The New Territories is a region of Hong Kong that has undergone a drastic transformation in the last century. Prior to the 1980s, it was a peaceful, rural region, populated with country villages, duck farms, and fields. You'd hardly recognize it today, with its urban sprawl and high-rise buildings. The contemporary feel of the region is decidedly metropolitan, with all of the hustle and bustle of the big city. But there's still a hint of its old country charm still flavoring the region, and, if you know where to look, you can still be transported back to a simpler time in this area.
If you're a history and culture buff, then you'll definitely want to visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Despite the fact that it's Hong Kong's largest museum, it also seems to be one of the New Territories' best-kept secrets, and you'll hardly ever find yourself fighting a crowd in order to get in. You'll be free to roam its ten immense galleries with the benefit of all the peace and quiet that a museum should really have. This museum houses some of the region's best art and artifacts. You'll learn all about the region's history and culture, and even about art and music in the area.
The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are another popular tourist destination in the New Territories. Every year at the Chinese New Year, thousands make a pilgrimage to these two banyan trees in order to make offerings and wishes. Local tradition has it that you can write your wish on a piece of paper and tie it to an orange. Toss the orange up into the branches and, if the trees catch your orange, your wish will come true. Even if you don't have a wish to make, it's incredible to look at these trees and think about the millions who have made wishes under their spreading branches.
You can also get a taste of the old flavor of the New Territories by visiting one of the two Heritage Trails in the area. The Ping Shan Heritage Trail and the Lung Yeuk Heritage Trail take you on a journey through the region's history, past some of the few walled villages that are still in existence in the area, as well as significant ancient buildings and structures. When you walk a Heritage Trail, you're seeing the region with old eyes, as though you had been transported to a bygone era.