The top attraction on the Hong Kong Must-Go Attractions list goes undoubtedly to The Victoria Peak or locally just referred as “The Peak”. Travel agencies, guides and travel books agree unanimously that The Peak is the number one place to visit during your Hong Kong stay. Even if you just have a few hours in Hong Kong, enjoying the spectacular views of the city, its harbours and surrounding islands from The Peak should not go amiss. Like the tourists say “if you haven’t been up The Peak, you haven’t been to Hong Kong”.
What is The Peak or the story behind The Peak?
The Peak is the highest evaluation of Hong Kong Island and offers amazing, spectacular, stunning – or as some would put it – jaw-dropping views of Hong Kong by day and night. Although The Peak has an altitude of 552m (1,811ft) it is not the highest mountain in Hong Kong. The highest peak in Hong Kong belongs to “Tai Mo Shan” (which literally means “Big Hat Mountain”) with an altitude of 957m (3,140ft) located just in the heart of the New Territories. The Peak is also known as Mount Austin and its Chinese name “Tai Ping Shan” literally means “Pacific Mountain Peak” or “Mountain Peak of Great Peace”.
Being the highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak has been used as a natural signaling post for incoming cargo ships in the nineteenth century. During the early 20th century The Peak served as an exclusive residential area for expats only and the only way you could get up to The Peak was by foot or by The Peak Tram. You might ask why so many foreign expatriates decided or choose to live on The Peak. Certainly, the panoramic views attracted the privileged European expatriates and was one of the reasons to choose this location, but the cooler and more pleasant climate compared to the rest of Hong Kong might be the “real” reason back then. In case you visit Hong Kong and The Peak during the summer months you can experience the cooling effect on The Peak yourself and escape the hot and humid downtown heat for a short period of time.
Although the practice of being a designated area only for expats ended shortly after the Second World War, it is nowadays more popular than ever and remains an up-market residential area (The 12-storey residential tower The Opus Hong Kong by architect Frank Gehry just has been completed recently and is expected to fetch record-breaking prices for its newly opened apartments on The Peak). The Peak is also home to many celebrities, company CEOs, expats and government officials. In case you decide to take one of the buses up to The Peak and not The Peak Tram you can get some impressions of the residential buildings and may be have the chance to spot one of the TV, Movie or Pop-Star celebrities in their expensive cars passing by.
When is the best time to get up to and visit The Peak?
The Peak can be best enjoyed at dry and clear days – be it day or night. However, you need to be prepared that haze, mist, and fog can occur and limit and restrict your views. Even on sunny days you often have a clear visible layer of Hong Kong’s air pollution hanging on top of the skyscrapers. Also you can experience low hanging clouds which are beautiful to look at from the downtown area, but restricting and limiting your views on or from The Peak.
Last but not least we would like to share some insights of our most asked questions about The Peak: We often get the question whether visiting The Peak is more advisable at day or at night. Quite frankly speaking enjoying The Peak at day and/or at night is always impressive. In case you are pressed for time and have only time to going up to The Peak once, we always recommend going to The Peak at the late afternoon. You still can enjoy the beautiful day views, can take some great pictures and since it is getting dark very fast you also have a chance to enjoy the beautiful night views of Hong Kong from The Peak.
Last but not least, we would like to give you some recommendation concerning A Symphony of Lights Show. We often get the question if it is worthwhile to enjoy A Symphony of Lights from The Peak. Basically you can see A Symphony of Lights from The Peak, but since you don’t have any music and often have haziness at night we recommend watching and enjoying A Symphony of Lights Show at Victoria Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui to have a memorable experience.
What else are there on The Peak?
– Peak Tram: It is the first cable funicular in Asia, connecting the Central district and The Victoria Peak and providing a direct route to The Peak, Peak Tower, Sky Terrace 428…
– Peak Tower: It sits at 396 meters above sea level, offering various shopping and dining options as well as the attractions such as Madame Tussauds Hong Kong Was Museum and Sky Terrace 428…
– Sky Terrace 428: It is the highest outdoor 360 degree viewing deck in Hong Kong and located on the top of The Peak Tower. With an altitude of 428 meters above sea level, it is the best place to enjoy the magnificent views and skylines of Hong Kong…
– Madame Tussauds Hong Kong: It is inside The Peak Tower (Shop P101) as one of the top attractions in Hong Kong, where you will have opportunities to be close to over 100 worldwide celebrities, superstars, historical and national Heroes…
– The Peak Galleria: It was the most popular viewing deck on The Peak before the construction of The Peak Tower. Unlike the Sky Terrace 428, the viewing deck on the top of Peak Galleria is for free. You also have many shopping and dining options inside The Peak Galleria…
How to Get to The Peak, The Peak Tower, Sky Terrace 428, Peak Galleria and Madame Tussauds:
No matter which following ways you choose to get on the Peak, you need to firstly take MTR/Star Ferry and get off at Central station/Pier. Then you can choose the transportation which is more suitable for you:
By The Peak Tram: The best and most memorable way to get up The Peak is by The Peak Tram. Please follow the link to get more information about and how to take The Peak Tram to The Peak.
By Bus/Minibus: You also can take Bus No. 15 or the Green Minibus No. 1 which both will take you directly to The Peak Galleria Bus Terminus (see map). Taking one of the buses can be an option if you are traveling on a tight budget, have enough time or would like to enjoy Hong Kong from a different perspective.
– CITYBUS Bus 15 (Fare is about HK$ 10)
The stop of Bus 15 from Central to The Peak is right opposite Central Pier No.5 (Man Kwong Street).
Monday-Friday: 10:00 am – 12:15 am
Saturday: 9:56 am – 12:15 am
Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 am – 12:15 am
Frequency: 11 – 15 minutes
(PAY ATTENTION: don’t get confused with Bus No. 15C. Bus 15C stop is opposite Central Pier No.7 and 8 and will only take you to the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus).
The stop of Bus 15 from The Peak to Central is under The Peak Galleria (Peak Galleria Bus Terminus).
Daily: 9:10 am – 01:00 am
Frequency: 7 – 15 minutes
Insider Tip: In case you decide to take Bus No. 15, try to get a seat on the upper deck. While the bus is climbing the winding and twisting road up to The Peak you have the chance to enjoy some spectacular views of Central, Wan Chai as well as get some impressions on how Hong Kong’s celebrities are living.
– Green Minibus No. 1 (Fare is about HK$ 9)
The stop of Minibus No.1 from Central (Hong Kong Station Public Transport Interchange) is just under IFC Two (the taller one) and the Minibus operating schedule is:
Monday-Saturday: 6:30 am – 11:59 pm/Sunday and Public Holidays 7:25 am – 12:25 am
Frequency: 5 – 12 minutes
The stop of Minibus No.1 from The Peak (Public Transport Terminus) is close to The Peak Tower and the Minibus operating schedule is:
Monday-Saturday: 6:45 am – 12:25 am/Sunday and Public Holidays 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Frequency: 5 – 12 minutes
Please Note: The Green Minibus No.1 route is not as scenic as Bus No 15. Although it drives a little bit faster than CityBus 15, it will stop in many stations that even cost longer time. Besides, please be aware that the Green Minibus just has 16 seats. In case you are traveling with a bigger group and don’t want your group be separated you might want to opt to take Bus No 15.
Similar with Minibus No.1, although you have a scenic ride on the bus, you need to prepare at least 40-45 minutes traveling time to reach the bus terminus at The Peak. The streets and roads to and from The Peak are especially on off-office hours and weekends jammed and the traveling time can easily exceed 70 minutes. In case you don’t have an Octopus card, make sure to tender the bus driver the exact fare. Otherwise you will not get any change.
Last but not least, both bus routes (Bus 15 and Green Minibus No. 1 are taking different routes up to The Peak) are climbing up The Peak on twisting and winding roads. Especially the Green Minibus drivers drive up The Peak fast and enjoy the turns and twist in a fast way. In case you easily get travel sick we highly recommend not taking any of the bus up The Peak.
By Taxi: If you are pressed for time and don’t want to wait and take the hassle for a bus there is always the option to take a cab up The Peak. In case you are doing a Stop-Over in Hong Kong and just have few hours to explore the city we highly recommend taking a taxi up to The Peak. Taxi fare is about HK$ 100 – 150 and about 30 minute ride.
The Bottomline: Is it worthwhile to visit The Peak? We cannot answer with more “Yes” than this. As we said at the beginning, this is definitely the (!) Must-Go attraction of Hong Kong. With a better view from The Peak, make sure to visit the Sky Terrace 428 on top of The Peak Tower – it’s the best place to take spectacular pictures as well as to enjoy the breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.
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