Hong Kong’s skyline glitters and glistens, a vibrant conglomeration of lights and skyscrapers standing proud above the harbour. This is one of the world’s great skylines, an iconic backdrop to an island of unabated energy.
Visit Hong Kong and you can’t miss the skyline. The skyscrapers act as compass points, always guiding you to Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. But a series of places provide the ultimate viewpoints. Some are best during the day, others for when the 8pm Symphony of Lights bathes Hong Kong in an impressive light and sound show.
1. The Avenue of Stars and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Gazing across Victoria Harbour and filled with statuesque figures of Hong Kong’s movie icons, the Avenue of Stars provides a spectacular morning view of the Hong Kong skyline. With the sun rising behind you, it’s the best place for a daytime photo of the towering skyscrapers. Stroll past the sculptures to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and there’s a wide selection of cafés and benches with views across the harbour. While the evenings can be chaotic and crowded here, mornings are relaxed and you won’t struggle to get a seat with prime views.
2. Victoria Peak
Rising 552 meters above the former British colony, Victoria Peak is the best way to experience the Hong Kong skyline from above. A cute funicular railway ascends from St. John’s Cathedral all the way to Peak Tower, gradually bringing you above this world-renowned skyline. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon. Enjoy a meal at the Peak Lookout restaurant, relax in the verdant surroundings of Victoria Peak Garden and gaze across the city from one of the many coin operated telescopes. On a clear, cloudless day, the panoramas are astonishing.
3. On a Victoria Harbour cruise
Hundreds of sightseeing ferries cross the waters between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, providing prime views from Victoria Harbour. They’ve become one of the most iconic experiences of a Hong Kong holiday and there’s lots of choice, from no-frills metal junks to elegant sail ships offering lunch and dinner packages. With beams flashing on both sides, a Victoria Harbour cruise is a great way to fully experience the Symphony of Lights. At 8pm every day, over 40 skyscrapers on both sides of the harbour light up with a hypnotic display of choreographed lights. The colours bounce off the water and illuminate the sky, making it difficult to know which way to look. Most Victoria Harbour cruises don’t require advance booking. The more expensive dining cruises have the extra advantage of being more spacious. While Public Star Ferry and Aqua Luna ships are the cheapest.
4. The Central Waterfront Promenade and Central Star Ferry Pier
Hong Kong Island has finally developed its own version of the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. While you could always get some excellent Hong Kong skyline views from the Star Ferry piers, it’s only in the last year that a promenade has been built on this side of the water. That means more space and a leisurely waterfront stroll past landscaped gardens, cafés and numerous viewing platforms. The panoramas are particularly impressive during the afternoons on your Hong Kong holiday.
5. The Hong Kong Ferris Wheel
Modelled on the London Eye, Hong Kong’s shiny new observation wheel provides the best skyline vistas from the Hong Kong Island side of Victoria Harbour. The air-conditioned capsules rise to 60 meters and hold eight to ten seated passengers, taking 20 minutes to provide 360 degree views. With every ticket you get three rounds on the wheel – tripling the chances of the perfect Hong Kong skyline photos. It’s arguably the best place to watch the sunset.
6. The Sky100 Observation Deck
On the 100th floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the 393 metre ICC, Sky100 stands practically opposite Victoria Peak. A glass floor elevator takes you to unrivalled views of Kowloon, the skyscrapers resplendent beneath rugged green mountains. Coming just before sunset ensures you get day time and night time views for a single entrance ticket, with the viewing platform running 360 degrees around the deck. A café allows you to sip tea with a view, but note that glass reflections mean it’s not the premier place for photos. Sometimes the observation deck is closed for private functions – if the deck is closed, visit the Ozone Bar on the 118th floor of the ICC. The drinks are phenomenally expensive but it’s an opulent treat on any Hong Kong holiday.