Hong Kong has one of the most impressive skylines in the world – the high density of skyscrapers, squashed in between the mountains of Hong Kong island and Victoria Harbour, is simply mind-boggling. On my recent visit, I spent a day going from place to place to view the skyline from various vantage points.
International Financial Centre 2
My first stop was the stunning International Financial Centre Tower 2 (2IFC), an 88-storey building at the edge of Victoria Harbour. At the time of its completion in 2003, 2IFC was Hong Kong’s tallest building – it has since been surpassed by the 484 meter International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon. 2IFC was featured in various movies, notably Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (in which Angelina Jolie leaps off the building and glides down before landing on a barge) and The Dark Knight. A fact not known to many is that 2IFC houses an observation room on the 55th floor that’s open to the general public – all you need to do is register at the reception desk on the ground floor. Entrance is free. The room doesn’t offer a 360-degree view, nevertheless, it’s more than worthwhile to head up to the 55th floor for superb views of Hong Kong.
Bank of China
My next stop was the Bank of China, another of my favourite buildings in Hong Kong. Designed by I.M. Pei, the BOC building, at 305 meters, is currently Hong Kong’s fourth tallest skyscraper. The 43rd floor houses a small observation deck which is open to the public. Unfortunately, my camera battery went flat when I reached the top… 🙁
I found this photo on Flickr which is exactly the view I had from the 43rd floor of the BOC building. The view is phenomenal. Unlike 2IFC, the observation deck at the BOC offers a broader view of the harbour.
Just up the road from the Bank of China is the terminal for the funicular tram which brings visitors up to The Peak, arguably, THE place to get a breathtaking panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline and its harbour. The ride up to The Peak is an experience in itself. Make sure you get a seat or a pole to hang on to as the incline is very steep!
Once at the top, you have the choice of heading to the observation deck on the roof of The Peak centre (an entrance fee applies) or exiting the building and strolling to a little viewing terrace (the free option). The view from The Peak is something you won’t forget very easily. I was really lucky that day as visibility was extraordinarily good.
Check out my (30-second) video of the full panorama of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak.
Star Ferry and the view from Kowloon
After several hours at The Peak, I took the tram down, walked through downtown Hong Kong to the harbour and caught the famous Star Ferry for the short hop to Tsim Tsa Tsui on the mainland (Kowloon). If you’re taking the ferry, I highly recommend sitting on the upper deck.
I missed the sunset while I was having a beefball noodle dinner in Kowloon. 🙂 When I returned to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, this is the view that greeted me.
It was freezing and there were hundreds of tourists and photographers elbowing each other for the best view. I found a good spot and simply took in the stupendous view. The Symphony of Lights, a spectacular sound and light show, began moments later.
It was a beautiful day and I had an awesome time seeing the Hong Kong skyline from different points.
Getting to Hong Kong is easy as the city has one of the biggest and most well-connected international airports in the world. A flight to Hong Kong is possible from almost all major cities in the world. When you’re in Hong Kong and the weather is good, head to one or two or all of the vantage points described above. You’ll love it! 🙂
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Read other Velvet Escape posts on Hong Kong: