The Star Ferry And Victoria Harbor In Hong Kong
It's had over a hundred years of ferrying people to the island of Hong Kong and back. The Star Ferry is steeped in the history of these islands. It was really the only mode of transport between the mainland and the island of Hong Kong and it has seen a great sea change as far as the backdrop is concerned. Even today, in spite of the fact that you can travel by the MTR or by road, many people still love this romantic journey across, taking in all that the Victoria Harbor has to offer.
It used to be known as the Kowloon Ferry and it was only in the 70s that alternate modes of transport were available. Now, under the sea you have tunnels through which trains and roads run. However, there's nothing to beat this option. Just ten minutes and yet it's a refreshing ride.
It just feels so great to get in at the Kowloon side near the Victoria Clock Tower which is 90 years old and which stands very serenely at Tsim Sha Tsui near the modern Cultural Center. You'll find a bit of history where the old red rickshaws are exhibited at the dockside. From here you go down to ferry boats that are color coded – each color denotes the destination to which the ferry is headed. There's one from way back in the 50s called the Celestial Star.
It doesn't matter if you make the trip by day or night – both are wonderful. The skyline rises above as you approach – and you can see the Legislative Council Building which is straight out of the Victorian era as well as the modern and slim Bank of China. Then of course, you can make out the Space Center dome as well as the Stock Exchange building and the lights of Hong Kong's huge shopping center, Harbor City. It's like the Manhattan skyline and you can get the best view if you ride on top of the ferry. That's the first class but costs just 10 cents more so it's well worth the extra. The air-conditioning helps as well on a hot and humid Hong Kong day. The advantage on the lower deck besides the price difference is that you get to feel the salty spray on your face.
All of 70,000 people make this trip each day with ferries leaving a few minutes apart. There's one that goes a circular route as well – catering to tourists and the one hour ride is highly recommended.
Once you get to the Hong Kong side, there are buses to take you wherever you want to go. Or if you feel like splurging a bit, the taxis are a great experience. The transport options in Hong Kong are wonderful and you rarely have to wait around for transport to get you to where you want to go.