Riding the Star Ferry in Hong Kong

Hong Kong seems like an old friend because of some distinct similarities to San Francisco. The South China Morning Post refers to the region as the “Bay Area”; Victoria Harbour is a deep-water port; ferries transport people back and forth to work; and the Chinese population is notable — or dominant.

When I worked at The Chronicle, I rode the “30 Stockton” Muni bus from our apartment on Telegraph Hill to work at 5th and Mission Streets. Later when we lived in San Anselmo in Marin, I rode the Golden Gate ferry to work.

In Hong Kong, we rode double-decker busses, as well as the Star Ferry, whose boats have a distinctive green and white livery.

“The Star Ferry’s ferry crossings at Victoria Harbour are acclaimed as an important part of the commuter system between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and essential journeys for visitors,” as the ferry’s website states. ” The National Geographic Traveler named the ferry crossing as one of 50 places of a lifetime. The ferry ride is also well known as one of the world’s best value-for-money sightseeing trips.

“The Star Ferry traces its origins to 1880 when Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, a Parsee cook, embarked on a new vocation. He began a ferry service across Victoria Harbour with his steamboat, the Morning Star.”

The ferry rides are a highlight of our trip. They offered spectacular views of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The crossing between the two places is about an eight minute ride. At night, the ferries are the perfect spot to see the “symphony of lights” show, which incorporates lights and lasers on the waterfront. All of the double-decked ferries have “star” in their names.


Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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