Luk Keng Tsuen
I heard about Luk Keng when I first moved to Hong Kong, it was one of the places in my now ‘lost’ booklet entitled “KCRC Places of Interest” which formed the bulk of this list. However, it is only really now that I have found the time and energy to make the journey and I’m glad I did.
A quick trip to Fanling station to pick up the 56K green minibus (you may have to wait as this is a popular bus route) of which Luk Keng is the final stop – so easy navigating. The bus route takes you along Sha Tau Kok Road before turning onto the road which eventually leads to Nam Chung, Luk Keng and onto Brides Pool Road and Ting Kok Road back to Tai Po.
The scenery in the approach to the village is truly amazing, high hills either side and the glass like surface of Starling Inlet with views over to Shenzhen on the other side of the border in the near distance. You know when you have arrived because the terminus is flanked by some stores serving food and drink (well, that and because everyone, but the driver, gets off ) . The ‘Hoi Sam Si Daw’ (Happy Store) is a typical Chinese place selling typical Chinese cheap fodder – fried rice and noodles etc, and thus is more popular than its neighbour which has a few dishes (such as a nice fried breakfast) to woo the westerners who can be bothered to come out so far.
Luk Keng itself is a picturesque Hakka village which is fronted by several freshwater marshes and mangroves and is really one of the last bastions of rural Hong Kong before the scenery is abruptly interrupted by the level of development on the Chinese side of the Inlet. See the photo below for an idea, if you look closely you may be able to make out the ex-Ukranian aircraft carrier the ‘Minsk’.
Luk Keng is still an inhabited village, barely, unlike some of the others in the area which are slowly being taken back by nature, but even so there are many buildings that have fallen to dereliction and look set to stay that way. I don’t know why? The only reason I can think is that Luk Keng is just too far out of the way for the newer generation of indigenous descendants to be bothered with, and thus family property falls into disrepair. Perhaps with the imminent development of nearby Ting Kok Road, some vital links with Luk Keng can be established and persuade the landowners to return and do something about it. Time will tell. It’s a shame, because it has to be one of the most peaceful places in Hong Kong. It is interesting to explore on its own, but also provides a starting point for some great trails up into the surrounding hills and further on to Pat Sin Leng.
When you are there you may wonder why there is no one on the inlet. It is a vast expanse of water. Careful examination of any HK map will reveal that the Closed Frontier Border Area (the bit between HK and the Chinese Border which has so far avoided all mass development) actually starts on the banks of the inlet which make it a no-go area for anyone but those who live within the Frontier area (people of Luk Keng do not).
Incidentally, the Gwulo guys have a great thread going concerning the various Japanese trenches and pillboxes in the hills around Luk Keng and Nam Cheong. Their remote nature means that they are still in pretty good condition – that and the fact that they didn’t see any fighting during the occupation and subsequent liberation of the territory.
To get there catch 56K green minibus from Fanling East Rail station.