Wooohooo! Stuff to Do Other than Shopping & Eating
Usually when we go to Hong Kong the order of business is pretty simple: eat a lot of food and shop ’till you drop. These activities usually pile on top of one another which results to your credit card limit blowing up. However there are actually “touristy” stuff you can do in Hong Kong. In our most recent trip we decided to visit the Victoria Peak (aka the Peak). It turned out to be a crazy, wild, and unforgettable adventure.
Just a quick background — the Peak (aka Victoria Peak or Mount Austin) is actually a real mountain on the western side of the island. It’s the tallest mountain on the island with an altitude of 1,811 feet. In the earlier days it just had radio and satellite equipment but over the years it was developed into a major tourist attraction complete with shopping malls and a high-value premium residential area. The main draw is usually the fantastic view of Central, Victoria Harbour, and the surrounding islands.
There are two usual ways to get to the Peak: hail a cab or hop on board the Tram (automated train that goes to the Peak from Central). We opted to go for the Tram and this turned out to be a disastrous decision because apparently the line for the Tram is crazy during weekend late afternoons.
The Mad Rush for the Tram
We took the MTR from the Wan Chai station to get to Central. From there we navigated our way via maps and the different street signs to get to the Tram Terminus. The line for the tickets was ridiculously long as it stretched out from the terminal already into the street. It took us over 45 minutes to be able to buy our tickets and then another 20-30 minutes to be able to board the Tram.
What we don’t understand with this entire thing though is the mad rush for the Tram. While there were security guards to keep the order, people just elbowed and barreled their way through so that they could be ahead in the line or they could be the first on the Tram. We asked around and apparently it’s really like this during peak season or times. If you wanna take the Tram to get to the Peak it might be a good idea to schedule your trip on a weekday or weekend morning.
After a lot of elbowing and pushing we finally got our seats on the Tram. There are two columns of benches (a 3 seater and a 2 seater). There’s also standing room for those who weren’t able to find seats. The trip itself was nice but quite short (around 10 minutes). It starts very slow but it eventually picks up speed until you reach the Peak terminal.
What’s so Special About The Peak?
The Peak basically has two big lifestyle and leisure malls: the Peak Tower and The Peak Gallery. The malls have a variety of shops ranging from fashion to electronics and even food! They even have an official DC Comics store there that sells Batman and Superman inspired hoodies!
If malling ain’t your thing, you can check out Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum (you need to buy a ticket for this too) or just sit back and relax at the park in the middle of the Tower and the Galleria. If you’re feeling a little more daring (and if you paid for it back at the Terminal), you can go up higher and try out the Peak Sky Terrace where you get the best view of Hong Kong. This place also was arguably one of the coldest spots in the entire city so make sure you have a jacket/scarf with you when you go here.
Other than the view, there’s also a nice spot there for couples. They have a heart shaped installation where you can put down your names and hang them on it. Oh and we heard that this is a popular place for proposals.:)
After spending a few minutes at the Sky Terrace (couldn’t last longer, didn’t have a jacket). we went down, relaxed, and had coffee at a nearby shop in the mall.
It was already evening when we decided to go back down to the city for shopping therapy. We didn’t take the Tram anymore though since we were told that the line going down was worse than the one going up. We just stepped out to the road and hailed a cab to bring us down at Harbor City.
Over-all it was a good experience. I personally just didn’t like standing in line for almost an hour and then the mad rush to get seated on the Tram. Again if you guys wanna go here make sure you do so early in the day and avoid the mad rush during afternoons.
Btw the total cost for the Tram plus the Sky Terrace is HK$80 for a two-way trip and HK$68 for a single trip. If you’ll take the single trip up and then take a cab down just be warned that the cab drivers will try to take advantage and charge you crazy rates. Best to make sure they just charge you by the meter or you might end up overpaying.
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