Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is part of the renowned chain of wax museums founded by outstanding French artist Marie Tussaud (1761-1850), well known all over the world for her wax products). It was opened in 2000 at the second floor of the Peak Tower (on Victoria Peak) on Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. Since its opening, it has drawn the attention of numerous visitors.
In September 2005, in an effort to bring an interactive and immersive entertainment experience to visitors, it began its renovation, at a cost of HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) and, on May 18, 2006, reopened, adding a further 700 sq. m. (7,500 sq. ft.) of exhibition space on three floors and five themed areas.
Though this was my second visit to The Peak, it was only my first visit to this museum. Upon entry, we journeyed through each incredibly lifelike wax figure of “stars,” stopping to immerse ourselves with K-pop culture at K-wave Zone, practiced our kung fu moves with Bruce Lee at Kung Fu Zone, glammed it up with Taylor Swift and Madonna on stage, enjoy the patterned world of Yayoi Kusama, and took selfies with some of the world’s most respected historical and political leaders.
Here are some interesting trivia regarding this museum:
- It is the first Madame Tussauds museum in Asia (the others are in Shanghai branch, which opened in 2006, and the third in Bangkok, which opened in 2010).
- The museum houses over 100 wax likenesses of internationally known personalities and local celebrities to date, and 11 interactive zones.
- Asian figures take up more than a third of the total (16 are Hong Kongers) and Asian celebrities and superstars have often graced the unveiling of their wax likenesses, with sizable groups of their fans tagging along.
- The wax figures are featured in a range of themed settings such as Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions and World Premiere.
- The figure of Miriam Yeung (well known for her fun-loving and bubbly personality), unveiled on November 2006, is the first in the world designed to giggle via in-built sensors.
- The figure of Connie Chan Po-chu, unveiled on August 2006, was the first figure to appear in full Chinese regalia. The model’s costume was inspired by the musical Only You, set in the Yuan Dynasty, in which Chan formerly starred.
- The figure of Bae Yong-joon, unveiled on May 2006, is the first Korean star to be included in a Madame Tussauds exhibition.
- The figure of Andy Lau, unveiled on April 2005, was the first animatronic model that was crafted out of silicone rather than wax. Lau’s animatronic heartbeat was modeled on a similar system installed in a replica of Brad Pitt at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam.
- In 2019, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will be the first Filipino to have her wax figure in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.
Celebrities and historical figures from Hong Kong include Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Kelly Chen, Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi, Aaron Kwok Fu-shing, Donnie Yen Ji-dan (added on April 30, 2010), Janice M. Vidal (added on July 18, 2007), Sandra Ng, Lee Lai Shan, Andy Lau Te-wah, Leo Ku (added on April 4, 2007), Miriam Yeung, Sir Ka-shing Li, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen (added on April 7, 2008), Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, Joey Yung, Anita Mui Yim-fong and Leon Lai-ming.
Other Asian celebrities and historical figures include Lin Chi-ling, Jay Chou and Teresa Teng from Taiwan; Michelle Yeoh from Malaysia; Ayumi Hamasaki, Shigeru Yoshida and Chiyonofuji Mitsugu from Japan; Jet Li (added on September 28, 2010), Yao Ming, Liu Xiang, Connie Chan Po-chu, Sun Yat-sen (added on July 2007), Yang Liwei (added on July 2007), Li Bingbing, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Mao Zedong (added on July 2007) and Hu Jintao from China; Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore; Saddam Hussein of Iraq; Sukarno (added on June 5, 2014) and Joko Widodo (added in 2017) from Indonesia; Amitabh Bachchan, Varun Dhawan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mahatma Gandhi and Narendra Modi from India; and Bae Yong-joon, Suzy and Lee Jong-suk from South Korea.
Actors, actresses and directors on display include Angelina Jolie (added on September 27, 2007), Brad Pitt, Cher, Eddie Murphy, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Mel Gibson, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Macaulay Culkin, Marilyn Monroe, Vin Diesel, Benny Hill, Robert Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan, Anthony Hopkins, Humphrey Bogart, Gérard Depardieu, Hugh Grant, Joanna Lumley, Alfred Hitchcock, Bruce Lee and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The brand-new Fashion Zone, opened last July 10, 2017, consists of three themed areas (Backstage Studio, Billboard Superstar and Runway) and features features AR (Augmented Reality) technology. On hand are the stars of the catwalk Elle Macpherson, Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell as well as fashion designer Victoria Beckham.
Animated World, officially launched in April 2017, brings together famous animated characters such as Yo-kai Watch, McDull and Madame Mak, Marvel Avenger superheroes (Hulk, Ironman and Spiderman), Hello Kitty and Balala the Fairies.
Historical and national heroes from the Europe, U.S.A. and Africa include Sir Winston Churchill, John Howard, Diana, Princess of Wales, The Duke of Edinburgh; Elizabeth II; The Prince of Wales; The Princess Royal; The Duke of Cambridge (added on August 7, 2007) and William Shakespeare of the United Kingdom; Luciano Pavarotti of Italy; Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton; George W. Bush; Barack Obama (added on January 20, 2009) of the USA; Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia; Adolf Hitler of Germany; Pablo Picasso of Spain; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of Austria; Rembrandt van Rijn from The Netherlands; and Marie Tussaud herself.
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong: Shop P101, Peak Tower, 128 Peak Rd., The Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2849 6966. Website: www.madametussauds.com/hong-kong. Open daily, 10 AM to 10 PM. Admission:s HK$140 (adults) and HK$70 (children aged between 3 and 11 years old).
How to Get There: Take bus 15C from Central Pier 8 or walk from MTR Central Station Exit J2 to take the Peak Tram from the Peak Tram Lower Terminus on Garden Road; or bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus (near MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit D); or minibus 1 from the public transport interchange at MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit E.