A village caught in time, tiny Tai Wan Tau sits peacefully on the edge of Clearwater Bay, writes resident Alison Monge.
A traditional Hakka village, Tai Wan Tau in Clearwater Bay largely remains the preserve of the Lau clan. It’s barely changed in the past 50 years, and the clan still gathers regularly for huge family feasts, unfolding picnic tables, chatting in Hakka dialect and tucking into hotpots in the shade of five huge trees planted by their fishermen ancestors.
It’s a picturesque spot with its own little beach, just off Tai Au Mun Road on the way to the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. There’s a particularly fine view of the village and the magnificent bay from the hilltop ridge between Clearwater Bay Road and the club.
The village is mainly made up of three old terraces, with a few modern additions. Despite those large clan gatherings, it’s a small village inhabited by about 20 families and a few expats.
There is a temple, an old school turned windsurfing club, a playground where older villagers regularly sit and chat, and some spectacular allotments producing wonderful fruits and vegetables year-round. Tending the gardens is mainly the preserve of the older women, while some of the men still fish. Next to the playground under a huge sacred tree is the village shrine. It is wise to remember its importance and not sit under the tree, or as happens occasionally, light a barbecue on the shrine.
Tai Wan Tau beach changes constantly. Until the country club opened, it was a bustling spot with the last shop in the area. Sampans ferried people to Clearwater Bay Beaches One and Two before the “new road” was built. Now hardly anyone visits; the windsurfing club is in use, but not by many. The beach itself is half sand and half pebbles, making it a quieter alternative to the manicured beaches of One and Two. Some lucky locals keep their boats there, and can sail in the bay or whizz off to Millionaires’ in 15 minutes. Also running through the village is a lovely old walk. You can pick it up at Clearwater Bay Beach One. It runs through woods, along Tai Wan Tau Beach, through the village and out past the house on the hill, and up into the forest. Follow the ribbons rather helpfully left by the local Hash. Keep walking for about 15 minutes and you will find yourself halfway down the tree walk in Clearwater Bay Country Park.
There are plans to build a road to the beach, and rumour has it a developer plans to build a Giverny-style development, which may or may not be beneficial to the village. For now, though, it’s perfect as it is.