Tai Po

  • Lookout Tower in Tai Po Waterfront Park
    Hong Kong is a place of many delightful surprises, and probably none is any more pleasurable than the magnificent Waterfront Park in the New Town of Tai Po, in the northeast New Territories. The park's outstanding feature is its 32.4-metre Lookout Tower. Looking something like a rocket launch pad at Cape Kennedy, the Tower gives visitors a bird's eye view over Tolo Harbour and the rugged countryside stretching back to the boundary with mainland China. The upper levels of the Tower are open from 9am to 6pm, but visitors must climb to the top under their own steam. It is less strenuous to get to the lower levels, which remain open 24 hours a day. However high you climb, on returning to the ground don't forget to inspect the exhibition gallery.

    The Park has a wide range of facilities for young and old including rest gardens, sitting-out areas, a 1.2 km promenade along the harbour front, a jogging trail with fitness stations, a cycling path and a 600-seat amphitheatre. The Tai Po district is one of the oldest settled areas in Hong Kong. There is documentary evidence that farmers and fisherfolk inhabited it during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906) when it was known as Hui Chou Ying. In those times it had an offshore pearl-fishing industry so valuable that a garrison was stationed there to guard against theft of the pearls, which went to the treasure house of the Imperial Family. But there were so many deaths among the unprotected divers, who stayed underwater for some minutes searching the seabed for oysters, that pearl fishing had to be proscribed.

    The district's population grew in the Sung Dynasty (AD 960-1279), and in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Tai Po became a market town and the home of one of the territory's original clans, the Tangs. Fittingly, Tai Po has many historical relics including the remains of a porcelain kiln from Sung times, and the Man Mo Temple by the old market. Catch the KCR train from Hung Hom Terminal to Tai Po, and then get a taxi.
     

  • Heritage & Architectural Walks
    The Heritage and Architecture Walk in the New Territories covers 10 historic sites around the northeast New Territories. It takes approximately four hours to finish the entire route. The self-guided walk is a great way to learn about the history of Tai Po. Once the pinnacle of trade and the New Territories' administration centre during the early colonial era, today it is a new town with a population of 310,000. The legacy of early religious movements and clan activities can still be seen within the area. The New Territories Heritage and Architecture Walk takes in: Tai Po Market Railway Station, The Old District Office (North), Hong Kong Railway Museum, Tai Po New Market, Man Mo Temple, Kam Shan, Tai Wo Public Housing Estate, Lam Tsuen Tin Hau Temple, Lam Tsuen Spirit Trees (Wishing Trees) and She Shan Village. Audio equipment is available for rental at the HK Tourism Board Visitor Information & Services Centre located in :

     Kowloon :
    Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui. Audio equipment is available for rent from 8am-1pm daily. (Counter opens from 8am-6pm daily)
     

  • Man Mo Temple
    Located on Fu Shin Street, Tai Po, the Man Mo Temple was the first declared monument in the New Territories. The temple was built in 1891 by the Tsat Yeuk villagers and was once used as the office for the Tsat Yeuk Rural Committee until 1954 when a new office was completed. Villagers don't need a particular reason to visit the temple: they go for reflection, or to seek guidance and peace and ask for blessings for their loved ones and themselves. There are daily gatherings in the temple garden where discussions take place on more temporal matters. Built in the style of a centralised walled compound, the temple emphasises seclusion. Inside the building, a symmetrical layout consists of three divisions along the central axis. The first is the main entrance; the second includes the central, open courtyard and the side chambers. The main hall makes up the third section and is used for the worship of two Taoist deities from the Warring States Period (403-221 BC): the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo).

    The entrance is constructed of grey bricks and polished granite blocks. Vivid strips of stucco decorate both sidewalls and along the roof ridge. The finely carved eaves under the roof edge are typical of a quality house in the New Territories. There are eight compartments around the central courtyard. The two compartments on either side of the entrance once provided accommodation for travelling merchants and visitors to Tai Po. This traditional temple was declared a historical monument in 1984. It is open 6am to 6pm daily. Admission is free. Please be respectful in the temple and other places of worship. Do not touch religious objects or tread on the threshold. After touring the Man Mo Temple, visitors can stroll along Fu Sin Street where rural produce and traditional food items are for sale. Fu Shin Street is always crowded and is even busier during festive occasions.
     

  • Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
    An unexpected delight in this district is the Wishing Tree outside the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen. An ancient banyan, it is festooned with red and gold incense papers and other offerings thrown into its branches by the faithful - and the hopeful. Adjoining trees thought to be equally lucky also bear their share of colourful wishing papers. According to tradition, at Chinese New Year, people pray for year-long peace by scribbling their dreams on slips of red paper tied to an orange with string. They then toss them into the air. If the lucky paper charm catches on the tree, it is said that the wish will be granted.

    The Tin Hau Temple near the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree was built around the time of Emperor Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty and is the largest temple of its kind in Tai Po. The temple's main hall is dedicated to Tin Hau, the Goddess of Heaven, while on either side of the main hall stand, respectively, a Hall dedicated to both the God of Literature and the God of War (the Man Mo Hall) and the Temple for Justice, built in honour of 12 noble-hearted men who protected the Lam Tsuen villages in the past. Take the Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR) to Tai Po Market Station and look for a minibus to Lam Tsuen.

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  Information provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board.

 

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