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On Top of Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is the mountain rising up above the fancy part of town – Hong Kong Island – and coincidentally offers the best view of Hong Kong from above. To get this famous view, it is best to walk along the road making a circuit around the mountain range, which takes about an hour to complete. If you’re wearing somewhat appropriate shoes that is.
Seriously, you female hikers in 10-inch high heels – how do you do it?
On the city side of the trail (the other side only offers views of nothing but lush backcountry forests), there are plenty of great viewpoints from where you can photograph the skyline from different angles. Victoria Peak is obviously a huge tourist attraction, but most of the visitors show up in said high heels and either decide or are forced to stick around the extremely crowded tram station. The trails, on the other hand, are surprisingly calm and empty.
Allegedly, you can get a great shot from the roof of the peak tram station, but it costs a fair amount of money and there’s usually a huge crowd up there – not ideal for long exposures and trying to set up a tripod. I found a great alternative at the little pagoda to the left of the station, which offers basically the same view for free and isn’t nearly as packed. I also immensely enjoyed taking shots at the different viewpoints along Lugard Road.
Along the Avenue of Stars
Apart from Victoria Peak, the Avenue of Stars is probably the most popular spot to photograph the Hong Kong skyline. The path along the water is modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and therefore attracts plenty of tourists wanting to pose next to the handprints of their favourite Asian movie star or to get a selfie with the statue of Bruce Lee. Fact is though, that everyone visiting Hong Kong eventually ends up there and a lot of visitors are also trying to get that famous shot of the skyline. Therefore, if you plan on shooting during the blue hour and don’t want to stand on the sidelines behind the masts of several junk boats, show up 30-60 minutes early to get the spot you want.
The Avenue of Stars is located at the Victoria Harbour along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. The ferry terminal is right next door and due to the constant traffic on the water, getting the perfect long exposure shot can sometimes be a bit challenging. However, if you time it right, the light trails from the boats crisscrossing the harbour make for some awesome photos.
At the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
While the Avenue of Stars is absolutely packed at all times of the day, nobody ever thinks of taking the ferry the short distance across the water to the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The building is worth a shot by itself, but the walkway going around the building offers some of the best angles of Hong Kong Island, as well as the Kowloon side of town. Apart from a few couples on their evening stroll, it is usually completely deserted.