Getting a view is not difficult in Hong Kong, where there are so many restaurants and hotels right on the waterfront. But how good a view you can get is the question, and visitors who are short on time are eager to find out.
To see a memorable panorama in Hong Kong, you either have to get as close to the water as possible, or go as high up the hill as you can. Some say that the Kowloon side offers the best views, looking over Hong Kong Island’s most historic buildings, while some argue that the Hong Kong side is better, facing Kowloon’s tallest, most innovative skyscrapers. Here are our tips for enjoying the best views of the city with a scenic tour in style...
A stunning view of Hong Kong from Braemar Hill, photo: Flickr.com/Elias Wong
Some of Hong Kong’s landmarks are popular lookouts. The Peak, beloved by locals and visitors since colonial times, is full of historic charm. So is the iconic Central Pier where you can take a stroll, or hop on Star Ferry for a view right from the water. For a leisurely evening, or to spend a great night out with friends, hop on a 45-minute Victoria Harbour cruise aboard Aqua Luna’s Chinese red sail junk, where you can kick back and enjoy the picture-perfect experience.
Looking on Victoria Harbour, photo: source: Flickr/Elias Wong
Another view that truly represents Hong Kong is the Happy Valley Racecourse. Get tickets for a Wednesday evening race, and take part in one of the city’s oldest, most popular spectator sports. Under the night sky, countless luxury residential high-rises with their beautiful lights surround the sumptuously landscaped racecourse.
Another residential area with a good view is Braemar Hill. Wedged between two parks, this little neighbourhood has always been prized for its lofty location. The panoramic vista stretches from Hong Kong Stadium on the island, all the way to the north-western tip of Kowloon. Simply breathtaking.
Sweeping views from Happy Valley Racecourse, photo: Flickr.com/Darren Poon
For sweeping views from Kowloon, head to Harlan’s restaurant on Nathan Road. Make reservations for a table on the 19th floor glass terrace, where the view down brightly-lit Nathan Road, the skate pipe-shaped Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Victoria Harbour is wonderful.
Just down Nathan Road is iSquare, where you will find Eyebar’s expansive terrace on the 30th floor. Here, the view is higher and even closer to the Cultural Centre and waterfront. Comfortable rattan lounges mean you can stay as long as you like.
Eyebar on the 30th floor of iSquare, Nathan Road
If you have no problem with heights, go up the ICC to experience Inayaka on the 101st floor and Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s Ozone bar on the 118th floor. Though for sound architectural and safety reasons, these vertiginous venues do not have terraces, the bird’s eye view reveals how dense the city is, closed in by rolling hilltops. For decades, international and local architects have achieved the impossible, building upon hillsides and reclaimed land despite geographical challenges. Combining height and a unique angle, the ICC is a surreal experience.
View from Ozone, located on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
For panoramic views, there are quite a few selections on Hong Kong Island. ToTT's restaurant is housed within one of Hong Kong’s most iconic hotels, the Excelsior, in one of the most historic districts, Causeway Bay. While ToTT’s height on the 34th floor is indeed impressive, what’s truly special is that the terrace looks over the Eastern Corridor, the city’s very first motorway, and the futuristic Convention & Exhibition Centre – it’s really past-and-present Hong Kong in a postcard.
ToTT’s opens on to HKCEC and the Eastern Corridor from the 34th floor
A short walk takes you to the World Trade Center, where Hooray’s 1,400-square-metre terrace on the water lets you see both shores of Victoria Harbour. One on each side, the IFC and ICC look like a real architectural face-off.
If you are looking for a hilly view head to Wanchai’s Wooloomooloo Steakhouse. From the 31st floor, historic Hennessy Road stretches into the distance as the Happy Valley Racecourse sits in the background amongst high and low-rises.
Hooray's panoramic terrace looks upon both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Moving on to Central, luxury shoppers love Sevva in the Prince’s Building. There is nothing that beats a drink on the terrace, bathed in HSBC Building’s cool neon light, as you gaze upon the colonial Legislative Council and the Cenotaph.
With time to spare, you can zip over to Sugar, and, from its deck, admire the sleek new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal poised on the calm waters of Kowloon Bay. Definitely worth the 20-minute MTR ride just to see this.
Sevva's terrace perches over one of Hong Kong's oldest monuments, the Cenotaph