My girlfriend Sarah and I were not happy. We arrived at the Peak Tram boarding station to find the scenic track closed for maintenance. Adding insult to injury, an apologetic agent pointed us around the corner to the #15 bus. We had expected to make the 1200-foot ascent to the Peak, one of Hong Kong ‘s main attractions, in the iconic tram car. Instead, we were taking public transportation.
But soon after the bus began to ascend the twisting roadway, our discontent vanished. Even on the double-decker’s lower level, the views on this scenic route are astounding. The towering impossibility of Hong Kong’s skyline was soon far below us, and the luxury residences of Hong Kong’s most exclusive neighborhood began to reveal themselves from their mountainside perches. At one point, a sprawling, tiered cemetery clung above a sheer drop, an eerie but spectacular sight.
The only thing as enthralling as the view on the #15 bus is the feel of it. The bus pings around tight corners on a tightrope artery, oncoming traffic to the right, vertigo-inducing height to the left. Somewhere along the way, you realize what the swerving, curving sensation reminds you of: a nervous game of Pac-Man in the final level.
I’m sorry to have missed the Peak Tram, but the #15 rates on the list of rides of my life. My suggestion: take the Peak Tram to the summit and return on the #15. Make sure to snag a seat on the bus’s upper level, where the experience is more acute.
Back at street-level, the 15 travels towards Central along main roads in SoHo and astride the double-decker tram line. Bus 15B travels between Causeway Bay and the Peak. Check the morning route on the 15 if traveling before 10 am.
The Peak Tram resumed service on March 8, 2008