Hong Kong, 300 Metres Up
For any visitor to Hong Kong – first-time or otherwise – there is one view that is worth the heat, the long queues, and the sea of merchandise that awaits on the mountaintop. And part of the allure is the journey itself – in a rickety old tram that shudders as it climbs the hillside at a 45-degree angle. Welcome to Victoria Peak, the home of billionaires, overpriced restaurants and our very own Madame Tussauds.
As the city’s premier attraction, the Peak has evolved into something of a shameless tourist trap. But there is an easy escape a mere 15 minutes away from the tram terminus, where the crowds are almost non-existent and the views even better. The secret? Look out for Lugard Road, a shaded, unassuming concrete path that begins just beyond the glass cone.
While there’s an extra fee for the Peak Tower’s roof terrace, it is this secluded walk that rewards the more adventurous with the ultimate postcard-perfect panorama. Lean against the iron railing and drink in the effervescent energy of the concrete jungle; listen to its audible roar as crickets chirp and cicadas hum in the trees behind. Watch the kites circling overhead as a flurry of boats zip to and fro across the harbour.
Among the corporate giants it’s impossible to miss 2IFC (Two International Finance Centre) and its razor-like crown. Standing head and shoulders above the rest, this 88-storey behemoth was featured in both The Dark Knight and Tomb Raider 2 as a prominent BASE jumping platform.
From Lugard Road, it’s fair to say that this city is a real-life example of what happens when nature meets science fiction. The jumbled mass of skyscrapers may seem straight out of Gotham or Blade Runner, but they are wedged between folds of lush green mountains and an undulating coastline. If you come at the right time – somewhere between 5 and 5:30 pm – you might even catch the late afternoon sun glinting off the glass towers and into the waters of the harbour. That, and the onset of nightfall, is something you won’t want to miss.