The Star Ferry's Harbour Tour is one of those tourist clichés you really have to do to say you've "done" Hong Kong... The 1920s style green-and-white ferry, one of Hong Kong's most prominent icons, sails in a circular route of an hour around Victoria Harbour, with various stops on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon side, so you can get a zillion great photo ops of one of the world's most famous city-skylines...
There are all sorts of "options": You can either use the ferry as a "hop on, hop off" (unlimited rides for a specified period) or you can opt for the much-cheaper single ride ticket... Then there are day-tours, night-tours and, of course, the ultimate "Symphony of Lights Tour" (Which is really the "crème de la crème"...)
Single-ride Day Round TripTicket gives you a single one-hour ride during daytime. It costs HK$ 80 at the time of writing (kids and elders get a small discount) and the ferry departs every one hour from Tsim sha Tsui's Pier, between 11:55 and 17:55 (16:55 in winter). From Central: 12:15, 13:15, etc... and from Wanchai: 12:30, 13:30, etc...
Single-ride nighttime Round Trip costs HK$ 140 at the time of writing.
The ferry departs twice every evening from Tsim sha Tsui's Pier, on 18:55 and 20:55 (and also at 17:55 in winter), and from Central at 20:15 (and also at 18:15 in winter).
A Full-day hopping pass costs HK$ 200 at the time of writing and allows you to hop on and off the ferry as much as you want, between 11:55 am (first departure from Tsim sha Tsui) and the last trip, which leaves Tsim-sha-Tsui Pier at 20:55 trip.
It departs from Central once an hour, from 12:15 pm (noon) till 20:15, and from Wan Chai Pier (near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre) at 12:30, 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30 only.
A beautiful 2-minutes video
of the famous Star-Ferry
The Symphony of Lights Cruise actually consists of two consecutive rides: The one that leaves Central on 19:15, and the following one... (Departure from Tsim sha Tsui is at 19:55, just on time to watch the show), which means you can see the famous lights and laser show from the ferry... It costs HK$ 160 at the time of writing, so you are better off buying the HK$ 200 Full-day hopping pass and enjoy some daytime cruises as well...
For more information, you can visit Star Ferry Harbour Tour or call them on (852) 2118 6201 (24-hr Hotline) or (852) 2118 6208 (normal hours)
Important tip: Quite obviously, you don't have to opt for one of the above "Harbour Tours" in order to enjoy a ride on the Star Ferry... All you have to do is to simply purchase your HK$ 2.50 ticket for a single top-deck ride from Tsim-sha-Tsui to Central (or from Tsim-sha-Tsui to Wanchai) and marvel the spectacular views of Hong Kong's stunning skyline.
Ferries run on the Tsim sha Tsui - Central line daily, beaween 6:30 am and 11:30pm , and between 7:30am and 11pm on the Tsim sha Tsui - Wanchai line. Ticket, as already mentioned, is HK$ 2.5 for a single ride (top deck).
You ca also go for a 4-daysTourist ticket which costs only HK$ 25 and gives you unlimited rides on ordinary ferry crossings between "Tsim Sha Tsui / Central" and "Tsim Sha Tsui / Wan Chai" for four consecutive days!
Click here for more info on the ordinary ferry crossings, including info on the "Tourist Ticket" and timetables.
Dinner Harbour Cruise & ideas for an evening out...
A Dinner Harbour Cruise is definitely one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Hong Kong! No other city on earth boasts such an impressive skyline, and a harbour that crosses it right in the middle...
As you might imagine, there are quite a few options to choose from:
♦ Cocktail cruises go for US$ 45 - 50 (HK$ 350 - 390), they are usually 90 minutes long and include unlimited drinks (open bar): The Pre-Dinner Sunset Cruise departs daily, at 6pm, and gives passengers an opportunity to enjoy some aperitifs and breathtaking sunset views before dinner, while the Hong Kong Harbour Night Cruise departs at 9:25pm from Kowloon (at 9:45pm from Central) and makes a perfect choice for those who want to marvel Hong Kong's spectacular night city skyline, while enjoying their after-dinner drinks. And then there is the Symphony of Lights Cruise, which allows you to see the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" from the water, in style...
♦ Those of you who want to go beyond just the 90-minute drink cruises, can consider one of the more adventurous Dinner & Cruise options... Those are typically more expensive, ranging anywhere from US$ 70 to US$ 120 (HK$ 540 - 930), but they are much longer and include a sumptous dinner, so you actually get a much better value for money...
Options include a Lei Yue Mun Seafood Dinner Cruise, which goes for US$ 70 (HK$ 540) at the time of writing, and includes a cruise to and from the village of Lei Yue Mun, and a Chinese seafood dinner at one of the village's famous restaurant. The boat leaves at 6pm and returns at 9pm so you enjoy both sunset and night views on your way to and from Lei Yue Mun.
Then there is an option to combine a dinner in Victoria Peak, with a visit to the night-market, and a night cocktail cruise. It departs at 5:30 pm and you get to enjoy an early dinner at Bubba Gump’s Restaurant in Victoria Peak, before proceeding to a short visit in Hong Kong's famous Temple Street Night Market, and a one-hour cruise on Victoria Harbour, with unlimited drinks (open bar). It costs US$ 106.50 at the time of writing (HK$ 825) and personally, I don't think it is as exciting as the two options above (Lei Yue Mun or Lamma Island).
Perhaps the most extravagant option is to opt for the Aberdeen Harbour and Night Cruise. This package gives you a sunset cruise in a Chinese Junk, with unlimited drinks (open bar), followed by a visit to Aberdeen's typhoon shelter and a full dinner in the famous floating restaurant. It currently costs around US$ 120 (HK$ 930) and, again, the boat trips to Lei Yue Mun or Lamma Island seem to make a better choice...
To summarize it, I would say that the best option is to go for the boat trips to Lei Yue Mun or Lamma Island (or even to take both of them), as they give you to opportunity to enjoy both sunset and night-time views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Hong's skyline, as well as a nice dinner in a somewhat unique location.
Going for dinner at Bubba Gump’s Restaurant in Victoria Peak is something you can also do on your own, so that particular option does not boast any added value...
A trip on the "Duk Ling" (Traditional Chinese Junk)
Duk Ling, the only authentic Chinese junk that still plies the water of Victoria Harbour, was built more than 50 years ago in Macau and served as a fishing boat before it was restored and converted to a leisure-cruise vessel.
Hong Kong Tourism Board offers a one-hour sightseeing harbour cruise on board of the Duk Ling at a relatively good price of only HK$ 100 per person, but as the cruise departs only a few times a week (and since the boat can carry only 30 passengers at a time), it is important to book well in advance at one of HKTB's visitor centres.
The boat leaves from Kowloon Public Pier (near Star Ferry Piers) in Tsim Sha Tsui on Thursday (2pm and 4pm) and Saturday (10am and 12 noon), and from Central Pier 9 (Public Pier) in Central on Thursday (3pm and 5pm) and Saturday (11am and 1pm)
For more information, call Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Hotline (+852) 2508 1234 or visit their Duk Ling Ride webpage)
China Pub Company, the company that owns and manages the Duk Ling, also operates regular tours of 2.5 - 4 hours to the Outlying Islands and other places of interest, and they also charter the boat for functions and fun-days (you can even get married on the boat, if that's what you want...)
Owned by Aqua Restaurant Group, the Aqua Luna is also an authentically handcrafted red-sail Chinese junk, and although it was built just recently (and purely for entertainment purposes), the builders were supervised by an 80 years old traditional boat builder, so it's really as authentic as it gets...
In Cantonese, the boat is named "Cheung Po Tsai" after a notorious Cheung Chau Island pirate who devastated the area more than a hundred years ago...
The company operates a few 45 minutes-longharbour cruises every day, as well as some day-long cruises to Stanley, Aberdeen, Cheung Chau Island and the Tin Hau Temple in Joss House Bay.
Unlike on most of Hong Kong's other cruise boats, the Aqua Luna boasts all the comforts of a floating resto-bar, including comfy lounges and beautifully decked-out interiors, with traditional tick furniture that contribute to the old-days ambience...
At the time of writing, the cost of their basic Discovery Harbour Tour is only HK$ 100 / 80 for an adult / child (age 4-11), and it gives you unlimited pickups and drop-offs in Central and Tsim-sha-Tsui from 12noon to 5pm (Tuesday and Friday only)
Their 45 minutes-long eveningharbour cruise (including a drink) is HK$ 190 / 150 for an adult / child (age 4-11) for the evening cruise (Daily: 17:30, 18:30, 20:30, 21:30, 22:30 from Tsim-sha-Tsui, and 15 minutes later from Central), or HK$ 240 / 190 for an adult / child (age 4-11) for the "Symphony of Lights Cruise", which departs at 19:30 from Tsim-sha-Tsui (19:45 from Central).
Their day-long cruises are ranging from HK$ 290 to 400 for an adult and HK$ 190 - 240 for a child (depends on the destination)
For more information and bookings, you can call them on 2116 8821, or visit the Aqua Luna webpage.