We had three options to reach The Peak - 1) take the subway to a tram that climbs the mountain 2) take the escalators up the hills to the mid levels and then walk a bit back downhill to the tram 3) climb the mountain by foot. We went with option #2 on the way there and option #1 on the way back. Had we more time in Hong Kong, we would have considered climbing the mountain, but we didn't want to spend all day here. Plus it was really hot!
Hong Kong Escalators
I'm a huge fan of the public transportation system in Hong Kong and the escalators are no exception. Since much of the city is vertical, the escalators make it easy to ascend to the higher neighborhoods without breaking a sweat.
We rode the escalators up from our hotel to the mid levels then cut across toward the tram to the peak via the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, where our path took us past a variety of flora and fauna. The most interesting aspect of this park is how it was built into the hillside of HK Island amongst a slew of skyscrapers, but from inside you feel like you're in a tropical forest.
Continuing our walk eastward from the gardens, we reached the base of the peak tram. It's a bit of a wait to board the tram - an old cable car chugging its way up the mountain - but while you wait you can view displays about the history of the peak and how tourists and residents reached the summit in the old days. Back in the 19th century, Victoria Peak attracted many Europeans because of its view and cooler temperatures. Wealthy Europeans purchased property up here and before the tram funicular was built in 1888, they reached the peak by sedan chairs which were carried by locals up and down the steep slope. Victoria Peak remains an exclusive residential neighborhood and is the home of Hong Kong's most expensive properties.
That night, we took the subway over to Kowloon watch the sunset over the city and scope out the beautiful night views of HK Island. We grabbed a promenade-front table at Deck N' Beer, strangely one of the only outdoor bars on the water in Hong Kong, and had some drinks while taking in the nighttime views across the water. The night view was spectacular, as if a giant computer chip emerged from the water. I've never seen a skyline covered in so many branded electronic billboards. Imagine Times Square New York times 100. That is the Hong Kong skyline. As a marketing person, I found myself calculating the cost of a logo in lights on the skyline. Good old Samsung didn't stop at a giant electric billboard. At 8pm, Samsung sponsored a short but entertaining show, where different buildings on the HK side light up and shoot lasers to music played on the Kowloon side. When it came to brand presence, Samsung was definitely the king of Kong.