The sight of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline is something very unique and special that never fails to convey the essence of the city: exciting, glamorous, sparkling, stylish... It just blows you away the first time you see it, and every time after that...
Victoria Harbor is always bustling with activity whether day or night: the ferries that shuttle back and forth the Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island sides, the cruise ships entering and leaving port, the freighters and barges carrying their cargo and materials in and out one of the world's busiest ports, and then, there's the colorful sampans, junks and harbour cruisers that have been delighting sightseers for years.
All that framed by striking architecture on both
sides of the Harbour as Hong Kong is home to some of the world's coolest buildings.
As if that wasn't enough, the Harbour serves as the backstage of one of Hong Kong's most popular attractions, the Symphony of Lights.
Every night, the Hong Kong skyline lits up and comes alive with beams and sparkles of light splashing and dancing all around the harbour. This wonderful spectacle synchronized to lively music and a narration is a tribute to the energy and vitality of the city and its people.
The 15-minute spectacle starts at 8:00 p.m. and can be freely enjoyed from just about anywhere in the area along the water as there are more than 40 buildings involved in the production on both sides of the Harbour.
Click here for more on the Symphony of Lights, best places to watch and schedules for narrative in English.
Victoria Harbor is a feast to the senses, whether by day or night. During the day, getting a clear view of the bay is a bit of a hit or miss. Levels of pollution are high in Hong Kong, some days worst than others so it might be a matter of luck. If you have a nice clear day, grab the chance! On overcast and gray days you can do other activities, like visit the markets or museums.
And the views at night are quite something, a totally different experience, we recommend doing both.
There are of course many ways to experience this wonderful treat, and everyone will have his or her own preference, here are some of our favourites to get you started:
The views of the Hong Kong Harbour from Victoria Peak are legendary and the backdrop of many postcards.
You can see the coastlines on both sides of the Harbour and the outlying islands beyond from Hong Kong's highest point.
Getting up to the Peak on the Peak Tram is of course part of the fun, but be aware that if you are going late in the afternoon or evening (or on weekends) the lines could be long.
The Star Ferry is another one of Hong Kong's relics.
Enjoy the pulse of the city and the sweeping vistas of the Hong Kong skyline in the most inexpensive way to cross the Harbour.
It will be one of the most scenic 10-minute rides you will ever take.
And don't miss out on all of the action at the Ferry Pier!
What better way to see Victoria Harbor than being in the middle of it?
There are many companies offering different kinds of cruises, there are day harbour cruises, evening cocktail cruises, harbour cruises aboard a traditional junk, Symphony of Lights cruises, dinner and cruise packages, and the no-frills Star Ferry Harbour Cruises.
Victoria Harbour Cruises leave from both the Kowloon and Hong Kong Island sides and they are quite easy to book.
Click here for more on Victoria Harbour Cruises.
On the Kowloon side, starting from the Star Ferry Terminal, you can walk along the water and over the Promenade which runs to the Avenue of Stars and all the way to the New World Center Shopping Center. From here you get an uninterrupted view of the entire Hong Kong Island skyline, and is great place to go for a stroll, people watch, grab a bite, admire the views of the harbour, chill out at Starbucks...
The Avenue of the Stars is Hong Kong's version of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, it's a tribute to the movie icons and comes together with hand-prints, sculptures, and the trigger-happy crowds snapping pictures away.
Two of Hong Kong's best Museums are also in this area, the Space Museum and the Museum of Art.
More on the Avenue of the Stars and the Promenade.
The Sky100 Observation Deck is at the International Commerce Center's 100th Floor. The ICC is the tallest building in Hong Kong, and one of the newest additions to the Kowloon skyline.
At 393 meters or 1,289 feet above sea level, Sky100 sits just opposite Victoria Peak, you could say they are standing almost eye to eye, and the views from here are just as spectacular.
More on the ICC's Sky 100 Observation Deck
The Central Waterfront Promenade in the Hong Kong Island side extends from the Star Ferry Pier to Admiralty offering not only splendid views of our breezy and effervescent Victoria Harbour but also a different vantage point for the towering skyline running all along next to it.
A relatively new area, it is breathing new life to the congested business district with the green areas and open spaces throughout. There are also
elevated viewing platforms along the walk, and by the time the project is completed, it should provide a link to the Wanchai promenade area all the way to
the Convention Centre and Bauhinia Square.
We are looking forward to see this splendid area grow and mature.
More on the Central Waterfront Promenade
I will never forget the first time I stepped into the atrium at the Intercontinental Hotel... a definite WOW moment...
The stunning view of the Harbour accross the tall floor to ceiling windows that surround it, the gracious service and soothing atmosphere, it is quite a memorable experience.
A Helicopter Tour over Victoria Harbour is such an exciting ride, one minute you are flying over the skyscrapers of Central and the next you are taking in the lovely tranquil beaches on the back side of the island, it is fun to see the contrasting views and it is such an entire different perspective seeing it all from the air.
Flightseeing tours are also convenient. One of the easiest take-off points is from the Helipads on top of the Peninsula Hotel,
right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui.
How much is a helicopter tour over Victoria Harbour? A fifteen minute scenic flight that takes you over the skyscrapers of the wonderful skyline to the little fishing villages along the coastline costs about US$290 per person with a minimum of two. Flights are limited and booking ahead is highly recommended. You can check availability through Viator here.
Because a Helicopter Tour is so much a weather-dependent activity, I suggest you schedule this early on your itinerary, you can always try later if the weather does not cooperate right away. In the event that your helicopter flight is cancelled due to weather, you are given the choice to reschedule or a full refund.
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, or the Ferris Wheel as many refer to it, provides yet another wonderful vantage point to admire our beautiful Harbour.
Located near the Star Ferry Central Pier, it has recently opened and offers incredible panoramic views from one of its 42 gondolas that reach their highest point at 60 meters.
Here's more on the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel.
Thank you for visiting www.hong-kong-traveller.com!
Here is to a wonderful Hong Kong travel experience!
Views from the Peak... Sampans at Aberdeen... Stanley Market...
This half-day tour packs all the highlights.
HK400 HKD200 US$27
Child HKD 150 US$20
More Info and Details
Luxury airport-hotel sedan transfers
in a Tesla Model S
HK650 HKD 426 (US$55)
per vehicle for 3-4 persons
Luxe Van Transfers
in a Toyota Alphard Van
HK690 HKD 505 (US$66)
per vehicle for up to 6 persons