Tucked in one of the last quiet corners of East Kowloon is perhaps the last "squatter villages" left in Hong Kong called Cha Kwo Ling / 茶果嶺. It is unfair, of course, to call it a "squatter village". The term is used to belittle and is often applied by officialdom to denigrate and ultimately condemn. The word often employed to convince us that no one lives there and that the land is ripe for redevelopment. The truth, of course, is much more complicated.
Originally Cha Kwo Ling was a vibrant Hakka Village on the shore of Eastern Kowloon (part of the "4 hills or Si Shan 四山", Ngau Tau Kok 牛頭角, Sai Tso Wan / 晒草灣, and Lei Yue Mun / 鯉魚門). In fact, CKL is named rather deliciously after the Cha Kwo one of the many traditional Hakka desserts that we often eat at the many Chiuchow Restaurants in town. Seventy years ago refugees from the Civil War flooded the hills of Kowloon including Cha Kwo Ling. Many areas never really recovered and CKL still struggles to shake its ramshackle reputation.
Why not spend a morning exploring this relatively unknown part of Kowloon.
After leaving the Lam Tin MTR Station we'll then walk down one of the old footpaths past the old Kaolinite mine / 前高嶺土礦埸 then into the village itself. The highlights also include the well maintained Tin Hau Temple along the shore as well as the Law Mansion / 羅氏大屋 dating from the 1850s.
Continuing our Hakka Theme we'll then walk twenty minutes through the Laguna City Estates to the San Shan Kwok Wong Temple / 三山國王. The Three Mountain King is a religious staple of the Chaozhou / Chuichow / Teochew Community.