ camphor tree, which was saved by defiant villagers during the wartime occupation, and the century-old hollow maple tree.

Shaded and gentle uphill paths in the first half; level paths in the second.

Wu Kau Tang & Miu Sam Ancient Trail

Photo Credit: Hin Yeung

Stop 1: Wu Kau Tang & Miu Sam Ancient Trail

At over 400 years old, Wu Kau Tang Village hosts Hakka houses that have kept their characteristic tiled roofs. Located between fields, these houses have many bamboo species growing amongst and around them. Apart from natural protection, Hakka people use bamboo for construction and fuel, and to prevent soil erosion. Continue via Kau Kam Tso and Miu Sam Ancient Trail to Sam A Wan.

There are stray dogs in Wu Kau Tang and Lai Chi Wo. Keep an eye out for signs and avoid venturing into residential areas.
Sam A Wan & Sam A Tsuen Pier

Photo Credit: Hin Yeung

Stop 2: Sam A Wan & Sam A Tsuen Pier

In Sam A Chung, a shade of red on the path surface indicates the presence of iron oxides in the underlying rocks. Sam A Wan features mangrove swamps where crabs and mudskippers can be easily seen. The Sam A Tsuen Pier is a great spot that overlooks the coastline of Double Haven.

See more…Sai Lau Kong
See more…Sai Lau Kong
Take a detour to Sai Lau Kong, which is a good spot for getting panorama shots over Double Haven, a designated marine park renowned for its serenely beautiful landscape. Part of Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, Double Haven was formed by volcanic explosions some 180 million years ago.
Lai Chi Wo

Photo Credit: Hin Yeung

Stop 3: Lai Chi Wo

Lai Chi Wo was once known for the village’s lychee trees. Unlike most other villages in Hong Kong, this one was settled in the 16th century by two separate families, and since then Lai Chi Wo has preserved the traditional Hakka village plan, where the individual buildings are arranged in a 9x3 grid. Also impressive is the feng shui wall at the entrance of the village and the feng shui woodland behind the houses, which is believed by generations of Hakka to have prevented natural disasters and garnered good fortune.

There are eateries and kiosks in Sam A Tsuen and Lai Chi Wo.
Hollow Maple and Five-Finger Camphor

Photo Credit: Hin Yeung

Stop 4: Hollow Maple and Five-Finger Camphor

Lai Chi Wo has a number of old and unusual trees that create a precious platform for natural history. The century-old hollow maple tree, the ‘king’ of its kind, has various holes especially in the central part of its trunk, but it lives on. The Five-Finger Camphor, which had one of its five branches cut away during the Second World War, is still a remarkable sight.

The Geoheritage Centre organises guided tours of Lai Chi Wo Village on Sundays and public holidays, except the first three days of Chinese New Year. Enquiries: lcwculture@outlook.com

Plover cove country park

To the starting point:

  • From MTR Tai Po Market Station take green minibus 20R to Wu Kau Tang.


From the end point:

  • A ferry service runs between Lai Chi Wo and Ma Liu Shui on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (https://www.geopark.gov.hk/en_news.htm). Ferry time from Lai Chi Wo: 3:30 pm. The ferry takes about 90 minutes. The nearest MTR station from there is University Station, approximately 15 minutes away by foot. Enquiries: +852 2555 9269 (Best Sonic Ind. Ltd.).
  • You can return from Lai Chi Wo via the way you came or via an alternate route (about 2 hours; approx. 4.5 km— shown as a dotted line on the map) to Wu Kau Tang Village, from which you can take green minibus 20R to MTR Tai Po Market Station, where other means of transport are available.
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