When talking about ancient towns in Shenzhen, many people can only think of Dapeng Fortress. But Shenzhen has more to it than just that. In fact in Longgang, there hides an ancient town with over 300 years of history, Gankeng Hakka Town.
Dubbed “Little Lijiang,” Gankeng Hakka Town is a small ancient village that was once home to the Yao people. It later became a gathering place for Hakka people.
Many years ago, Gankeng was still a shabby Hakka town with dilapidated buildings everywhere, readily flooded after the shortest of storms. Later it was rebuilt into the Gankeng Hakka Town of today, preserving the original Hakka buildings, such as Tulou and Hakka walled villages and Hakka culture.
Walking among the traditional Hakka buildings with hundreds of years of history and their ancient mottled walls may give you an illusion of traveling back in time, a great retreat from the steel and cement of today’s buildings.
The town is not huge and not all of the buildings here are original ancient buildings. Some are recreated buildings built to perfectly fit in among the original ones.
Walk deep into Gankeng Hakka Town and you will encounter a European-style railway station, which was built along the Beijing-Kowloon Railway. From time to time, you will see trains passing behind the railway station.
Gankeng Hakka Town is also home to Liangmao Village which produces Hakka-style liangmao (a woven bamboo hat featuring a veil), a unique feature of Hakka culture. In the 1970s and the 1980s, every household in Liangmao Village made liangmao, exporting them to Southeast Asia, Britain and France.
Once you are here, don’t miss out on the art gallery where you can find old articles detailing local history. As well, there is a specialty snuff store in the neighborhood. Once popular, snuff has gradually faded into history when it was replaced with cigarettes and other tobacco products.
There are so many things awaiting your exploration in Gankeng Hakka Town, so but be sure to check out the following representative buildings: Qidu 116 Village, the Zhuangyuan Residence, the Wenchang Tower and a 300-year-old watch tower at the town center. The tower was moved from Wuyuan brick by brick.
Address: Gankeng Hakka Town, 18 Ganli Road, Buji Subdistrict, Longgang District (龙岗区布吉街道甘李路18号深圳甘坑客家小镇)
Buses: 980, M224, M227, M273, M324, M346, M414, M363 (Gankeng Village Committee Stop) (Writer: Chen Xiaochun)