Upon arrival at the Lower Peak Tram Terminus, we bought our tickets for the Peak Tram, a 1.352 km. funicular ride through upper Hong Kong that will take us up to around 396 m. up the 522-m. high Victoria Peak, the highest peak in Hong Kong.
Opened in May 1888 for the exclusive use of the British Governor and Victoria Peak residents (the first mechanical public transport in Hong Kong), this historic service remains, to this day, the steepest funicular railway in the world. The trams were originally steam-driven. In 1926, an electric cable haulage system was introduced and the current modernized enclosed, 2-car trams were introduced in 1989, using a 1520 mm. rail gauge. Until the 1960s, there were 2 classes of tickets, one for the rich and the other for servants.
The Peak Tram operates from 7 AM to midnight, departing within 10 to 15-min. intervals. The journey, from lower terminus to upper terminus, up the peak took us only 7 to 8 mins. but, during that short time, we were offered, as the tram ascended, an unfolding canvas of stunning views over Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Victoria Harbor.
Each red tram has a capacity of 120 people (95 seated and 25 standing). There were immediate stations at Cotton Tree Drive Terminal, Kennedy Rd., MacDonnell Rd., May Rd. and Barker Rd. though, at busy times, it may not be possible to board as the trams may be full.
We arrived at the upper terminus at the distinctive, ultra-modern, 7-storey Peak Tower by 12:30 PM. The tower’s wok-shaped upper storey looks not unlike a Japanese Shinto Gate. The tower was designed by architect Zaha Hadid and was completed on August 29, 1972. The current tower, designed by renowned British architect Terry Farrell, was officially reopened to the public on May 1997.
Upon arrival, we first had our lunch at the tower’s Burger King outlet. After lunch, we proceeded to its view platform where we had a stunning cityscape view of Hong Kong’s skyline. With over 7000 skyscrapers built in past 2 decades, it is the world biggest, larger than New York City and, many say, the most beautiful in the world. Also best appreciated at night, when the neon lights of Hong Kong’s giant skyscrapers are most majestic, it remains one of the greatest man-made views on Earth.
The tower’s retail and entertainment complex features a number of top attractions, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium (2nd and 3rd floor), the Peak Explorer Motion Simulator (4th floor) and Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks Museum. Though we didn’t enter the wax museum, we still had a blast posing beside the available wax images of late martial arts start Bruce Lee and actress Cecilia Cheung.
The tower also boasts of shopping arcades, 6 snack bars and cafes and 4 fine-dining restaurants including Hong Kong’s highest restaurant, Mövenpick Marche. After 1.5 hrs. on the tower, we decided it was time to leave for our next destination – Ocean Park, this time taking the taxi.
Peak Tram Lower Terminus: 33 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2522 0922. Fax: (852) 2849 6237. Website: www.thepeak.com.hk. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org. Fares: Adults (HK$28 single, HK$40 return), Child (HK$11 single, HK$18 return), Senior (65 and over, HK$11 single, HK$18 return).