An ideal opportunity to combine a trip on Hong Kong’s iconic Star Ferry with a longer trip around the harbour, Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour is perfect for those with only a few days at their disposal in this unique part of China. Take the tour at 7:55pm and you can combine stunning views of the skyline with unrivalled access to ‘A Symphony of Lights’, the Guinness World Record breaking light and sound show.
Where and how to board
On the Kowloon side of the harbour you can take the tour from Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier. Across the water you have a choice of joining the cruise at either Central ferry pier or Wan Chai. We travelled from Tsim Sha Tsui and it couldn’t have been easier.
Located on the pier closest to the taxi rank, the ticket office for Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour is located in the far left corner of the building beside the stairs which lead to the ferrys themselves. We arrived 30 minutes before the 6:55pm tour and there was no queue to speak of, either at the ticket office or in the small, roped-off waiting area reserved for harbour tour customers on the pier itself. The crowds did start to gather about 10 minutes prior to the advertised boarding time however and the crowd we passed for the 7:55pm cruise as we left was heaving, so 30 minutes before the tour was an ideal time to arrive.
At HK$180 for adults and HK$162 for children, Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour is pricey for what it is. This is especially true when you compare it to the HK$2.50 fare for the regular Star Ferry.
For this you get a one hour cruise around the harbour (although ours was actually 45 minutes) on a reasonably spacious boat that includes a snack bar and one soft drink. You can also use your ticket to redeem a packet of biscuits on board during your cruise.
The price is my only point of contention for what is otherwise a highly recommended trip. Next time we’re in Hong Kong however I would consider just getting a couple of regular harbour ferries to see the difference.
The tour itself left on time and we were able to get four seats on the boat’s top deck with some great views of the harbour. Our ticket was the first in the slightly more pricey ‘evening tours’ bracket and we headed into the bay as the sun was setting.
Here then is my top tip: Take the 6:55pm tour. As the first night cruise of the evening – but not the one that includes the light show – you get spectacular views of the brightly lit skyline after dark, but none of the crowds. For our tour, we queued with about 30 people. The ferry that arrived to collect us had around 100 disembark (the last ‘cheap’ tour before nighttime prices kicked in) and the queue waiting to board for the light show as we left contained over 200.
The tour itself takes you in one large oval around the harbour and the views are breathtaking. As the advertisements promised, the trip included all of Hong Kong’s waterfront features.
It was a leisurely cruise on reasonably calm waters and our front of boat position made for excellent viewing of the sights.
Towards the middle of the tour, I ventured onto the lower deck with our eldest and found it completely deserted but for the odd passenger nipping down to use the bathroom. But for these occasional interruptions we could have pretended we were alone on our own boat. We used the time to explore, play with a ship’s wheel that I assume was there for photographs (we turned it numerous times and didn’t noticeably change course!) and look at the views from either side of the ferry without anybody there to block it for us.
Back on the top deck, the slight chill had sent all but the bravest tourists into the warmth of the inside and so we completed the trip alone on the bow watching the lights on shore.
Overall, a fantastic way to spend the evening in Hong Kong. The 6:55pm tour is ideal for families who want to experience the skyline after dark without pushing back bed times too far.
For more information check out the Star Ferry website here.