Prior Posting: The Wan Chai Neighborhood
Probably when most people think of Hong Kong the picture of the city that comes to mind is of the fabulous view of the cities skyline from the famed Victoria Peak. Because of this Victoria Peak is often the first destination tourists in the city head for and I was no different. However in my case I definitely had some concerns if I would be seeing any views at all because of the clouds that remained from the typhoon that kept bring in clouds that were covering the peak:
I saw a break in the clouds that appeared would give some open views from the peak and thus immediately headed over to the tram terminal that takes visitors to the summit of the mountain within minutes. The tram terminal is located well within the city and was actually a little tricky to find, but I eventually found it. After buying a ticket the terminal opens into a museum where visitors can read about the history of the Peak Tram while they wait for their scheduled train ride:
The Peak Tram has been taking visitors to the top of the summit of Victoria Peak since 1888 and has become an icon and major tourist attraction of Hong Kong since then:
After checking out the museum I then went and waited for my scheduled tram that was due to appear any minute through the maze of buildings outside the terminal:
Like clockwork the tram arrived on time and a mad rush to secure a good seat on the tram by all the tourists like myself began:
The tram can seat 95 people as well as 25 more people standing up. I don’t know if the tram was at its maximum capacity or not, but it was packed:
Fortunately I was able to get a window seat with a great view of the ride. The track is 1,365 meters long and is covered by the tram in approximately seven minutes. The tram at first winds through the densely populated city before starting a steep climb up the side of the thickly forested mountain.
Below you can see a Google Earth image of the course the Peak Tram takes as it speeds up the side of Victoria Peak:
At its maximum slope up the mountain, the tram is actually at a 27 degree incline. I could definitely feel the incline as the tram traveled at a surprisingly fast speed up the mountain. It was a fun ride to say the least.
Once the tram pulled into the upper tram terminal everyone piled out of the tram car and exited into a large shopping mall:
At times Hong Kong can seem like just one endless shopping mall and visiting Victoria Peak is no different. The shopping mall pretty much had all the standard stores except for a very cool EA Sports display where you could play a number of new and even classic EA Sports games:
It took me a little while to get out of the shopping mall but I finally escaped it and entered into a large courtyard outside overlook by the large shopping center:
Across the courtyard from the shopping center I had just exited was yet another shopping center:
How many shopping centers does the top of a mountain need? Obviously one wasn’t enough. Fortunately the powers that be in Hong Kong decided to add a visitor center for tourists amidst all the shopping malls on top of the mountain:
Unfortunately the visitor center was very small since it was in an old tram car and generally not very informative. It is a shame such a famous landmark such as Victoria Peak has such a poor visitor center for tourists. Besides the visitor center there was another structure on top of the mountain that wasn’t a shopping mall:
This older building was a restaurant of some kind that was not open at the time I visited the peak. However, near the restaurant there was quite a good view of the south side of the island that was fortunately visible since the clouds had lifted momentarily:
There was also I nice view of other peaks that soar over Hong Kong Island:
Besides being a tourist icon Victoria Peak is also home to many of Hong Kong’s rich and elites that live in homes and apartments that hug the various hillsides of the peak:
Who can blame the rich and elites for wanting to live on the peak with views like this available?:
This above view is from near the tram terminal, the best place to view the city is from the Lion’s Gate, which is a short walk from the terminal:
Here is the beautiful view of Hong Kong through the parting of the clouds that was fortunately taking place while I was visiting the peak:
Hong Kong definitely has one of the most scenic skylines in the world but I rank it third on my all-time personal list of best skylines. My second favorite skyline would be the skyline of New York which is only topped by the beautiful views of downtown Sydney, Australia across its wonderful harbor.
Anyone else have any recommendations for their all-time favorite skylines?
Next Posting: Hiking Around Victoria Peak
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