So I had my first night in my hostel. I had a mixture of jet lag, and also experienced what it’s like to try and sleep in a busy city like Hong Kong. The hostel was really good that it was centrally located, but this meant road traffic noise pretty much all night. That, and being wide awake at 3am with jet lag, wasn’t a good combination!
I was wide awake in the early morning, so I decided to set off early to visit The Peak. Everyone knows this view, even if they haven’t been to Hong Kong. It’s a must do while in Hong Kong. I had planned before going to Hong Kong, that I was going to see it during the day, sunset, then also at night.
Although my hostel was quite central, it was still quite far away to get to the tram to take me up to The Peak. I chose to use the underground service. For this, I downloaded the Rome 2 Rio app, which is super handy when you’re travelling around. All you need to do is be connected to wifi, and it’ll tell you all the different routes to get to your desired location. It will then also give you the rough estimate of costs, and bus numbers/which tram/underground line to take. So it saves you hours searching the internet, or looking lost with a map. The app is also free, so doesn’t matter either if you’re on a tight budget, as a lot of the time, it’s easy enough to find free wifi.
I arrived just before 11am on a weekday. The queue to buy a ticket was around 10-15 minutes, and it was weaving round towards The Peak fountain. But then once I got my ticket, I had to wait another 30 minutes, if not slightly longer, to actually get onto the tram itself, to go up to The Peak. So don’t be fooled into thinking the queue is only to the ticket box. The longest part of the queue is actually past that point. Only so many people are allowed through at once, and with it not being a single file queue, people were just pushing through as they pleased. The ticket for The Peak cost me $90HKD, roughly £9, for a return. You can buy a single and choose to walk down, which only costs $77HKD. Be aware though, the walk is steep, even going down. You’re constantly walking at an angle, so I’d only advise it if you’re a strong walker, and have no hip/back problems. Otherwise you’re going to be in a lot of agony the following day. Of course, you can also walk up to the The Peak viewpoint for free. But again, it is really steep, and it’s not advisable for everyone. Make sure you take up plenty of water, as you’re going to need it a lot for the walk.
Once you get up to the viewpoint, it is most definitely worth the hassle. Whether you chose to walk up, or were patient enough to stand in the queue. The views are amazing, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a clear day, as I was. I was talking to someone in the hostel before going up to The Peak, and he was telling me he’s visited Hong Kong 5 times, and not once been up to The Peak. For the simple reason that people had said to him once you’re up there, you can’t see anything because it’s so cloudy. That’s only if you go up on a cloudy day. If you’ve got a clear sunny day, it’s highly unlikely you’re not going to see anything! It’s a case of using your common sense.
**TOP TIP** Sit on the right hand side of the tram (closest to you as you’re getting on) to get the best views of the city going up.
Once you are at the top, there is a little shopping centre, where you can buy souvenirs, as well as grab a coffee or some food. After grabbing a bite to eat, I chose to walk it back down, despite having a return ticket. It was such a nice day, and I had read beforehand that it was a nice walk. I also was curious to see how steep it actually was, as going up the tram, you’re practically lay on your back, it’s that steep! It took me around 45 minutes to get back down to the bottom. Don’t get me wrong it’s a pleasant walk, but it’s so steep, even walking down. My legs were definitely feeling it when I got to the bottom.
The Peak from the top
As I got close back to the city, I stumbled across the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Which is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Hong Kong and have a few hours to kill. So it paid off walking down, otherwise I would never have come across this place. Surprisingly, it was free to walk around. Everyone had told me how expensive Hong Kong was. So getting something for free was a treat. As something that was free, it was actually really good. The park is split up over two sides of the road, so make sure you see both sides, so you don’t miss out. I got to see Monkeys, Flamingos, Orangutans, Meerkats and lots more. There’s also a pretty impressive fountain, with a nice view of the city buildings and The Peak behind it. It’s a nice spot for a picnic, or just a chill and sunbathe.
Hong Kong’s Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Starting my day so early, due to the jet lag, I still had a few hours of sunlight left. So decided to make the most of it, and carry on exploring. Before going to Hong Kong, I had discovered a place on instagram called Quarry Bay. If you want to see how the locals live, this is the place to see it. You’ll also see why they call Hong Kong the “concrete jungle.” Unfortunately, everyone else has also discovered this place on instagram, so it’s become a hipster place to get a good instagram shot. It’s still worth going though, as there’s a lot more to the area, than just that instagram shot that everyone gets.
The famous Quarry Bay, shot on my Sony A7
When you get to Quarry Bay, it can be hard to find that spot that everyone shows on instagram. If you leave the metro station at exit A, then turn right out of the station. Keep walking for about 10 minutes, under the footbridge and past the markets. There will be a 7/11 on your right, and next to it is a little walkway, which looks like the entrance to some flats. If you walk up there, you’ll be in the centre of the buildings, and the famous instagram shot. But make sure you have a wander around the markets, and around the other buildings, as they’re just as impressive. And you don’t have everyone stood there with selfie sticks, taking a million photos of themselves to get the perfect shot. There was also a group of local ladies having some sort of card game, which I wasn’t sure what it was called, as I had never seen it before. Watching these and the local kids playing were a lot more impressive than everyone taking selfies. Without that, I don’t think I would say it’s worth going.
The locals playing a card game
After that, my legs were hurting from spending the majority of the day walking, and on little sleep. So I decided to head back to the hostel to grab some food, have a quick nap, then head out for the evening. Follow my blog and check out the next blog post about what I got up to in the evening, coming soon!