The Peak Tram is a funicular railway in Hong Kong which plies between Garden Road in Admiralty to, as the name suggests, The Peak. With queues of up to 2 hours during the evening peak hours and throughout the weekends, it is arguably the most popular funicular in Asia to ride on as a destination in itself since there isn’t much to do up there anyway. To shave time off the 2 hour queue, I bought the Peak Tram Fast-Track Combo from Klook before I left for Hong Kong.
However, I was late when meeting up with the guide at 3.30pm. Still made it to The Peak in the end, but here’s what happened…
Meet-Up at Central Station Exit K (Street Level)
Hong Kong – Central Station is a sprawling underground complex with exits popping out seemingly around the place. Exit K, as the high-lettered alphabet suggests, is one of the further exits from the middle part of the station where Tsuen Wan and Island Line trains actually depart, and is a really far walk from Hong Kong Station on the Tung Chung Line and Airport Express.
I got to the meeting point at 3.40pm. Oh well.
Hang around this area, with a totally unrelated drinks stall with a Klook umbrella. This is not your tour guide, if you somehow don’t realise it.
A guy will come around, making announcements in English while holding up a Klook flag. Queue up for registration according to his instructions.
You will receive a Klook sticker to paste on your shirt, for getting the fast-track queue at the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus, as well as the combined return tram ride and Sky Terrace 428 ticket.
However, after one of the staff members checked with her boss or something, we weren’t eligible to use the fast-track queue due to our lateness. Oh well, to Klook‘s credit, the terms and conditions did actually mention it. Considering that “No refunds or rescheduling will be made for no-shows or late arrivals, or if you fail to meet the group on time outside Central MTR Exit K at the start of the tour”, I guess we should be happy that we even got the Peak Tram and Sky Terrace 428 part of the purchase and not a completely forfeited situation.
Walk to Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus
Since we needn’t have to wait for the group to depart as we can’t get the fast-track queue anyway, one of the guides pointed us to the general direction of the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus, and we walked there on our own.
Arrived at Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus after about 7 minutes of walking from Central Station Exit K. Even though we had the tickets for boarding already, the Peak Tram staff said that we still had to queue in the line for those queuing up to buy tickets.
The line was a ridiculous 2 hour wait, starting from across the road.
No, thank you.
Not wanting to waste any time, we had to opt for another kind of fast-track to get up The Peak.
A short walk to the Hong Kong Squash Centre bus stop, and a couple of full buses passing through (no standing on minibuses), we were on our way to The Peak.
Once up there, head up to the roof of the Peak Tower to Sky Terrace 428, the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong standing at 428 metres above sea level. Note that this is defined as the highest viewing platform and not highest point.
The queue to get up to the roof of the Peak Tower aka Sky Terrace 428.
The postcard views from Sky Terrace 428. While you could easily go to Google or, well, buy a postcard of this postcard view, I guess the purpose of coming up to The Peak would be to actually take such a picture by yourself.
The sunset from Sky Terrace 428 facing the outlying islands.
The queue for the Peak Tram ride back down to Garden Road is a lot shorter than for the one coming up to The Peak. The queue lasted for about 20 minutes, which means there were two train-loads of passengers before us.
If you choose to do this journey by yourself without the visit to Sky Terrace 428, the one-way Peak Tram ticket will cost you HK$32, payable by cash or Octopus.
If you are paying by Octopus, simply tap your card against the reader on the turnstile. If paying by cash, buy your ticket from the counter just beside it.
While the platform is very narrow, it helps regulate the flow of passengers since each tram can only take 120 passengers (95 seated and 25 standing) anyway. You will enter the platform based on the available space on the next train.
The Peak Tram comes every 10 to 15 minutes. Passengers will alight from the right side, and boarding will be from the left side after the passengers have all alighted from the tram. This is also known as the Spanish solution.
Inside the rather full Peak Tram. Since there wasn’t any more seats available, I opted for the best standing spot on board.
The cab view definitely beats getting an aisle or middle seat on the Peak Tram.
Departing from The Peak terminus.
The Peak Tram‘s route length is 1.365km long and contrary to what most people would experience ie. just boarding the tram to get a nice view of Hong Kong and to get to The Peak non-stop, the Peak Tram has 4 intermediate stations along the route namely Barker Road, May Road, MacDonnell Road and Kennedy Road to serve the surrounding areas along the route. However, these intermediate stations are only request stops and may not be in operation when the Peak Tram has long queues formed at the terminals.
Approaching Barker Road station.
Barker Road is the only intermediate station which actually looks like a proper station with its covered roof. The other 3 are just simple platforms with a small shelter in the middle.
The track runs parallel to the Hong Kong skyline only between The Peak and the left curve down to Garden Road, so if you’re planning to take any shots of it, be ready to snap them as soon as the tram starts its descend from The Peak.
Entering the Abt passing loop before the curve to Garden Road.
The line still runs on the single track formation on the curve, but the passing loop was probably placed higher up since the terrain in this sector does not allow for much space for the point.
There is a steep “dive” after the curve and between the rock cutting.
Entering the passing point.
Exiting the Abt passing loop and passing by May Road station.
Passing by MacDonnell Road station.
Passing by a disused tram on display outside the disused depot. This was unique to the Peak Tram as a normal funicular system would only operate with two permanent cars attached to the cable, but this system had a spare car in a shed with a point diverging from the main line to the shed, allowing cars to be taken out of service for maintenance while normal services are running.
Passing by Kennedy Road station.
Arriving at Garden Road terminus.
Lots of passengers still queuing to board the Peak Tram even at 6pm.
The bottom end of the line.
Overall, the Peak Tram Fast-Track Combo from Klook would be worthwhile as while you would still need to queue for another 20 to 30 minutes, you’ll be shaving almost 1.5 hours off your total queue time for the Peak Tram ride up to The Peak. I think it’s quite fair that we weren’t entitled to the fast-track queue when we were late as adding additional people to the fast-track would only slow down the general queue even more.
That being said though, the Peak Tram ride might only be a one-time experience, just for bragging rights to say that you’ve been on the Peak Tram while in Hong Kong. If you have visited Hong Kong multiple times, you wouldn’t want to go back again thanks to the ever-growing queues and the anti-climatic end of the ride at The Peak.
Unless, of course, you’re the owner of RailTravel Station where train rides are the only thing that’s done on holidays.