A walled city

Yesterday we took a little jaunt into the New Territories, which sounds far but was only two stops on the MTR (albeit one stop each on two different lines). First we stopped at the excellent Che Kung Temple. Photos were prohibited, but I did take one of the entrance stalls where you can buy incense, flowers, and other offerings.


Yes, Cate did make friends with that dog.

About a half kilometer away is Tsang Tai Uk (曾大屋)—”Big House of the Tsangs”—one of the last remaining Hakka walled villages in Hong Kong. Most of the others have been demolished or are in disrepair. TTU was built in the mid-19th century and consists of a series of rows of houses connected by courtyards, with an ancestral hall in the center and three-story guard towers on each corner. Here’s an aerial shot:


Tsang Tai Uk. (Photo from the HK Planning Department.)

Here’s the main entrance from the outermost wall.


See how there’s another door in the distance? Here it is.TsangTaiUk-03

In between those two doors is a courtyard, which looks like so:TsangTaiUk-04

And here’s a close-up so you can revel in the dramatic juxtaposition of old Hong Kong, new Hong Kong. Please begin reveling.


After passing through that second gateway, you are in another courtyard.


I’m pretty sure that used to be a pool. And yeah, that’s the door to a home on the right.


There are several corridors off each courtyard, which lead to more dwellings.




If you keep going, you enter the ancestral hall, which is guarded by these impressive doors.


And, as you might expect, it’s filled with ancestors.



It you keep going, you end up in the temple proper.



This was a great little trip because it’s a part of old Hong Kong that most people never get to see, not because it’s hard to get to but because it’s a bit off the (metaphorical) beaten path. (There’s a perfectly nice actual beaten path that leads here from the MTR.)

Not everyone agrees, of course. This TripAdvisor review notes that it is “very underwhelming and lacks the proper management to be considered a decent tourist attraction.” How dare these residents not properly manage their homes as a decent tourist attraction?



Filed under New Territories, photos

2 responses to “A walled city

  1. Ray Lagueux

    We did revel as you requested!
    Ma and Pa

  2. Hi! I didn’t see a way to contact you on the home page, so feel free to delete this after you read it. I also went to Columbia and every now and then do a search on their Alumni website looking for graduates in Hong Kong or China. Today I found you! I hop into HK often, as I live in Shenzhen and would love to meet up with you both sometime if you’d like. My email is: sheilabocchine@gmail.com

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