Hong Kong Skyline
World's Most Beautiful
Hong Kong skyline is the most beautiful in the world.
Any visitor who has been here would agree.
In Hong Kong, you’ll see the most beautifully designed skyscrapers by world-famous architects. These state-of-the-art buildings do worth a visit.
There is a laser show called A Symphony of Lights held at 8pm daily with 33 buildings participating. Make sure you won’t miss it.
Ideal Place to Admire the Hong Kong Skyline
First, go to Star Ferry on Kowloon side. Turn left while facing the harbour. Take a one-minute walk towards the harbour front. You’ll see the Hong Kong skyline as shown above.
As I live here, let me be the host and introduce the four tallest buildings.
The Four Tallest Buildings in Hong Kong
See if you could spot them on the above Hong Kong skyline photo. From left to right:
Central Plaza | Bank of China Tower | IFC II | The Center
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these buildings and see how we can explore them.
International Finance Centre II (IFC II) – The Tallest
415 meters | 88 storeys | completed in 2003 | designer: Cesar Pelli
Address: 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Central station, Airport Express Hong Kong station
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) offices are situated at the top floors. However you have no chance to visit these sky offices.
Fortunately, HKMA has an Information Centre on the 55/F which is open to public on weekdays from 10am to 6pm, and on Saturday from 10am to 1pm.
The Exhibition Area has a currency section which traces the development of money and banking in Hong Kong and shows examples of coins and notes used over the years in and around Hong Kong. Guided tours are held on weekdays at 10.30am and 2.30pm, and on Saturday on 10.30am. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the tallest building on the Hong Kong skyline.
IFC II has a first class shopping mall. You’ll find it competitive to any other largest shopping malls in New York, London or Paris. Here, you can find the world’s finest anything, though expensive.
Central Plaza – the Second Tallest
374 meters | 78 storeys | completed in 1992
Address: 18 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Wanchai station
There is a sky lobby on the 46/F which is open to public on weekdays from 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
This is the quickest and easiest way to have a 360-degree view of Hong Kong, through the curtain walls.
Sky lobby is where people change left to upper floors. I work in Central Plaza and it is my daily life to use this 5-star lobby. Even so, I find this 360-degree tour of Hong Kong extremely impressive.
There is a Pacific Coffee at the main lift lobby where you can take a break while enjoying harbour view.
The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Grand Hyatt and Renaissance Harbour View are linked to Central Plaza by covered foot bridge.
Bank of China Tower – the Third Tallest
367 meters | 70 storeys | completed in 1992 | Designer: I. M. Pei
Address: 1 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Central station
There is an observation deck on the 43/F, though not 360-degree and is not as 5-star as Central Plaza. However there is a model of the neighbourhood landscape including the Victoria Harbour. It is fun to check the model and spot the actual buildings.
The observation deck is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.
It is an excellent place to take a photo with the IFC II as the backdrop.
The Island Shangrila, Conrad, Marriot, the Hong Kong Park and the Peak Tram station are just nearby.
The Center – the Fourth Tallest
346 meters | 73 storeys | completed in 1998
Address: 99 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Central station, walk along Queen’s Road Central
The Center is gorgeous, day and night. Actually, you don’t have to visit this building as you only have to admire it from distance. It is one of the most remarkable skyscrapers on the Hong Kong skyline.
The building is lit up by colored neon lighting arrangements at night. It is the pioneer in doing so.
There are several other buildings copying the idea and competing on eye-catching lighting schemes.
This is the most beautiful building that changes colour continuously between 8pm and 11pm daily.
Other Landmarks on the Hong Kong Skyline
Hopewell Centre – the Tallest (1980 – 1989), currently no ranking
216 meters | 64 storeys | completed in 1980
Address: 183 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Wanchai station
Hopewell Centre has a sight-seeing lift running between 17/F and 56/F. This one-minute journey is extremely spectacular. You can oversee the most beautiful part of the Hong Kong city, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon.
On the 62/F, there is a revolving restaurant with a misleading name ‘Revolving 66’. Buffet lunch is around HK$180 and dinner around HK$350. I would say the food doesn’t worth it, but the view does.
There are several dim sum restaurants, and many other themed restaurants connected by footbridge. There is also a big supermarket at the basement.
HSBC Headquarters – No Ranking
179 meters | 47 storeys | completed in 1985 | designer: Norman Foster
Address: 1 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Central station
Other than a landmark on the Hong Kong skyline, the HSBC headquarters is also a landmark of Hong Kong.
This solar-lit building is the fourth HSBC building being built on this same site. About 150 years ago, the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation built its first headquarters here.
On Sunday, the ground floor lobby is a major meeting point of overseas maids, and is extremely crowded.
Cheung Kong Center – the Sixth Tallest
283 meters | 62 storeys | completed in 1999
Address: 2 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Direction: MTR Central station, opposite to the Bank of China Tower and HSBC
Cheung Kong Center is extremely innovative. Its appearance is as normal as any other commercial buildings. However after dark, it is just like a huge crystal shining on the Hong Kong skyline.
There aren't that many buildings in the world with the whole structure lit up like that. It has a similar lighting idea like The Center. However Cheung Kong Center has added elements like displaying patterns and letterings. For example, on New Year eve, it displays ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘2006’ alternatively and even with sparkling effects.
This building is very stunning especially at night. It is one of the most attractive skyscrapers on the Hong Kong skyline.
If there is a competition for the most number of ‘best lit skyscapers’, Hong Kong must fetch the crown. The names of IFC II, Central Plaza, The Center, Cheung Kong Center, HSBC and so on, keep appearing on people’s favourite list in many online forums. All these fantastic buildings contribute to the beauty of the Hong Kong skyline.
Among the world’s 10 tallest buildings, Hong Kong has two of them. They are IFC II (6) and Central Plaza (10).
Ranking changes as new buildings are built. The rankings on this page are based on June 2006 numbers. There are subsequent changes. As of 2011, Hong Kong has only one new building on the world's top ten list: The International Commerce Centre (1,588'/108 floors) - ranking 5th.
More photos on Hong Kong Skyline