Victoria Peak is a tourist magnet, and pulls in the crowds for good reason: it offers views of the city rivalled only by those from Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour. That said, it’s possible to escape the hordes of selfie-takers should you so wish (and get your 10,000 steps in without breaking much of a sweat).
On our last trip to Hong Kong, we took the Peak Tram, the world’s steepest funicular railway, to the top, but this time we opted for the trusty bus. It took a wee bit longer, but we hopped straight on – and that beats standing in a queue with the sun blazing down on you any day, as far as I’m concerned.
As soon as the bus deposited us at the top, we beetled off towards Lugard Road, which winds its way around Victoria Peak. We’d debated hiking over to Pok Fu Lam, but in the end decided to take a shorter route to Hong Kong University (HKU) and round the day off with a wander round Sheung Wan and Central.
We soon turned onto the Morning Trail, which led us to the tumbledown Pinewood Battery. During the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941, the Japanese relentlessly bombed Hong Kong Island, severely damaging the battery.
Fortunately, there were few casualties, but the decision was made for the troops to abandon the battery and retreat from their position. Today, Pinewood Battery has Grade II conservation status and has been transformed into a picnicking and heritage site for all to enjoy.
On our way down to HKU, we passed by one of the six remaining boundary stones. These were erected in 1903 to mark the perimeter of what was then known as the City of Victoria.
Riding a ‘ding ding’ (or a tram, to the uninitiated) was high on my to-do list on this trip, so we found a stop and hopped aboard. Costing just HKD$2.3 for an adult single, they’re an exceptionally cheap way to see the city, and well worth a ride just to see the sights from a different perspective.
On this occasion, our time in Hong Kong coincided with Hong Kong Arts Month. As part of this, HKwalls was hosting its annual street art festival, transforming the city’s streets into a blaze of colour and patterns. I’m a sucker for street art – be it murals in Montréal, Banksys in Bristol or fresques in France – so couldn’t resist checking it out.
HKwalls is a non-profit organisation which seeks to create opportunities for artists to showcase their talents locally and internationally. We spotted some new works in progress, as well as some pieces from festivals past.
No trip over to Hong Kong Island would be complete without a ride on the timeless Star Ferry (one of my absolute favourite things to do in the city), so we rounded the day off with a ride across the harbour.
- If you haven’t taken it before, a ride on the Peak Tram should be on your itinerary; it’s as iconic a journey as the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour. If you’d prefer to skip the crowds, Bus 15 leaves from Central Bus Terminal and the journey takes about 30 minutes.
- You can view check out all the pieces from HKwalls 2013-18 on their website.