Hong Kong isn't just gleaming skyscrapers and shopping.
The New Territories is peppered with ancient edifices, including ancestral halls, temples and houses. Many buildings are decrepit, condemned or on the verge of collapse; but in several places, the government has preserved structures important to Hong Kong's history and cultural heritage.
The most striking are the ancestral halls. Built for the "Five Great Clans" (Tang, Hau, Pang, Liu and Man), the halls have been declared monuments and restored to their original splendour. Stepping inside one is like travelling hundreds of years back in time.
Typical to these halls are honorifics and ornate decorations, including: polychrome plaster mouldings in rich, vibrant colours; detailed wood carvings; and murals with traditional auspicious Chinese motifs.
Most have three halls with high ceilings, along with two enclosed open courtyards. The rear walls are lined with altars, upon which rest rows of soul tablets depicting the names of each clan's ancestors.
To visit these halls, first go to the Antiquities and Monuments Office web site and select the New Territories. A menu will guide you to the various halls and provide directions, as well the dates and times each is open for viewing.Don't forget your camera.