Hong Kong Harbor Cruise

One of the best ways to enjoy Hong Kong’s city skyline is to take one of the many harbor cruises that ply Victoria Harbor. There are a multitude of cruises to choose from ranging from standard cruises to dinner cruises, sitting on the Star Ferry or a traditional Chinese junk.

Tickets for the cruises can be booked online or through your hotel if they offer the service. For ourselves, we got our hotel to do the booking and tickets were sent to the hotel for our collection. We decided to take the evening cruise that coincides with the daily Symphony of Lights multimedia show. This is one of the top things that you should do while in Hong Kong, as it gives you the opportunity to appreciate the skyline while enjoying the multimedia show, and experience a harbor cruise at the same time. This is a popular cruise timing so you should book in advance to ensure you get seats.

The cruises depart either from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, so you do need to check the boarding location. For ourselves, we decided to take the cruise from Kowloon since our hotel was there. We found our way to the public piers in Tsim Sha Tsui, next to the Star Ferry Terminal. There are several piers there and they are numbered, so you’d also have to check which pier number you are supposed to board at.

Harbour Cruise 8
While waiting for the ferry, there’s entertainment in the form of buskers playing pop songs.
Harbour Cruise 7
All the while ferries were stopping at the piers with passengers embarking and disembarking. This one looks more like a group of workers getting off, since they didn’t bother to use a proper gangway and just hopped off the ferry in a hurry.

Very soon our ferry arrived and we boarded it. Well, it was supposed to look like an oriental boat but I think in the end it was a mish-mash between a junk and a modern ship.

Harbour Cruise 1
Our somewhat Chinese looking ferry.
Harbour Cruise 2
It had 2 decks with the lower deck covered and protected from the cold winter air. The top deck was open with a bar for drinks.

The first half of the cruise was to sail to Hong Kong Island and pick up a second batch of passengers. This was followed by sailing towards the eastern part of Victoria Harbor as far as Quarry Bay and then turning back towards Central. Where we were just in time for the Symphony of Lights to start.

Harbour Cruise 3
Heading towards Hong Kong Island to pick up more passengers. Most of the buildings are on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon actually offers the best view for the Symphony of Lights show, other then being on a boat, which offers views of both sides.
Harbour Cruise 5
The extremely dense layers of apartments at Quarry Bay looks like a solid wall of buildings.
Harbour Cruise 4
Cruise ships also make Hong Kong their port of call.
Harbour Cruise Title
The Symphony of Lights which features lasers, light beams and fireworks from the tops of skyscrapers and coordinated to music. The recent version seems more impressive, although it may have been because it was the Christmas period.
Harbour Cruise 6
A wide angle view of Hong Kong Island’s skyline with the Symphony of Lights’ finale. The boat heads back to the pier immediately after the show ends.

The Symphony of Lights show lasts for around 20 minutes, and once it ends, the cruise starts to return to the pier. The cruise takes roughly 90 minutes including the Symphony of Lights. If you have not seen the Symphony of Lights or taken the harbor cruise before, then I’ll recommend that you do this and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

If cityscapes aren’t your thing, or you have already taken the harbor cruise, then how about taking a cruise to enjoy some sun, sand and sea? You can do this in Sai Kung, and I have a blog post on how you can do that.

9 thoughts on “Hong Kong Harbor Cruise

  1. I like this idea. I’ve not taken a HK harbour cruise in at least a decade and a half, but should do it again just to see all the changes…and the Symphony of Lights is new to me, so I’d like to see it. The strange thing about living in a place a long time, it becomes easy not to do the ‘touristy’ things even when those things are quite cool and interesting. Safe travels, Edwin, and great to see HK highlighted again in your blog 🙂

    1. Thank you Randall for dropping by. Yes, we are always keen to look for the unfamiliar while ignoring what’s around us. It’s the same for us here in Singapore. Scenes from the Crazy Rich Asian movie may seem exotic and wondrous to people from the other side of the world, but we here are like rolling our eyes at the seemingly unabashed tourism ad that the movie seems to be.

  2. I never get tired of Hong Kong’s skyline no matter how much I’ve taken the ferry back and forth between Victoria and Kowloon. However, I don’t recall seeing any fireworks when I watched the Symphony of Lights back in 2012. One of the strangest things that happened to me after watching that show was being approached by two local people who seemed to eager to convert me. 🙂

    1. I watched the Symphony of Lights before from Kowloon side and yes, there were no fireworks. I think the fireworks are either added recently, or they are only present during the Christmas/New Year week.

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