The Star Ferry is a double decker ferry that transports passengers from one side of the Victoria Harbour to the other side. It’s a very scenic ride that anyone visiting Hong Kong should experience for themselves.
A ferry service named the Kowloon Ferry Company began transporting people across the Victoria Harbour in 1880. In 1898 the Kowloon Ferry Company changed its name to the Star Ferry Company. The ferry service still operates under that name today.
Before the first underwater tunnel was built between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island in 1972, this ferry service was the only way for people and vehicles to get from one side of the Victoria Harbour to the other. Making these Ferries a very important form of transportation in Hong Kong.
Today there are 3 underwater tunnels that allow vehicles and the MTR to go between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
Since the underwater tunnels are quite congested, a lot of people choose to ride the Ferry to cross from one end of the harbour to the other. It’s a cheap and relaxing alternative to taking a car or bus.
There are 3 piers where you can get on one of the ferries. They are the Tsim Sha Tsui pier in Kowloon, and the Central and Wan Chai piers in Hong Kong Island. Note that the Hung Hom Pier in Kowloon is no longer in service.
From any of these piers you can ride from one side of the Victoria Harbour to the other. If you’re interested in a longer ride, you can take a 1 hour ferry tour of the harbour. The 1 hour harbour tour gives you a more in depth look at all the sights on both sides of the harbour. Tickets for these rides can be purchased at any of the Star Ferry piers.
You can also hire a special ferry called the Classic Ferry for functions such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. The maximum capacity for the function is 300 people. A cruise around the Victoria Harbour can add a little extra excitement to any function.
Back in April 2010 I took the 1 hour harbour tour on the Star Ferry. The upper deck of the ferry was very relaxing and had lots of seats and tables for people to enjoy their ride and look out the windows. They had some information about its history as well as a map of the routes it sails. They also had some old memorabilia that you could look at.
It was quite windy and rainy that day, so visibility was not as good as I would’ve liked. You couldn’t see the top of a lot of the tall buildings in the harbour. The wind made the ferry sway from side to side quite a bit as well. After about 40 minutes on the ferry I started feeling sick. If you get sick on boats easily, try to pick a day thats not very windy. Otherwise the harbour tour may not be the best ride for you. You may be better off with a short ride crossing the harbour instead. You still get to experience the ride, and you can get off the ferry still feeling good.
The Star Ferry is something everyone should experience if they visit Hong Kong. It’s been a part of Hong Kong’s heritage for a long time and is something unique to the city. It is considered to be one of the “fifty places of a lifetime” by National Geographic of Traveler.