Sep 13, 2012|
Believe it or not, there are plenty of little-known excursions and activities all over the northern New Territories. If you’ve never checked it out, find a friend with a car, motor up the highway and make a day of checking out the sites. Here are just a few of our favorites.
One of the largest war zone providers, the Outdoor Adventure Training Centre offers 14 war zones in its outdoor field. It’s just 30 minutes from the city, and it offers whole-day sessions with either BB guns or paintball. You’ll need a minimum of 16 people to book a session, making it great for teamwork-building corporate functions. Charges include bus transport and lunch, but you’ll need to pay extra for the paintballs. Book two weeks in advance.
DD 395 Tin Fu Chai Chuen, Tai Lam Chung, Tuen Mun, 2491-7680.
Tai Mei Tuk BBQ King is right next to a strawberry farm, so you can pick organic strawberries (between November and April) while you wait for one of the barbecue site employees to set up your pit. There’s also a petting zoo for the kids. Its $60 per head for groups of three or more, or couples can pay $135. Pit setup costs $30.
Lot 17 Ting Kok Rd., Tai Po (opposite Ting Kok Village), 2948-2325, www.taimeitukbbqking.com.
Get there: Take minibus 20C from the Tai Po Market KCR station.
Meander through the 42-hectare Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve, where you can observe up to 170 species of indigenous butterflies. The land is considered an area of special scientific interest. To control the number of visitors to the park, guests must become a member of the reserve before entering ($200 for one-year membership; day memberships available for $20). Register at the nearby Fung Yuen Culture & Education Centre before entering.
Fung Yuen Culture & Education Centre, 150, Fung Yuen Village, Ting Kok Road, Tai Po, 3111-7344, www.fungyuen.org.
If you’ve ever harbored the desire to go dirt biking, the MX Club is the only track in Hong Kong that caters to the fast and furious motorcross crowd. The club offers two different levels of courses for the beginner and the advanced rider. If you want to do a proper beginner’s course, you can book a series of four lessons, each lasting two hours, for $1,800. The club provides all equipment. Quad bikes, segways and mountain bikes are also available for hire. MX Club also offers remote-controlled car trails, a food menu, private functions, war gaming and dirt bike or mountain bike tours to China on the side. Visit www.mxclub.com.hk for more details and available courses.
Fam Kam Rd., Tong Kung Leng Village, Sheung Shui, 2668-0948.
Get there: Take the 57K minibus from Sheung Shui Station to Tong Kung Leng, its final stop; for groups of 20 or more, call Mr Wong on 9888-1828 to arrange a shuttle bus pick-up service from various locations, including Central (starting at $1,200) or Tsim Sha Tsui (starting at $1,100).
Starling Inlet, right up by Shau Tau Kok, is home to A Chau Egretry, the largest egret-watching spot in Hong Kong. More diverse bird lovers fear not, as kingfishers and bitterns are also populous here. Funnily enough: there are no starlings here at all. The place was actually named after HMS Starling, which once charted the waters of Hong Kong. While you’re in the area, visit the abandoned town of Wu Kau Tang,
just up the road.
Get there: Take the 56K minibus from Fanling KCR station to Luk Keng.
In the past few decades, many village homes in the New Territories have been abandoned as local villagers moved to the city. But one village out in Sha Tau Kok is known by locals as a “ghost village.” So Lu Pun Village is a four-hour hike from Luk Keng in Fanling, and is the subject of several local ghost stories. Some say that many of the villagers died in a boat accident on the way to a wedding banquet, and the rest deserted the village soon after. Other stories include the tale of a man who was invited out to the village to celebrate a local festival, but found the place deserted when he arrived, while another yarn claims that a man died of a heart attack after seeing ghostly figures there. The truth, however, is far less interesting. So Lu Pun’s village representative (who doesn’t actually live there) debunked all the claims, saying that he and the other villagers simply moved out to the city because the village is too remote.
The border town of Sha Tau Kok has long marked the border between Hong Kong and China—but, as Lorraine Ng discovers—it has a fascinating history and is well worth a visit.
This strange piece of land, right up by the Hong Kong-China border, marks where Hong Kong territory ends and China begins. While a permit is still required to access the main town, the government has been steadily decreasing the size of the restricted area (of the 2,800 hectares, 740 have been made accessible to the general public in Phase One of the project), and plans to open up even more of Sha Tau Kok in stages. If you want to explore the perimeter, you’ll find wildlife, walking trails and traditional village houses in varying states of abandonment and disrepair—there are some great, spooky photo opportunities to be had there.
If you actually manage to score an entry permit, probably the best-known spot in Sha Tau Kok is the once-flourishing Chung Ying Street. Although these days it serves mainly as a tourist attraction, it was practically buzzing in the 80s and 90s, when mainlanders who were strapped for resources would come to shop for everything from daily necessities to luxuries such as watches and jewelry. In fact, at its peak, 47 of the street’s 50 stores were gold shops. Once you’ve explored the area, learn more about the town’s history by paying a visit to the nearby Chung Ying Street Historical Museum, which takes you through the history of the area with a number of exhibits.
Marking the boundary between Hong Kong and China are eight boundary stones, erected in 1898. They are engraved in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Another attraction is Kang Yung Study Hall—declared as a monument in 1991—which was built in the early Qing Dynasty with two-hall building and cocklofts, providing classrooms and living quarters.
Want to know more? Check out our story from 2007 about the town.
Get a permit to visit the whole area by filling out a form on the Hong Kong Police website. Please note that there are tons of restrictions and applying is a very complicated process.
How to get there: KMB 78K or Minibus 55K from Sheung Shui; get off before the last stop (Sha Tau Kok Bus terminal), as those without a permit are forbidden from the area.