Yim Tin Tsai is one of the many old Hakka villages in Hong Kong, situated on a small island in Sai Kung. It holds a captivating history because the whole village converted to Catholicism in the late 1800s. So devout were the villagers that they gave up their ancestral shrines and with European missionaries, constructed an Italian Romanesque style chapel. Over the passage of time, many villagers moved away, especially in the 1960s, until it became abandoned in the 1990s and the village became known as ‘Ghost Island’.
In recent years, villagers and volunteers have restored the village by renovating the chapel, which went on to receive an Award of Merit as part of the 2005 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards. The saltpans are Hong Kong’s only remaining ones, and are now actively used for the harvesting of the salt fields. These have also earned a UNESCO distinction for conserving an important piece of Hong Kong’s industrial heritage. This year’s Yim Tin Tsai Arts Festival was the climax of a three-year pilot scheme to promote the revitalisation of many abandoned villages.
The combination of the island’s seclusion with its unusual history, religion, nature and art, provides an enchanting escape from Hong Kong.
• Discover centuries-old salt-making techniques
• Admire UNESCO award winning St. Joseph’s Chapel
• Sumptuous lunch at a locally run restaurant
• Find out the many unique species of insects, butterflies and plants on the pristine island, including three of HK’s most poisonous plants
• Explore the art installations and learn about the efforts to revitalise the village
Stanley Shea is a freelance tour guide with over 7 years’ experience in the field. He has organised many trips for the RGS-HK and various organisations including the American Women’s Association HK. He also has extensive experience coordinating trips in Mainland China, Taiwan and Japan.
Leave City Hall, Central by coach at 8:30 am
Return to Central by 5:30 pm (approximately)
Cost: $1,380 for Members & $1,480 for Members' guests, including return coach, lunch and sea transfer.
This event is going to be held within our understanding of the social distancing rules of the Government then prevailing. Social distancing regulations will be observed at all times.