Today’s adventure is to revisit the Peak, for the first time in a little over 30 years, so yes, I was expecting massive changes over that timeframe.
The first thing was breakfast, which is not a simple as you would think. With Marks and Spencer being my go-to for killer pastry during both of my recent Singapore trips, my first thought was to see what the HK stores had, never know it may be just as good.
But nope, while they did have pastry, it was not even close to as good as the Singapore stores had, no idea why, I would have expected it to be the same.
So, the hunt continued, so this morning I decided to go for a walk in one of the larger shopping centers and see what I could find.
Interesting thing is, the shops here do not have the same hours as I was used to back home in Sydney, here they open between 10-11am and close around 10pm
The exception to this seems to be most places which sell food, although I suspect that may be down to me being in a very bust tourist area.
Not bad, not wonderful, but better than Marks and Spencer.
Now fuelled up, it’s time to head for the peak.
There are many ways to get to the top of the peak, but me being in full Tourist mode, decided to take the Tram, which runs from the terminus in Central to the top of the peak.
Some trivia, back in the day, I walked up the peak, it’s a long hard walk, and not for everyone, or even me these days. I may give it a go, but not on this trip, maybe next time, after getting back into shape. 😁
Getting from Kowloon was just another trip on the Star Ferry, and from the wharf it’s a fair walk to the tram terminus, and I will admit the signage is not the best.
Oh well, a combination of google maps, what signage there was, and following the crowd saved the day.
However, this navigation issue, is made up for, as you pass some stunning architecture. Just check out the bank of China tower in the foreground.
The new tower, right next door, drew my attention, as it looks way different to the usual glass box design, it looks more like an alien space craft hiding in plain sight.
Arriving at the Tram terminus, the first issue was where to get a ticket from, it was packed, with minimal staff to ask, so I just joined the first queue, and eventually got to talk to a staff member, who told me I was in the wrong place unless I wanted to visit Madam Tussauds, hmmm, interesting but having visited in London and Singapore, I think I will pass for now.
Not a good start, so into the next queue, with the rest of the population of the city. Finally making it to the front of the queue, there was a single ticket desk open, with one very stressed looking employee trying her best work through the queue.
Oh, well queues are a fact of life, and at least there is air conditioning 🥶
This may be a little expensive at HK$88 return but is one of those experiences that every visitor to HK needs to take, and yes, I have taken this trip before, but we are talking about a little over 30 years ago.
Getting on the tram was basically like a London Bus back in the 1980s, push, shove, in total chaos, with more people than seats, and yes, I was one of those who ended up standing, not that I minded, being very sweaty and not wanting to leave damp patches on the seats.
Just checkout the track, and how steep it is, so this is going to be an interesting trip 😀
Yes, it was interesting, I did not remember just how steep some parts of the track are, and needed to really hang on, and stand at a really, interesting angle. Most entertaining, and yes it brought back memories of the last time I did this.
Following some research, it seems these trams where upgraded/replaced back in 2019
I took this back in 1992, and it shows one of the trams getting close to the end of the line. This is a scan taken from a very faded print, should I ever find the negative, I will replace it with a much better version.
In short, the upgraded trams are a great and most welcome improvement over the old ones.
Getting to the end of the line was uneventful, just hang on and try not to fall over.
Anyhow we arrived at the final station, and it was a repeat of the boarding chaos, but this time we were all funnelled into a shopping area, with various sellers pushing souvenirs. Again, it was push and shove, but eventually I made it through the mess. Not impressed 🤨
The next challenge was to find a way out of the building, again no sign of any staff and minimal signage, so I took my life in my hands and followed the flow of people heading up the escalators.
Finally, I made it out of the building, and yes, it’s an interesting building, and the last time I was here construction had not even started. From what I understand construction started in 1993.
Enough of this, what I came to see, just like everyone else, was the view over the city.
First thing to do, is head for the Lion Pavilion which from some googling is the place for the best view, and thankfully it’s not too far away.
This lookout has been there forever, and I even remember visiting, back in the day, although back then the place to take photos was where the Peak tower now stands.
Anyhow, how’s this for the first shot of the day? WOW comes to mind 🤩
Now for the comparison, and yes, I could not help myself but include the shot from 1992.
With the “money” shot out of the way, it’s time to do the circle peak walks, which from memory gives more photo opportunities, and from what I can find, is only about 3km, which for me is not a problem even in this heat.
(GPS: 22° 16' 15.4" N, 114° 9' 3.0" E)
Again, the signage was less than wonderful, so after connecting to the ever-present free Wi-Fi, it’s Google maps to the rescue.
Heading down the trail for the walk, the first thing I see is a distance marker, which is a nice touch and confirmed that I was only doing a little less than the expected 3km.
The actual walk is quite flat, fairly well shaded, in other words, I would class it as, easy for anyone who can take the heat, yes, it is a little cooler up here, than it is in the city, but still more than some people can take, but for me its quite comfortable ☀️
Heading further along the trail, there are more of those distance markers, which to me are a nice touch, to let walkers know how far they have to go.
As for the trail, its paved and not too narrow, and yes so far I have come across several photo opportunities, more on that later.
Not sure what the “no entry” sign is for, as to me it’s not wide enough for any cars. Odd yes, but not the only strangeness on the walk, another one which got me, was the distance markers just stopped about halfway through.
The above shot shows, what I found to be the narrowest part of the whole walk, it’s all paved, and mostly in the shade.
(GPS: 22° 16' 22.75" N, 114° 8' 21.51" E)
Another nice touch is about halfway through the walk, at the same point that the distance markers stop, there is a picknick area, which in cooler weather I would expect to be busy, but not today, there were only a few people resting.
Speaking of people, throughout the whole walk I only saw a few others, which again I put down to the heat, as from memory when I did this walk back in the 90s there where many people all walking.
Yes, there are many photo opportunities, and rather than include them here, they will be moved to a dedicated “peak” gallery.
(GPS: 22° 16' 34.41" N, 114° 8' 30.89" E)
Before moving on, there is one thing I came across which shocked me for a few seconds.
Local wildlife, this time its the first snake I have ever seen in HK in over 30 years of visits and residence, I knew they where around, just never saw one until now. Not sure what kind it was, and it must have felt me coming as it headed for the nearest hole before I could get the photo.
After some research, it seems this snake is most likely a non-venomous and very common, Oriental Rat Snake.
My final thoughts on the Peak experience, is overall the changes from my previous visit are all positive, with the only not so positive thing being the lack of staff for managing the tram, and the signage which in my opinion needs to be upgraded.
(GPS: 22° 17' 40.91" N, 114° 9' 54.30" E)
If you are visiting HK, then the Peak is a must see, just make sure you pick a clear day, as the peak can be in the clouds, just check out this image and you will see what I mean.
The photo on the right, which I took on my last day in HK from the ocean center shopping center, through a tinted window. Not my best work, but after quite a bit of photoshop work, its good enough to show the peak in the clouds.
As for the heat, if you are not comfortable with hot and humid days, I would recommend earlier or later in the year, rather than right in the middle of summer.
Daily stats: 37,476 steps, which Samsung health tells me is a little over 32km