A Stroll Round Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

We were in Central (CBD) of Hong Kong island and we knew we only have 2.5 hours to spare. We made the quick decision to go for a walk around Victoria Peak.

The Peak is located in the western part of Hong Kong. With an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest hill on the island side. We opted to take the tram up to the Peak; the quickest means of getting there.

The Peak Tram is a funicular railway which takes passengers from Garden Road in Central to the Peak where people can have a spectacular view of the HK Harbor ( Victoria Harbor). The trip brings passengers to an altitude of 400m (1310 feet). The Peak Tram was opened for public service as early as 28 May 1888 and has been in service ever since then.

We queued up at the Tram Terminus as any tourist would. The ride up the steep hill was enjoyable. In about 10 minutes, we were already up on the Peak, overviewing the Victoria Harbor.

The Peak has some wonderful tranquil and mainly shaded scenic walks. The most popular of these is the flat 3.5km (2.2 miles)circular walk along Lugard Road and Harlech Road which forms part of the Hong Kong Trail. This is the path less travelled by tourists.

As a kid, I have taken this circular walk with my parents. In my youthful days, I also jogged around the trail in less than 30 minutes. The walk began near the Peak Lookout Restaurant and now takes me 45 minutes to complete the route. But usually, I am tempted to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views along many parts of the route and therefore would take more time.

For much of its length the walk has trees lined on both sides, affording  shade to those who walk the trail. From Lugard Road the walk soon emerges from the shades of the heavily forested slopes of the Peak to allow stunning views over the northern shore of the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and parts of Lantau Island.

About halfway down Lugard Road, the heart of Hong Kong is spread right under our feet. On the foreshore, the mega towers that line the coasts make up a magical skyline. My favourite time for the walk is early Autumn, or a misty Spring day, when there is a completely different atmosphere to be savoured. The view changed as we walk progressively towards the west.

Continuing along Harlech Road there are fantastic views over Pok Fu Lam Reservoir and Aberdeen on the south side of Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island. Further walk brings us to a waterfall before emerging to the road next to the Peak Lookout Restaurant.

Here the sight of the harbor gave way to luxurious mansions and residences on the Peak  for the super rich appear. In the early colonial years, Chinese were not allowed to build or own any residences on the Peak and in fact, anywhere above Mid-levels.  The residences are now status symbols of the super rich.

As a retiree, I know I don’t need any mansions in the sky, high above the clouds where the humidity is high. All I need is to come up to the Peak every now and then to have a delightful stroll around the Peak, noticing how the skyline has changed since my last visit and reflecting how my life has changed throughout the years from the time when HK was a  “barren rock” to the present “world city”. .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

175 thoughts on “A Stroll Round Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

    • Hi Chillbrook, many tourists have been to the peak but many of them wouldn’t know if they have 45 minutes or less, they could take this delightful walk round the Peak which brings you round the urban areas near Victoria harbour to the less developed area and back. Thanks for “liking” the post! Michael

    • wow! i guess i’m one of those tourists. we were also planning on following the road around the peak but had to go back early ’cause of time constraints. i’ll try to do this next time. nice pictures! great visibility too 🙂

  1. The circular walk looks beautiful. Maybe one reason you used to do it in 30 minutes is that you were not only younger, but you were not stopping to look at the scenery. As we mature, the journey is as important as the destination. Don’t you think? 🙂

    • When I was younger, I jogged and enjoyed the change in scenery, usually without stopping. More recently, the walks took longer as I do stop at some vintage points which I know I could have a good view. One problem is that tress and vegetation are growing rapidly and some of them do block the lovely views. You are so right, the journey is more important than the destination ( on this circular walk, you are just back to the starting point!). That’s why, every now and then, I will take my camera along to capture the views when I stopped at the vintage points. Regards, Michael

    • Funicular railways are really fun to ride in! HK has quite a few outlying islands which have their own character. Unfortunately, many tourists cannot afford the time to see them. Thanks a lot for the comment, the eternal traveller!

  2. Hi Michael, Love visiting Hong Kong. Went up the Peak Railway during our last visit but view was obscured by cloud and rain. HK is such a vibrant city, always undergoing change. Its never the same from one visit to the next. Thanks for your post.

    • Living there, I have the liberty of choosing a good day to go up the Peak, avoiding those hazy, rainy, cloudy days. HK is forever changing; one of my purposes of going up there is to update myself what has changed! Thank you alphathread!

  3. It is nice to see that on an island so packed with tall buildings, one can still enjoy the natural beauty of the place. Very nice photos and descriptions. Thanks.

  4. Hi Michael

    I am always excited to see that there is a new post from you. Not only do I know that I am going to be in a for a real treat with some wonderful photography, I also know that I am going to be exploring somewhere new in the company of a friend.

    If I ever visit Hong Kong I shall be heading for the Peak and walking in your footsteps.

    Warm regards

  5. What beautiful photos! You certainly chose the right day to go up there. We used to live on Old Peak Road and would walk up (huffing and puffing – that hill is steep!), do the circular Lugard Road walk, then back down again. I don’t live in HK anymore, but can say of all the things I miss, this walk is definitely in my top 5.
    Thank you for taking me back to my old walking grounds,
    PS we also enjoyed the flatness of Bowen Rd, it offers great photo ops as well. HK isn’t just about skyscrapers!

    • Hi, lunching on the Peak is another of my pleasure. Many people who left HK still has fond memories of the walk around the Peak; I am gald that the post brings back some good memories. I also like walking the Bowen Road. Regards, Michael

  6. I was lucky to go around HK last January with a local blogger who is now a very best friend of mine. He took me to Lugard Road and I was very happy because it was definitely a less-known path to most tourists. I felt so peaceful up there, watching the ever bustling city below and the play of lights on the skyscrapers.

    • I remember reading some of your posts about your travels to HK and taking some night pictures as well. You are quite right, the Peak is my escape from this bustling city. I always have a different feel/ perspective and engage myself in reflections when I am up there. Thanks for your continued perusal of the blog! Michael

  7. I’ve not been to Hong Kong…yet 🙂 Your photos are beautiful…and it’s nice to see some different views other than the city ones you normally see.

    • At the start / end of this circular walk, there are numerous tourists taking pictures and enjoying the view, but many of them do not know if they take the circular walk they can see the different parts of HK at a high altitude, to places where they won’t be able to see nrmally! Thank you Ali, Michael

  8. Also my favorite walk … the Victoria Peak has changed too – can see how much Hong Kong has changed since the late 1970th – there is no city in the world that can compete with the skylines and especially at night. Thanks for taking me back .. would love to go back, and stay at the Peninsula Hotel again.

    • Hi Viveka, HK has changed a lot since the 1970s. I wish I have some night photos showing the Beautiful Pearl of the East at night which I consider one of the most beautiful views. You must be rich to stay at the Pennisular, they still have their fleet of Rolls Royce! Michael

    • Read your post, it’s great. I also need to win sufficient money to stay there! I like the food at the Gaddis and the high tea down at the hall next to the main entrance. Maybe you don’t know, one year there was a big flood and the Pennisula’s RR were damaged. . . . that’s why they have their new fleet!

    • Didn’t know that … love the new ones, but there was nothing wrong with the cappuccino colored ones neither … that green color is stunning. Maybe one day I have that lottery ticket. Really want to do everything all over. Did you read my post about Gaddis and the afternoon tea too??? Those posts as so much fun to do. Thanks for taking the time with my posts.

  9. Hi Michael

    I just found the pictures from our trip and we have some similar ones, only yours are much better! But one day, I might still write a little bit about our trip…the views from the Victoria Peak are absolutely fantastic! Thanks

  10. This post brings back lots of fond memories of the walks I did on the Peak. I still have one shot very similar to yours–looking on the Pokfulam Reservoir, and when I was there the tall building behind HIgh West (HKU residence) was not there. Ah, nostaligia… Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Opalla, glad that it brings back some fond memories. Talking of HKU, I was there last week teaching. It really must be a shock to you as the University has been expanding very rapidily and full of new buildings in the main campus. There are a lot of buildings / places which I couldn’t recognize. I almost couldn’t find my way to the lecture theatre !

  11. Hong Kong is one of my favorite favorite places in the entire world. Thank you for those pictures that bring to mind so many wonderful memories!

  12. Ahhh, I miss Hong Kong! I’ve been there twice now and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of visiting. Your photos are beautiful – so much better than the ones I take when I’m there 🙂

  13. Wonderful photos of and from the Peak. The last two times I was in Hong Kong I was blessed with some beautiful weather, but unfortunately wasn’t at the Peak itself on those two days. Thanks for reminding me what could be seen.

    • There are just too many interesting attractions in HK; next time if you are on HK Island and has a time slot of 2-3 hours, you may want to stroll this circular walk!

  14. I miss Hong Kong so much! Lived there for a bit in the late 90s, but haven’t been back since…. Beautiful photos.

  15. These are fantastic pictures! I had finally tried to muster enough courage to write about our week in Hong Kong (was working on it now), but please don’t compare my pictures…you are a wonderful photographer, I’m just a poor writer 🙂 In any case I hope I’ll do at least some justice to your fantastic city! Tiny

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  17. I have walked this look more than once. The first time, I got caught in a deluge with no umbrella – I told friends later that I had been drier in some swimming pools than after this walk around the Peak. I came back to the Peak restaurant, stripped in the rest room, wrung out my clothes, and dried as much as possible (body, hair, and clothes) in the blow dryer for hands – I was due to fly back to San Francisco in only three hours, and had already checked out of my hotel. Fortunately I had parked my luggage with friends who laughed at my bedraggled state but provided towels and a clothes dryer in the nick of time.

    • Hi allysonyj, I should have mentioned in my post that the trail is basically open and there is no protection from the rain. You would be forced to finish the whole trail even if it rains. In any case, the rain and the aftermath must have imprinted deep in your mind! In fact, my pictures were taken in between two heavy showers. Regards, Michael

  18. So beautiful! I always thought of Hong Kong as an island city. These pictures show me a new and lovely “other side.” Thank you. And thanks for visiting The Brass Rag. Come back again soon.

    • HK has several parts- HK Island, Kowloon and the New Territories ( including the outlying islands); you may find each of these parts interesting. Sure will come back and revisit!

  19. Thank you for reading my new blog site about my time in Japan. I traveled to Hong Kong while I was living in Misawa, Japan. It was lovely! We have many of those same pictures from the same vantage points. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Beautiful photos of Hong Kong. I traveled to Hong Kong over 20 years ago when it was still under England’s rule. Now I want to go back because of your gorgeous photos.

  21. Hong Kong is the place l like to visit next 2 years.Wonderful post.Blessings.jalal

  22. Our trip atop Victoria Island remains a very fond memory for me. It’s an absolutely beautiful sight up there. Indeed, looking at your photos, it appears to be even more impressive than it was some 25 years ago.

    • Hi RDoug, the skyline of HK is always changing; you will find substantial changes every 5 – 10 years. I suppose when compared with what you saw, HK now has more tall buildings and maybe more densely cluttered. Glad that you like the post and thank you for stopping by, Michael

  23. I am humbled that you take time to look at my blog with all of these comments and likes that you have.
    Your blogger famous and I can certainly see why, because a post of yours is like actually being there on a tour.
    Thank you for sharing with us and being a great friend too…

  24. Wow, thanks for that quick view of Hong Kong! It looks like I’ll be using your posts as my guide when I head there. I hope you don’t mind. 😉

    – Don

  25. Thanks for following my blog. Your English is excellent especially for a second language.I remember a trip to Hong Kong in the 90’s. Great fun. We also had a meal in Aberdeen. I still wear the jade earrings I bought in HK. it’s a different colour to the Greenstone (jade) found in New Zealand.

  26. Absolutely stunning photography and a well-told story, Michael!! It’s perfect. All your posts are breathtaking! I need to retire! Thanks too for liking my “Medford, Oregon” post. That entire trip for me was just what was needed; only wish I could travel all the time. Some day…

  27. Pingback: Blogs That I Follow « Walking in Sonoma County…mostly

    • It is not that easy to have a clear day, without haze and bright enough. My pictures were taken in between two showers. The benefit of living there is that we can get there in less than an hour’s time when the weather is right. In any case, I presume you enjoyed the walk. Happy New Year!

  28. What amazing views, and such a unique escape so close to a metropolis! The walk looks so serene, like a different world from the one below. It sounds like a well-hid secret that few visitors notice. Thank you for posting about this.

  29. Beautiful view from the Peak! I hope our plan to go to Hong Kong next month pushes through…will ask my friends to go up there in case. Thanks for sharing and for the like!

    • Hi, the Hong Kong you saw some 60 years ago must be very different from what I have posted. You are right, there has been considerable progress in the last few decades. Regards, Michael

  30. I really enjoyed your shots and story, Michael. I’ve been to HK many times but haven’t got any chance to be in this place. Hopefully one day 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  31. Beautiful photos and again a well written piece giving interesting details about the place and journey to the top, as well as insights into your thoughts and feelings. Hong Kong is a remarkable city of the world. I am NOT proud of many of the historic deeds of the British government and traders in the region, as they often had a high human cost, but in today’s world the city is an important hub and place of blending of the cultures of east and west.

    • In my retirement, I have been reading about the history of China from Ching dynasty to the present day. This gives me a better understanding of the present day China and Hong Kong. The British did bring in quite a number of good things like the education, legal systems, the good infrastructure etc. HK is still a place bridging the gap between the Western world and Mainland China. Thanks very much for your perusal and your comment!

  32. When I lived in Hongkong over forty years ago, this was my favourite walk… back in the mid sixties hardly anyone ever walked this path, and i rarely met anyone.
    It was such a delight to walk it again with you and your camera, thank you

    • Hi Valerie, on a weekday, you still rarely meet a lot of people in the walk. Although there may be crowds of tourists near the Peak Tram station and the Peak Cafe. Soemtimes, I just wonder why they don’t just walk another 15-30 minutes into the walk. I have read your “About” page and am impressed by the experience you have. I’m sure you have a lot of things to write just based on those. Regards, Michael

  33. On my first trip to HK my hosts took me for lunch at the Peak reestaurant, then suggested “Why don’t you take the walk around the Peak – you’ll just have time before your plane leaves; you can leave your suitcase at our place in Central. Just come back to our apartment and we will take you to the airport after.” So off I went.

    Halfway around (just beyond the point of no return) the skies opened, and a tropical downpour dumped buckets of water on the peak – and me. I have been drier in some swimming pools.

    I got back drenched to the Peak Restaurant, stripped to my skin in the restroom, wrung out my clothes and hair in the sink (darting back into the toilet cubicle if I hear someone opening the door to the restroom), dried myself and my underwear as best I could in the electric hand dryer, and made my way back to my hosts’ apartment. I changed clothes, put my still-sopping outerwear in a plastic bag in the suitcase, and managed to get to the airport in time for my 13 hour flight, still damp.

    a vivid memory, and it WAS a lovely walk!

    • Hi allyson, if you have the patience to read some of the reader’s comment on this post, you will find that there is another reader who got totally wet taking the stroll round Victoria Peak! Maybe, I should warn readers that they should bring some rain gears if they do this walk as there are basiclly no cover at all in the walk. My pictures were taken between two showers. maybe, you can notice there were quite a bit of clouds in my pictures. In any case, I’m glad that you enjoyed the walk. Thanks very much for the kind comment 🙂

  34. All I know about Hong Kong is from Clavell’s books so it’s great to actually see some of the areas he describes. Given the technical ability of builders in the city I’m surprised there’s any park space left!

    • Strangely enough, last year, the Economist have ranked HK as the most liveable place on earth after taking account of the amount of green space in the area. We do have a lot of country parks and conservation areas and have highly concentrated our developments into vertical cities. This cannot be sustained, we need to develop more land for our ever growing population. Thank you for your kind comment 🙂

  35. I stumbled on your blog and what a stumble it is. Enjoy your pictures but the Victoria Peak ones speak to my heart and soul. It was and still is my favorite place in Hong Kong. Whenever I am back to Hong Kong I try to go up there even for a short while, to linger and say hello to an old friend. There are changes around the peak tram station but glad to see the little restaurant where we spent quite a few extended lunch breaks, is still there. Well it was still there in Nov 2011. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and please let your wife know that they are definitely not “boring”.

    • The Peak is a place which I will never be tired of visiting when I have the time and the weather is fine. I think you maybe talking of the Peak Lookout restaurant which has been there for many many years and have only changed hands once. Have a great weekend 🙂

  36. Reblogged this on JaniceHeck and commented:
    I lived in this incredible city for seven years when I worked at Hong Kong International School. Michael Lai does an outstanding job of capturing the beauty and the bustle of Hong Kong. (I lived in Repulse Bay, Hong Kong.)

    • If I have the time, I would like to take some pictures of Repulse bay in the winter when the beach has less visitors. It’s great to learn that you like our city. Thanks for reblogging this on 🙂

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