Bucketlist Travels logo

Travel bucket list idea:

Boat tours of Victoria Harbour

  • Hong Kong, China

Last updated: 05 April, 2024

Hong Kong’s world-famous harbour sits in an arena of skyscrapers and verdant hills, offering a spectacular perspective on the city. Its deep waters and location on the South China Sea were key to Hong Kong’s establishment as a British colony in the mid-19th century.

A trip around or across the harbour offers the chance to contrast mainland China with the unique atmosphere and pace of Hong Kong island – for mere pennies.

The cheapest and simplest way in on the iconic Star Ferry – a standard ferry route that connects Hong Kong Island with Kowloon. The Star Ferry has been in operation since 1888, before which time passengers crossed the harbour in oar-powered sampans. The early Star Ferries were steamboats. The Star Ferry Company also operate a harbour tour in the double-decker Shining Star, a re-creation of these ferries that plied the harbour in the 1920s.

A more traditional, cultural option is a tour on a traditional red-sail junk. Or you can go luxury, and book in for one of the luxury dinner cruises, often with a buffet dinner and sometimes a live band on board.

Who to go with: tour operators

1
  • Hong Kong, China

Boat with red flags sailing on aquamarine waters

Bucket List Experience

Aqua Luna

Instantly recognisable by the trio of scarlet sails, junk boats – tall, wooden three-mast vessels – once filled the waters around Hong Kong, providing homes for thousands of residents. Until as recently as the 1970s, many families lived, ate, worked and slept on board, travelling between the islands of the archipelago, and pulling into the harbours when typhoons struck.

In recent decades, families have swapped their boats for apartments in the city, and now only a handful of junks remain. The Aqua Luna is one of the last still sailing in Hong Kong waters, and there is no more cinematic way to appreciate the skyline city from the water. Lie on the open deck under stiff fan sails, glass of wine in hand and a cooling breeze, as you glide through Victoria Harbour.

Aqua Luna has two boats – the red-sailed Aqua Luna and the blue and white Dragon-sailed Aqua Luna II. Between them, they offer a number of different itineraries, day and night, including an afternoon dim sum tour, an after-dark Symphony of Lights tour and day trips to Stanley Village on the south side of the island.

Adult price: £23

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 45+ mins

Logistics

Price from: £3
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 1+ hours

Getting there & doing it

The Star Ferry crosses to Kowloon from either Central No.7 pier, or the Star Ferry pier at Tsim Sha Tsui. You can also catch the ferry from Wanchai pier to Tsim Sha Tsui.

When to do it

The Star Ferry runs all year round, seven days a week, with ferry crossings every 10 minutes.

Hop on just before 8pm if you want to catch the Symphony of Lights show, as the ferry pauses mid-crossing to allow for better photography.

Star Company tours on the Shining Star and dinner tours can also be timed to watch the show.

Who to go with: organised tours

1

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity