Even though most of our days are occupied by work, our supervisor at the Hong Kong America Center has taken the liberty of planning a handful of Saturday excursions (Macau, Victoria Peak, Lantau Island, Lamma Island) for all of the interns he’s overseeing. There are 18 of us, and it’s always nice to be able to just mindlessly follow someone around and explore for a day.
This will be picture heavy, because the images simply have the ability to speak more words than I ever could. I present to you our day excursion to Victoria Peak — affectionately known as “The Peak.” It’s the highest, well, peak on Hong Kong Island. Normally, visitors will take the trek up on Hong Kong’s historic tram, but it’s currently closed for renovations. The bus ride up from Tsim Sha Tsui provided just as exciting of views, though.
Before the peak of the day (I’m sorry), we stopped by Hong Kong’s own Hollywood Blvd, explored shops, and ate some egg tarts.
The easiest way to explore SoHo is by riding on its iconic series of outdoor escalators. Apparently, it’s the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, as it covers over 800 metres in distance and traverses an elevation of over 135 metres from bottom to top. Except, when we were there, several sections were under repair, so for us it was the stairs.
As we were walking to the train station, we passed the display shown on the left. Lining the fence on either side of it were informational posters, banners, and hand-written notes of support.
A closer look uncovered that what we were seeing was a standing display seeking justice for the women abducted into Japanese military sexual slavery. Between 1933 and 1945, Japan forced women from Korea, China, and other occupied countries to become military prostitutes – called “Comfort Women” by the Japanese. I had no idea about any of this or its campaign; a group from South Korea was advocating for justice, even 70+ years later. A really moving moment of learning.
Then, up we went! As our altitude increased, as did the natural beauty, the distance from the city, and our own excitement. A few of us may or may not have been reduced to a tear or two. And by a few of us, I certainly don’t just mean myself.
At almost a month in, it was rather enjoyable to take the city in from above. From the Peak, we could easily pick out the places to where we’ve been making our commutes daily, as well as notice spaces where we’ve hung out or spent evenings wandering.
Don’t be fooled by where the commercialization leads you. The Peak Tower charges you to get to its roof, Lion’s Gate is often crowded with tourists. But there are many other lookouts to enjoy at the Peak, if you only take the time to explore the area – both horizontally and vertically.
I will say that the hike up is a task and a half, but by the picture placed underneath, is certainly worth it. Just…for the love of God, make sure you have water. ([common sense] pro tip: pack water wherever you go in Hong Kong, but especially if it involves physical exertion).
We quickly hiked down to catch the sunset on a lookout from the other side of the mountain. I was determined to capture the city with a sunset tint upon it, so eventually I powerwalked away from the group and agreed to meet them at “the spot.” It hadn’t occured to me until I was 20 minutes into walking on the path along the mountainside that we never established where the spot was. There were clusters of people settling in at various spots along the path, but I didn’t want to settle for those cliche spots. It wasn’t until the sun was setting deeper and deeper into the horizon line and I reached a sign indicating private property that I thought, perhaps I should’ve considered one of those populated spots. I didn’t account for doubling the distance on my return to the rest of the group, but I got some good exercise, and some good shots.
When reunited with the group at the “the spot,” we patiently waited for 8pm. Every night, at 8 on the dot, the city buildings syncronize for a light show. To the unassuming eye, it really just looks like they’re spazzing out. The one time I stayed overtime at the Mission, I walked out and saw the skycraper looming over the cathedral start to erratically flash its criss-crossed lights. From within, it was very alarming, but one look at my watch resolved all concerns. My other encounter with the light show was from the ferry on Victoria Harbour. Love that ferry.
The Peak offered a prime seat for the show, and after some more awe-struck staring at the skyline, it was time to go.
An exhausting day, in the best way.