"On Victoria Peak Knowledge will Save You a Bundle"
Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island is by far the best spot to see the Hong Kong Skyline. It remains one of the most visited Hong Kong tourist attractions in the city.
Knowing when to go and how to get up there will save you a lot of time, help you to avoid the crowds and save you a ton of cash as well. This page is dedicated to those goals.
My last trip up to 'The Peak' was both incredible and frustrating at the same time.
But I eventually found those alternate ways of getting to 'The Peak' that both saved me money and gave me access to views of the city that the tourist trail doesn't permit.
Victoria Peak is on the Western half of 'Hong Kong Island'. 'The Peak' stands 552M above sea level but 'Tai Mo Shan' Mountain is the tallest in Hong Kong.
Everyone with money wants to own property at the top and down the steep sides of Victoria mountain.
The property values on Victoria Peak are so high that it's become the most expensive place to live in the world.
But, Wow! This is definitely the throne of Hong Kong Island. It's also a place to be seen for the local people and a Hong Kong Tourist attraction you shouldn't miss.
If you don't have the time or inclination to do any sightseeing then at least have dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the Peak Galleria (atop Victoria Peak).
You have to eat and you won't regret the trip even though prices are quite steep. It's a million dollar view after all!
From Kowloon to Victoria Peak
The trip started at around 7pm. I had dinner and then left my Hong Kong Hotel Room in the Mirador Mansion.
This is the very best place to find the best value budget Hong Kong Hotels.
You can find some good mid-range Hong Kong Accommodation here.
It's just a short walk to the bottom of Nathan Road where it intersects with Salisbury Road.
When you spot the 'Space Museum' directly across the street, turn right onto Salisbury Road and followed it past the Y.M.C.A.
I had a look inside the Y.M.C.A. and should have gone in. I know they offer rooms for as little as $90HKD a night. But I never went in so I can't comment on the quality of the rooms.
I kept walking until I spotted the Hong Kong Cultural Center on the opposite side of the Road. I crossed Salisbury Road at a red light and a guy in a Mercedes made more out of it than was necessary.
Anyway, a tall clock tower was on my left, the bus terminus on my right and the Star Ferry Terminal in front of me.
It took me all of about 15 minutes to walk from Tsim Sha Tsui to the Star Ferry Terminal where you get the boat across to Hong Kong Island.
I almost made the mistake of taking the Ferry to Wan Chai. I liked the idea and it was probably my inner cheapness that sent me in the wrong direction.
It's only $2.20HKD (.30c USD) so I gravitated naturally towards it. I'd heard that the fare was $5.30HKD and now he was only asking me for $2.20HKD!
I get stupid about the exact time when I think I'm saving money. Or if a beautiful girl taps me on the shoulder.
And one did. I was about to fork over the $2.20HKD and get the wrong ferry to Wan Chai.
"Do you know which Ferry I take to get to Victoria Peak?" She asked in a soft tone that eased the noise of Hong Kong for a short moment.
I didn't respond. She was a blond-eyed beauty from Eastern Europe. I just stared at her in awe.
Then the guy I had been buying my ticket from chirped up from behind the glass partition. I guess to protect him from the Ferry Bandits.
He spoke into a Microphone and his voice echoed through a tiny speaker. He sounded like 'Darth Vader' but for the heavy breathing.
"You're in the wrong place. You have to walk East along the Pier to get the Ferry to 'Central'. It's $5.30HKD for the fare."
There are only 2 ferries. One goes to 'Wan Chai' and the other goes to 'Central' make sure to get on the ferry to Central if you plan on heading up The Peak.
So me and this Eastern-European girl that I'd met at the wrong ticket counter decided to stick together. Or rather she'd decided it would be tha way.
I will call her EEG (Eastern European Girl) because I have forgotten her name. We walked West down the concourse of the Star Ferry Terminal on the Kowloon side. When we reached the entrance to the ferry destined for 'Central', Pier #6 the EEG walked quickly and impatiently towards the ticket booth.
She got so far ahead of me that I didn't think we were going to talk again.
I was wrong. Just as we reached the ticket booth she turned to me and nurtured me with her eyes. I gasped at the sight of her bright blue eyes and broke a little wind. I don't think she heard it, though.
"Do you pay for a lady?" she asked. I wanted to move along quickly so I paid at once. It was only $5.30HKD (.85c US) so I swallowed my cheapness for the cost of possible romance.
A typical man I guess but that's all we have, Luv.
We got on the ferry and again she distanced herself from me. I didn't know if we were taking this trip to Victoria Peak together or not. I needed someone to hold the camera. Heck, I paid $5.30HKD for the service.
We crossed Victoria Harbor in about 8 minutes on the Star Ferry. It really is the way to go. The sight of the city as you float across the Harbor is wonderful. Especially at night.
Don't listen to the travel agents who tell you to take the MTR. It's more expensive, stops a ten minute walk away from the bus stop and is a view of rapidly passing concrete.
The EEG was at the back of the boat, standing alone. I shot this video while she smoked a cigarette with an arrogant yet lady-like touch.
We got off the ferry and walked up the ramp to the top of the concrete overpass. It's just a parking lot below but the overpass comes to some descending stairs with the bus terminus just 50M to my right.
I peered back at the EEG. She was following close behind me while brushing her hair with a brush from her big fur-lined handbag.
I could smell her perfume and it only drew me to her more. But I felt an animal-like sense of worry. Why had she chosen this moment to groom herself?
"Are you going right to Victoria Peak?" I asked stupidly.
"Of course! Where did you think I was going?" She looked at me like a fool.
"Sorry. I was thinking of getting on Public Bus (#15) instead of the Tourist Bus (#15C). If we just walk three blocks straight ahead then we'll run into 'Exchange Square' on the right-hand side. We can get Bus #15 to Victoria Peak from there."
"You mean this Man Yiu Street here?" She asked, pointing ahead with a long elegant finger. She had many rings and there was just a flash of white rock and yellow metal. "Why to do that?" She asked. She was looking at me like a fool again.
"It's cheaper. Bus #15 goes right to the top of Victoria Peak along Stubbs Road. We don't have to get on the Victoria Peak Tram," I added, seeing her face sour even more with each stupid word.
"You are so cheap man to do this?" She asked incredulously." "No No I take the tourist bus and the Victoria Peak Tram." She said. It was final and she marched off down the stairs towards the bus terminus where bus #15C waited.
I followed after her but here are the details for both buses so you can decide for yourself.
Board bus #15 at the 'Exchange Square' Bus Terminus. Get to Exchange square by boat to 'Central Pier 6' or take the MTR to 'Hong Kong Station' (Use Exit 'D') and walk the 2 blocks to the 'Exchange Square' Bus Terminus.
Bus #15 heads all the way to the top of Victoria Peak along the incredibly twisting road. It is an adventure on its own.
You can see the beautiful view of 'Hong Kong Island', 'Victoria Harbor' and 'Kowloon Peninsula' along 'Stubbs Road' during the journey.
The bus fare is $9.2HKD and it takes about 30 minutes for the journey.
Board bus #15C outside the exit of 'Central Pier 6' or take the 'MTR' to 'Central Station' (Use Exit J2) and walk the 3 blocks from there.
Bus 15c drops you off at the start of the Victoria Peak Tram. It's a roofless Double-Decker bus so get to the top quickly for the best seats.
It costs $3.20HKD for the short 10 minute trip to 'Garden Road' and the Victoria Peak Tram terminus.
Bus #15C had just pulled into the bus terminus. The EEG got on the bus, walked straight past the driver and began to climb the stairs to the upper deck of the Double-Decker bus.
The driver watched her go, enjoying her behind and then looked at me expectantly.
"That 2 people. $6.40HK Dollars, please." He asked with a smirk on his face. He knew.
I walked past him and looked up the stairs. I could not see her and didn't even know her name to call her out.
I was angry because I had to break a $10HKD bill. The drivers in Hong Kong never carry change so you have to have the exact change at all times.
I DID have the exact $3.20HKD but not the $6.40HKD I now seemed to owe by some obligation to a girl I hardly knew.
I climbed the stairs to the upper deck of the bus. There was no roof so the sky was everywhere. The intense light generated by the massive skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island smothered the brightest stars. But it was a wonderful sight and a humbling moment.
Maybe the EEG was right. Bus #15 isn't a convertible Double-Decker.
The EEG was sitting near the front of the bus. She had her camera out and was taking pictures of the surrounding buildings.
She smiled at me when I came towards her and shuffled her fur-lined purse away from the seat next to her. I guessed we were now officially together. I didn't say anything about the Bus Fare.
The bus took the most direct route to Garden Road and the Victoria Peak Tram Terminus. But the roofless bus offered views of the city skyline that were fantastic.
I looked over at the EEG and she was smiling as the wind blew her silky hair about her face.
The bus drove through some winding curves but arrived in about 10 minutes. The tourist bus (#15C) stops at the base of Victoria Peak and the terminus to the Victoria Peak Tram.
It really is a cool ride through the city, especially if you can land a seat on the top deck of the double-decker bus.
We all got off the bus and started towards the ticket booth.
The Victoria Peak Tram runs from 5:40AM to 1AM everyday. Each Tram carries a max of 72 passengers up the 1.7KM track using 1,500M of steel cables wound on heavy steel drums.
It was first opened back in 1888 and it really is an astonishing achievement given the technology at the time.
The EEG and I arrived together at the ticket booth. The ticket guy was sitting behind another thick slab of plexi-glass.
A sign next to him listed the prices and I gasped when I saw them.
"Welcome to the Victoria Peak Tram. Do you want a One-way or Return ticket?" He asked through the holes in the plexi-glass.
I felt like I was at a bank. Heck, at those prices he probably had as much money as a bank.
"How much are the tickets?" The EEG asked. She was standing behind me, peeking over my shoulder and pressing herself into my back.
"It's $22HKD for a one-way ticket and $33HKD for a return ticket," the ticket attendant replied. There was a lump in my throat so I didn't speak. I was weak and could feel myself wilting.
The EEG was eager to get our tickets.
"So cheap!" The EEG responded. She looked at me with wide, excited blue eyes. I guessed that she was expecting me to pay.
I couldn't believe it. She pushed me forward, closer to the ticket booth. I figure she must have been pampered all her life and saw men as mere sources of money and amusement.
That was enough for me. My cheapness raged in my belly.
"I'll take ONE return ticket," I said, sliding exactly $33HKD through the little slit at the bottom of the plexi-glass. The attendant took my money and gave me a single ticket.
I walked away quickly and passed through the turnstiles. I didn't look back as I made my way hastily towards the Victoria Peak Tram departure platform.
I felt the EEG right behind me. A voice beckoned her back, though.
"You'll need to purchase a ticket, Ma'am." Called the ticket attendant from behind the plexi-glass. He had turned on his speaker-phone. It must have been on full volume because everyone heard him and the place went silent.
"I already have a ticket," EEG called back, looking annoyed and pointing towards me. She continued towards the turnstiles but they were locked and would not turn for her.
She looked up at me. At first her expression was shock and then rage set across her face as she realized what I had done. 3 uniformed security officers took her by the arms and led her back to the ticket counter.
"You terrible little man," She called after me. I turned away from her and the scuffle broke out.
The things she said to those poor security officers was amazing considering that English was not her Mother tongue.
The Victoria Peak Tram arrived and began unloading its descending passengers. I looked back and saw the EEG paying for her ticket from a thick stack of USD bills.
She ran for the tram and got on just in time.
A very old fellow stood up and offered his seat to her and was shocked when she took it.
Once the conductor had passed though on his last check, the doors closed and we lurched forward. I stood up on the wooden bench-seat and sat on the backrest. I stuck my head out the window and sang terribly as the other passengers stared out their windows with delight as we climbed that impossible hill.
It was so steep that the buildings seemed to be at a 45 degree angle and there was very little chance of standing in the aisle of the Victoria Peak Tram without holding onto something.
The EEG never looked at me again. All for $33HKD!
Once you get to the top of The Peak, the best spots to view the Hong Kong skyline are:
Lugard Road begins just opposite the Peak Tram's upper terminus at 395m above sea level. Once you're atop Victoria Peak you'll have views that stretch all the way to China and Macau.
Spectacular is the only word I can think of. It's one of those few sights that you can never forget.
Walk to the top of Lugard Road and then return via Harlech Road so that you'll have encircled the entire summit of Victoria Peak at the level of the Peak Tower.
Peak Tower Sky Terrace and Galleria
The Peak Tower Sky Terrace is filled with extra expensive restaurants and resembles the "5 Star Hotel" Look.
All of the ceilings are made up of thousands of crystalline tiles that change color with the ever-present music and even the walls are covered in lights that dance to the rythm of the beat.
But that is part of the reason the skyline of Hong Kong Central is so magnificent. The Chinese have spent a fortune on the lights that illuminate the buildings at night.
Huge towers surround you as you navigate the city. The lights in many of the office building also change color and move about up the towers.
But I laughed a little. It all reminded me of a guy I saw standing on the street in his Prada shoes and designer suit, smoking a cigar. He kept looking at his gold watch and then up at the crowd around to see who was looking at him.
You can get a good look at the roadways in and about Victoria peak on the map below.
I climbed the 8 flights of escalators on my way to the Sky Terrace atop the Peak Galleria. I passed so many restaurants and entertainment venues that I couldn't even count them all.
The door at the end of the hall on the top floor leads out onto the Peak Sky Terrace. The wind was chilled and strong enough to blow the baseball cap from my head. Gasps and upheavals rang out as everyone saw how ugly I am.
You can listen to it howl on the video below. I had to crank up the background music at the end to drown it out.
I took out my camera and shot some pictures but they were hollow. I had imagined taking a few with the EEG on my arm or even one of myself taken by her. I wanted to ask someone to take my photo but I was surrounded by huddled couples. Victoria Peak is obviously the place that well to do bachelors of Hong Kong bring their dates.
And then there was me. Too cheap to pay a $5USD Peak Tram ticket for the chance at romance with a beautiful Eastern European Girl.
When I looked up I saw the EEG coming towards me with a forgiving smile. My heart melted and I was relieved. She had forgiven me and was coming back to me. She took out her camera and held it out to me.
"Can you take a few photographs of me?" She asked with a smile.
"Sure," I said, taking her camera. I spent 5 minutes adjusting her camera and taking multiple exposures to ensure at least one perfect photograph. I asked her to take one of me and she agreed.
I'm pretty sure of what she thought of me by the quality of the photo she took. She took 6 photos and this was the best one. The other ones are with her finger on the lens. Worst of all, I'm pretty sure it's her middle finger.
I only stayed at the top of the Peak from an hour. It seemed that the view can only be looked at for so long.
If you have money, some of the restaurants offer views through table side windows of the city and great food to match the prices. I walked into a restaurant called 'The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company' and gasped at the prices.
I took the Victoria Peak Tram back down. I got on the bus #15C and climbed to the top deck. I could see all the city around me but I was too sad to enjoy it.
The EEG had also come down from The Peak. She was standing on the street corner next to the bus. I looked down at her from the top deck of Bus#15c. She was talking to 2 expensively dressed men and she was swooning like a professional.
The Bus engine started and the driver put it into gear. The EEG did not seem to react. I was concerned she might miss the bus so I called after her.
"The Bus is leaving now!" I hollered down to her through the noise of the running bus engine. She looked up at me just as the bus pulled away.
I lifted my hand to wave goodbye. She had already lifted her own arm up but with a proudly raised middle finger. All for the price of admission.
Tell Us Your Story of Victoria Peak!
Share with us your experiences up Victoria Peak. Is the Tram worth the extra money? Did you take bus #15 or #15c?
I shot this video and cut it into three three seperate legs of the trip up to Victoria Peak. I started the trip at the Star Ferry Terminal in Kowloon and ended it with some views of Hong Kong Island at night from 'Victoria Peak'.
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