The unbeatable views on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories from Victoria Peak prompts every visitor to make it up the highest mountain of Hong Kong Island. The most common mean to reach the 554-meter high summit is by taking the tram, but there is a much more rewarding way up the ancient volcano that will make you experience a lot more of Hong Kong from the Mid-Levels lifestyle, to its protected forest, and of course unmatched views.
To experience the green side of Hong Kong, the ideal starting point is at The Murray. In its forecourt grows one of only two registered Old and Valuable Trees in Hong Kong, the over-100-year-old Cassia Javanica var tree. From there it is just a convenient short walk to the tram station (in case walking up is not an option for you) while our recommended way to walk up the Peak leads through the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. A small detour through the Hong Kong Park and its aviary is a great way of observing colourful bird species from up close. The Zoological and Botanical Gardens – one of the oldest of the kind that opened in 1871 – also showcase an aviary with unmistakable red ibises, as well as about 700 other species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Narrow pathways lead through a greenery of trees, a welcome break from the rushing traffic and concrete.
The way through Mid-Levels follows intricate and interesting pathways slaloming between roads as they gain altitude fast before reaching the level of Conduit Road and its high-rise. These buildings are home to affluent Hongkongers and expats and represent some of the most expensive residential real estate of the region: close to the business districts of Admiralty and Central, these towers are located along its north slope at the foot of the greenery of the Peak where the air quality is better and the views are fantastic. In these streets, Indonesian and Filipino nannies take care of children or walk the family dog while luxury cars pass by.
The relative flatness of Conduit Road is enjoyable before starting the Morning trail. It passes through the Pok Fu Lam country park and its splendid forest. Bird song replaces the sound of car engines, flowers add some colour in the thicket, locals enjoy their workouts or simply stroll enjoying the greenery. Sometimes boars can be heard or spotted along the steep slopes of the mountain.
After 2.8 kilometres of uphill, a crossing gives various options.
For sunset and a really, really good work out, go up close to Victoria Peak using the staircase along the less trodden Governor’s Walk. Many birds can be seen in this forest and once up, an orientation table marks a fantastic viewpoint on the surrounding islands. From there it is possible to make it almost all the way to the summit of the Peak – the actual summit is fenced off – but the view up there is not as nice as a bit lower down.
So instead of making it all the way up, it is better to walk across Victoria Park down to Lugard Road. This rather flat pathway (also reachable directly from the 2.8-km crossing, just stick to the left instead of taking the staircase) offers the best views on Hong Kong harbour with the Mid-Levels in the foreground, Kowloon and the South China Sea. Seeing dusk from up there to observe the city lighting up is a magical moment. The sun sets fast and within 20 minutes the show is on with skyscrapers’ dazzling lights. Even on a misty evening it is worth making it up as the artificial lights are diffused by the clouds leading to great effects.
The way back passes by the Tram Tower – with plenty of food options (lacking a bit of authenticity) – and then down via the steep Old Peak Road that leads back to Mid-Levels. From there you can grab a cab back to your hotel to freshen up for the night and a well-deserved dinner!
Marcella & Claire
- This urban hike is on asphalt and feasible in an urban outfit. Make sure to take a jacket as it gets cool up there after sunset.
- We recommend you to stay at The Murray on Hong Kong Island, a landmark turned into a luxurious 5-star hotel that is the perfect base to explore HK providing tranquillity by the Hong Kong Park, convenience, top service, comfort and amenities.
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! Here is a short tutorial to download it.
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