Worth the trip, but only just
Related Post: Check out my post Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong for more photos and facts.
Central from above
Fancy grabbing an elevated view of Central and Victoria Harbour from one of Hong Kong’s most iconic skyscrapers? Well get yourself to the Bank of China Tower observation deck and you can do exactly that.
As the world’s most high-rise city, Hong Kong is curiously lacking on the observation deck front. Only one of Hong Kong’s major skyscrapers, the ICC, is currently accessible to anywhere near a spectacular height, and even then you’ll be paying upwards of $100 for the privilege.
There’s the sky lobby at Central Plaza, of course. But though the 46th floor, 360° view over Wan Chai and beyond makes it easily the best free view of any of the Hong Kong skyscrapers, you’re still only half way up the thing, and unless you’re in the know, it’s unlikely to make many a to-do list when there are so many more ‘famous’ buildings waiting to be conquered.
The Bank of China Tower is certainly famous. It may be eight stories shorter than Central Plaza and now only the fourth tallest building in Hong Kong, but it is perhaps the most recognisable skyscraper of the lot. Its unique design and pride of place in the centre of the Hong Kong skyline has ensured its place as one of Hong Kong’s most identifiable landmarks. All the more disappointing then, that the 43rd floor viewing deck is largely a bit of a let down.
Firstly, 43 floors out of 70 is a paltry return for such an iconic building. If it was a transfer floor or a sky lobby you could perhaps make an exception. But for a genuine viewing deck there’s definitely a feeling of having been a little short changed. Not that you have to pay of course. But then to be disappointed even though it is free tells you something about the experience.
The view itself is okay. To the left you can look down on Government House and St John’s Cathedral. Directly ahead you can see Statue Square and the Legislative Council Building across the road from the original Bank of China building. You also get decent views of the other Hong Kong skyscrapers, IFC and The Centre, as well as ICC over the water in Kowloon, whilst on a clear day you can even see out to Tai Mo Shan and the Tsing Ma Bridge. But you always seem to be straining to see more.
The single bank of windows only cover about 180° of the full field of view, so there’s a lot of pressing faces against glass trying to peer round impossible corners. But if it’s a clear day and you have a bit of patience, there are some pretty good views to be had and some decent photos to be taken. There’s also a Bank of China Tower model – in some kind of attempt at a display – showing Central as it was in the early 90s when the building first opened.
If you haven’t been before and you’ve got a head for half-arsed heights, the Bank of China Tower observation deck is certainly worth checking out for yourself. You may be left with the same ‘is that it?’ feeling as I was, but it’s no hassle getting up there, there’ll be no queues, and at least you can say you’ve done it.
You’ll have to take some photo ID which you show at the front desk as you go in. You’ll be given a visitor pass which you use to enter the lift area for the express lift to floor 43. You’ll also have to have your bags x-rayed.
Opening Hours: The viewing deck is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 8am until 2pm. Sundays are closed.
Read More: You can find out about Hong Kong’s other skyscraper observation decks at tag: observation decks.
Prints & Downlaods: Photos are available as prints and licensed downloads via the galleries section.