China, Hong Kong, view from Victoria Peak
Gavin Hellier / age fotostock
If the weather and smog conditions cooperate, the views from the top of Victoria Peak, aka the Peak, will make your day. Go in late afternoon to catch the sunset and then the glittering, lit-up nightscape of Hong Kong. Getting up to Hong Kong Island’s highest point, at 1,800 feet above sea level, is part of the fun. You can always opt for a bus, train, or taxi, but for the best taste of Hong Kong, ride the outdoor (but covered) Mid-Levels escalators, something you won’t find anyplace in the world. It will take about 20 minutes to travel via the series of 20 escalators and three moving walkways up to the Peak Tram, a historic century-old funicular railway that makes the rest of the steep trip to the top.
Visit Victoria Peak Garden and Mount Austin Playground
Every visitor to Hong Kong takes the Peak Tram and “does” Victoria Peak. But there is a lot more to The Peak than simply the, admittedly impressive, views over Victoria Harbour or the modern shopping complex. In fact “the peak” which the tram takes you to is a low point, a gap between two heights, and if you have the energy to walk up hill just a little more you will be well rewarded. As well as being a prime residential district the area with the Peak Garden and Mount Austin Playground have large open green lawns, with traditional sitting out areas. Couldn’t be better for a day out with the kids, there are places to picnic, drinking fountains and plenty of open spaces to run around. What you won’t find is many people; tourists don’t come here, and the locals are at work. At most you’ll find some at-home mums with their kids, or domestic helpers walking the dogs!
Classic Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, our first destination was Victoria Peak. Yes, maybe it is overrated. But when in Hong Kong, it just must be done! Finding the base of the tram on foot was pretty easy, there are signs everywhere. The tram itself was quite fun, but we took the bus on the way down to skip the line up. We paid extra for access to a viewing platform, and the views, obviously, were pretty incredible. Full Account Here: http://aliscottwhatwegetupto.blogspot.ca/2012/03/hong-kong-day-1.html
Getting High in Hong Kong
I’m always looking for a new take on a classic view, and I found this one while marveling at Hong Kong‘s famous skyline from Victoria Peak. I used a 50mm Lensbaby to compress the distance between buildings, and I played with the plane of focus by contorting the barrel of the lens to achieve the soft, out of focus look surrounding the image’s sweet spot. Capturing a familiar scene in a new way helps me look back fondly on these adventures, and makes me anxious for the next time I get to hit the road. No great secret as to how I got up here - Victoria Peak is the most frequently visited location on the Hong Kong tourist map, but it remains a can’t miss tick on the itinerary.
Away from the City
A little bit of British flair and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s city life can be found after a short but winding hike to the top of Victoria Peak (Forget the tram!). Grab a bite at the Peak Lookout.
Climb to the Top of Victoria Peak from the Other Side
Rather than standing in line for the tram to climb to the top of Victoria Peak, head out by cab to one of the oldest neighborhoods in Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, and enter the Reservoir Road for a two-mile ascent up through lush mountains and past the reservoirs. There are several covered benches for resting along the way, but remember to take a bottle of water. Emerge at trail’s end right across the street from the famous views over the city of Hong Kong, and the trip down the tram, which is spectacular.