Here is a view several million tourists a year snap of Hong Kong…
It’s what you see when you venture up to the Peak on Hong Kong Island and look back down towards the CBD (Central). The buildings in the foreground are mostly apartment blocks. Just behind them are the office towers of Central and Admiralty while across the harbour are ICC and Tsim Sha Tsui fading into Kowloon beyond. Whilst the buildings don’t change the view does dependent on the weather conditions. It also offers a different appreciation of the view at both daytime and night.
The Peak is unfortunately heavily geared towards tourists with marked up prices (try getting a cheap bottle of water from the 7-11 there… it’s impossible) and gimmicks to make the unsuspecting part with their money. However it is well worth a visit if the weather isn’t overcast or polluted as the view is amazing and allows you to capture some iconic shots of a city that truly never sleeps while appreciating how small yet interesting the land that makes up Hong Kong is.
Here are a few tricks and tips to getting the most out of the Peak.
- If you’re taking the Peak Tram you can use your Octopus Card. Generally speaking the lines to use an Octopus card are shorter (or non-existent). Ask the staff which line to use your Octopus card. Normally they will direct you straight to the turnstiles.
- If you want to ride the Peak Tram try going first thing in the morning to avoid the queues. By about 11.30 am the queues to get up to the Peak can be pretty bad.
- Try to avoid the Peak on weekends. It is crazy from morning to well into the night and not an enjoyable experience with so many people in the one spot.
- You don’t have to pay to get a great view! If you’ve ridden the Tram up to the Peak instead of heading up to the pay to view Observation Deck in the Peak Tram complex head outside and turn to your left to follow the path to a Chinese Pagoda lookout alongside the tram line. It’s free! The views from here looking to the east can be amazing on a good day. The only downside is bus tours also use this vantage point but as they are on a schedule if you are patient they’ll head off and you can take all the panoramas you want!
- The Observation Deck on the 3rd floor of the Peak Galleria is free. There is a lift up to the observation deck from the open area or you can ride the escalators up. An added bonus: the binoculars on stands are (currently) free to use as well! While in the Galleria also head out onto the balcony on the other side of the complex for a view over Pok Fu Lam and Lamma Island.
- There are several great walks at the Peak. They range from easy to challenging and are a fabulous way to see a greener side of the city as well as lots of butterflies! The easiest walk is the Peak loop which takes about an hour to walk starting and ending at the Peak Tram complex.
- Public buses like the 15 are a cheaper alternative to the Peak Tram and offer a different view as they wind up/down the roads over the top of Happy Valley and through Wan Chai.
- If you’re feeling a little adventurous and don’t mind walking down a steep slope you can walk through the greenery on the paved Old Peak Trail from the Peak Tram complex all the way down to mid-levels where you can venture into the Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong Park or walk along Conduit or Robinson Road to the Mid-Levels Escalator.