One Day In Hong Kong - Victoria Peak
Did you know that around 70 percent of Hong Kong is covered in countryside and mountains? Image results for Hong Kong on a Google search yields an abundance of skylines, harbour views and all kinds of cuisines, but you have to be patient before the beaches, rural villages and the astounding number of hiking trails start populating your screen.
On a previous stop-over we had spent our few hours in the city cruising the harbour. Today we set off for Victoria Peak, a.k.a. Mount Austin, a.k.a. The Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong at an altitude of 554 meters. It’s allegedly Hong Kong’s most popular attraction, but it’s definitely home to Asia’s oldest funicular tram. Victoria Peak is located in the Western part of Hong Kong Island and offers spectacular views of many parts of Hong Kong. You could spend a whole day here and still feel you’re not ready to return to the rush of the city which lies in its shadow.
The most popular way to reach the top of Hong Kong is by buying a ticket for the 7 minute Peak Tram ride, a funicular which ascends almost 400 meters at an angle of up to 27 degrees, creating the Peak Tram Illusion, which seems to make the skyscrapers of Hong Kong drop toward Victoria Peak. Why? Well, the Tram has fixed seats, and as soon as it starts climbing the steep incline, the whole compartment tilts backwards, and your point of view of the surroundings change dramatically. As some people would say, “It’s all relative, my dear.” So the main tip we offer is this: find a seat on the right side of the tram when you ascend, and watch the skyline dip into Victoria Peak.
On opening day – 30 May 1888 – 600 passengers took the scenic ride, and around 150,000 enjoyed the funicular during its first year. In 1888 the ticket price for a single journey uphill in the first class compartment was 30 cents, 20 cents for second class, and 10 cents for third class, with downhill fare half of these. The Peak Tram was powered by steam until 1926, after which it was converted to an electrically-powered system.
The Governor of Hong Kong had his own two seats in the first class carriage from 1908 until 1949, which had to kept available until two minutes before every departure, just in case he was in the mood for a scenic ride.
Through a host of transformations, this remains a simple yet extraordinary day excursion in Hong Kong.
Once you reach The Peak, a host of possibilities await. Four nature walks, shopping, dining, entertainment and more beckon the visitor. What drew us was the opportunity to see the city from a higher vantage point, getting away from the traffic and skyscrapers, and exploring emerald-hued tunnels of foliage along the mountainside.
Some visitors explore Madame Tussaud’s for their wax figure of choice with which to take a selfie. Others have their photos taken at the Madness 3D Adventure, where three-dimensional artworks by local artists set the scene for a whole heap of fun, as quintessential Hong Kong moments are captured in photo backgrounds for visitors. My favourite is the scene where a passenger pulls The Peak Tram up the tracks with his bare hands. Many take up the offer of the Post Love To The Future postal service, which offers you the opportunity to have your postcard sent on a specific date in the next 365 days.
A number of fast food options are available, ranging from US standards like Burger King, to Hong Kong Day, Pacific Coffee and more. But for the full experience, treat yourself to a dinner with a view at one of the Sky Terrace 428 restaurants, where you can choose from Italian pizzas and pastas, Hong Kong dim sum, Cajun cuisine and Japanese delicacies. What better way to finish a visit to this special corner of Hong Kong!
PEAK TRAM OPERATING HOURS
07:00-00:00 – 7 days a week, including public holidays
Departs every 15 minutes
SKY TERRACE 428 OPENING HOURS
10:00-23:00 (Mon – Fri)
08:00-23:00 (Weekends and Public Holidays)
Peak Tram Single Ticket – Available at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus & Peak Tram Upper Terminus – HK$32 for adults, HK$12 for children (3-11) and senior citizens (older than 65)
Peak Tram Return Ticket – Available at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus & Peak Tram Upper Terminus – HK$45 for adults, HK$20 for children (3-11) and senior citizens (older than 65)
Peak Tram Sky Pass Single – Available at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus & designated travel agents – HK$77 for adults, HK$35 for children (3-11) and senior citizens (older than 65)
Peak Tram Sky Pass Return – Available at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus & designated travel agents – HK$90 for adults, HK$43 for children (3-11) and senior citizens (older than 65)
Sky Terrace 428 Ticket – Available at The Peak Tower & designated travel agents – HK$50 for adults, HK$25 for children (3-11) and senior citizens (older than 65)
Mount Austin Road Walk
Hong Kong Trail
Pok Fu Lam Country Park Walk
Victoria Peak Garden Walk
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