Hakka Culture of Double Haven
This tour is suitable for children of all ages.
The remote waters of Double Haven are dotted with islands, and lined with winding shorelines. For
many centuries, Hakka clans settled in this area for farming and fishing. While many of these villages
have been abandoned and have turned into
ghost villages, some are still inhabited by small numbers of people, who cling on to their
traditional way of life. This tour will visit three of these communities: Ap Chau (map marker 2), Lai Chi Wo (map marker 3) and
Kat O (map marker 4).
Ap Chau is a tiny island, inhabited since shortly after the second world war. In 1953 a proper village was built when the US branch
of the True Jesus Church offered a grant to finance the construction. A village was built, complete with school, community centre and
of course a church. At its peak a couple hundred people lived there, the current count is 3.
Ap Chau is also a geopark site. The island is built up of a red sedimentary breccia - it looks as if someone took a huge dump truck
and created an enormous pile of construction waste, except that in this case the bricks can not be pulled out of it. At the far end
of the island is also a low but rather wide sea arch, the eye of the duck (from a distance the island looks a bit like a duck
lying on the water, hence the name Ap Chau - duck island).
Lai Chi Wo is a well preserved and well maintained walled Hakka village. This village is also
known for its ecologically important fung shui woods and large swathes of mangroves. Home to
over 3,000 people at its peak, now just a handful are still living here. Over the past few
years, villagers have tried to revitalise their old home. The fung shui wall has been rebuilt,
some houses are under renovation and a Geoheritage Centre has opened here.
We'll also walk around the village. Sights include the hollow autumn maple tree, the five-fingered
camphor at the fung shui woods, the rice paddies and other agricultural fields, the temple, and all the old
houses of the village itself.
Kat O, a once thriving fishing island home to over 2,000 people spread over at least a dozen villages,
has only a few dozen residents nowadays. Some are retired, others are fishermen living and working on
the island, fishing mostly in the surrounding waters.
Sights in Kat O include the viewpoint on top of Ko Tei Teng, the Lover's Tree, the Tin Hau temple (with
two statues of Tin Hau), the abandoned village school and a wishing tree.
There are many abandoned and unmaintained houses here. One always wonders, what makes people abandon
their home leaving behind furniture and even the pictures on the wall?
We may also have a traditional Hakka style lunch at Kat O (optional; not included; please register when
booking this tour if you're interested) before catching the speed boat back to Lai Chi Wo.
- 8:00 meet at University MTR, walk to Ma Liu Shui pier (green map marker) for the boat to
Ap Chau (via Kat O).
- About 10:45-11:45 visit Ap Chau.
- Speed boat to Lai Chi Wo.
- About 12:00-13:00: visit Lai Chi Wo.
- Speed boat to Kat O.
- Lunch & visit Kat O.
- 15:30 board the boat back to Ma Liu Shui (arrive there about 17:00).