Hong Kong’s one of the most famous heritages and passenger ferry service is Star Ferry that has been operating since 1888. Travelers can cross the Victoria Harbor with a cheaper cost and can enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenarios during their travel to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Kowloon Ferry Company is currently operating the ferry service and there are four routs available at short travel intervals.      

History of Star Ferry, Hong Kong:

The history of the Star Ferry dates back to 100 years back when the company started its journey in 1898. People used to travel on Sampans before the ferry service was created. The ferry service got its current name in December of 1898, and then the fare was only five cents. In 1941, the ferry service was disrupted for 44 months during the Japanese attack on Hong Kong. Different protests and strikes occurred when the company applied for a fair hike. As a result, the fare was raised for a selective class of passengers only.

The earlier fleets used coal-fired steam vessels while there are double-deck electric vessels running now. Two of its fresh boats can contain over 700 passengers at a time. The company is designing custom-built ferries to run in Victoria Harbour with resemblance of older ferryboats containing modern facilities like coffee house and sunbathing spaces. The Star Ferry is highly popular among the locals, visitors and travelers across the world for it is cheaper, convenient and takes a short time to travel the other sides and availability of the ferryboats. Currently the ferry service is available in four routes between Wanchai, Central, Hung Hom, and Wanchai again. The ferry was the major travelling route until 1972 before the opening of Cross Harbor Tunnel.

Star Ferry, Hong Kong
Star Ferry, Hong Kong

Journey in the upper deck of the ferry is more comfortable than the lower decks, but there are much walking spaces in the lower decks of the Star Ferry. Attempts to make more revenue turning the retired boats into floating restaurants were taken but still not been materialized.

Top Highlights/Key Facts of Star Ferry, Hong Kong:

  • It carries a lot of passengers:
    As one of the main ferries to carry passengers across the harbour, the Star Ferry company is said to transport 70,000 passengers back and forth each and every day. That whopping figure amounts to 26 million passengers every single year. That enormous number is over three times the population of New York alone.
  • It’s oldest active ferry in Hong Kong:
    Starting in 1888 and being active ever since has meant that the Star Ferry in Hong Kong is over 130 years old, making it the oldest active ferry in the city. Before the company was set up, Grant Smith brought a ferry from the UK to run as a predecessor at irregular times but after the company’s inception Smith’s ferry wasn’t to last.
  • The prices have caused riots:
    In 1966, a 25% price hike (which equalled 5 cents at the time) became a political powder keg after one 27-year-old student was arrested for protesting the decision. His arrest sparked the beginning of the 1966 Hong Kong Riots that saw over 1,800 people arrested in the civil unrest. Dozens were injured in the three days of rioting and one person died as the price hike saw people express their disappointment with the British colonial rule.
  • You can relive the 1920s on the Shining Star:
    With the launch of the Shining Star, you can travel back in time to the 1920s as you hop aboard this recreated vintage boat. Created to mimic the boats of yesteryear, the Shining Star is one of the fleets most interesting boats and fitted with café and air conditioning means you can still enjoy the modern amenities of its fellow ferries.
  • It was used as a wartime vessel:
    Under the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II, Star Ferry vessels were used for new purposes. Both the Golden Star and Meridian Star were utilised for the transportation of prisoners of war.

    The Golden Star was bombed in 1943 and sunk in Canton River after American bombers successfully hit the boat. Its sister boat the Electric Star was also sunk in harbour. After the war had ended, both boats were retrieved from the depths and returned to service after some needed repairs.

  • The mooring technique is still the same:
    Since the ferry was created all those years ago, the technique to moor the boats has stayed exactly the same. One sailor aboard will toss a rope on the harbour which would be caught by another sailor with a billhook. The boat would then be brought in and moored as it is tied down.
  • The Star Ferry made it to Hollywood
    In the 1960 film, The World of Suzie Wong, the Star Ferry is the place where the films two main characters meet. The film was a milestone as Suzie Wong was played by Hong Kong actress Nancy Kwan, which went a long way in the acceptance of Asian actors in Hollywood.

Travel Guide information of Star Ferry:

To ride on Star Ferry from TST Star Ferry pier, you are to take the MTR for Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Getting off the train, take the Exit 6, walk towards the Clock Tower on the Salisbury Road. Besides, to ride from the Central Ferry pier- get off in MTR Hong Kong Station, use the Exit A2 and walk for the pier. You can also use the Wan Chai Star Ferry pier from the Wan Chai Station using the Exit A1.       

Some Tips when you visit on Star Ferry:

Ticket price and ferry schedules differ on routes. The ferry operation begins early on the weekdays, and the travel schedules are changed on the weekends. Eh tickets are cheapest- adults cost HK$2.20, disabled and children are to pay HK$1.30. Senior citizen can travel free from all the piers. On Public holidays, adult fares raise by 40 cents. Bicycles are allowed on off peak hours for extra charges.      

Culture & Customs of Star Ferry, Hong Kong:

Usually Octopus cards or tokens are used for paying the ferry ride. Get your token from nearby vending machines. No changes are made for direct coins. Taking photo on ride a popular issue among the visitors as everyone tries to get the perfect night view from the ferry round the year. The entire view of Victoria harbor is clearly seen from the ferry ride. Though the ferries look old, people prefer the ride for different reasons and it is one of the must-visiting places during lifetime.       

Transport/ Getting Around in Star Ferry, Hong Kong:

  • TST Star Ferry pier: MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6. Walk to the Clock Tower along Salisbury Road; or Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit E. Walk towards Salisbury Road, then turn right and take the subway (pedestrian tunnel) located next to the YMCA to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Turn right again and walk straight ahead towards the waterfront; or
  • Central Star Ferry pier: MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit A2 or MTR Central Station, Exit A. Walk to the pier along Man Yiu Street.; or
  • Wan Chai Star Ferry pier: MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A1. Take the skybridge to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and descend to Convention Avenue at Harbour Road.

Star Ferry, Hong Kong Key Information:

Tel: +852 2367 7065
Website: www.starferry.com.hk
Tsim Sha Tsui Address: Star Ferry Pier, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Central Address: Central Pier, Central, Hong Kong Island
Wan Chai Address: Wan Chai Ferry Pier, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island

Star Ferry, Hong Kong Services to the Outlying Islands:

Ferries to the Outlying Islands depart from the Central Ferry Piers. You can easily get there by Star Ferry, MTR or taxi. If you are in the southern part of Tsim Sha Tsui, take the Star Ferry and you will arrive at the Central Ferry Pier #7. In order to get there by MTR, take the MTR and get to the Central MTR station. Get out of the station through Exit A, make a U-turn and walk over the footbridge along Man Yiu street.
Pier 2 to Ma Wan (Park Island);
Pier 3 to Discovery Bay (Lantau Island);
Pier 4 to Yung Shue Wan & Sok Kwu Wan (Lamma Island);
Pier 5 to Cheung Chau Island;
Pier 6 to Mui Wo (Lantau Island) & Peng Chau Island;
Pier 7 to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Schedule & Fares of Star Ferry, Hong Kong:

Fare Table (HK$)Monday to SaturdaySunday and P. H.
Central ‹‹ ›› Yung Shue Wan
Adult$16.1$22.3
Child (3-11), Senior (65 or above) or Disabled$8.1$11.2
Central ‹‹ ›› Sok Kwu Wan
Adult$19.8$28
Child (3-11), Senior (65 or above) or Disabled$9.9$14