Hong Kong really seems like a mix of London (it looks very British as it was part of the Empire/country for a long time) and New York (due to its Geography, as it comprises a few different islands) but it also has hills/mountains and an abundance of skyscrapers. It is often defined as a blend of Eastern and Western cultures.
The city has the largest number of skyscrapers of any city in the world and -by the way- its residents have some of the highest life expectancies in the world as well. The dense space has led to a highly developed transportation network with public transport rates exceeding 90%. Hong Kong is ranked 4th in the Global Financial Centres Index.
Despite the number of top attractions in Hong Kong (even Disneyland), Victoria Peak remains the most popular.
Introduction to Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is a hill on the western half of Hong Kong Island, also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. With an elevation of 552 metres (1,811 ft), it is the tallest hill on Hong Kong Island, and the 29th tallest in the territory of Hong Kong. It is a major tourist attraction offering views of Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands.
The summit of Victoria Peak is occupied by a radio telecommunications facility and is closed to the public. The surrounding area of public parks, tourist facilities and high-value residential land is the area that is normally meant by the name The Peak. The Peak also refers to Victoria Peak itself and its nearby areas, including Victoria Gap, Mount Kellett and Mount Gough. Sometimes Bowen Hill may also be included.
It is the most iconic spot in Hong Kong, offering an impressive panoramic view of the city from the top of the peak. One of the best times to visit is sunset when the city lights up, creating an incredible backdrop for photos.
To go up you can take the Peak Tram or some of the many hiking trails available. There are many facilities on top including bars, coffee shops and restaurants. There is also a virtual reality game and the possibility to go to the last floor to have the best view for a moderate price.
Hiking trails to Victoria Peak
There are a few different trails leading to Victoria Peak. These are the six detailed in this blog which was very useful for us.
- Central / Mid-Levels
- Sai Ying Pun / Mid-Levels
- Kennedy Town / HKU
- Pok Fu Lam
- Wan Chai
Note that these trials start at very different spots in the city, so the choice will depend on the location or desired length. We chose number 1 for a number of reasons, as follows.
Central / Mid-Levels Hiking Trail
We chose this hiking trail because we also took the opportunity to visit Central Hong Kong and take the world-famous escalator. It is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, spanning a distance of approximately 800 meters (2,600 feet) and connecting the bustling districts of Central and the Mid-Levels.
It runs downhill from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to facilitate the morning rush hour commute, helping residents and office workers travel downhill towards Central. After 10:00 a.m., it reverses direction and runs uphill until midnight, making it easier for residents to reach their homes located higher up.
It starts next to Central Market and passes through various neighbourhoods such as Soho, Staunton Street, Shelley Street, and Caine Road. These areas are known for their eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, cafes, boutique shops, and art galleries, offering visitors a glimpse into Hong Kong’s vibrant dining, entertainment, and cultural scenes.
The most popular hiking of all is via the Old Peak Road from Mid-Levels.
The Hiking Trail Step by Step
- Take the escalator until the very end. You will notice a sign stating “The escalator does not lead to Victoria Peak”, but this is fine, it means that the escalator doesn’t actually reach the peak.
- Turn left on Robinson Road towards the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Garden.
- Walking until to reach Old Peak Road, which starts above the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Garden, at the intersection of Robinson Road and Albany Road.
- Keep walking (~550 metres) on Old Peak Road, you’ll pass a few residential buildings before Old Peak Road converts itself into a pedestrian-only path, right behind Hillsborough Court.
- Once you do most of the walking uphill (at the intersection of Old Peak Road and Plantation Road), you can turn right and stay on Old Peak Road till it meets Lugard Road or take the ramp up Findlay Path. The latter is better.
What to Expect at The Peak
The Peak Tower incorporates the upper station of the Peak Tram, the funicular railway that brings passengers up from the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Hong Kong’s Central district, whilst the Peak Galleria incorporates the bus station used by the Hong Kong public buses and green minibuses on the Peak
Apart from the Peak Tram terminal, viewing terrace, and gift shops, the tower also included several attractions: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Hong Kong’s Historical Adventure (a journey through scenes of Hong Kong’s early history, and the first computer-operated entertainment ride in Hong Kong) and the Peak Explorer Motion Simulator.
Victoria Peak Garden is located on the site of Mountain Lodge, the Governor’s old summer residence, and is the closest publicly accessible point to the summit. It can be reached from Victoria Gap by walking up Mount Austin Road, a climb of about 150 metres (490 ft).
There are several restaurants on Victoria Peak, most located in the two shopping centres. However, the Peak Lookout Restaurant is housed in an older and more traditional building which was originally a spacious house for engineers working on the Peak Tramway.
Sky Terrace 428
Sky Terrace 428 is the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong and offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view across. It sits on top of the Peak Tower and costs an additional HK$ 75.
Taking The Peak Tram
The Peak Tram’s route from the Central district to Victoria Peak covers a distance of about 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) and an elevation of just under 400 metres (1,312 ft). The line has two pronounced curves, one to the left immediately after leaving the lower terminus, and the other to the right in the upper half of the ascent.
There are also four intermediate stops, each of which is a request stop consisting of a single stepped platform and a shelter.
The average journey time is only 5 minutes, and the tram capacity is 210 passengers per train set. The cost is HK$62 for a single and HK$88 for adults, with additional discounts for children and seniors (65+). It can be paid with the Octopus card.
Most people simply take the tram, as it is fast and requires almost no effort. Others choose to go up with it and then take a hiking trail downwards. We did the opposite as we wanted to hike, so the effort at the beginning, and a relaxing and quick journey on the way back, just to experience the tram as well.