The Peak - quite simply the greatest city view in the world today

This is the view from The Peak from my spot, quite outstanding particularly on a fine, clear day which admittedly are becoming quite rare.. to make it very clear, the view from here is far, far superior to the one from the Peak Tower where the vast majority of visitors go for the view.

Visitors refer to Victoria Peak, in Hong Kong we simply refer to it as the Peak. 

 wow! simply stunning

wow! simply stunning

For those with very long lenses for their camera's then there are some fabulous opportunities for some great images, probably best to have that tripod handy and the patience to take into account all that is going on in the midst of all those buildings. 

 Zoom in and get a feel for just how crowded Hong Kong seems.

Zoom in and get a feel for just how crowded Hong Kong seems.

Towards the bottom of the image you will see a big patch of green, this is the Botanical and Zoological gardens and you will notice the lovely old white house, this is Government House where all the English Governors used to live and is now the official residence of our Chief Executive. The tallest part of the house was actually added by the Japanese Occupying Forces in the 2nd World War.

 The seat of power in the old colonial days

The seat of power in the old colonial days

The building that looks like a manta ray / alien spacecraft / squashed Sydney Opera House is the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Located in North Wanchai it is actually very impressive close up as well. This is the reigning poster boy for Government Buildings!

 Looking down on Central, Admiralty and Wanchai from the Peak

Looking down on Central, Admiralty and Wanchai from the Peak

Whilst I love the views from the Peak by day, I also think that the night view is simply spectacular, even on cloudy days the view is stunning. If you come to Hong Kong save time by going to the Peak at around 4-5pm for the daytime shot, then dusk and the night view. It is worth the effort

 Image courtesy of my friend Chris Aston, Thanks Chris!

Image courtesy of my friend Chris Aston, Thanks Chris!

This is the one image you can't get from my spot, the south side of the Island as taken from the Peak Tower, you can get some great stormy and sunset shots from this vantage point

 The south side of Hong Kong Island looking towards Pokfulam  + Cheung Chau and other outlying islands

The south side of Hong Kong Island looking towards Pokfulam  + Cheung Chau and other outlying islands

 I confess to a little bit of image manipulation but stormy sunset images can be quite common at the Peak

I confess to a little bit of image manipulation but stormy sunset images can be quite common at the Peak

This is the Peak Tower at the Peak, in essence a gigantic tourist shop, it has 8 floors of shopping, a Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum, a Bubba Gump restaurant and the viewing platform at the top, they have just increased the charge for the viewing platform from HK$30 to HK$40 for adults.

The view from the Peak Tower is a great view but it is NOT the best view, not by a long way and if you make the effort ( 15 minutes walk there and 15 minutes back from my spot) then you will be rewarded by a spectacular view and none of the hordes of visitors pushing and shoving to take pictures. 

Finally, you CANNOT see the Symphony of Lights Laser Light Show from the Peak, you need to be on the Promenade at TST, next to the Star Ferry on Kowloon side. 

 The monstrosity that is the Peak Tower, supposedly based on a cross section of a wok.

The monstrosity that is the Peak Tower, supposedly based on a cross section of a wok.

Even I have to admit this is an iconic shot of the Peak Tram. The Peak Tram is quite legendary (these days for all the wrong reasons) but no matter how many times I ride it I still get a thrill going down when it looks like you are dropping off the end of the world! 

 The iconic Peak Tram, pity about the queues

The iconic Peak Tram, pity about the queues

It would be fair to say that I go to the Peak most days, it is my favourite spot on the planet but for many visitors getting to the Peak can be an exercise in frustration which surely must detract from the whole experience. 

Most visitors to the Peak want to ride on the iconic Peak Tram and with good reason, it is pretty darn good but is is plagued by queues all day, 7 days a week.

Quite simply, in 2003 Hong Kong had 16 million visitors, in 2012 we had 49 million visitors, the Peak is the most popular place to visit in Hong Kong and more importantly the capacity of the Peak Tram remains unchanged since 2003, hence long lines.

A 1 to 2 hour queue is common anytime after 10am all the way to 6-7pm in the evening and it is much, much worse on a weekend or in bright sunshine

Here are some simple tips. 

  • when you get to the Peak Tram Terminal on Garden Road and you go "bloody hell that's a long queue" then simply take a taxi .. it is 10 - 12 minutes by taxi to the Peak and if there is more than 2 of you it is cheaper than the tram. you can always come down on the Tram ( a lot less crowded) which is quite a ride
  • try and go up before 10am and the lines are a lot less
  • forget going up at 6pm, there is always a solid 2 hour line to go up there 7 days a week... oh and a solid line of 2 hours to go down from the Peak anytime after around 6.30pm... in which case take a taxi down

You have been warned! 

 The classic Peak Tram queue at the Garden Road Terminal... take a taxi!

The classic Peak Tram queue at the Garden Road Terminal... take a taxi!

I do personal walking tours around Hong Kong, I am on the streets every day and I have a somewhat interesting perspective of this wonderful city I have called my home for 37 years. My private walking tours are perfect for visitors who want a detailed overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring on their own and for people who are only here for a day or two who want to make the most of their limited time here.

Many clients book me for their first full day in Hong Kong, they get to see the best that Hong Kong has to offer + a crash course on our wonderful public transport system and then they go exploring for the rest of their stay armed with step by step instructions and recommendations from me....

...oh, and if you book a tour then you are booking a tour with me, I do not employ other guides.

Jamie's private walking tours - no ordinary experience


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Posted on April 28, 2013 .