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A cultural and ecological gem – Lai Chi Wo

Lai Chi Wo

 

Lai Chi Wo

 

Introduction

Located in northeast New Territories of Hong Kong, Lai Chi Wo Village is a relatively large, well-preserved Hakka walled village with over 300 years of history. Because of the villagers' deep belief in feng shui, the surrounding ecological environment has been well protected. Lai Chi Wo has adequate tourism facilities, so it has become a popular green tourism destination. Visitors can go there either by boat or on foot to savour the profound Hakka culture and the unique ecological environment.

 

 
Lai Chi Wo

Hakka walled village

Feng shui design can be seen everywhere in Lai Chi Wo. The village houses are arranged in a three-vertical, nine-horizontal layout (three rows and nine columns), which is believed to be a feng shui layout that suited Lai Chi Wo Village. In Hakka culture, water symbolizes wealth, and fire symbolizes a flourishing population. Therefore, each house was designed in much the same way, with the bathroom on the left and the stove on the right side of the house, in the hope that the water in the bathroom and the fire of the stove would lead to abundance in both wealth and family size. A wall was built around the village houses to help gather money and fortune and bring permanent prosperity to the village. The fung shui woodland behind the village helped hold the soil together and protect the water resources, and the brook in front of the village provided convenience for washing clothes and irrigation. Other examples of feng shui design are the winding path and the screen wall facing the east gate. The well-preserved walled village shows how the Hakka people lived and manifests the traditional thought and wisdom of the Chinese folk through its planning and design.

With over 200 houses, Lai Chi Wo Village was once home to more than 1,000 people. Apart from growing rice for a living, the villagers once widely planted tangerines and pineapples. In the 1950s, many villagers emigrated abroad to make a better living, mainly to the UK, France, Germany and Belgium.

Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail

The Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail leads to an ancient Hakka walled village, and visitors can enjoy the beauty of mountains and sea along the way. The trail is mostly flat, with interpretation signs along the way. The village has a Geoheritage Centre, where visitors can learn about the ecology, culture and history of Lai Chi Wo.

Lai Chi Wo Village was jointly established by Tsang and Wong clans over 300 years ago. Since the village was restricted in area because of feng shui considerations, it became very crowded, so some villagers chose to move to So Lo Pun and Ngau Shi Wu nearby to set up new villages. In a time of social turbulence, Lai Chi Wo Village and its neighbouring seven villages formed the Hing Chun Alliance to help each other and work together for development.

The feng shui woodland behind the village has been protected by the villagers for over a century, so it has grown naturally with high biodiversity and has hundreds of species of precious local trees. Lining the Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail are the big shots of this feng shui woodland – the "hollow tree", the strangling banyan", the "giant camphor tree", big banyans, and other ancient rare trees.

The White-flowered Derris along Lai Chi Wo coast is the only Derris colony in Hong Kong. Derris is a climbing vine, which can grow as thick as the waist of an adult. With its vines twining around huge camphor trees and a coastal heritiera, it looks like a flying dragon or a crawling python, forming a natural ecological wonder of Hong Kong.

The mangrove area in Lai Chi Wo includes all the mangrove species in Hong Kong. The most notable is the coastal heritiera with large triangular buttress roots, which help the tree take hold in the soft mudflats. Other mangrove trees have also developed unique adaptations to the environment to survive. Some have netted roots that help them grip the earth, while others have vertical aerial roots that help them breath. Keep an eye on the mangrove forest and you'll find colourful fiddler crabs and mudskippers.

Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre

The Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre was converted from traditional homes and roughly follows the layout of typical Hakka homes. The Centre features Hakka appliances that were used in the home, typical rock specimens from Hong Kong Geopark, and a series of information panels introducing the geopark and explaining the ecology, life and culture of Lai Chi Wo.

   PDF [PDF] Leaflet download:Lai Chi Wo

 

Lai Chi Wo
 

Lai Chi Wo

Lai Chi Wo

Lai Chi Wo

 Map

Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail

Video

How to get there

A ferry service runs between Ma Liu Shui and Lai Chi Wo which sails along the Tolo Channel and Wong Chuk Kok Tsui, on Sunday and Public Holidays. Visitors can travel by MTR East Rail and get off at the University Station, then leave station at Exit B and walk for about 15 minutes to Ma Liu Shui Landing No.3 for the ferry service. The normal boat traveling time is about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Depart from Ma Liu Shui: 09:00am. (Sunday and Public Holidays)
Depart from Lai Chi Wo: 15:30pm (Sunday and Public Holidays)
Fare: $50 single ticket; $80 return ticket (subject to operator’s announcement)
Enquiries: 2555 9269 (Best Sonic Industrial Limited)

You may also consider to join a local tour.

Take green mini bus 20C(Special Route)at the minibus terminus at Tai Po Market MTR Station, get off at the Wu Kau Tang. Or take KMB 275R at Tai Po Market MTR station, get off at Bride's Pool Bus Station and walk to Wu Kau Tang. It takes around 2 hours to hike from Wu Kau Tang to Lai Chi Wo.

56K minibus run between Fanling MTR station and Luk Keng, get off at Luk Keng and hike to Fung Hang, it takes a 2.5 hours to Lai Chi Wo.

 

 

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