The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a 1.6 km trail through the villages of Hang Tau Tsuen, Hang Mei Tsuen, and Sheung Cheung Wai, in Yuen Long district. The historical trail was inaugurated on 12 December 1993 to showcase traditional life and buildings in the New Territories.
The Tang Clan in Ping Shan
Ping Shan, in Yuen Long, is a historically significant area in Hong Kong, and the Tang Clan is one of the major clans in the New Territories with a long history. The earliest records of the clan show that it relocated to this area from Jiangxi Province in the early period of the Northern Song dynasty (920-1127).
After settling here, they established three wais (walled villages) and six tsuens (villages). They then built numerous traditional Chinese buildings such as ancestral halls, temples, study halls, and pagodas for ancestral worship, clan gatherings, and education.
The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a great way to spend a day discovering the history of the area along with viewing all the traditional buildings.
About the Ping Shan Heritage Trail
The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a 1.6 km walk through the Ping Shan area in Yuen Long. Depending on your speed of walking and the amount of time you spend at each attraction, it can take you anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete it.
There are 14 beautiful attractions (or stops) along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, each with an illustrious history. Many of the attractions are still in use today, while some have been converted into private property.
The entire trail is documented and mapped by the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) on their website. This post can be treated as my photo documentation of the attractions with basic information, along with important information on how to navigate from one attraction to the other.
The opening hours of each of the buildings may change and it’s best to refer to the AMO website before your visit.
Ping Shan Heritage Trail Map
This is the official map of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail courtesy of the AMO.
You can also check out the interactive version of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail Map on their website.
How To Get To Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Depending on your location, there are many ways to reach the starting point of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, which is the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre.
The Visitors Centre is located on Ping Shan Chuk Lam Road. The closest bus stops are on Ping Ha Road where bus numbers K65, 53, and 276, and New Territories green minibuses 33, 34, and 35 stop.
The closest Light Rail stop is Ping Shan stop on Castle Peak Road – Ping Shan, where light rail numbers 610, 614, 615, and 761P stop.
To Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre
Depending on how you arrive and where you alight, make your way to Ping Shan Chuk Lam Road, which branches from Ping Ha Road.
Look for the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery signage when you reach Ping Shan Chuk Lam Road. The sign should guide you up the road and past the gates to the Visitors Centre. Just after the gates notice the unmistakable white colonial building that is now the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre.
Stop 1 – Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre
The Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre was converted from the old Ping Shan Police Station in 2007. The building was completed in 1900 and occupied by the police till 2001. It is one of the few pre-war police stations in the New Territories.
The building is situated on the hilltop of Hang Tau Tsuen and overlooks the villages of Ping Shan below. In fact, walk onto the terrace area to admire the beautiful views of Yuen Long, Kai Shan, Kai Kung Leng, and even Shenzhen on a clear day.
Be sure to enter the visitors centre to view relics and antiques from the Tang Clan.
Behind the visitors’ centre is the annexe, which has been converted into a gallery showcasing rare photographs of the various attractions along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
But more than anything else, I loved admiring this old colonial building with its arched verandahs and open spaces. It reminded us greatly of the Tai O Heritage Hotel, which was also once a pre-war police station.
To the Hung Shing Temple
To make your way to the next attraction on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, trace your steps back to Ping Ha Road. Once on the road, turn right and walk past the village houses.
After about 100 metres are a few shops and small restaurants. Opposite them is the entrance to the open courtyard in front of the Hung Shing Temple. The temple is located at the right corner of the open courtyard.
Stop 2 – Hung Shing Temple
Situated in Hang Mei Tsuen, the Hung Shing Temple is believed to have been built by the Tang Clan in 1767. Hung Shing is worshipped by fishermen or anyone whose livelihood depends on the sea. The Hung Shing Festival is held on the 13th day of the second lunar month.
Although the temple may be small, it’s really beautiful!
To Shut Hing Study Hall
Although the Shut Hing Study Hall is located close to the Hung Shing Temple, we found it a little difficult to locate.
After visiting the temple, return to Ping Ha Road and walk another 100 metres ahead. Look for an alley between the houses on the left side, which has the shops at the beginning.
Enter the alleyway, and keep a lookout for the sign for Shut Hing Study Hall on the left. Once you see the sign, walk between the houses to reach the next stop.
Stop 3 – Entrance Hall of Shut Hing Study Hall
The Shut Hing Study Hall today has been converted into private residential property and is not open to the public. However, you can still admire the beautiful entrance to the study hall.
The Shut Hing Study Hall was built by the Tang Clan in 1874 and was used for teaching and preparing clansmen for exams and gaining appointments to government positions.
Today, the interior has been converted into a residential building and it does feel odd standing outside people’s homes to admire the entrance. But the elegant design of the entrance with the roof ridge decorations, murals, and carved brackets are simply stunning! Even the work on the stair railings is so unique.
To Ching Shu Hin and Kun Ting Study Hall
The next attractions on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail are easy to locate. From the Shut Hing Study Hall trace your steps back to Ping Ha Road. Cross it to the road on the opposite side, which is actually named Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
Ching Shu Hin and Kun Ting Study Hall are both at the start of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, opposite the Motors Cafe. It’s easy to spot their location with the fancy cars parked outside.
Stop 4 – Ching Shu Hin
Ching Shu Hin was completed shortly after Kun Ting Study Hall and served as a guesthouse for prominent visitors and scholars.
The guesthouse is a two-storey building, richly embellished to demonstrate the elegance expected of residences of the local gentry.
Unfortunately, when we visited, Ching Shu Hin was closed to visitors and we couldn’t go past the path with the title boards.
Stop 5 – Kun Ting Study Hall
Attached to Ching Shu Hin is the Kun Ting Study Hall which was built in 1870. The study hall was used as a place for both ancestral worship and education. It consists of two hall buildings with a single courtyard.
When the British occupied the New Territories in 1899, Kun Ting Study Hall was used as a police station and land office.
The Kun Ting Study Hall was one of my favourite attractions on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. The courtyard with the ancestral altar and two buildings with their extensive brackets, paintings, panels, and decorations are simply splendid! There is so much detail in the craftsmanship that we took our sweet time admiring the handiwork.
To the ancestral halls
Before proceeding to the next attractions, feel free to take a pitstop at Motors Cafe, or admire their cars parked outside.
After that, continue walking down Ping Shan Heritage Trail further into Hang Mei Tsuen. After the public toilet, stay on the road to the right and walk till you reach a large open space.
Here you should see two large entrances to the two ancestral halls.
Stop 6 – Tang Ancestral Hall
The ancestral hall on the left is the Tang Ancestral Hall. It is surrounded by the three wais and the six tsuens and is the main ancestral hall of the Tang Clan.
It was constructed 700 years ago and is still used regularly as a venue for worship, festivals and ceremonies, and clan meetings.
The Tang Ancestral Hall was declared a monument in December 2001.
Stop 7 – Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall
To the right is Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall, and it shares a similar layout to the Tang Ancestral Hall.
The Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall was constructed in the early 16th century and other than serving as an ancestral hall, it also housed the Tat Tak School from 1931 to 1961. The Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall was also declared a monument in December 2001.
Both ancestral halls feature beautiful courtyards with elegantly carved wooden beams and doors and beautiful craftsmanship on the ridges of the roofs.
To the Yan Tun Kong Study Hall
The next attraction on the Ping Shan Heritage trail is the Yan Tun Kong Study Hall, which is located in the heart of Hang Tau Tsuen.
To get to the study hall, enter the alley to the left of Tang Ancestral Hall and follow the signs. The signs are small but visible in between all the houses.
After a couple of turns, you’ll arrive at the wall around the outer courtyard of Yan Tun Kong Study Hall.
Stop 8 – Yan Tun Kong Study Hall
The Yan Tun Kong Study Hall is also known as the Yin Yik Tong and was built to celebrate prominent ancestors of the Tang Clan from the 14th and 16th generations.
The study hall was used as a venue for teaching, as an ancestral hall, and still holds gatherings and festivities for the clan.
Make sure you step inside the study hall to appreciate the splendour of its courtyard and beautifully decorated halls.
Yan Tun Kong Study Hall was declared a monument in October 2009.
To the Old Well
Navigating your way out of Hang Tau Tsuen can be a little tricky with all its narrow alleyways. The map asks visitors to trace their steps back to the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, but it’s actually much shorter through the other side.
Simply exit the outer courtyard of Yan Tun Kong Study Hall from the opposite side of where you entered, and immediately turn left.
Walk along the wall to the end of the alley, and then turn right. This alley should connect to Ping Shan Nam Pak Road.
At the road, turn left and walk past all the houses till you reach the Old Well.
Stop 9 – Old Well
The Old Well is situated between Hang Tau Tsuen and Sheung Cheung Wai and was dug almost 200 years ago. It was the main source of drinking water, at one time, for both the villages.
I’m not sure of the use of the well today, but there are many koi fish inside the well if you take a look.
Stop 10 – Yeung Hau Temple
The short, dirt trail behind the Old Well takes you to the Yeung Hau Temple.
The Yeung Hau Temple is one of the six temples in Yuen Long dedicated to the deity Hau Wong. The temple is divided into three bays housing statues of Hau Wong, To Tei (Earth God), and Kam Fa (patron saint of expecting mothers).
According to the Ping Shan villagers, Hau Wong was the Marquis Yang Lianjie, a Song dynasty general who gave up his life to protect the last two Song emperors. He is worshipped for his loyalty and bravery.
The Hau Wong Festival is celebrated on the 16th day of the sixth lunar month.
To Sheung Cheung Wai
The next attraction is very unique, even if it’s private property now.
To make your way to Sheung Cheung Wai, trace your steps back to the Old Well and continue walking down Ping Shan Nam Pak Road.
Sheung Cheung Wai is a short distance from the Old Well and is very easy to miss. Keep an eye out for a grey-brick entrance with a red sandstone plaque above.
Stop 11 – Sheung Cheung Wai
Sheung Cheung Wai is the only walled village on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. It bears all the characteristics of a local walled village – an enclosed symmetrical layout of houses with the gatehouse and shrine on the central axis.
The walled village is a private property with people living inside the houses that are within the wall. You can walk inside and take a quick peek to appreciate a traditional Chinese walled village.
Stop 12 – Shrine of the Earth God
The next attraction on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail is the Shrine of the Earth God. It is located outisde Sheung Cheung Wai. As you exit the walled village, continue walking on Ping Shan Nam Pak Road to where it merges with Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
Where the two roads meet is the location of the Shrine of the Earth God, known to the villagers as She Kung (also known as Pak Kung and Fuk Tak Kung).
Such shrines are commonly found in Chinese villages as She Kung is believed to be the protector of villagers. They are usually simple brick structures on which stones are placed to symbolise the presence of God.
To Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda
From the Shrine of the Earth God walk on Ping Shan Heritage Trail towards the main Tsui Sing Road. At the intersection, turn right and walk towards the Tin Shui Wai MTR Station.
Just as you approach the MTR station, take the right lane that slopes down. That’s where the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda is situated.
Stop 13 – Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda
Unfortunately, when we visited, the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda was under renovation and covered. But we still got a look at it from the back.
The Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda is the only ancient pagoda in Hong Kong and was constructed more than 600 years ago. The hexagonal three-storey structure is 13 metres tall and contains a statue of Fui Shing (a deity who controls success in exams) on the top.
The pagoda was originally intended as a feng shui structure designed to ward evil spirits from the north and prevent flooding. The auspicious location also ensured success for clan members who were taking their imperial civil service exams.
The Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda was declared a monument in December 2001.
To Tat Kak Communal Hall
The Tat Kak Communal Hall is located behind the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda. However, to reach it, return to Tsui Sing Road and walk another 15 metres till you spot another lane on the right.
Walk down the lane to reach Tat Kak Communal Hall.
Stop 14 – Tat Kak Communal Hall
The final attraction on the Ping Shan Heritage Trail is the Tat Kak Communal Hall. Unfortunately, when we visited, the Tat Kak Communal Hall was fenced and closed to the public. We were only able to catch glimpses of the hall through the fence.
The hall was completed in 1857 as an assembly and worshipping place for the members of the Tat Kak Alliance, as well as the management office of the Ping Shan Market. It is also believed to be one of the places where the armed resistance against the British takeover of the New Territories in 1899 was organised.
The Tat Kak Communal Hall was declared a monument in December 2013.
End the Ping Shan Heritage Trail
The Tat Kak Communal Hall brings the tour of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail to an end. Fortunately, the trail ends right next to the Tin Shui Wai MTR Station.
We hope you enjoyed our version of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail guide. For more historical information and details be sure to visit the AMO website.
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