Bound for Hong Kong
A couple of months ago saw me flying out to Hong Kong for a small convention featuring some of the best financial advisors from my company, and I had my trusty camera in tow for a planned long-overdue update to this blog. It was my first time there, and while there had been itineraries planned for my stay, I was unable to follow it, leaving me with just the Peak, the Avenue of the Stars, and minor walk-around destinations to go to in my free time. Nevertheless, it was a good experience, and I’m looking forward to revisiting the city for all the other things it offers.
But let me ramble on about the Peak for now. Also known as Victoria Peak (after Queen Victoria, the British Empire’s monarch for most of the 19th century), this tourist-attracting mountain in Hong Kong is all of the following:
- one of the most popular destinations in the city offering great views of the Hong Kong skyline,
- home of the Peak Tram, which I’ll write about later below,
- an upscale residential area from the 19th century to present,
- the location of the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, leisure malls offering diverse shopping and dining options, and
- the highest point in Hong Kong Island with an altitude of at least 1,800 feet (the Peak Tram rises to around 1,300 feet)
Funny thing (or maybe not so) about this Hong Kong trip is that with an already-thin list of places to go to, I decided to visit the Peak twice. Shall I mention too that I had my meals at the same noodle house both times? Maybe not the smartest travel plan ever, but at least I got to see what it offers at both day and night, and accessing it from Tsim Sha Tsui via two routes, which I’ll share below.
First Visit: MTR, a Long Walk, the Peak Tram; Night View
For our first visit to the Peak, we took the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central, from where we walked to the base of the Peak Tram. I didn’t know it was going to be a very long walk, but it was a nice way to get acquainted with the Hong Kong cityscape from the ground level. As with every place I travel to, I can’t help but compare Hong Kong to where I come from, and Metro Manila will definitely need decades’ worth of continuous urban development to get anywhere this level. Still, my dreams are bigger than what my eyes show me, and I hope the day comes when I can build a building like one of these skyscrapers to call my own.
It was back to reality when we finally reached the base of the Peak Tram, which wasn’t really as spectacular as I first thought.
There were no views, just a bunch of trees (which, by the way, covers what little view there is of the city below) on the way up to the Peak. I know there’s much history to be appreciated about the Peak Tram, but that aside, I see the train as just a more expensive way to get to the top from the bottom.
At the top is a shopping area peppered with stores and restaurants, made special by a view of the Hong Kong skyline unmatched by any normal vantage point (see the photo at the beginning of the post), especially at night time when the bright lights of the city bathed the horizon with life in yellow.
Finally, I found this wax figure of Bruce Lee just outside the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at the Peak Tower, and I just had to take a picture with it.
I saw a picture of potential and growth (and there’s much growing up to do, looking in), and if there’s a place in existence like this, then it must be possible, and if it’s possible, it must be done. That’s the kid in me writing, getting off the bus and thanking the driver for the experience.
Second Visit: Star Ferry, Bus Ride; Day View
A couple of days later, I’d join my Manila teammates in visiting the same place, although via a different route. We walked from Tsim Sha Tsui to the nearest Star Ferry pier and took a ferry to Central. From there we rode a bus to the Peak, this time not taking the Peak Tram which I’m no longer excited about (after the other night’s trial).
After taking the Stubbs Road route to the Peak, we went straight to viewing the Hong Kong skyline. Unfortunately, while still majestic in its proud buildings, the magic of the bright lights the other night was gone, replaced by a fog that draped over the cityscape. I’m glad I was able to experience it at night, and I recommend anyone visiting it to do so at that time instead of day.
I travel in search of inspiration. The Peak might not be that inspiring to most people, but I take what I can from every experience and my takeaway for this particular excursion is this: I saw a picture of potential and growth (and there’s much growing up to do, looking in), and if there’s a place in existence like this, then it must be possible, and if it’s possible, it must be done. That’s the kid in me writing, getting off the bus and thanking the driver for the experience.
The Peak (Victoria Peak)
Mid Levels, Hong Kong
+852 2849 0668 (The Peak Tower)