Anyone who's heard of Hong Kong has surely heard mention of the Star Ferry. It is one of the iconic, enduring images of the city - an old fashioned green and white painted ferry which transports locals and tourists across the spectacular Victoria Harbour.
Despite the MTR and road tunnels running underneath the harbour, the Star Ferry remains one of the most popular individual forms of transport in Hong Kong. It is like a floating escape, for to either side are droves of people, class, concrete and neon - the energy of which is intoxicating and tangible.
The Star Ferry is therefore the perfect means of getting away from it all - for 6 or 7 minutes - in the middle of this vast metropolis.
It runs several routes from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, but surely the most popular is from the old ferry pier at the south tip of Tsim Sha Tsui, over to Central ferry pier on HK Island. This connects two of the most important areas of Hong Kong, and as such, is popular amongst businessmen and women not in a rush, as well as the many tourists who come.
What makes it special is the old world vibe. Here you have a ferry connecting two of the most futuristic, chaotic districts of any city, any where in the world. Yet when you are out on the water, sailing between the two, all you can feel is the refreshing sea breeze and the sound of the waves lapping up against the side of the ferry. But this is not the only reason why the Star Ferry is so spectacular. The prime reason has to be the proximity at which it offers such unrivalled views.
Crossing the harbour it's possible to see the unparalled skyline of Hong Kong Island in all it's glory, and it's with this sighting that the true contrasts of the setting come into focus.
In more practical terms, the Star Ferry is also very cheap - between 2 and 3 HKD depending on whether you go top or lower deck. For this you can pay with regular change, or use an Octopus card (highly recommended).
In other words, for about 20p, you can ride one of the most memorable stretches of water in the whole world. You can't possibly beat that for value!
Star Ferry is actually more of a necessity than something you can just go and see if you want. It's the main access between islands, being by far the quickest and cheapest route if you do need to make the journey.
And it's a welcome necessity. Beautiful scenery, fresh sea air (definitely not the type of air you'll get inland) and more convenient than any other type of congested travel you'll get in hong kong.
Thinking back it's not really that surprising that this is one of Hong Kong's staple tourist attractions, apparently its harbour is one of the busiest in the world so a chance to get out there and see it for yourself is probably worth it. Not that it's something that sounds too impressive when you tell your friends though.
So yeah, this is a must-visit for Hong Kong, but only because you may have no other choice.
And like i said it's cheap.
The Star ferry is the iconic ferry service betwen Kowloon and Hong Kong island and has been ferrying passengers back and forth now for well over a century.
The ferry line actually has four routes although the most famous and commonly used one, and the one most people mean when they talk about the 'Star ferry' is from tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon to Central, Hong Kong. The price is HK$2.3/1.8 upper/lower deck (£1 currently is around HK$12) so an extremely cheap way to get out into the water of Hong Kong. Boats depart at least every 15-20 minutes so you can turn up at the pier without having to look up departure times in advance and the crossings take only around 15 minutes. There are now other ways to get across to Hong Kong island such as the metro which may be more convenient for regular commuters, however, as a tourist it means you are not stuck underground but instead looking at the city. The cost of the metro is also comparable to the ferry.
The other ferry routes available are Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai, Hong kong then Central to Hung Hom, Kowloon and Wan Chai to Hung Hom. The latter two routes cost around HK$6 with the former being similar to the classic route cost. All run ferries at least every 25 minutes.
The boats themselves have not been overly modernised and still look like old fashioned steam ferries. There are 2 deck levels, the upper gives you a better elevation for looking over the harbour but the windows are glazed and sometimes as a result the views aren't as clear. The lower deck is my preference as there is no glass and the wind and occasionally spray whilst you travel remeinds you that you are in a boat. The views are as good as the upper deck if you get a seat near the edge-so off-peak times are better as there is less crush of people.
The great thing about the ferry is that it is a mode of transport and a tourist attraction in one package. As well as getting you over to Hong Kong island it allows the passenger to see the boat, travel on this old form of transport and get good views of the bay and the city from the water which gives a different perspective on the place. I would highly recommend the trip as it is very cheap and is also relaxing to be chugging along on the water away from crowds and chaos in the city. Crossing at least once at night is also recommended as you can see all the lights of the city and the reflection in the water as you bob around on the dark water
This is a traditional means of transportation between Kowloon and Hong Kong. It does not cost much. It takes around 15 minute to get to the other side of the town. If you want to escape from traffic jam hazards of the cross harbour tunnel and mtr, this is a really cool way. Be sure you are not in a hurry, then you will enjoy the trip more. I highly recommend this to tourists. The Tsim Sha Shui coastline is very pretty at night. One can get to see the fantanstic view just by riding this traditional ferry. I find it very relaxing, because it is not as crowded as mtr station, and can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the harbour. It is best during Christmas when all the christmas lights of the buildings are lit up, visitors can enjoy the scenery according to his or her own pace.
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