Listen to this while reading…
Tycho – A Walk
I’ve been to Victoria Peak three times, and every single time, the spectacular views never fail to amaze me.
Victoria Peak (or The Peak) is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, with it being around 500 metres above ground. It’s regarded as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hong Kong mainly because of its beautiful views. The Peak is located on the western part of the island, but depending where you are, you can see sceneries of both the Victoria Harbour (northern Hong Kong) and Aberdeen (southwestern Hong Kong). The two common ways to get up to the Peak are by taking the tram or the bus. I’ve taken both, and each offer their unique experiences. The trams are vintage which can afford an old school experience – wooden seats and the classic noise of iron wheels against the tracks. The windows are usually left open throughout the day so during the ride, you can feel the hot summer breeze. As the tram makes its way up the mountain, you can see the view of the city begin to unravel in front of you.
I took the bus this time I went back the summer of 2014. The temperature was 40 degrees on that Tuesday and the sun was at its finest. I could feel its rays scorching my back and with each passing minute I would be getting a few shades more tan. The buses that go up to the Peak were the double-decker ones. I went up to the second storey to secure my spot (as most people did) to maximize my view. The bus ride was about 30 minutes and along the route were exclusive residential homes and a few private schools. Residences up here are no doubt extremely costly because of the scenery. According to Daily Mail, the world’s most expensive property at 13,500 British Pounds per square feet (or 24,843 Canadian Dollars at the time this article was written) is atop the Peak.
There are several trails that wind in and around the mountain, the most popular one called the Peak Circle Walk which is a paved trail that does a loop around the tip of the mountain. This time I didn’t walk the trail, but the first two times I went to the Peak, I did, and on average it took 2½ to 3 hours. Although it may seem long, It’s a pretty relaxing trail as you can smell the aura of fresh trees, rest on benches every here and there, enjoy the beautiful scenery as trees are trimmed in some areas to give way to them, and occasionally hear birds chirp in the distance and butterflies flutter right by you every so often.
There are a few complexes at the top, the most prominent one being the Peak Tower – the structure with a base and a huge wok-like shape part on top. Inside the tower includes the Peak Tram Terminal, a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and several shopping stores. There is also a viewing terrace (at the top of the wok) called the Sky Terrance which gives you a 365 degree view but is only accessible with an extra fee . Adjacent to the tower is another complex called The Peak Galleria which is another shopping area that houses a few souvenir shops. There is also a viewing deck on the third floor and it is free! This deck gives access to views of both Victoria Harbour and Aberdeen.
I’d have to say my favorite part of that Tuesday was watching the sun set. I remember I was standing on the deck taking photographs as the sun was setting down on the west, which was more visible on the Aberdeen side. There were minimal clouds and the sky was dark blue in color. It was lighter towards the horizon, which was a pastel mix of orange and pink. At one point, when the sun was below the horizon and the mountains were merely silhouettes, its rays were peeking out and reaching to the tips of the sky. A girl exclaimed, “Ah, look!” Everyone then turned. It looked so beautiful because you could literally see the rays against the evening backdrop. It was like this for around 3 minutes and I stood there in awe absorbing every little bit of this moment. It was so picturesque and perfect. I could hear people gushing at this sight around me and snapping away on their cameras to capture the moment.
When the sun fully set, Hong Kong’s sky was a hazy pinkish hue. The sky was a slighter tint darker by each passing minute as I saw lights turning on in apartments and buildings down in the city below. There was a man beside us who was enjoying the view like everyone else and he was checking his tripod every while. I think he was filming a time-lapse video.
There’s something about the night sky and the dazzling city lights – particularly Hong Kong’s. I’m still struck by the beauty of it all, and honestly I can tell you, when you’re standing there with this view, it really does feel like you’re on top of the world.