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.
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”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .