The Peak Hong Kong - One Of The World-Famous Views

By: Clive Chung

The Peak Hong Kong has been the preferred residence since the British arrived in 1841. Top government officials and taipans built their mansions there to escape the stifling summer heat - it is cooler than the lower reaches of Hong Kong Island - and were ferried up and down its steep slopes in sedan chairs carried by Chinese coolies.

The governor's summer residence was built there and anyone who wished to settle in this rarified atmosphere had to gain permission from the governor of the day. Up until 1945, Chinese were forbidden to live on the Peak. These days, the area remains a fashionable place, reflected in real estate prices that are among the highest in the world.

From The Peak's various vantage points spectacular vistas take in most of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, much of the New Territories, the outlying islands, mainland China, and Macau. A trip to The Peak should be one of the first things visitors do after arriving in Hong Kong, not only for its world-famous views, but to gain a perspective of the city.

Pick a cloudless day and make two journeys, one during daylight and another in the evening to catch a memorable image of Hong Kong illuminated.

The best and most enjoyable way to reach The Peak Hong Kong is by the Peak Tram, one of Hong Kong's oldest types of transportations. This funicular railway first went into operation in 1888 and has since become a vital transportation link as well as a popular tourist attraction. The ride from the Central to the top of The Peak Tower takes approximately 7 minutes.

Visitors of all ages will be thrilled by the ride, especially the steep climb towards the Tower. It climbs out of Central at an impossible angle to reach the upper station at the Peat Tower - a metallic, bowl-shaped landmark. From the terrace on the fifth floor of the tower, the views are quite outstanding, looking down the mountain to the high-rise apartments of the Mid-Levels and the gleaming office towers crowded into Central, and beyondthat across busy Victoria Habor to Tsim Sha Tsui and kowloon, backed by the green jagged mountains of the New Territories.

The Peak Tower has souvenir shops, restaurants, a Madame Tussaud's wax museum, and a motion simulator ride called the Peak Explorer. Impressive views can be had from the restaurants at the adjacent Peak Galleria, a shopping and restaurant complex with some outdoor seating.

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