After arranging a longer than usual stopover in the vibrant city of Hong Kong I decided to get another stamp in the passport and check out the city despite the amazing quality of the Cathay Pacific lounges which I could have easily relaxed in. The train from the Airport to the city was a comfortable ride and got me into Hong Kong station in under 30mins, ready to do some exploring.
I had done some research before my trip to work out the best way to get a view of the city, with the most popular option being the cable tram ride to the SkyDeck of “The Peak”. A bus was recommended as my link between the train and the Peak, however I was slightly disappointed after waiting for about an hour for the said bus to discover the journey only took a few minutes. Note for future, just walk there; you’ll sweat just as much as on the bus!
Arriving at the base tram station for the Peak you join the queue for tickets then the tram itself, which is cable driven and pulls you up the mountain at a rather uncomfortable angle. If you want the best views, on the way up, sit on the right hand side and on the way down, the left (in the direction of travel). If, like me the height is starting to get to you and all you can think of is the cable snapping and you plummeting down the tracks, some sections of which are at a 27degree angle, then do the reverse of that and you’ll get a great view of a solid wall (with a fair bit of over/undergrowth).
Despite my doomsday worries of the cable snapping, or the mountainside falling off, we safely arrived at the top after about an 8-minute ride. Considering trams have been climbing the 552m since the late 1890’s its not unsurprising that the journey was safe. Once at the top (or better still, before you board the tram) make sure you have a ticket that includes entry to the SkyTerrace. The terrace (basically an open air viewing deck) offers what it claims to be the only 360-degree views of Hong Kong. During my visit the weather was pretty good, so I was able to get a nice view of the skyscraper jungle that is Hong Kong, the harbor and across to Kowloon. They also had a love theme on the deck where you could send your love from the Peak (not sure if that’s still there now).
There is an older lookout a short walk down the peak from the tram station that offers a similar, albeit not 360degree view for free. If you’ve come all the way up here, I wouldn’t skimp out on the Terrace views, but looking at it from two angles is always fun (and you can get a good photo of the SkyTerrace from the freebie viewing area). Once you’ve done looking at the view, there is a range of restaurants that definitely cater to the tourist and a fair few souvenir shops to pick up a quick tacky gift.
The ride down the peak is the same as the ride up, only backwards and, this time for me, occupied with about 90 school kids making as much noise as possible. The 8minute ride from top to bottom felt a little longer with all the noise, but fortunately I managed to score a seat on the left side this time providing a better view as we descended back down to Hong Kong.
Arriving back at ground level I spent the rest of the day wandering the streets and exploring this great city with a better appreciation of the size, and 21st century beauty that this city has to offer.
When: 7am – Midnight daily
Where: Walk from Central MTR station, Short bus ride from the Pier 8, or a walk from the Hong Kong Airport Express station
How Much: Peak tram and Skydeck HK$75
How Good: 3.5/5