The Peak

This is easily the most-visited sight in Hong Kong – and with good reason. How often does one find oneself on a mountain top, slap bang in the middle of a world-class city? And standing atop the summit can mean only one thing – a breathtaking 360-degree view of Hong Kong. The canvas is vast and includes the length of the Hong Kong harbour peppered with traditional junks, ferries, commercial barges and pretty yachts; Kowloon with its own waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui on the north shore of the harbour; Hong Kong’s famed skyline with its funky architecture; and some of the outlying islands as well. Daytime views reveal a burst of skyscrapers rushing up at you with the curvaceous harbor stretching into the distance while night-time views wow visitors with shimmering necklaces of light and twinkling dots in steel-and-glass towers. Why, some say the New York skyline looks pedestrian when compared with Hong Kong’s!

The Peak, aka Victoria Peak, is the summit of Mt Ausitn located in a hilly region in the western half of Hong Kong Island. It is 1,811 ft (552 mt) above sea level and the highest mountain on the island. But getting there is easy. Most visitors take the Peak Tram, which starts at the Lower Terminus on Garden Road, which, in turn, is a short stroll from the Central MTR station. The tram service, 125 years old, terminates at the Upper Terminus called ‘The Peak’. At the upper end, the tram service deposits visitors at the Peak Tower near the summit.

The tram is a funicular railway that takes an acrobatic route up the mountain, offering a spectacular perspective of the city as it wends its way up near vertical inclines and around picturesque bends. Before you buy your ticket for the prize at the top, you might want to visit The Peak Tram Historical Gallery at the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus. Opened in September 2007, the gallery has more than 200 exhibits, some more than a century old. Shaped like a tunnel and its exhibits beautifully presented, the gallery pays tribute to the Peak Tram as well as the history of Hong Kong.

Once you arrive at the Upper Terminus, what next? Well, the terminus is located at the base of the wok-shaped Peak Tower at Victoria Gap (a mountain pass connecting the summits of Mt Austin and neighbouring Mt Gough). At the Gap, you could proceed to the Sky Terrace of the Peak Tower, a viewing deck 428 mt above sea level. The uninterrupted panorama of Hong Kong is jaw-dropping. An avant-garde structure that has become emblematic of Hong Kong, the Peak Tower also houses restaurants, shops and entertainment facilities set against the beautiful backdrop of the city below.

Alternatively, for a few meters less (398 mt above sea level), you could step onto the admission-free deck of the Peak Galleria, a leisure centre and shopping complex located at The Gap, close to The Peak Tower. Built to weather a No 10 typhoon, the Peak Galleria is an interesting spot to sip a hot cuppa, while the rest of Hong Kong gets on with the daily grind more than 1,000 feet below.