One of the main attractions of Hong Kong is The Peak also known as Victoria Peak which is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, at 552 m (1,811 ft).
In the 19th century, the Peak attracted European residents who enjoyed the panoramic views over the city and its coolness especially in the searing heat of the summer. However its steepness was a problem and many of the residents would hire or own Sedan Chairs which would be carried by locals. There was an increase in residential development with the opening of the Peak Tram in 1888.
The Peak Tram is a funicular railway in Hong Kong, which carries passengers to the upper levels of the Peak. The Peak Tram is another of Hong Kong’s attractions which transports of seven million passengers a year.
We joined the queue at the lower terminus station and looked at the The Peak Tram Historical Gallery where over 200 pieces of memorabilia of the Tram and Hong Kong are exhibited. The station has a single track, with platforms on both sides. One platform is used for boarding, the other for exiting the tram.
There was some excitement as the Tram arrived and boarding took place, the Peak Tram’s route covers a distance of about 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) and an elevation of just under 400 metres (1,312 ft), initially there is little to see but as the Tram climbs, more panoramic views appear. Near to the top, there is more excitement with the ‘The Peak Tram illusion’, this illusion occurs on the uphill journey when the high rises of Hong Kong on the right ride of the tram appear to fall toward The Peak. This illusion is due to the tilt of the tram and the reclining body position of passengers inside the tram.
Arriving at the top, you enter the Peak Tower shopping and leisure complex which has numerous food options, shops, Madame Tussauds and the Sky Terrace where you can enjoy 360 degree views for a fee.
Residents were originally drawn to the Peak because of its views and coolness and we looked forward to escaping the hot humid conditions with a walk around the summit of the Peak. One of the most popular walks is the loop along Lugard Road and Harlech Road which takes you on a circuit around the summit.
Moving away from the crowds at Peak Tower, you enter a different sort of wonderland full of strange tree foundations and waterfalls. Gradually views of Pok Fu Lam reservoir and the the outlying islands appear.
For many decades, the residents of the Peak were European and often part of the colonial administrative elite, however since the handover of Hong Kong it has been wealthy Chinese who have paid large amounts of money to buy properties on Peak making them some of the most expensive in the world. For all the wealth, access to the properties is problematic with narrow, steep tracks to overcome.
With the only the odd walker and jogger, the walk was a pleasant change from the frantic pace of the city with a number of vantage spots along the way to enjoy the fantastic views and information boards that give information about trees and wildlife.
Towards the end of the walk, you are rewarded with spectacular views of Kowloon, New Territories and the harbour before arriving back at the Peak Tower complex.
After a few days of high humidity and crowds, the Peak was a welcome change of pace and with some reluctance we made our way back to the Tram and frantic city streets.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
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