by Zachary Williams,
Hong Kong’s tram to Victoria Peak is great fun, but it can be busy and expensive. Here are some tips to avoid the lines and reduce the cost.
Of all Hong Kong’s spectacular sights, Victoria Peak has to be the best. With an amazing view of the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon skyline, easy access to food and shopping, and access to the Governor’s Walk trail, it would be silly to miss it. A great way to get to the Peak is by the Peak tram, which climbs the mountain and gives you a fun ride and great views as you climb or descend. But if you are planning on riding the tram, you have to keep in mind that it is extremely popular. But if you plan it right, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that.
Avoid Busy Times
I made the mistake of trying to ride the tram to the Peak on the second day of the Lunar New Year. The line, which had listed wait times, was well past the three-hour mark. I ended up taking bus 15 up instead.
Hong Kong goes through cycles. During holidays like Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, expect long lines. Also, the summer is quite hot, so winter is more the high season. But, because of the sheer number of festivals and holidays, this is not easily defined. Just look to see if there are any major events around the time you are going and you will be fine. If you do go during a major holiday, don’t suffer through the three-hour lines to ride the tram. It’s good, but not worth that. You do have several other options:
- Bypass the lines and price, as mentioned below
- Take bus 15 from Central, right outside of the Star Ferry
- Take a cab. They are quite cheap in Hong Kong
A Few Tips about the Tram
There are a few things you can do to make your ride on the tram easier:
Go during Off Hours
The peak is most popular at noon and at night. While you really should see the Peak at night, take the bus instead of the tram. Your wait time can be drastically reduced, and it will be easier to use intermediate stations. Also avoid weekends, as Chinese tourists flood the city.
Use Intermediate Stations
This is something that few guidebooks will mention: there are more than two stops on the Peak tram. And the four other stops are cheaper than the main ones.
Rather than suffer through the line at the top or bottom, you can hike to the next station on the tram. If you are already at the Peak, the next intermediate station is a mere two-minute walk away. Facing the ticket building at the top, turn left and walk to the road. Turn right and walk a few feet until you see a loading dock, a road going up, the Old Peak trail and stairs down. Take the stairs down. At the bottom are signs pointing you to the right. Go that way, up a hill and past a red building on the right. The station is white and to your left.
Getting to the intermediate stop closest to the bottom is slightly more difficult, but still doable: here are the Google Maps directions.
Just keep in mind that the tram only stops if there is space, so it might be best to take it during the off hours. Also, the intermediate station close to the top is easier to get to than the one at the bottom because you don’t have to climb uphill. It is also easier to hike from the Peak, your final destination, to the top intermediate station than it is to hike from wherever you happen to be to the lower intermediate station.
Go Up and Avoid Round Trips
Trips up to the top are cheaper than return trips down. If you aren’t going to use intermediate stations.
A Possible Itinerary:
- Take bus 15 from Central to the Peak. It is a third of the price of the tram.
- Explore the Peak for a while, possibly hiking the Old Peak Trail and seeing the
- Hike down to the highest intermediate station and call for a stop. If the tram isn’t busy, it will stop for you.
- Ride the tram down, reveling at the views and the money you saved by not leaving from the top.