Beyond a scenic trail along Starling Inlet, in the far northern borderlands of the New Territories, lies the deserted strip of houses that make up Kuk Po. This Hakka village once had a population of around 1,000 villagers who farmed rice and other crops to sell in nearby Sha Tau Kok. Numbers started dwindling in the 1960s as residents were offered an opportunity to start a new life in Britain. By the 80s, the majority of the remaining residents were elderly. As you emerge from the inlet, past the Kuk Po village school, where a section has been converted into a tiny temple, you’ll notice a little more than a cluster of cows eyeing you lazily amongst the sun-soaked greenery and a row of fascinating but slowly tiring structures.
There are a number of smaller villages in the area under the name of Kuk Po. Current resident, Mark Sung, has returned to live in Kuk Po after growing up there. He is the sole resident of his village, although he knows of residents from neighbouring communities nearby, running small restaurants catering to hikers.
People have told him they would be afraid to live in the abandoned villages, but he has a different view. “Why should I be scared of ghosts and spirits? After all, they’re my ancestors.”
How to get there: Take Minibus 56K from Fanling MTR station To Luk Keng. From there, take a one to two-hours hike to Kuk Po.