Victoria Peak is the pinnacle of Hong Kong Island, standing 428 metres above sea level. It has been an attraction since the early 19th century, following the opening of the historic Peak Tram in 1888.

Today it remains a Hong Kong must-see, with millions of visitors flocking to the top every year. It may be a tourist trap, but it is absolutely worth it for the amazing views of all of Hong Kong.

Like most tourist attractions, the costs can really add up. However, there are ways to do The Peak for free, or at least for very cheap, depending on how tight of a budget you are on. To help keep your wallet intact, here are our top cheapo tips on how to save money at The Peak.

Step 1: Get there for cheap or free

Option 1: Take the tram (cheap)

It is definitely an incredible trip up the mountain in this funicular cable car which whisks you from Central to The Peak in what feels like a vertical ride. The Peak Tram ticket actually isn’t expensive, at HK$52.00 for an adult return ticket. If you do want to take the tram, just buy the regular return ticket, instead of the Sky Pass Ticket for HK$88.00, which includes access to Sky Terrace 428, the observation deck at the top of the Peak Tower. Later, we’ll tell you where to go to see the same view, for free, minus the tourist hordes.

red tram
Photo by Gregory Lane

Option 2: Take a crazy bus ride (cheaper)

A cheaper option is to take the bus. From outside Central Pier 5, you can catch the New World First Bus #15, which takes you on a fast-paced winding trip from sea level up to The Peak, with incredible views all along the way. The bus is pretty frequent, leaving every 7 to 15 minutes, and costs just HK$10.30. (Remember to bring your Octopus Card!) The biggest benefit of taking the bus is that you won’t have to waste time waiting (and pushing and shoving) in the ridiculously long lines at the Peak Tram. After exploring, you can take the same bus back down to Central.

Option 3: Hike The Peak (free)

This can be done either one-way or round-trip, depending on how adventurous (or fit) you are. We recently wrote an article about how to hike up and down The Peak, which gives a step-by-step route to walk from Central up to The Peak and down again through Pok Fu Lam. There are other routes, such as the Lung Fu Shan Morning Trail, which starts close to HKU MTR Station. Or you can take the bus or tram up, and walk down to the city.

Victoria peak view
Photo by iStock.com/CHUNYIP WONG

Step 2: See the view for free

If you choose to take the tram, you’ll find yourself deposited into the biggest tourist trap of them all—the Peak Tower. Overpriced souvenirs, expensive restaurants, you know how it goes. Ditch the Peak Tower completely, and skip its observation deck, Sky Terrace 428, which costs HK$52.00 for entry.

Instead, take in that same million-dollar view for absolutely free from these nearby viewpoints:

  • Lion’s Pavilion: Located just a few steps east of the Tower on a shady path, the Lion’s Pavilion looks out over Hong Kong, and you can also see the tram coming up the hill right below you. The Lion’s Pavilion also has some lovely Chinese arches, and some small snarling stone lions to pose with. Sometimes hawkers are selling souvenirs around this area

    Lion Pavilion

  • Peak Galleria Observation Deck: Next to the Peak Tower is the Peak Galleria, a shopping and entertainment complex (note: the Peak Galleria is set to reopen in late 2019). At the bottom of the Galleria is the Bus Terminal, and on the top of the Galleria is an open-access observation deck, which also has great views that you can enjoy, for free.
  • view of hong kong
    The exterior of the new Peak Galleria | Photo by Peak Galleria
  • Lugard Road Lookout: Take a lovely stroll along Lugard Road, which is just left (west) of the Peak Tower, and you’ll come to a fantastic lookout spot with uninterrupted views and hardly any people. You can actually walk all the way around The Peak via Lugard Road and admire the views from different sides of the mountain.
  • Step 3: Skip the other ‘attractions’

    The Peak Tower is full of money-trap attractions, like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Many people buy a combination ticket that includes a return trip on the Peak Tram, entrance to Sky Terrace 428, and entrance to the wax museum, but this costs HK$350.00 and up.

    Instead, you can take some free and funny pics at the Madness 3D Adventure, where you can pose with huge 3D artworks. For example, you can pretend to pull the Peak Tram up the hill, or scramble up a tower of buns at the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, or pose with a panda. The Madness 3D Adventure is on Level 1 of the Peak Tower, and entry is free.

    Step 4: Skip the pricey restaurants

    Unfortunately there are not a lot of budget options for eating something at the summit. There are four cheapish places in the Peak Tower: Burger King, Pacific Coffee, and two local cafes, Hong Kong Day and Mimi Desserts.

    Avoid visiting around lunch time. Instead, save your money for eating some good dim sum when you get back down to the city. We recommend Tim Ho Wan in Central—be sure to read our restaurant review of the ‘world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant’.

    dim sum
    Pork patty with steamed shrimp dumpling Chiu chow style | Photo by Apple Mandy