Crumbling but not forgotten, Eric Ho visits the small village in the country park.
Situated along the northern coast of Sai Kung East Country Park is Chek Keng, an old village largely abandoned by its villagers yet continues to attract many visitors over weekends.
Those looking to visit the remote village have a couple of options to do so. Take minibus 7 or bus 94 from Sai Kung Pier and alight at Pak Tam Au – the bus stop is easily recognisable by the public toilets. From here it takes a further 40-minute walk to reach the village.
If you prefer to travel over water or don’t feel up for the short hike, take bus 94 to Wong Shek Pier before hopping on a 10-minute ferry which takes you directly to the village. The latter option is my preferred choice as it provides a scenic journey around the coast of Long Harbour and into the bay of Chek Keng Hau.
Chek Keng was founded over 200 years ago by a group of Hakka villagers and during its peak had a population of over 100. Unfortunately, the combination of the remote location, declining fishing and farming industry, and growing opportunities in the city led to many villagers leaving.
Today, the village has largely been abandoned. While most of the buildings seem to have stood the test of time, a quick peek through the windows will show the insides have crumbled. Take a closer look and you can still find tables, pots, pans and bowls; all possessions of the villagers who once called this home.
Further up the hillside, the buildings for a Catholic church and a village school still stand. Occasionally you will find former villagers and their descendants visiting Chek Keng for a weekend break or just to check on their old home.
Despite its crumbling state, Chek Keng is still widely visited by people from all over Hong Kong thanks to its beautiful natural surroundings. Mangroves flourish in the area with seven out of eight true Hong Kong species growing along the shores. Cows can often be seen grazing on the grasslands while the mudflats teem with mudskippers and fiddler crabs.
Also helping bring more visitors is Chek Kung’s convenient location along one of Hong Kong’s most popular trails: the MacLehose. Hikers can stay or camp the night at Chek Keng Bradbury Hall Youth Hostel before tackling the rest of MacLehose, heading down to Tai Long Wan or making the journey up the notorious Sharp Peak.