12 January 2020
Kuk Po village offers hikers a tranquil and verdant path. Photo: HKEJ
Kuk Po village offers hikers a tranquil and verdant path. Photo: HKEJ

An abandoned village hidden in an inlet

As a city dweller, I often fantasize about life in a village and what I would do if I lived there.

Most people might have thought of those lovely wooden cottages in the mountains of Europe or a sea of flowers in a Taiwanese field.

As a matter of fact, villages once flourished in Hong Kong but few of them have survived over time.

The Hakkanese village in Kuk Po in northeastern Hong Kong was among those that were left to deteriorate.

Facing Starling Inlet, or Sha Tau Kok Hoi, acres of deserted farmland and aged structures can still be seen in the village.

Getting off at Luk Keng minibus terminal, I set off for Kuk Po, walking along the coast.

On the left was a dense mangrove forest in the calm inlet while tall trees were on the right. The view was wonderful.

My friend saw some unusual ripples from afar, prompting me to hurry over to see what was causing them.

Hiding in the mud were some mudskippers happily jumping around.

However, they were so sensitive and as soon as I moved closer, they skipped in all directions immediately and disappeared.

We then continued our way, passing by Fung Hang village and a small dock.

No one could miss the entrance to Kuk Po village. There’s a store offering tofu pudding made with natural stream water. We were fully energized by the freshly made bowls of delicious desserts.

Following the path by the store led to an abandoned school which would have been built during the early Chinese republic.

Kuk Po village consists of Lo Wai, San Uk Ha, Yat (one) To, Yi (two) To, Sam (three) To, Sze (four) To and Ng (five) To.

“To” means to the land by the river.

The region was once a busy area with a large population.

Now, Lo Wai is notable for a field of common reed that turns golden and as grazing area for cattle.

We saw crowds of people again when we got to Chung Kee Store, which is quite famous for seafood and Cantonese dishes.

But since we came here for the tranquility of the countryside, we left the store quickly and took our return journey.

Getting there:

To go to/return from Luk Keng: Take minibus 56K from Fanling MTR station.

Time: About 2 hours

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 25, 2014

Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Mudskippers (left) jumping around. An abandoned school building in the village. Photos: HKEJ

HKEJ contributor