Friday, May 6, 2011

The Peak (Victoria Peak) during the Day

The Peak is one of the most popular attraction on Hong Kong island; being a natural landmark set atop the hill.
Formally known as Victoria Peak, it is more fondly referred to as The Peak or San Teng (peak of mountain in Cantonese) by the locals.

This is home to one of the most aspiring and sought after residences in Hong Kong, and most of the Hongkies dream to build their homes here. While The Peak is viewed as a promising home to the locals; the tourists are here to enjoy the magnificent view of the city in entirety, as The Peak offers one of the most picturesque vista of the country at a glance.
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To get to the top of the Peak, one must board the funicular train, also known as the Peak Tram, which ferries passengers from the station below all the way to the top. This funicular train is one of the only two in the world, and the other train resides on Penang Island in Malaysia (Penang Hill).
The Peak Tram was initially built as the mode of transportation for the residents on the Peak; mainly the British, who during the colonization period sought a higher location to avoid the low malaria infested areas, and were often carried on sedan chairs all the way to the top.
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(The British were considered the affluent ones during that period, and therefore staying in an area where they reside would define an elevation in one's social and wealth status).

The Peak Tram started its operation in 1888, and could accommodate 72 passengers (along with its solo driver). There are only two trains which make the trip back and forth to send passengers between the Peak Terminus and the Garden Road terminus below.
The whole trip would only last about 7-8 minutes and along the way, you could peek into the residences of the affluent society.
(Photos of the Peak Tram can be viewed in my 2007 trip here)

The Peak Tram has one more feather to add to its cap; as it has never had a single accident since the commencement of its operation and that is an indication of great engineering teamed with proper maintenance.

There are two options to enjoy the view on The Peak; during the day or the night as both provide a different perspective.
On clear days, and if you are lucky, you could enjoy an excellent view of Hong Kong and you could test your eyesight by spotting the mainland China at the end.
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At night, sometimes it could be foggy and hence the view could be blurred - refer to my previous trip to the Peak here, where I was unlucky to encounter a foggy night and the scenery was a blur on my camera and in reality)

There is always a queue to board the train, whatever time of the day you choose to go to The Peak, and it is no wonder as the Peak welcomes at least 7 million tourists in a year.
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The trams operate from 7am onwards until midnight and the trams arrive every 10-15 minutes.

There are also several packages offered at the ticket counter; and there will be ongoing promotions from time to time (offers seen here may be different from offers on location), which include the ticket to the Madame Tussauds' Wax Musuem, Sky Terrace and the Peak Galleria.
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The Sky Terrace is the observation point for the view, and you will be able to spot it once you exit from the Peak Tower.
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Sky Terrace
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The Peak Galleria
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The Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria are the two shopping centres located adjacent to each other, and house souvenir shops and cafes/restaurants within them.

Another attraction on the Peak besides the view and the shopping is the famous Madame Tussauds' Wax Museum located inside the Peak Tower.
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Entrance fee is charged for the museum and tickets can be bought at the counter outside the museum.
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The wax museum belongs to an international chain of museum with the same name, founded by Madame Marie Tussaud of France.
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A wax figure in honor of the founder, Madame Marie Tussaud

Similar to the Peak Tram, this is again another one of two museums of the same kind in Asia; with the other in Shanghai.
The name suggests the nature of the museum, which houses wax statues made to resemble famous and worldwide personalities from politics, entertainment, science, arts and literature, etc.
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This Museum in Hong Kong contains more of the Asian celebrities/TV personalities (majority from Hong Kong) which make up more than a third of the statues.
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Statues may be added from time to time; as with the new figures in the various industries.
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There is even a display section on the making process of the statues.
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The result
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It is an enjoyable, not to mention entertaining tour around the museum, which adds to the itinerary on The Peak. Be prepared to spend at least four hours on the Peak, including Madame Tussauds.

There was once a saying, "If you have never been to the Peak, you have never been to Hong Kong"
Take a trip up to the Peak, and judge for yourself :)

2 comments:

  1. My sister really raves about Hong Kong but I have never been. It is on my travel wishlist though.

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  2. Spencer, guess you will be heading there someday too!!;)

    ReplyDelete