Travelling to the top of Victoria Peak (The Peak) had been recommended as a must do whilst in Hong Kong by a couple of friends and as it shares my name it was something we had to do for ourselves. As part of the Big Bus Tour ticket package a return trip on the tram, which you get on at the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus up to The Peak and back, is included in the price. It also allows you to jump the queue which when we visited was around 300 people long(!) We didn’t know this when we first arrived and joined the monster queue only for a Big Bus Tour representative to come and escort us straight to the front (like VIPs) and into the small waiting area for the next tram. This not only saved us time but also probably from passing out due to heat stroke as it was a very hot, very humid day.
In the terminal building you will find the Peak Tram Historical Gallery which is home to over 200 pieces of historic memorabilia some dating back over 100 years. Entrance is free if you are riding the tram. However, as the terminus is so full with people it would have been impossible to take our time looking at each one of the 15 sections individually as it lines the waiting area for the tram. I genuinely think we may have been crushed in the stampede to get on the tram. This is a shame because from what we saw as we waited for the tram it looked very interesting. It could do to be in a separate building where you can spend more time.. Maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night would have provided a better opportunity to spend a while here looking and reading about the items on display? Taking the trip up to The Peak by tram is a great experience. Stepping foot onto the tram feels like you are stepping back in time with the wooden panelling. As you ascend the mountain to the top your body is pushed back into the seat and the buildings/skyscrapers that are built on the side of Victoria Peak, which of course are vertical, start to bend and look like they are actually tilting towards The Peak itself. The trams are filled to capacity and can become quite claustrophobic. Fortunately from top to bottom the ride itself only lasts around 5 minutes.
The Peak is not what we were expecting, seriously! Both Mr ESLT and I had visions of the top of a mountain looking down over the city with maybe a stall selling drinks! How wrong were we? At the top of The Peak you will find a fully functional, über modern shopping centre! Blown – away! It’s actually called the Peak Tower which is home to loads of restaurants and shops which all have the awesome back drop of the city. It’s also pretty stunning to look at. However, not as stunning as the views of Hong Kong you get from the Sky Terrace 428 which is at the top of the Peak Tower! Sky Terrace 428 is named so because it is 428 metres above sea level and is the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong offering 360 degree views of the city. As Big Bus Tours guests the admission price was included in our ticket which meant we could simply by-pass the queue of people waiting to buy tickets and headed straight up there. We were lucky to visit on a hot, clear day as we had uninterrupted views right over Hong Kong Island and over to Kowloon. Audio guides are handed out (price of which is included in your entrance ticket) which gives you information about what you are looking at from different points on the terrace. A photographer is also up there ready to take your picture and charge you a fortune for(!)
We spent a good hour up on the terrace happy snapping selfies and pictures of the impressive view before heading back down into the tower and finding a restaurant for lunch (Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Shack – don’t judge!). The queue back down to the bottom was pretty long but we weren’t waiting that long, 15 minutes or so. If you are feeling fit you can of walk up The Peak and down again as there are many nature walks in and around the area. However, with a belly full of macaroni, shrimp and cheese washed down with a pint of lager it’s safe to say the only way we were getting down was on the tram! So from what we thought would be a ’30 minute up, take pictures of the view and come back down again’, actually turned into around 3 hours at the top of The Peak. In reality we probably could have spent longer, especially in the shops. I can completely see why this is voted the number 2 attraction in Hong Kong by Tripadvisor. Second only to the Hong Kong skyline itself (as at December 2015).