Hong Kong (Island) has arguably one of the most spectacular city skylines in the world. The high density of skyscrapers crammed into a small strip of land on the northern edge of Hong Kong Island is a phenomenal sight.

HK from Victoria Peak
Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak

There are many ways to enjoy the views of the skyline. One way is to head for Kowloon, on the stretch of mainland that faces Hong Kong Island, to get a full panorama of the skyline. My favourite way is to take the wonderfully quaint funicular railway on the island that takes visitors up to Victoria Peak, the island’s highest point. Choose a clear day, take the funicular to the top just before sunset and head straight for the viewing platform at The Peak (and skip the other tacky tourist activities). The view is indeed baffling. If your timing is right, you’ll get to see the skyline and harbour just as the sun bathes all the gleaming skyscrapers in a rich red-orangy glow, then the lights come on and the city turns into a dazzling fairyland. Look out for The Center, a 73-story skyscraper (from The Peak, it should be right in front of you; in the photo above, it’s the tower with the pinkish crown and a single spire on the left), which has an amazing hightech lighting system on its external face that creates a dynamic display of lights in a multitude of colours and patterns.

Every evening at 8pm, the magnificent skyline celebrates itself with a spectacular light and laser show. The best place to view this ‘Symphony of Lights‘ (recognised by the Guinness World Records as the ‘largest permanent light and sound show’) is from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon. Even better is to have a romantic dinner at the Peninsula Hotel while the Hong Kong skyline performs its dazzling show for you.

18 Responses

  • Peter, I lived in Hong Kong from 1991-98 and that wasn’t a problem until 1997. The reason is because of power plants across the border that came online at that time. All of a sudden, the air quality in Hong Kong rapidly deteriorated.

  • you are so lucky , I was in Hong Kong like 3 month. And I havent see 1 day clear sky. The day I went to the Peak was the worse. The only thing i can see is fog , lucky you.

  • As I outline in my article, The Solitude of Hong Kong, I recommend people take the time to do a circumambulation of The Peak just before sunset so that they can see Hong Kong in daylight, during sunset, and after dark.

    There are a number of different perspectives one can get of the city. Seeing the skyline from The Peak and Tsim Sha Tsui are the most popular spots, especially for people who do not have much time to spend in the city. Alternatively, you could take a bit more time to hike above North Point or to Lion Rock for a perspective few visitors have personally experienced.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference
    — Robert Frost

  • Whilst looking up at your Petronas Towers and KL tower last night I was thinking about my favourite skyline. I decided the view from Aqua Restaurant on Kowloon overlooking Hong Kong was easilly my number one.

    From the sounds of it it’s a very similar view than that from the Peninsular. It’s amazing, thanks for the photo.


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  • A light show *every* night! I bet you can see the city from Saturn it’s so bright.

  • As I mentioned in my recent Hong Kong trip report, don’t forget that if you book the 7:45 junk boat cruise, you can see the light show relaxing out in the harbour. One of the best experiences of Hong Kong!

  • Hi Andy,
    Thanks for your comment and the tip! I missed that cruise. I’ll certainly look it up next time I’m there.

    Best regards,

  • Hi Rich,
    That’s a fantastic story! Thanks for sharing it here. Have you considered becoming a travel writer? 😉 LOL!
    I once had a similar experience too. Those were the days when you flew into Kai Tak airport, in the heart of HK, and could almost wave to the people inside the skyscrapers as you flew by!


  • My first time flying into Hong Kong is something I will never forget. My dad (a now retired UA employee) had given me space available passes to take my girlfriend, (now wife) on a trip. We decided to go to Australia and just kind of cruise around the east coast for 3 weeks. After 2 straight days of full flights to SYD with no seats avail and things not looking much better in the days to come we needed to rethink our trip. We walked over to the monitors and I noticed that a flight was leaving for HKG within the hour. I looked at her… she smiled and the next thing I knew we in biz class on our way to HKG. We had a fantastic flight and flew into HKG just as the sun was beginning to set. The buildings reminded me of emeralds due to their color and shape and the sky was a beautiful pink. I really felt something. It reminded me of Emerald city.

    We ended up staying in HKG for a few days and then spent the rest of our time exploring Thailand’s islands and beaches… thanks to a lonely planet guidebook we spotted in the window of a book store near the star ferry.

  • Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for your comment. HK is certainly a vibrant city and it’s awesome when lit up at night and the weather is clear. The laser show is truly spectacular. Getting around HK is easy. There’s a very efficient underground rail system and there are many taxis/buses. In addition, there are many ferries which shuttle passengers across the harbour (take the quaint Star ferry for some fab views) and to the other islands. Oh, did I also mention that shopping there is pretty ‘out-of-this-world’?!

    Absolutely love it there!


  • Thanks for sharing the great information on Hong Kong. It’s a popular destination for many people. I bet the city is something to see when it’s LIT UP at night!

    Hong Kong does have a spectacular skyline. Look at all of those skyscrapers! Hong seems like a very vibrant city. How easy is it to navigate? I can’t imagine all of the taxis “crammed” into the city.

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