Over the last two decades, I’ve been to Hong Kong many times and mostly only looked at it for the food, the city life, the metro, the islands, star ferry and so on. Did I mention food? However, the last couple of times, I’ve had a very different perspective, especially as someone who loves to run far on trails. Now all I see in Hong Kong are primarily peaks and mountains with a smattering of high-rise housing in the middle of it all. I recently was there on a business trip and took advantage of my jet lag (waking up really early) to explore Victoria Peak. Here’s my Strava activity from the run.
Exploring Victoria Peak
I woke up jet-lagged at 4:30am and took a cab from my hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui to the Zoo, mostly because it was an easy landmark to start and finish the run. I’d originally mapped a route from Central station, but the Zoo wasn’t that far. Having failed to summit Ma On Shan peak (100% hot, 100% humid, 100% steep and not enough time to explore) just days before, the early morning was such a welcome change. I started up from the Zoo on the steep incline to catch Old Peak Road that heads somewhat parallel to the tram. I was the only one on this road this early and it was starting to rain.
By the time I reached the top of the tram, the rain was coming down hard and I was soaked through, but luckily no lightning. Compared to freezing rains in California, the warm rain was so much more fun. From the tram I headed up Mt. Austin Road, past Victoria Peak Garden, all the way to the very top of the peak and turned back down to the tram. Looping around the Peak, the Peel Rise Road started descending down into what looked like a semi-maintained road. Everything was lush and wet, but the rain had long stopped. Now this was a side of Hong Kong that I bet most people haven’t seen.
Peel Rise Road eventually intersected with the Hong Kong trail. It followed the outskirts of the Pok Fu Lam reservoir and at some point I hit a dead-end. Turns out just yards before that there was a sharp right turn climbing back up around and towards the peak. The initial set of stairs were steep, slippery, but views of Aberdeen were spectacular.
Started seeing folks along the trail which was now a gentle roller leading up to Pok Fu Lam reservoir road intersection. The last stretch was again a steep climb back up to the Peak Lookout where the sun was out with spectacular views of the island and the harbor.
Took a breather at the peak and traced Old Peak Road back down to the Zoo. The route was about 10 miles with about ~3,000ft vertical, but definitely a very different side of Hong Kong. On my bucket list is the Trans Lantau 100K set in Lantau Island. With a cumulative elevation gain/loss of ~19,000 feet, it’s got to be an amazing run!
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