A day at The Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

THE ride in itself was quite an experience, but rambling around the Asia’s World City would never be satisfying without getting to the most popular attraction, The Victoria Peak, the highest point and a landmark of the Hong Kong Skyline.

What is so special about The Victoria Peak is not the peak itself, but the linear perspective of the skyscrapers and the harbor. The panorama changes into pink and orange as the sun goes down, until a galaxy of lights glows in the dark, shimmering beneath everyone.

Rising on the western end of the island, The Peak--with an elevation of 552m or 1,811 feet--offers the best and the most breathtaking views to its visitors. It has a better vantage point for witnessing the finest and spirited Asian metropolis.

Tourists can hear its humming below the peak; and can listen to random music being played at 8:30 in the evening while looking at those dancing graphic arts that appear from the International Finance Center (IFC) Tower and the dancing lights afar.

The actual summit, where the tourists stop by to relax, is closed to the public, but the surrounding residential area and parks are what the moniker “The Peak” refers to today. Anvil-shaped The Peak tower has a large viewing platform called Sky Terrace 428.

According to history, during Hong Kong’s stint as a British colony from 1841 to 1997, the peak was the island’s most exclusive neighborhood. Until 1947, the neighborhood was reserved for European expatriates, which means Hong Kong Chinese citizens were not allowed in the area.

There were no concrete roads during the 19th century, so, the well-heeled residents would be carried up the mountain in sedan chairs. The Victoria Peak still has a reputation today as the island’s most elite neighborhood--where tycoons rest in glamorous mansions.

It also has Madame Tussauds inside the tower wherein over 100 eerily realistic waxen personalities, from Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee to Albert Einstein, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt, to Cantonese stars can be found. The Madame Tussauds is just among The Victoria Peak’s spots to visit.

Riding the Peak Tram is a must part of the whole peak experience. Though there are other ways of heading to the viewpoint, but the crowds opted to flock around the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus for a remarkable ride. The windows played a series of surreal images that are real fascinating.

The tram has been operating since 1888 and had been witness to Hong Kong’s changes for about 120 years. Its gallery brings back many memories for the local visitors and provides overseas visitors a glimpse of how the Pearl of the Orient has come to shine.

But in case the tram is not available for a ride, visitors can take a bus 15C from Central Pier 8, or bus 15 from Exchange Square Bus Terminus near MTR Hong Kong Station - Exit D, or mini-bus 1 from the public transport interchange at MTR Hong Kong Station - Exit E.

So, aside from the summit, the visitors could also take a walk at The Circle Walk--the easiest path to access as it loops around the peak’s commercial area. The pathway is placed under thick vines of Banyan trees and passes by a few waterfalls, then, miles uphill there lies The Victoria Peak Garden.

The Victoria Peak is not just all about the summit and the panorama. It truly has something to offer to everyone, such as exploring the wooded paths, having fun at the playground, wandering and/or shopping in its mall, and dinning. The Peak is indeed worth a visit. (Ivy C. Tejano/Contributor)


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