Most of the walled villages in Hong Kong are located in the New Territories.
A walled village is a kind of traditional building which is completely surrounded by thick defensive walls, protecting the residents from the attack of wild animals and enemies. Usually, people living in the walled village are extended families or clans sharing the same surname. Walled villages can be found in mainland China and Hong Kong.
In Punti Cantonese, Wai (圍, Walled) and Tsuen (村, Village) were once synonym.
Kat Hing Wai (吉慶圍) is a famous Punti walled village in Yuen Long District of Hong Kong. It often mistakenly believed to be Hakka, whose people have similar traditions. However the Punti people were from Southern China and the first to settle in Hong Kong. Kat Hing Wai's residents speak Cantonese, rather than Hakka. Popularly known as Kam Tin, from the name of the area, it is home to about 400 descendants of the Tang Clan, who built the village back in the 1600s.
Kat Hing Wai is a rectangular (100 m x 90 m) walled village. As a family stronghold, Kat Hing Wai has served the Tangs well through the centuries, protecting the residents against bandits, rival clans, and wild tigers. In the Qing Dynasty, a five-metre high blue brick wall and four cannon towers were added to defend against bandits. Today, the village is still completely surrounded by 18-foot-thick walls, outside which are the remains of a moat. However, most houses within the walls have been rebuilt in recent years. There is only one narrow entrance, with a pair of iron gates.
Tsang Tai Uk (曾大屋), also known as Shan Ha Wai, is another well-known Hakka walled village in Hong Kong, and one of the best preserved. It is located close to the south of the Pok Hong Estate, not far from the Lion Rock Tunnel Road. Built in the 1840s, it was constructed in 1848 as a stronghold for the Tsang Clan. It is a preserved Hakka fortified village in Sha Tin. It is said to have taken 20 years to build the village. The village is built with granite, grey bricks and solid timber.
Sheung Shui Wai (上水圍), also known as Sheung Shui Heung (上水鄉), is one of the very few rural settlements having retained its original moat which was built in 1646. Characterized by its magnificent moat and landscape setting, the walled village is the core of the Liu clan, of which ancestors came originally from Fujian during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The village is located in Sheung Shui.
Fanling Wai (粉嶺圍) is a walled village in Fanling built by the Pang (彭) clan. It is recognisable with the distinctive pond and layout including features such as cannons and watchtowers. All these elements were crafted to form an integral part of the village setting. Fanling Wai is the centre of the Pang clan who arrived in Hong Kong from Guangxi province late in the Song Dynasty.
Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen (衙前圍村) is a walled village in Wong Tai Sin, New Kowloon. It is the one of the few walled villages left in the urban built-up areas of Hong Kong. On July 18, 2007, the government announced its plans to reconstruct Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen.
A village name ending in "Wai" usually indicates a walled village, but in some cases the walls have been partly or totally demolished. Remaining fully or partially walled villages in Hong Kong include: