“Top of Hong Kong” screamed a flyer. “The Ultimate Hong Kong Experience” said another. “The highest 360 degrees viewing terrace in Hong Kong” articulated a third one.
Only this morning we arrived in Hong Kong by the high speed catamaran from Macau. We just got down to unpacking and planning for the day, in our hotel, in the far off New Territories of Hong Kong aka Harbour City.
Several of these buildings are over 200+ meters.
Well, the decision was made. First, we were going to visit Sky Terrace Victoria Peak Hong Kong or The Peak, as it is fondly called. The original name is the Victoria Peak.
There are mainly 3 ways you can reach the Peak Tower, which is our destination.
• Peak Tram: The most popular form of transport, which starts from lower peak tram terminus, Central Area.
• By road: Either take a bus, a minibus or a cab or drive yourself to the top.
• Walk: Yes… There are a few routes available to hikers too.
It was going to be the Tram for us, main reason being the speed and some awesome views.
After multiple connections in MTR and Star ferry we reached the Hong Kong Island, Central Ferry station. From there a short ride in a bus # 15c took us to the entrance of the Lower Tram Terminal. This is the starting point for two attractions. The Peak and Madame Tussaud’s museum.
The place was extremely crowded. Every few minutes a tourist bus regurgitated a load of tourists. The ticketing office was almost on the road itself. There was a wax statue near Madame Tussauds ticketing booth, where we saw countless people clicking photos and selfies, even touching and poking about. We decided against visiting Madame Tussauds for want of time.
The waiting area was pretty interesting and has artifacts tracing its history from the bygone days of the 127 years old tramway, actually a funicular.
When the tram arrived, there was a surge forward to get the best seats! We tried to elbow our way forward but no avail. Each one in the crowd was doing the same. 🙂 We eventually got a standing place and right up front.
The tram started and the route was straight up the slope. As in all funicular routes we have a stretch where two trains come parallel to each other. I always wait for this moment.
At 396 metres when we came out, felt not much different than coming out of Mumbai Suburban. 🙂 It appeared that we were in a Mall which doubles up as the upper peak tram terminus. The 365-day mail box is a new concept for me. We took flight after flight of escalators, passing shops seeing souvenirs, cafes, apparels etc.
Another floor which houses Madame Tussauds Wax museum is where people throng. At last we reached the last flight to the entrance of Sky Terrace 428. The number 428 depicts the altitude of the observation terrace from sea level. Although it claims it is the highest vantage point to view the stunning city scape, we are not too sure because the summit of The Peak is over 500 meters.
Having said that the views were amazing. As soon as we got out onto the terrace someone pushed an audio-guide of “Hong Kong Sky Tour”, which was essentially iPhone into our respective hands to make our stay more enjoyable and informative. It is a personal and interactive touch screen audio tour available in six languages. Visitors can explore Hong Kong’s architecture, neighborhoods, cuisine, culture and history while enjoying the spectacular views of Hong Kong Skyline at the top of Hong Kong. The “Hong Kong Sky Tour” is free for Peak Tram Sky Pass or Sky Terrace 428 admission ticket holders.
While we watched the sights, the wind had picked up and temperature fell. There was a marked difference between the ‘climate’ up here than at the sea level. Not expecting low temperatures we did not have anything warm to wear. I made a mental note to add a tip for our readers that ‘if you go to the Peak take your woollies.’ I shall also add another slogan. “Coolest place in Hong Kong”, 😉 pun intended.
Sun light faded quickly and one by one lights came on the various buildings. If the before was astounding, now it was out of the world, Despite the fact we were shivering right down to our feet, we were enjoying the views and trying to identify buildings we already knew. If on one side the view was of sky scrapers, then on the other side was a vast expanse of sea and spotted with small islands. All this while we were moving from place to place till the chill gets the better of us and we decided to descend.
Roadway for those who want to come by road or hike.
We slowly made our way down the escalators spending time at some shops. The peak tower itself provides great variety of dining, specialty shopping and interactive entertainment. Maybe we missed the signs or maybe the signs were not so conspicuous, it took us some time to figure out that we had to exit the Peak Tower to catch the return Peak Tram. There were many others like us who tried to find the right way.
We realized that we were at the ground level of the Peak Tower. Although the wind was very strong and we were out in the open, it did not feel so cold. Don’t know why these few meters make all the difference.
People lined up for the return Tram journey.
When we eventually joined the queue, it appeared as if entire crowd on the peak decided that very moment to get on to the Peak Tram to get down to the city! Such was the crowd! We got our chance to board after a wait of 30 minutes and from the lower terminus decide to walk downhill towards the MTR station with awesome memories captured for eternity in our minds as well as photographs.
Tips to visit The Peak:
1) There are three ways to go up, select the one you love to do.
2) If you buy a combo ticket (Madam Tussaud museum & The Peak) it saves you a lot.
3) Visit the peak towards evening. You can see the entire Hong Kong city in daylight, during sunset and then at night. All three are different.
4) The “Hong Kong Sky Tour” audio guide is free for Peak Tram Sky Pass or Sky Terrace 428 admission ticket holders.
5) There is FREE Wi-Fi access at the top of Hong Kong.
6) You may feel a bit cold out there. Carry a fleece or a thin jacket.
There is also a Love Point about which we have written a separate post.
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