After seeing the crowds waiting for The Peak tram in Hong Kong, I decided that I should try to go up a different way, on the public bus 15C which you can find easily, outside the Star Ferry Pier on Hong Kong Island. The bus was nearly empty and I was able to sit on the upper deck in the front row seat. From Central, the bus went through Admiralty and Wanchai before weaving its way up the hills of Hong Kong. The view is fantastic from here, better than anything you will see on the tram, though I did feel vertigo almost the entire way. In some places I was surprised that the bus could even negotiate the tight turn. We passed cemeteries spread out along the hillside on prime real estate, and inched towards the back of the island. Suddenly the apartment towers thinned out. There were trees and the sight of the sea, looking empty without Kowloon on the other side.
It’s actually shocking how small this island really is and how lopsided in terms of development. We passed upscale if desolate and lonely-looking condos, and gated villas which must have the most incredible views. There was also a local housing estate which was the only crowded spot on this side of the island. I couldn’t decide if the residents there must feel lucky to have such views or if they must wish to be closer to the hubbub and shops and restaurants of the other side of the island—probably the latter. Once on The Peak, I got a coffee from the Starbucks there, although I was sorry to see it there, I just couldn’t resist and walked along the footpaths. The crowds stay near the tram area and the shopping centre, and once you venture away from there you are almost on your own. Two blond Russians were taking photos of each other posing on the wall with the towers as a backdrop and seemed startled that I had come upon them. The views down to Central are staggering; it almost seems impossible that the city was built up this way. The view must be magnificent at night. Nearer at hand I came across a few stand-alone bungalows, one with a sweet garden and terrace and a terrier that seemed to be enjoying himself. Once in a while a car would inch by and I realized I was not on a footpath at all but a street that residents of these bungalows must negotiate carefully each time they leave the house. I wanted to walk down along this road but it was so steep that my knees began to hurt, so I walked back to The Peak and out of laziness took the tram down to the Midlevels. It wasn’t pleasant riding backwards down the hill, there was no view on my side of the tram, and I was sorry that I didn’t take the bus again. How could I have been so lazy? I missed the chance to experience that ride again!