Where to enjoy Hong Kong’s best views

Hong Kong has a skyline unlike anywhere else on earth, with its tightly-packed mass of skyscrapers wedged against tall green mountains. Here, we suggest our top five places to head for that camera-perfect panorama
Sunset over Victoria Harbor as viewed from Victoria Peak
Sunset over Victoria Harbor as viewed from Victoria Peak. Shutterstock

It’s not hard to find great vantage points from which to admire Hong Kong and its wilder hinterland – with observation decks, high peaks and, of course, the famous Star Ferry all offering incredible vistas. To get the best views possible, you'll need the weather to be clear and not too cloudy. Travel from September to November for plenty of sunshine (as well as pleasant breezes and comfortable temperatures) and low humidity, meaning a good chance of clear skies.

1. Find a rooftop bar

"One of my favourite views in Hong Kong is from Sugar at EAST hotel in Tai Koo," says Rachel Read, the Hong Kong-based writer behind Through the Looking Glass. "This laidback rooftop bar offers a breathtaking panorama of the harbour and its stunning skyline – and a bit of a different view from some of the more famous rooftop bars in Central and Kowloon."

The Hong Kong Tourism Board adds that the Ritz Carlton (aka the highest hotel in the world) is also known for its epic views of HK.

2. Take the Star Ferry

The eight-minute-long Star Ferry crossing of Victoria Harbour is a classic Hong Kong experience. Green and white ferries ply their way between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, packed with visitors admiring the skyline and commuters reading the horse-racing news. Head to the top deck for better views (paying a slightly higher price).

"Be sure to take a ride on the Star Ferry to get super-cheap prime seats for the iconic Victoria Harbour skyline," says Read. "At under HK$3 per ride, I’d advise going by both day and night to see it in different lights."

Alternatively, take a longer harbour cruise on a traditional junk out to Lantau. The Hong Kong Tourism Board suggests exploring the Aqua Luna (one of Hong Kong’s last remaining junk boat vessels) during the Symphony of Lights in Victoria Harbor. Add this experience to one of Insight Guides' exclusive Hong Kong itineraries: browse suggested trips online now

Ferry leaving Kowloon pier in Hong Kong.The city's skyscrapers tower over a ferry leaving Kowloon Pier. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Climb the Peak

As well as one of the best views in the city, Victoria Peak is also one of Hong Kong’s most notable landmarks, developed as a British hill resort and connected to the city by the Peak Tramway, a vertiginous funicular railway. The Peak is where you should go for some of the world’s finest city vistas, which on Hong Kong’s increasingly rare clear days should include a view all the way to mainland China. Many find the nighttime views even more incredible; a vast glittering swathe of electric light, most spectacular immediately below in Central and Wan Chai, as the buildings attempt to outdo each other with eye-catching displays. Choose whether to see this stunning view by day or night on Insight Guides' Hong Kong Highlights holiday.

Tourist tram at the Peak.Taking the tram to the top of Victoria Peak is an unmissable Hong Kong experience. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Rise to the top at IFC2

The chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority might have the very best view from his luxurious office on the 88th floor of this mighty building, but the man upstairs at least had the decency to open up the 55th floor to Joe Public. Open Monday to Saturday, The HKMA Information Centre has stellar views back towards the forest of high-rises in Central.

View of IFC2 in Hong Kong.View of IFC2 in Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Visit Central Plaza

At 374m (1,227 ft), this is the third-tallest building in Hong Kong and offers the most expansive skyscraper view on Hong Kong Island from its wonderfully un-touristy 45th floor. The astonishing density of skyscraper development is revealed from floor-to-ceiling windows on what is, essentially, a transit floor for office workers.

View of modern skyscrapers in downtown Hong Kong, Central Plaza.View of modern skyscrapers in downtown Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

6. Tai Mo Shan

The ‘big misty mountain’ of Tai Mo Shan is Hong Kong’s tallest peak at 957m (3,139ft). It's located in the western New Territories, which stretch from Kowloon’s hills to the mainland Chinese border. Discover the best of this area on Insight Guides' Hong Kong Island Insights holiday. There are many well-marked walks for you to tackle, including a 30-minute one from the visitor centre that takes you to near the summit. From here, you can absorb wide-reaching views of both the mainland and Hong Kong Island.

View from Tai Mo Shan, Hong KongPhoto by Thomas H Brown, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.


This article was originally published on October 27, 2016

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