Considered the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, trekking up the Victoria Peak on foot is a big challenge — but taking the Old Peak Road gets even! I read the walk can be very steep at certain sections but I would say, it was the best way to experience the Peak's diverse foliage with a 360° breathtaking vista of Hong Kong.
I've been pretty much walking here and there during my second day in Hong Kong Island. So first, I needed a quiet time to relax a bit. The tranquility of Hong Kong's Zoological Botanical Gardens served me well — perfectly located just on the northern slope of Victoria Peak. I spent a nice quiet siesta at the park to get an energy boost before I scale up the Peak on foot.
There are several trails to hike Victoria Peak. At first, I was thinking of taking the popular route via Hatton Road which is not quite as strenuous as the Old Peak Road route. I'm not a hardcore hiker myself. Yet, I'm eager to scale the roughness of the Old Peak Road over the more popular trails as you'd get a somehow offbeat, quiet and less crowded trail while enjoying a diverse terrain. The Old Peak circuit trail takes about 45 minutes at a moderate pace. I reckon it would take longer for me though.
I don't have as much as basic of hiking gear but I do have a good pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water. Fair enough. I started to follow the Old Peak Road from the southern side of the Zoological Gardens at the corner of Albany and Robinson roads.
The road begins through residential buildings, climbs through Midlevels past the green hills of Hong Kong Island. The road is well paved and well-signposted but pretty steep. It's quite a surprise how quickly I left the city behind as I reached the top of Old Peak Road leading to a sloping pedestrian-only path.
About a third of the route, I reached a public toilet where I rest for a while. Boy, I could feel it's getting quiet up the hill and the breeze is much cooler. The road is lined up with lamp posts so I could worry less when it gets late and dark, just in case. I could almost tell I'm just as high as the buildings. I climbed a bit more slowly towards the even steeper path until I reached another section of the route with a few apartment buildings amidst the lush vegetation. Later I found out that the area is The Peak's very own prime real estate with some of the world's most expensive!
Almost there. At the top of the path, I found myself at the base of The Peak Tower overlooking the harbor through the mist — just as I imagined. The road may be rough, but the feeling of accomplishment with all the sweat beads off my forehead and the breathtaking view makes me consider The Old Peak road as a one worthy path.
Time to take my reward. I rushed to get my scenic spot at the Sky Terrace 428 (standing at 428 meters above sea level) to witness a breathtaking 360° panoramic view across Hong Kong Island. I wouldn't mind walking all the way up a 552-meter (1,811 ft) peak if you get to see one of the finest harbors on Earth and a skyline just so improbable. Everything I've heard about Hong Kong's bustling metropolis is dramatically rendered by the view from the Peak.
On the opposite side of the Peak Tower, I got to see the busy plaza, the big shopping mall called The Peak Galleria and of course, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong — a unique celebrity-inspired attraction featuring local and international celebrity wax figures. Truly, an unforgettable experience.
Walking down The Peak is just a piece of cake. Taking the same good Old Peak Road was way easier downhill which begins below the Peak Tower spiraling down into the main business district of Central. I could care less about the slope, really as I still have my head in the clouds.