Kam Tin Mural Village: History Brought to Life Through Art


How to Get to Kam Tin Mural Village

  1. Take the MTR to Kam Sheung Road Station and leave at exit B
  2. Cross the bridge ahead and keep going straight
  3. Follow the path until you reach Kam Sheung Road
  4. Go right and enter the village behind Red Brick House Market

There Aren’t Many Traditional Walled Villages Left in Hong Kong.

With developers looking to snap up any viable plot of land to build the next soulless skyscraper, it’s nice to see that a few pockets of tradition are still alive in Hong Kong.

One such place is Kam Tin Mural village. The name is a bit misleading as the area is not a single village, but a collection of walled villages (圍村) in various states of antiquity and modernity. In the past, this series of amazing antique dwellings was all but forgotten by Hong Kongers despite having over 500 years of indigenous history.

The History of Kam Tin and its Walled Villages

The villages were actually the original home of the Tang Clan, one of the Five Great Clans that settled the New Territories over half a millennium ago during the Song Dynasty. Tang Hon Fat, the leader of the Tang Clan at that time, begun the process of creating villages so that the Tangs could form a unified, integrated community. They added walls to their villages in the 17th century as a form of protection to effectively battle and fend off pirates and bandits looking for easy prey.

The Shift to Modernity

Many of the Tang Clan’s descendants still live in Kam Tin to this day! Some of the villages in the area retain their original appearance such as Kat Hing Wai Village, which is the best-preserved walled village in the area.

Most other villages have veered toward modernity and the traditional Tang-style houses and walls have been replaced with modern-looking three-story homes. Many of the villages still have one or two buildings that retain their old-world charm and some villages even have really old village houses that are now falling into ruin.

A New Splash of Paint

In 2017, a local teacher by the name of Kwok Yin-ming decided to try and revitalize the forgotten Kam Ting village and bring more life to this historic community. She went door-to-door asking whether the local inhabitants would be willing to let her and a team of students and volunteers paint vibrant murals on modern walls around Kam Tin Village to make the place seem more vibrant and bring more visitors in.

The local villagers agreed wholeheartedly, and the Kam Tin Village Mural Project was soon under way!

The Murals

Today, you can wander around Kam Tin Mural Village and enjoy a combination of traditional Tang-style village homes and vibrant murals that bring a freshness and excitement to the village.

I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the tight alleyways and finding incredible works of art around seemingly every corner. Of particular interest to me was how nonchalantly crumbling ruins seemed to intermingle with beautiful, modern dwellings and well-preserved Tang-style homes. It was almost like being in the past, present and future at the same time!

If you do visit this amazing place, be sure to be respectful and don’t wander into people’s property.

Red Brick House Market

Another of the intriguing quirks of this area is the Red Brick House Market, which offers visitors an eclectic collection of handicrafts, curios, food items and clothes. The pricing is fair and the setting is nothing short of oddly extraordinary. These types of places just don’t exist in abundance anymore in Hong Kong, so it’s well worth a visit.

Of particular interest to me was a suit of armor standing to attention outside one of the shops. Sadly, there were 'No photo' signs on it, so you'll have to visit yourself to see it.

There was also a wall that hid a patio and restaurant behind it that I almost missed. The setting is truly wild and it seems that there’s an attitude of anything goes in this wonderfully weird shopping experience.