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How Long Is The Star Ferry Ride


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Anny Medellin



The Star Ferry is not just a mode of transportation in Hong Kong; it is a cultural icon, a symbol of the city’s history and charm. For over a century, the Star Ferry has been shuttling passengers across the Victoria Harbour, connecting the bustling Hong Kong Island with the vibrant Kowloon Peninsula.


The Star Ferry experience is not just about getting from one side of the harbor to the other; it’s about immersing yourself in the unique and enchanting atmosphere that Hong Kong offers. From the moment you step onto the ferry, you are transported back in time to a bygone era, where the pace of life was slower, and the sights and sounds of the harbor filled the air.


As you embark on the Star Ferry, you will be swept away by the breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, with its towering skyscrapers and glittering lights. It’s a mesmerizing sight that truly captures the essence of this dynamic and vibrant city.


Whether you are a tourist visiting Hong Kong for the first time or a local resident looking for a nostalgic journey, the Star Ferry ride is a must-try experience. In this article, we will delve into the history of the Star Ferry, explore the different routes it offers, discover the duration of the ferry ride, and reveal the factors that can affect its duration. We will also highlight the scenic views you can enjoy during the ferry ride and provide some tips on how to make your Star Ferry experience even more enjoyable.


So, get ready to embark on a magical journey across the Victoria Harbour as we explore the beauty and charm of the Star Ferry in Hong Kong.


History of the Star Ferry

The Star Ferry has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. It was founded by Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, an Indian Parsee entrepreneur, who saw the need for a reliable means of transportation between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula.


The first Star Ferry service began operations in 1888 with a single wooden boat, named “Morning Star.” It quickly gained popularity among locals and visitors alike due to its affordability and convenience. As demand grew, the fleet expanded, and more boats were added.


During the early years of the Star Ferry’s operation, the boats were propelled by oars and sails. It wasn’t until 1898 that the company introduced steam-powered vessels, which significantly improved the efficiency and speed of the ferry service.


Throughout the years, the Star Ferry has witnessed Hong Kong’s transformation from a small fishing village into a global financial hub. It has weathered both World Wars, the Japanese occupation, and numerous changes in the city’s landscape.


Despite the emergence of modern transportation options, the Star Ferry has remained an integral part of Hong Kong’s transportation system. It has played a crucial role in connecting people on both sides of the Victoria Harbour and has become a symbol of Hong Kong’s resilience and enduring spirit.


Today, the Star Ferry operates a fleet of iconic green and white ferries, each with its own unique name, such as “Morning Star,” “Night Star,” and “Sun Star.” These ferries continue to transport millions of passengers each year, allowing them to experience the charm and nostalgia of crossing the Victoria Harbour.


The Star Ferry’s historical significance has not gone unnoticed. In 2010, it was listed as one of the “Top 50 Places of a Lifetime” by the National Geographic Traveler magazine, further cementing its status as a must-visit attraction in Hong Kong.


As you embark on a Star Ferry ride, you are not just taking a trip across the harbor; you are stepping back in time and connecting with the rich history of Hong Kong.


The Star Ferry Routes

The Star Ferry offers several routes that allow passengers to cross the Victoria Harbour and explore different parts of Hong Kong. These routes provide not only a means of transportation but also a chance to soak in the breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. Here are the main Star Ferry routes:

  1. Tsim Sha Tsui – Central

    This is the most popular and iconic route of the Star Ferry. It connects Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon with Central on Hong Kong Island. The journey takes approximately 8 minutes and offers stunning panoramic views of both sides of the harbor. As you sail across the water, you’ll be treated to a close-up view of the towering skyscrapers, such as the Bank of China Tower and the International Finance Centre. It’s a perfect opportunity to capture some memorable photographs of Hong Kong’s mesmerizing skyline.

  2. Tsim Sha Tsui – Wan Chai

    This route connects Tsim Sha Tsui with Wan Chai, another bustling district on Hong Kong Island. The journey takes around 15 minutes and provides passengers with a different perspective of the city. From the deck of the ferry, you can admire the famous Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, as well as the vibrant waterfront promenade of Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s a great option for those looking to explore Wan Chai and its mix of local markets, trendy restaurants, and historic landmarks.

  3. Cultural Harbour Tour

    The Star Ferry also offers a special “Cultural Harbour Tour” that allows passengers to enjoy a leisurely ride while learning about the history and culture of Hong Kong. This tour takes you on a loop around the Victoria Harbour, giving you a chance to see famous landmarks such as the Clock Tower, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and the Avenue of Stars. The tour is accompanied by a multilingual audio guide, providing fascinating insights into the city’s past and present.

These are the main routes offered by the Star Ferry. Each route provides a unique experience and a different perspective of Hong Kong’s captivating beauty. Whether you’re a visitor or a local resident, a Star Ferry ride is an essential part of immersing yourself in the vibrant culture and charm of this incredible city.


Duration of the Star Ferry Ride

The duration of a Star Ferry ride across the Victoria Harbour depends on the route you choose. Here’s an overview of the approximate durations for each route:

  1. Tsim Sha Tsui – Central:

    The journey from Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon to Central on Hong Kong Island takes around 8 minutes. This is the most popular route, offering passengers a quick and convenient way to cross the harbor and enjoy stunning views of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline. The short duration makes it ideal for those who are looking for a quick commute or want to fit in a scenic experience during their visit to the city.

  2. Tsim Sha Tsui – Wan Chai:

    The ferry ride from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai takes about 15 minutes. This route gives passengers a bit more time to relax and soak in the picturesque views of the harbor. It’s a great option for those who want to explore Wan Chai’s vibrant neighborhood or simply enjoy a longer ferry ride with more time to take in the panoramic scenery.

  3. Cultural Harbour Tour:

    The duration of the Cultural Harbour Tour varies depending on factors such as traffic on the harbor and the time spent at each landmark. On average, the tour takes around 45 minutes to complete the loop around the Victoria Harbour. This comprehensive tour allows passengers to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and culture of Hong Kong while learning fascinating facts about the city’s history and landmarks.

It’s important to note that the mentioned durations are approximate and can vary slightly depending on various factors, such as weather conditions and the speed of the ferry. However, these durations provide a good estimate for planning your itinerary and ensuring you have enough time to enjoy the ferry ride and explore the destinations on either side of the harbor.


Regardless of the duration, the Star Ferry experience is not just about reaching your destination; it’s about savoring the charm, history, and breathtaking views that the Victoria Harbour has to offer. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as you traverse the iconic waters of Hong Kong.


Factors Affecting the Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of a Star Ferry ride across the Victoria Harbour. While the average durations provided in the previous section give a general idea, it’s important to consider the following factors that might affect the overall time:

  1. Weather Conditions:

    Severe weather conditions, such as strong winds or heavy rain, can impact the speed and stability of the ferry. During inclement weather, the ferry may operate at a slower pace to ensure the safety of passengers. This can result in a slightly longer travel time than usual.

  2. Traffic on the Harbor:

    The Victoria Harbour is a bustling waterway with various vessels, including cargo ships, cruise liners, and other ferries. The presence of heavy traffic can sometimes lead to congestion on the harbor, which might cause minor delays during the ferry ride.

  3. Passenger Load:

    The number of passengers boarding the Star Ferry can affect the duration of the ride. During peak hours or busy periods, such as weekends or public holidays, the ferry might take a bit longer to accommodate a larger number of passengers embarking and disembarking at each terminal.

  4. Special Events or Fireworks:

    Occasionally, there might be special events, celebrations, or fireworks displays taking place on the harbor. These events may temporarily impact the ferry schedule or require certain routes to be altered, potentially affecting the duration of the ride.

It’s important to keep in mind that while these factors can influence the duration of the Star Ferry ride, they are usually minor and do not significantly impact the overall experience. The Star Ferry operates with efficiency and strives to provide a smooth and enjoyable journey for all passengers.


Rest assured that regardless of any potential delays, the Star Ferry ride remains a unique and memorable experience, offering breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s skyline and a glimpse into the city’s vibrant atmosphere.


Now that you are aware of the factors that can impact the duration of the Star Ferry ride, you can plan your journey accordingly and make the most of this iconic Hong Kong experience.


Scenic Views during the Ferry Ride

The Star Ferry ride is not only a means of transportation but also a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and harbor. As you sail across the Victoria Harbour, you’ll be treated to a visual feast. Here are some of the scenic sights you can expect during your ferry ride:

  1. Skyscrapers and Cityscape:

    As the ferry departs from either Tsim Sha Tsui or Wan Chai, you’ll have a front-row seat to witness the impressive skyline of Hong Kong. The towering skyscrapers, including the famous Bank of China Tower, the International Finance Centre, and other architectural marvels, create a mesmerizing panorama that showcases the city’s modernity and vibrancy.

  2. Victoria Peak:

    As the ferry glides along the water, you’ll have the opportunity to see Victoria Peak, one of Hong Kong’s most recognized landmarks. The peak’s lush greenery and the prestigious residential neighborhood surrounding it provide a stunning backdrop against the towering cityscape.

  3. The Star Ferry Pier:

    As you approach the destination terminal, you’ll get a unique perspective of the Star Ferry Pier itself. The vibrant colonial-style architecture of the pier, with its iconic clock tower, exudes a sense of nostalgia and transports you back in time to the early years of the Star Ferry’s operation.

  4. Harbor Activities:

    The Victoria Harbour is always busy with various activities that add to the charm of the ferry ride. You might spot traditional junks sailing gracefully, modern yachts cruising alongside the ferry, or even the famous Aqua Luna, a charming red-sailed junk boat offering harbor tours. These sights contribute to the dynamic and energetic atmosphere of the harbor.

Each route offers a unique vantage point, allowing you to capture stunning photographs and create lasting memories. Whether you choose the Tsim Sha Tsui to Central route or the Wan Chai route, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Hong Kong skyline that epitomize the city’s grandeur and allure.


Remember to bring your camera or smartphone to capture these picturesque moments during your Star Ferry ride. The scenic views of Hong Kong’s harbor are truly extraordinary and will leave you in awe of the city’s beauty.


Tips for an Enjoyable Star Ferry Ride

The Star Ferry ride is not just about the destination; it’s about the experience. To make the most of your journey across the Victoria Harbour, here are some tips to ensure an enjoyable Star Ferry ride:

  1. Timing is key:

    Consider the time of day for your ferry ride. If you want to capture stunning photos of Hong Kong’s skyline, consider taking a ferry during sunset or in the evening when the city lights up. The golden hour provides a magical ambiance and incredible photo opportunities.

  2. Choose your seat wisely:

    To fully appreciate the views, opt for a seat along the sides or at the front of the ferry. These spots offer unobstructed views of the harbor, allowing you to take in the panoramic scenery without any barriers.

  3. Don’t rush:

    Instead of rushing through the ferry ride, take the time to savor the experience. Enjoy the gentle breeze, listen to the lapping of the water, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the vibrant harbor. The Star Ferry ride is not just a means of transportation; it’s a moment to relax and appreciate the beauty around you.

  4. Bring a camera or smartphone:

    You will want to capture the stunning views of Hong Kong’s skyline, so don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone. Be prepared to snap some incredible photos of the city’s iconic landmarks, vibrant lights, and panoramic vistas.

  5. Explore both sides of the harbor:

    If time permits, consider taking a return journey on a different route to experience both sides of the Victoria Harbour. Each route offers its own unique perspectives and scenic sights, allowing you to appreciate the charm of both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

  6. Embrace the nostalgia:

    The Star Ferry holds a significant place in Hong Kong’s history. Take a moment to appreciate the nostalgia and the heritage of this cultural icon. Observe the colonial-style architecture, the traditional green and white ferries, and the timeless elegance of the experience.

By following these tips, you can elevate your Star Ferry ride from a simple commute to a memorable and captivating journey across the Victoria Harbour. Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of Hong Kong unfold before your eyes as you embark on this iconic and enchanting ferry ride.



The Star Ferry in Hong Kong is more than just a mode of transportation; it is a cultural symbol, a historical relic, and an integral part of the city’s identity. Crossing the Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry ride is an essential experience for both locals and visitors, offering unparalleled views of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and a sense of nostalgia that transports you back in time.


From its humble beginnings in the late 19th century, the Star Ferry has weathered the tests of time and continues to be a beloved icon in Hong Kong. As you sail across the harbor, you’ll be captivated by the towering skyscrapers, the panoramic cityscape, and the beauty of the Victoria Peak in the distance.


Whether you choose the Tsim Sha Tsui – Central route, the Tsim Sha Tsui – Wan Chai route, or opt for the Cultural Harbour Tour, each journey offers a unique perspective of Hong Kong’s splendor and charm.


To make the most of your Star Ferry ride, remember to choose your seat wisely, take your time to soak in the views, and capture the mesmerizing moments with your camera. Consider planning your ride during a picturesque time, such as sunset, to witness the city’s transformation from daylight to a sea of glittering lights.


The Star Ferry is much more than a mere commute; it’s an opportunity to connect with Hong Kong’s fascinating history and vibrant culture. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, embrace the enchantment of the Star Ferry and let the beauty of Victoria Harbour unfold before your eyes.


Take a step back in time, where the pace was slower, the views were breathtaking, and the magic of Hong Kong’s skyline came to life on the Star Ferry.