The Peak is one of the highlights of any trip to Hong Kong. The highest point of Hong Kong Island, it has long been popular as a place of retreat when the residents need a break from the densely populated city. Being at a higher altitude it is also a bit cooler than down below in the city streets. No doubt that was part of the attraction in the colonial era when residences were built up the hill – no surprise that the area round the Peak is one of the more exclusive residential addresses on the island.
There is a famous tram that takes you up to the top but the queues are huge – apparently you can wait over an hour on some days. We did check the tram station out but decided it was better to take one of the many buses or mini buses that ply the route instead. For some reason the bus route round the corner from the tram was not operational when we were there last month, so we retraced our steps back down to the city and caught bus number 15c from Central Pier 8. The number 15 bus from Exchange Square also works as well.
Initial impressions at the top were that it was rather touristy. The Peak Tower looks a bit like a space station and houses a huge mall over several levels, a Madame Tussauds, numerous cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
However the viewing platform, the Sky Terrace 428, affords superb views on a clear day across Victoria Harbour and over to the Chinese mainland. We were very lucky though on the day of our visit – often the landscape is obscured by haze and smog and you can’t see much at all!
There were the usual touristy gimmicks – people trying to sell us photo shoots for example. Whilst the area overlooking Victoria Harbour was crowded with people taking photos, the far side of the platform was relatively quiet by comparison. I don’t think people realised there were more great views from this point towards the sea and other islands – it was actually quite peaceful!
After a quick bite to eat we headed off to explore the nature trails round the Peak. Monsieur had done the circular trail round the summit before and we planned a reasonably quick walk on this pathway before heading back down to town on the bus. In fact we ended up doing the longer Morning Trail down the hillside (quite by accident). More about that next week!
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