Sightseeing at Hong Kong New Territories with MyHKTour.com12 October, 2015
For our recent Hong Kong trip, we decided to spend a day to explore Hong Kong off-the-beaten-track style – by visiting interesting sights at the New Territories 新界 i.e. the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree 林村許願樹 and Kat Hing Wai Walled Village 吉慶圍. Our trip dates overlaps with the China Golden Week holidays from Oct 1 to Oct 7 so we figured that it might be worthwhile to skip the crowds flooding Ladies Street and other popular Hong Kong tourist attractions for a day by taking a trip to the New Territories.
As we are travelling with a 5-month baby who needs to nurse every 3 hours and have his diapers changed often, we decided to engage myhktour.com for a private tour of the New Territories. Our Hong Kong New Territories itinerary was a simple one – we have to be flexible with our travelling schedule so that the baby would not get overtired from the trip and ensure that his needs would be met.
- Pick-up from Metropark Hotel Kowloon 75 Waterloo Road, Kowloon
- Hong Kong Railway Museum 香港鐵路博物館 13 Shung Tak St., Tai Po, 2653-3455
- Yat Lok Barbecue Restaurant 一樂燒臘飯店 G/F, Po Wah House Block A, 5 Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po District, Hong Kong
- Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree 林村許願樹
- Kat Hing Wai Walled Village 吉慶圍
- Yuen Long 元朗
- Ho To Tai Noodle Shop 好到底麵家 No.67, Fau Tsoi St, Yuen Long; tel +852 2476 2495
- Kei Kee Dessert: 佳記甜品 元朗又新街置富中心7號舖 Kau Yuk Road, Yuen Long; tel: +852 2473 3148
- Hang Heung Cake Shop 恒香老餅家 64 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long; tel: +852 2479 2141
Ronald – the boss of myhktour.com was mindful of our needs and had arranged for a comfortable 7-seater to bring our family around (4 adults and a baby). He charges HK$2500 (about S$460) for a 9-hour private tour (with a 7-seater vehicle) of Hong Kong (toll fees, parking fees, petrol are all included in the HK$2500 rate). You pay for your own food and entrance tickets to any attractions. This is a per vehicle rate for up to 7 persons (although you will find the vehicle very cramped if you fit 7 average-sized persons in it) – even if you have just 4 persons like my group, I thought the rate was quite reasonable (at about S$100 per person) to have a vehicle to yourself to check out various sights in Hong Kong.
Our first stop is the Lam Tseun Wishing Tree – this was a very famous tree well-known for bringing good luck to those who throw oranges and joss paper onto the tree branches and make wishes. The higher the branch the joss paper landed on, the more likely that the wish would come true. Unfortunately, no one is allowed to toss oranges onto the tree anymore as it was said one of the branches broke off due to the weight of all the oranges tossed onto it.
Now, you can buy joss papers and joss sticks (HK$5 for writing on the prayer paper and an additional HK$60 for the joss sticks and papers) from one of the aunties around the tree and she will help you do a simple blessing ritual and after which…
… you can hang your wishes on the wishing board – there are a number of wishing boards that are categorised according to the wishes you want to make e.g. good fortune, improvement in your studies, wealth, health.
If you still want to toss something onto the Lam Tseun Wishing Tree – there is a plastic wishing tree nearby (a 2 minute walk away in the centre of the Lam Tseun Wishing Village) where you can buy plastic oranges and wishing placards to toss onto this plastic Lam Tseun Wishing Tree.
Our next stop is to the city of Tai Po where we stopped by the Hong Kong Railway Museum. Entrance to this museum is free and it is a small museum where you can find out the history of the trains in Hong Kong and also take some pictures with the various trains from different eras of Hong Kong history.
This location was an actual train station (the Tai Po Market train station) many years ago – they have also preserved the train station – see below picture – you get to walk around the interiors of the train like ticketing booth and see what it was like in the 1800s when this train station was operational. This was what the Tai Po Market train station looked like some time ago when it was still in operation.
We ended our sightseeing with a visit to Kat Hing Wai – a walled village that dates back around 500 years to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Kat Hing Wai Walled Village is a rectangular-shaped village constructed mostly of blue brick walls. It was first settled by the Tang clan; one of the five biggest clans to take up residence in the New Territories. Visitors are asked to make a donation of HK$3 on entering the village. If you want to take photos of the clan women in their traditional black trousers, tunics and distinctive bamboo hats, you will be expected to pay about HK$10.
Most of the old houses within the Kat Hing Wai walled village had been replaced by modern houses. There is one main throughfare from the Kat Hing Wai gate to the ancestral hall. You need to manage your expectations as the village no longer looks like a 500 year old historic village – the interior is just like a typical suburb (albeit a bit cramped) with a number double or triple storey terrace houses with satellite cable dishes and all the modern stuff.
The rest of the alleys between the houses are quite narrow. You are free to roam about the village but as there are people staying in this village, try not to disturb them.
I will share more about our food trail during this New Territories tour with myhktour.com in my next blog post. The overall experience with myhktour.com and Ronald was a great one – there was no shopping stops. We just drove wherever we want to go and if we want to, we can actually visit a lot more sites in a day but we chose to take it easy. Thus, if you are travelling with a baby or have elderly in your group and yet want to travel around Hong Kong conveniently at an affordable price, myhktour.com is a good choice. They even do tours to Macau and Shenzhen too.
What I especially like about touring with myhktour.com is the ease of contacting Ronald by whatsapp or wechat. I can whatsapp him while I am still in Singapore, saving on long distance calls or roaming charges if I want to contact Ronald urgently for any last minute changes e.g. pick-up location. To Whatsapp Ronald, simply save the number below in your contact list and refresh your whatsapp contact list. 852 is the country code – to add the +, I long pressed (or long hold) zero (I am using a Samsung S5 phone) and the “+” will appear and then keyed in 85269860988 and save the number to my phone contact list.
Wechat or Whatsapp telephone: + 85269860988
The driving time between Kowloon and the New Territories was about 20 to 30 minutes – throughout the journey, we tapped on the Wi-Fi from the reliable Changi Recommends Wi-Fi Router for Hong Kong service. Even when we are in the ulu parts of the New Territories, Wi-Fi service was still available. At just S$12 per day (there are often promos available at changiwifi.com e.g. the Oct 2015 promo is just $10 per day with first day rental waived) , we are guaranteed of Wi-Fi anywhere we go in Hong Kong – be it arranging meet-ups with friends and family for meals in Hong Kong or just surfing the net while queuing for Jenny Cookies. Read more of our review of the Changi Recommends Overseas Wi-Fi service earlier. Collection and return of the Changi Recommends overseas Wi-Fi router is also very convenient – just handover the router and pay at the Changi Recommends booth that are available at all 3 Changi Terminals.
For last minute reservations of Changi Recommends overseas Wi-Fi service, customers can call the service hotline at 6701 1185 or WhatsApp to 9427 6977 – subject to stock availability. It is highly recommended that you make your online reservation with 3 working days prior departure date – more details are found in changiwifi.com.
You can opt to purchase insurance to safeguard the set you rent, in case of damage or loss, so if you are prone to losing things on trips, you can travel with ease knowing you are covered.