Hiking To Victoria Peak For The Best Sunset In Hong Kong
Hiking to Victoria Peak was a spontaneous and very rewarding mini-adventure we took with Kristine when visiting Hong Kong. We didn’t intentionally plan on doing so, but decided on the spot when we saw the queue for the Victoria Peak tram.
For the background, Victoria Peak is the mountain that dominates all postcard views of the Hong Kong harbor. We expected the top of the mountain to provide the most stunning views on the whole city. You know, the sun setting to the left of the mainland and painting the sky and the glass skyline in all sorts of colors.
As we expected, it was the best place to view the sunset in Hong Kong.
Hiking to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
It was our first day in Hong Kong and we were eager to tick off all the things in our bucket list. So, after a day of exploring we started to move towards the Victoria Peak tram station to get to the top for the sunset.
We were coming from the Kowloon side and took the Star Ferry across the harbor. From there it was a 20-minute walk to the Victoria Peak tram station.
We sat down for 11 hours on our flight the previous morning and then slept for another 10 or so to get acclimatized. We were eager to walk.
As we got to the tram station, we noticed a veeery long queue. After asking several people in it we understood that it’s at least a 2 hour ‘adventure’ to get to the tram. Some of the people pre-booked their tickets to speed up the process, yet still spent 1+ hours waiting.
We were quite disappointed for coming so late and, most probably, missing the sunset. However, I remembered that there are some running routes around Victoria Peak, which made us wonder if it’s possible to hike to the top.
After all, it did look much lower than mountains in Bavaria that we typically hike.
Our Victoria Peak hike map
A quick map check showed that it would take us roughly 45 minutes to hike from where we stood to the peak. That’s more than 2x less than waiting down here. So, we went for it.
The route was quite straightforward. From the Victoria Peak tram station we took the Albert Road and then the Albany Road to get to the Old Peak Road which took us all the way to the top.
The route was moderately steep throughout the whole hike. I can’t say it was as steep as some of the routes in the Alps, but the combination of 30 degree heat and nearly 100% humidity made it challenging.
Start – Albert & Albany Roads
The first 10 minutes of the route (Albert & Albany Roads) was pretty surreal. We felt like ants walking among the skyscrapers and couldn’t believe that some people just live here.
Old Peak Road
After navigating through a couple of streets using Google Maps, we finally left all the skyscrapers behind (15 minutes into the hike) and reached a paved ‘jungle’ road. That was the Old Peak Road that we looked for in the very beginning.
It was nothing more than a steep road in the forest. With occasional views of Hong Kong skyline in between the tree branches behind you.
The road was steep and by that time we were both sweating heavily. The good news was that the road was shaded and the tropical sun didn’t bother us much.
Shortly before reaching the top we came upon villas that are built around the Peak. These happen to be some of the most expensive properties in the world. We later checked and it turns out many of the villas & apartments cost hundreds of million euros.
Crazy. I bet the view from those is pretty epic as well.
Hong Kong from above and the best sunset spot
Google maps was correct and by the time 45 minutes passed we were already at the top. Happy we didn’t stay and wait for the tram.
Hiking to Victoria Peak was short, but by no means easy. Humidity, high temperature and sleep deprivation after a long flight made it demanding for both me and Kristine. However, the alternative was to miss the sunset and now that we think about it – it was totally worth it.
Sky Terrace 428
Once we reached the top we found ourselves at the entrance of The Peak Galleria – a shopping mall with restaurants, a movie cinema, Madame Tussaud’s museum and a viewing deck called Sky Terrace 428.
You can kind of see Hong Kong from above as soon as you reach the top. However, the viewing deck provides an unobstructed view of the skyline, the harbor and everything around.
The entry costed us around 50 HKD each, but the view was totally worth it.
Once we returned to our hotel we discovered that there is actually a free option to enjoy the view from Victoria Peak. The place is called the Lugard Road Lookout and it’s located just a 5-10 minute walk away.
In fact, the viewpoint provides a similarly astonishing view over Hong Kong and the Victoria harbor with less than half the crowd. Since the terrace was quite packed during our visit, we decided to return to Victoria Peak and enjoy that view again. This time early in the morning and with nobody around.
The Lugard Road lookout
A couple of days later we woke up at 4:30 in the morning with a goal to see the sunrise over Hong Kong before taking a bus back to the airport.
At 5AM we were already in the taxi. The ride from our hotel in Wan Chai to The Peak Galleria took us no more than 15 minutes and soon we were walking down the path to the Lugard Road Lookout.
Once we reached the viewpoint we met 2 other photographers setting up for the sunrise shot. This was definitely less crowded than our sunrise at Borobudur.
Unfortunately, the sky was cloudy and the city was a bit grayish. However, this view can definitely compete with the one from the terrace. Had we known about this place when we hiked here the other day, we would definitely came here to see Hong Kong at night. I can totally imagine the sunset view from here is as spectacular.
After finishing with the pictures we decided to enjoy the early morning and take a walk around the Peak.
Turns out, Lugard Road a popular running route. It’s called ‘Morning Trail’ for a good reason – even though the time was just over 6AM, we saw quite a few people jogging. I would have loved to do my morning runs here as well, but that required running uphill for half an hour first.
But how gorgeous are the views…
Other options to reach Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
Believe it or not, hiking to Victoria Peak is not the most popular way to reach it. There are more convenient way of doing so.
Victoria Peak tram
The best way – and the one we originally planned for – is to take the Victoria Peak tram directly to the top. On a good day it’s a 5-10 minute ride to the top from the station. The view along the way is supposed to be a great way to explore Hong Kong as well.
However, as mentioned, when we came shortly before the sunset it was jam-packed. Even those with a pre-booked ticket were stuck in the queue and had to wait 1-2 hours.
Cost: 100 HKD per person return (includes the entrance to the Sky Terrace 428).
Taxi to Victoria Peak
One option we examined as an alternative to waiting in line was to take a taxi. It’s an easy way how to reach The Peak Galleria and from there decide either to buy a ticket to enter the terrace or walk to the free Lugard Road Lookout.
There might be a queue for taxis when going down during peak hours (i.e. around sunset or on weekends). It’s not the cheapest, but the best option if you want to get to the Victoria Peak early or late in the day.
Cost: around 100 HKD for a one-way fare from Central.
Bus to Victoria Peak
For cost conscious travelers there’s an even cheaper option to reach the peak. One can take Bus 15 from the Central Bus Terminus and arrive at The Peak Galleria – similarly as with the taxi.
Cost: around 10HKD for a one-way ticket from Central Bus Terminus.
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