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Hong Kong Peak Tram

By Edited May 1, 2015 0 0

I am not a hedonist. I don't like roller coasters and I never drive my car too fast. I'll admit that my sense of adventure has a limit, which is usually reached when I see the possibility of my life flashing before my eyes.

So I'm not sure how I ended up on Hong Kong's Peak Tram, being slowly pulled up what felt like was the ride of doom to the top of Victoria Peak. I think it was because I am a sucker for city skylines and rather preferred not to get sweaty hiking all the way up the mountain.

The Peak Tram is, well, rickety. It feels like it might fall apart any second, a sensation that is only heightened by the fact that the tram first started operating in May of 1888. Since then, the railway itself has suffered two natural disasters and a handful of wars. In fairness, they don't use the actual tramcars from 1888, but still.

How does the Tram work? It's a funicular railway, which is just a funny way of saying that it's pulled up a steep hill by a cable. Yes, a cable. And you'd better believe, this thing needs a cable because the grade it takes on is death-defyingly steep. There are times along the Tram's route when your back is horizontal with the ground and your hair is hanging backward down the mountain. Eek.

The real fact is, though, the Peak Tram is not at all dangerous and they do constant maintenance and upgrades to keep it safe. In truth, it is a bit of a tourist trap. And given that it carries around 11,000 passengers a day, I would doubt that very few visitors to Hong Kong miss a ride on the Peak Tram.

Okay, so it's not off the beaten track, but it's damn fun and totally worth the trip. It's also the best way to get up to the top of Victoria Peak - the other options being a swervy minibus or hiking. Believe me, you don't want to miss the views from the top, especially around sunset when you can see the Hong Kong skyline light up as it goes from day to night.

To score tickets, you have to queue up at the Peak Tram Lower Terminus on Garden Road, where there's also an interesting gallery depicting the Tram's long history. Definitely book round trip tickets (Adult HKD$33, about USD $4.80), as the return ride takes you down backwards - deadly!

Once at the top, there are several (kinda pricey) restaurants to choose from, as well as a large shopping mall and a super high viewing platform that gives you outlook toward Hong Kong, as well as out to sea. The Tram goes every 10-15 minutes from 7am to midnight, but the best time to go is late afternoon, before sunset!

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