“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky”
Everyone’s favourite nursery rhyme! Makes you reminisce the good old childhood days, doesn’t it! As a kid, this nursery rhyme must have made many of you to look up to the starry sky and admire the view it offered. All of us, at one point or another, have held this dream: I want to touch the Stars!! In cities, where the sky is covered under a thick layer of smog and concrete making it impossible to even see the sky, touching stars remains a distant dream. But what if you are told that this dream can be turned into a reality? At Victoria Peak, Hong Kong you really get to experience this feeling of reaching out and touching thousands of stars strewn across the sky. And with Madame Tussauds Wax Museum sitting atop the peak, you also get to touch your favourite film stars.
If there is only one thing you can do in Hong Kong, go to the Victoria Peak. If you have many things to do here, still go to the Victoria Peak. The highest point on Hong Kong Island, this has been the city’s most exclusive neighbourhood since colonial times – back then it was the cooler air that attracted the rich and famous; in the post air-conditioning era, the views of one of the world’s most spectacular cityscapes keep them coming. That view is also what makes the Victoria Peak one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Victoria Peak provides a stunning bird’s-eye view of the world-famous Victoria Harbour, Kowloon and Hong Kong skyline, one of the finest city skylines in the world. In early evening this panorama melts into pink and orange before reincarnating as a dazzling galaxy of light, shimmering beneath you. And if you listen carefully enough, you can hear Asia’s world city humming below. Victoria Peak is a lovely place to stroll around during the day, but it really comes into its own in the evening, during the nightly symphony of the stars which provide a spectacular light show.
The famous Peak Tower atop Victoria Peak, has a large viewing platform called Sky Terrace 428, in addition to dining and retail outlets. Nearby, The Peak Galleria has a free-entry observation deck, as well as shopping and dining options. More eye gulps of the views can be had at Lugard Road Lookout, Lions View Point Pavilion. For leisurely unfolding vistas, take the 3.5-kilometre Peak Circle Walk.
Victoria Peak is a great place for wandering around and it is worth going up the peak for the Peak Tram alone, one of the most famous tramways in the world. The tramway is a funicular railway that runs from Central district to Victoria Peak, with some stops along the way. The Victoria Peak tram was built in the late 19th century to link the wealthy residents of the 30 or so colonial houses at the top of the hill with the sprawling city below. Alexander Findlay Smith, a Scotsman who had worked on the railways back in his homeland, won the rights to build the tramway in 1882.
Riding the Peak Tram is a visual experience in its own right -- Hong Kong Island’s skyscrapers slide past your window at what appear to be impossible angles as you make the ascent to The Peak on the city’s historic, funicular railway.
Located at Lower Terminus, The Peak Tram Historical Gallery is a way of paying tribute to The Peak Tram, its heritage and the history of Hong Kong. Since 1888, The Peak Tram has served Hong Kong, quietly witnessing 120 years of the city's changes. The Gallery brings back many memories for local visitors and gives overseas visitors a glimpse of how the Pearl of the Orient has come to shine.
There is what appears to be an excellent museum at the lower station showing vintage carriages from the early days of the tramway and telling the story of the businessmen and their servants who relied on the tram to get to and from the city. Visit during the busy periods however and you won’t have a chance of reading any of the displays, as you are herded into various holding areas during the one hour wait (apparently it can be longer) to board the tram. The secret here is to come early in the morning before the madness begins. Tickets can be bought as singles or returns and by default include the Sky Terrace 428, an unsightly construction at the top of the tramway that boasts an unrivalled 360 degree panoramic view.
If you do have a little time and are in the mood to stretch your legs, a better option is to save your Hong Kong dollars and take a stroll along the Peak trail, a 2.8km walking path that circles the peak. The path is flat, very easy to follow and within 5 minutes of leaving the shopping mall that sits under the viewing terrace, almost deserted. Along the path are clear views of Hong Kong, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour that surpass those from the crowded terrace. You get to watch black kites riding the air currents around the Peak, their impressive wing-span silhouetted against the blue sky as they circle the narrow strip of woodland separating the hilltop from the skyscrapers below.
Victoria Peak is unarguably worth a visit! Are you there yet?
Team Veena world