There are many ‘must-see/do’ things in Hong Kong, and the Peak Tram is definitely one of them. It’s a funicular railway which carries both tourists and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island.
The fact that the tram station is literally right outside the Squash Centre means that players, coaches and other squash visitors have no excuse no to experience it, yet many haven’t, despite being so close to it over the course of many Hong Kong Opens.
Hong Kong Squash helpfully organised a trip on the afternoon of Day Three with all the remaining players invited to take the trip on a specially-booked tram just for us, and the turnout was very good with over 30 assembling outside the Sports Centre (which is also right next to the Squash Centre).
Group photos taken, it was time to embark on the trip up to the Peak, which offers shopping and dining opportunities, and the best views over Hong Kong city and harbour (weather permitting, more on that later).
The Tram – opened in 1888 – had only reopened late in August after a lengthy and substantial refurbishment, so we were going to be among the first to get the new experience.
Rory Stewart was keen to know if this was the tallest Peak in Hong Kong, and if not why were we going up it, but once we explained what were were going up to Rory was happy.
The tram ride is steep – very steep, and on the way up you pass close by residential buildings – complete with bamboo scaffolding – over the top of roads, and through green spaces before you start to see how high you’re going.
But when you do emerge from the greenery – after a couple of stops along the way as this is a working tram with stations to serve, not just a tourist attraction – you get your first view of Hong Kong from above, and it’s time to get your camera phones out !
Once at the top it’s a couple of escalators through the shopping area to the top of the Peak, where you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of the Harbour and Hong Kong’s famous skyscrapers.
Well, on a good day you will, but the cloud and mist were descending as we were going up, and by the time we got there the views were somewhat less than perfect.
Still, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip up and took the opportunity for not-many-times-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities, with six-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini taking charge of the Egyptian photo-shoot.
Peak achieved, the organisers headed downwards for the evening session matches, leaving the players to enjoy the rest of their time at the Peak – the last Tram back down is 10pm and our betting is that that’s the one Rory took …