My day off this week involved a trip up to Victoria Peak. Last week was my day of pampering. Deep tissue massage, manicure and dinner, with a much needed early night. I felt ready to get back on the exploring wagon again.
Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island, standing at 552m. You can either walk up one of the many trails or take a trip up on the Peak Tram. I decided to do a one way ticket. Up in the tram which is over 125 years old and then walk back down into the city.
In 1881 a Scotsman called Alexander Findlay Smith devised a plan to speed up the development of new residences in the hill districts with the introduction of a tram system. Before, to reach the peak, visitors were dependent on the sedan chair. The Peak Tram was finally completed in 1888 and became the first cable funicular in Asia. The start of the journey is situated on Garden Road, next to Hong Kong Park and you complete it at the Sky Terrace. The two trams can take up to 120 people and depart every 10-15 mins. I paid for my ticket and waited with the rest of the tourists. It’s quite a quick journey, cutting through the zoological gardens en route. A few times, it almost feels as if you are vertical, it’s such a steep climb. Eventually the tram breaks through the trees and you disembark straight into the Sky Terrace Shopping Centre, where there are hundreds of gifts from caligraphy to postcards and I Love Hong Kong T shirts. I completed the journey by travelling up four more levels of escalators, straight to the top, outside and was presented with a headset, so that I could gaze upon the view and get a bit of history at the same time.
Around the peak are trails that you can hike through. Morning Trail is one which is a 3.5km circuit and takes about 45mins to walk and there is also a trail that leads straight to Pok Fu Lam, which I must explore. The Hong Kong Trail starts from here too, which is a 50km route, split into eight sections of varying difficulty, that takes you the entire length of HK Island. It’s spread over five country parks bypassing reserviors, WWII battlefields and bays. It ends near Shek O. One route I would like to try is Dragon’s Back (such a great name) which is about a two hour hike. Something to add to my list of things to do/see.
Lunch was next on the agenda. There were lots of different cafe’s and restaurants dotted around the Peak, but was mainly fast food, from what I could see. I was wanting to sit down and enjoy my surroundings.
This place, The Peak Lookout, had been mentioned in my LP guide and the food sounded fab. A 60 year old, colonial establishment, with seating outside. My dish of prawns and noodles was so full of flavour. I requested chopsticks, as I was brought Western fork and spoon; for one thing it slows me down (I’m a bit of a gannet) plus, when in Rome…
Unfortunately, whilst I was sitting outside, it started to gently rain, so we were all ushered into the building, to finish off our meals.
Once I had finished lunch, my next mission was to find the right path down. I had a wander, following one of the smaller, circular paths and found some different lookout points.
Finally, I found the path, Old Peak Road, and started the long walk back, after buying myself an ice-cream for the journey (which I immediately regretted; way too creamy and sweet for me). The path took me down some pretty steep sections. Along the way, I passed quite a lot of people walking back up the way I had come. There are seats along the way to catch your breath and admire the view, although by this time I was in dense greenery. I could hear so many birds and numerous species of butterflies are here, although I didn’t see any. The Common Birdwing and the Golden Birdwing are two of the largest butterflies that are found here, with a wing span of 16cm… That’s pretty big for a butterfly.
Down, down, round, round. Eventually coming to a post informing me I was at the city boundary.
Through the Zoological and Botanical Gardens to eventually come to rest my weary feet in a bar. I definitely needed a glass of wine after that! I found out the next day that I walked nearly 10 miles that day; no wonder my ankles ached! I shall go back for sure and my aim is to walk up and do one of the trails – hopefully on a day when the views are there 🙂