When you are looking for a classic viewing platform without having to dress up for one of the many famous fancy rooftop bars and restaurants, one would think that a city like Hong Kong (that literally consists of skyscrapers) has quite a selection on offer. But wrong thought. The supreme skyline view comes predominantly at high cost for a drink or a meal. But not everywhere…
It was my fourth consecutive month to visit Asia´s world city and as always during the hot and steamy summer months, the weather forecast lied somewhere in between rain, rain, rain and broken clouds with sunshine. The air felt like being trapped in a steamer and every step forced pearls of sweat onto my forehead.
I was up since almost 2 am at night, not the most successful sleep I had in the last couple of weeks, but I used the quietness for reading and just chilling in bed until the set of dawn. With the early light, I jumped into my running gear and finished my errand along the entire Hung Hom Promenade in a little bit under 40 minutes, just in time before it actually got too hot and humid for me to jog comfortably.
After a refreshing shower, I took the hotel shuttle bus down to Tsim Sha Tsui ferry station and crossed Victoria Harbor over to Wan Chai, where I sat down for a huge cappuccino at my formerly coffee hot spot. The weather had looked quite stable for the first half of the day and even though it was extremely hot outside, I wanted to do something in the fresh air rather than hanging around in one of the many acclimatized shopping malls or museums.
I truly was in the mood for some panoramic views. But the temperatures were way too high to go hiking in the hills and I was not in the mood to spend a fortune on drinks in one of the countless highrise bars that Hong Kong offers. So while being wide awake this early morning, I did some research on other possible lookouts around the city. And I did find a hand full. And the best: They all come completely free of charge!
Even though it was listed on various websites and blogs, upon my visit to one of Hong Kong´s most iconic skyscrapers in the Central District I learned that the viewing platform had been closed a few years ago. So as of July 2018, no need to stop by here (unless you enjoy marveling at one of my most favorite highrise buildings in the entire world!).
Having been the tallest building in Asia between 1992 and 1996, the triangular-shaped tower with its distinctive antenna on top still remains No 3 in terms of height these days. And with its prime location in the Wan Chai business district, you will enjoy a fantastic 360 degrees panorama from the Sky Lobby on the 46th floor. Simply take the escalators up and hold on to the elevators to the right. The helpful ladies from the information desk will also help you find your way. The view is marvelous! The only letdown was the extremely reflecting windows which made photography a bit tricky. But apart from that, well worth the trip!
The International Finance Center belongs to the Hong Kong skyline since 2003. It would have been the perfect location for a public viewing platform due to its prime position on Hong Kong Island, but all you can get (if you know about it) is a partly view from the little museum like area hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Info Center on the 55th floor. It features a tiny but interesting exhibition about the Hong Kong Dollar in the course of history, yet the outlook captured my attention more. Even if it is just partial over Central and Sheung Wan. Note: You will have to bring your ID for a registered visitor´s pass. Construction works were going on as of July 2018 which left about half of the space being impassable.
Not quite on the same height as its predecessors, the modernly designed rooftop terrace still offers fantastic panoramic views over Central, Victoria Harbor and Kowloon. The big advantage, you can get yourself something to eat and drink and enjoy your meal while being captured by the vista.
Located a little bit off the busy Wan Chai and Central districts, One Island East names a 69-storeys office tower in the Quarry Bay area on Hong Kong Island. Just a few minutes away from Tai Koo metro station. Compared to the other skyscrapers, it´s sky lobby on the 37th floor comes the closest to a classic observation platform. It spans over two floors (37 & 38) and offers 360 degrees panoramic views over the Eastern neighborhoods and Kai Tak on the other side of Victoria Harbor. There is a high quality deli with seating available as well, which is used as lunch venue for the office workers. From all locations, this is by far my favorite one. So do not miss this!