Now a riddle:
Who can guess what did we find in Victoria Peak, besides gorgeous views?
No one got the answer!
Do you give up?
Ok, this is the solution:
A Shopping Mall
At last! A Shopping Mall in Hong Kong!
I spent three days in Hong Kong, delaying the visit to Victoria peak because the weather was so cloudy that we couldn't see it from below.
At last, we got a couple of clear hours and went up. Be careful with this point: the best of the peak are the views and they aren't always available.
We HAD good views.
I'm not absolutely certain but I would assume that Victoria Peak and the iconic Peak Tram ride are the number one tourist attraction in Hong Kong. I have visited the Peak a number of times, both day and night and during different weather conditions. Based on my observations I would suggest the following to ensure you enjoy the Peak at its best.
Personally, I prefer the day views but the night views are certainly spectacular if the right conditions prevail. The weather plays a big role in terms of visability. If you are fortunate enough to spend a few days in Hong Kong then you should choose the clearest day/night possible for your trip to the Peak. However, if time is limited and you are going up to the Peak for the sole purpose of seeing the fabulous views then I wouldnt bother doing so on a wet or misty evening or when there is low level cloud cover. If you can't see the bowl shaped Peak Tower from ground level then you really wont see much from the Sky Terrace viewing platform at the top.
The unusually shaped tower is a fairly recent addition to the various outside viewing platforms and there is an additional entry charge to access the Sky Terrace on top of your Peak tram ticket. Unless you are particularly interested in standing on the observation deck which I might add is still exposed to the weather, then there really isnt any need to pay extra for the privilege. You are still able to access the Peak Tower and its restaurants and shops without paying but there is an entrance fee to see the wax figures in Madame Tussauds. (I've reviewed this separately)
The outside areas around the Lion's Pavilion provide pretty much the same vista at no charge and are just a couple of minutes walk from the Peak Tram exit. If you want a "professional photo" of yourself with the famous skyline in the background, then this is where the photographers hang around.
There are a number of walking trails. I have done the Hong Kong Trail which is a one hour loop circuit. The views are great in some places but the lush vegetation which has grown up over many years does obscure the view somewhat. It is a pleasant walk though and with much of it in shade its certainly an enjoyable thing to do on a really hot day.
Its not surprising that late afternoon and early evening is the most popular time to visit the Peak, with people taking the opportunity to combine both day and night views. If you have only limited time I suggest taking the Peak tram ride from early to mid morning to avoid the longer queues that build as the day progresses.
Trams depart at 10-15 minute intervals between 7am and midnight. A return ticket costs HK$40.00. Children and seniors - HK$18.00. Ticket combining tram ride and entry to the Sky Terrace viewing platform $HK75.00 or $HK39.00 concession.
We try to explore things by learning to get to our destination, see how people do and what the place can offer to us. all went well, we enjoyed everything from the places and the people, food is ok but not all since my partner is a bit picky on food. but aside from things went well and we had fun being together.
Opinion is divided about Madame Tussauds. Its the type of attraction that you either love or hate. If you do like looking at wax models of famous people then the wax museum in the Peak tower might be on your "things to do" list while in Hong Kong.
I actually ended up going to Madame Tussauds by default. The Peak Tram queue was very long and on a whim my friends and I decided to bypass the line by buying a combined tram/ Madame Tussaud ticket which allowed us to board the next tram ahead of other people.
The combination tickets are still available and according to the official website purchasing these does mean you are still able to access a peak tram "special lane". A further discount is available if you buy a "combo" or a normal admission ticket in advance online but discount does not apply to same day bookings.
When we arrived at the Peak we decided to have a quick look through and really 30 mins is all that is needed. The figures are divided into sections. There are Kung Fu actors (Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan) Hollywood stars, royalty and various world leaders and of course sports stars.
Adult admission is HK$250
Child/senior admission is HK$180 (3 - 11 years or over 65)
SAVE UP TO 40% ON THE NORMAL ADMISSION FEE BY PURCHASING TICKET ONLINE AT LEAST ONE DAY BEFORE VISIT.
The Peak is also known as Tai Ping Shan (太平山) by the locals. It is the highest point of Hong Kong Island, also part of the Victoria Peak. This is where you get the best views of Hong Kong Island. Most visitors would take the Peak Tram to reach the Peak. Other alternatives are walking off the trail or take a bus. The Tram would drop off passengers at the Peak Tower. A Peak Tower is a modern structural building that consists of the Viewing Terrace on top of the building, Madame Tussauds, souvenir shops, restaurants, coffee shops and etc. At the peak , you will also find an open square garden, the Peak Lookout restaurant, The Peak Gelleria Shopping Mall, a Visitor Information Counter in an old tram, and the Lions Club of Tai Ping Shan.
Other than coming here to see the views, I do find that it is a great place to enjoy the cooler weather and have a cup of coffee at the Pacific Coffee at the Peak Tower. If you come here in the evening, why not make a reservation for a romantic dinner at the Peak Lookout. Of course, there are other dinning options including fast food, cafes, Western or Chinese restuarants and etc.
If you are on a budget, you can skip the admission to the Sky Terrace at the Peak Tower. Why? You can get the same views of your photos at the Lions Club of Tai Ping Shan, admission is free.
For ticket to The Peak Tram & The Sky Terrace, please click here.
Upon arrival at the Peak Tower, most visitors would take the escalator up to The Sky Terrace. You need a ticket in order to enter the Sky Terrace. If you do not buy the ticket as package with the Peak Tram, you can still buy at the admission counter of The Sky Terrace. It is the highest point at the Peak, 428 meters above sea level. You will not only see the City Skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island like the picture everyone has, but also its surrounding views of local houses, mountains, the harbors, and the green landscapes in the Peak.
There are souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and other retail outlet get you busy inside the Peak Tower.
I think the HK$40 is well spent enjoying the views at the Sky Terrace as compared to some other observatory towers would simply cost you more than HK$200.
The Peak on Hong Kong Island is the highest mountain in Hong Kong.
You can get here on a funicular railway called the Peak tram or by number 15 bus from Exchange Square Bus Station, Central.
There is a shopping centre at the top of the Peak and a Ripley's Believe it or not. There are restaurants, too. You can also walk to the govenor's gardens, or take a walk around the Peak. On clear days there are great views over the harbour. Be careful though most days in Hong Kong are smoggy.
I would imagine that eight out of ten people travel to the Peak on the renowned Peak Tram. It is after all a highlight of a trip to Hong Kong and certainly the quickest route, even with the obligatory queueing. Taking the bus is another, much slower but more interesting choice. But there is another alternative... by foot.
Take a step back into colonial times (of course you will have to imagine Hong Kong without skyscrapers, elevated walkways and escalators) and hike up to the Peak. This is a nice way to spend a few hours in the early morning before the shopping malls and markets open and more importantly, before the heat of the day sets in. I must point out that these walks are very steep in certain sections so only attempt this if your fitness level is good.
I'll explain the route I took. Continue past the Lower Peak tram terminus uphill on Garden Road then turn right sharply into Robinson Road. Follow Robinson Road for 100 metres then turn left into Albany Road/Old Peak Road. Stay on Old Peak Road. It took me a bit over an hour to do this walk leisurely with a couple of rest stops. There will be plenty of people around. A lot of locals use this route to exercise in the morning and on weekends as a break from the concrete jungle of Central.
You can also walk to the Peak via Conduit Road and Hatton Road. The upper end of Hatton Road joins Harlech Road on the Lugard Road/Harlech Road Hong Kong Trail circuit around the Peak.
The Peak gives you a good view of the whole harbour. (provided it's a good clear day). The Peak Tram provides a comfortable way to go up the hill rather than go round the very winding road. And when you get to the top, please imagine before the tram was introduced, how did people commute? The answer is sedan.
Bizzare enough, the second tallest building in HK - the International Finance Centre (IFC) is about the same level with the peak. Just weird!
This picture was taken in Sept 2002 when IFC was not finished. You can see the unfinished top of the building.
For most visitors to Hong Kong a trip to admire the views from Victoria Peak is high on the agenda and the most famous way to do this is to ride the tram from the Peak Tram Lower Terminus in Central.
The famous furnicular tram has been in operation since 1888. Prior to that the only public transport option to the Peak was to be carried up in a sedan chair! In the intervening years there have been several modernisations to the original coal burning system, most recently upgrading in 1989 to a micro-processor electric drive system, however throughout its history the Peak Tram has evolved from being the most elegant way to travel to Victoria Peak into a major tourist attraction.
The highlight of the trip are the views. Obviously these continually change due to development. They still encompass the natural beauty of the Peak, but the greenery is now competing for space with hundreds of skyscrapers. The views are best enjoyed from the right hand side of the tram (both going up and down) so grab a seat on this side if possible.
People are allowed to stand if all the seats are taken. I have never done so but its quite entertaining watching people adjust their stance to compensate for the steep gradient of the track. The trams run at 10 to 15 minute intervals.
At various times of the day the queues do become quite long with up to a 45 minute wait to board. Trams start operating at 7am. I have arrived at the Lower Tram Terminus at 9am on a couple of occasions and both times there was no queue. The busiest time is late afternoon to early evening as everyone going to the Peak at this time will enjoy both day and night views.
Adult return tickets are currently HK$40.00. Children (aged 3 to 11) and Seniors (65 or over) can get a return ticket for HK$18.00.
There is a Peak Tram Sky Pass available also which combines the tram ride with entrance to the Sky Terrance view platform. Sky Passes are HK$65.00 and HK$31.00 respectively. The Sky Terrace is the highest 360 degree observation deck in Hong Kong and its an unusual building but there are other free viewing platforms close to the Upper Terminus. The final tram of the evening descends at midnight.
The Peak Tram Historical Gallery is located at the Peak Lower Terminus. This is a facinating display of memorabilia collected over 100 years and includes a replica of one of the first style of Peak Tram carriages. You can visit the Gallery for free if you have a Peak Tram ticket.
Victoria Peak is the must see tourist attraction of Hong Kong Island. Everyone one goes at least once. My personal advice is to pick the very first day with nice weather and go immediately. During my first visit in 2004 I waited and said I'll go tomorrow. This gave me nice weather on my trip to the Railroad Museum out in the NT, but it left me with pretty blah pics from the peak.
Most people will go up via the Peak Tram. There is also a bus to take you up or down the hill.
All I can add to all the other tips is if you have a day worth going up here weather wise go. Do NOT wait until tomorrow or your pics will surely show it as the weather changes. My most recent visit we had foggy weather so there was zero visability. Amazing how weather can impact a trip.