Hong Kong Island is a microcosm city, it’s a place you can never miss if you visit Hong Kong. Hong Kong Island is a nice place to explore heritage, food, arts and fantastic view.
If you stay in New Territories of Hong Kong, the best way to reach Hong Kong Island is to take a train to MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Then take an exit at Exit L6 and walk to the Clock Tower along Salisbury Road. You will find Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier.
There are other ways to get to Hong Kong Island (by MTR or bus). Personally, I prefer to take a Star Ferry. This route gives us great views of Victoria Harbour and it only costs HK$2.4 from the pier to Hong Kong Central.
Victoria Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, standing at 552 metres above sea level. The best way to get to reach Victoria Peak is to take the Peak Tram. To take the tram, you need to go to Lower Peak Tram Terminus. So, once you get off at Central Pier 8, you can take bus 15C to Lower Peak Tram Terminus.
This tram experience is something you should really try as it is one of the world’s oldest (over 120 years) and most famous funicular railways. Apart from enjoying the view, you will experience a unique spectacular visual illusion when going uphill. Since the hill is so steep, the buildings you pass look like they are leaning.
Remember to check the availability of the Peak Tram online before you pay a visit. It might be a chance that the tram is under maintenance and you will need to find another way to get to the peak (click here).
When we arrived at the peak, we found our way to the iconic Peak Tower. The original Peak Tower was built in 1971 and unveiled to the public in 1972. It looked completely different from the Peak Tower today. Peak Tower today has been transformed as one of the most recognisable landmarks in Hong Kong. It’s a place where you can have great dining, shopping and entertainment.
When I first reached the peak, I was completely stunned by the view. The feeling of having the entire city beneath my feet was incredible. I was thrilled to be able to see the skyscrapers. When I found out that we could actually go even higher to see the entire island, I was completed amazed.
Sky Terrance 428 is the highest viewing terrace in Hong Kong. It offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views across Hong Kong. Of course, it’s not free (if you’re wondering. :)) You can purchase a Peak Tram Sky Pass at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus or appointed travel agents. Otherwise, you can buy the Sky Terrance 428 admission ticket alone at Customer Services Counter (ground floor) in the Peak Tower.
If you don’t fancy to go up to Sky Terrance 428, Lions Pavilion Viewpoint seems pretty to get a good view. Most importantly, it’s free! However, when it’s free, it attracts the crowd. So, it’s difficult to get a picture that’s ‘crowd-free’. We went to the viewpoint and as expected it was filled with people. Some inconsiderate tourists intentionally stayed at the same spot for a long time even though we had made it so clear that we also intended to take a picture. 🙁 So, if you encounter this, do not get annoyed by this type of tourist. And of course, don’t be one of them. Nice view is meant to be shared. 🙂
After we left Lions Pavilion Viewpoint, we decided to go for a walk around the peak. There are paths enveloping the peak. Personally, I enjoyed the walk more than staying at the viewpoint. It was mainly because it was quiet. The walkway is filled with lush tropical forests. We enjoyed the breeze and the temporary peaceful moment free from the crowd. The walk took about 30-40 minutes.
The quickest way to leave Victoria Peak is to take a bus. You can take the Green Minibus No 1 from the Peak to Pedder Street near Central MTR. Due to the heat (around 35-degree Celcius), we decided to explore the Old Town Central via Central–Mid-Levels escalator. The Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system in Hong Kong is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. The entire system covers over 800 metres (2,600 ft) in distance and elevates over 135 metres (443 ft) from bottom to top. This escalator system provides a good commute system in Hong Kong.
We started to go uphill by Central–Mid-Levels escalator, then we explored the streets when we walked down the stairs. In the morning, the escalator is going down and in the afternoon, the escalator changes direction (going up). If you explore the Central Hong Kong in the morning, you would need to use the stairs. Thus, the best way is to visit Central Hong Kong in the afternoon.
Extract from wikipedia
Through the escalator, you will pass by SoHo, which is a melting pot of international cuisines. ‘SoHo’ is the short form of ‘South of Hollywood Road’. It’s the area between Staunton Street and Elgin Street. Some recommended restaurants/cafes are Tycoon Tann, Les Fils a Maman, Maison Libanaise, Little Bao, Chom Chom and etc.
Lewis and I are not really a fan of antique. However, Upper Lascar Row is one of the recommended streets in Central. Thus, we still paid a visit to this antique street. If you’re a lover of Chinese-style ornaments and jewellery, Upper Lascar Row is totally the place. This is where you can find the endless row of antique stores with different arts, Chinese calligraphy, vintage furniture and etc.
We always believe street food is the way to try out the local food. Usually, the price is relatively cheap. We walked along Elgin Street and Gage Street, where we found some open-air food stalls. Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳圜) (at Gage Street) is where you can the famous milk tea. If you want to try some local desserts, drop by at Yuk Yip Desserts (玉葉甜品) at Elgin Street.
There are still many hotspots to visit in Old Town Central. Click here for more information.