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Victoria Harbour Guide — Discover the Heart of Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong Island from atop Victoria PeakYou can get good views of Victoria Harbour from Victoria Peak.

Hong Kong is by far the most popular city for tourism in the world, and Victoria Harbour is the most popular area of Hong Kong. Victoria Harbour may be the most tourist-popular area in the world.

People enjoy seeing the skyline, riding the Star Ferry, and visiting attractions around it including the museums, malls, and high buildings.

In the 2010s, a lot of construction has been finished, and major projects such as the high-speed rail station are being finished. The harbor also has some new tourist attractions and facilities. [2018]

Harbor Highlights

Hong Kong Symphony of LightsThe Hong Kong Symphony of Lights

The Avenue of Stars promenade is being renovated and set to open in 2019. The Symphony of Lights has been improved and modernized. On the Central side, there is a new park along the shore that has a giant Ferris wheel.

These new highlights as well as the annual firework shows and dragon boat races continue to draw tens of millions of tourists to the most popular area of Hong Kong.

Key Highlights

  • Among the world's most beautiful and tallest skylines with a backdrop of Victoria Peak. The ICC and IFC are the tallest buildings.
  • The Symphony of Lights shines most even.ings and provides a beautiful and memorable view. Victoria Peak is the backdrop.
  • The Star Ferry (.30 USD) across the harbor is fun and is like a poignant mini-tour of Hong Kong. For kids, the ride is a thrill.
  • The ICC, IFC, and the Bay Harbour Mall are world class for luxury and middle-priced shopping.

Victoria Harbour features on our list of The Top 10 Attractions in China.

Harbor Sectors

The natural harbor is quite big and long and is divided into three parts: east, west and central. The part most visitors see includes the area between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island in the central part

Hong Kong Star FerryRide the Star Ferry to enjoy views of the Victoria Harbour skyline.

The Star Ferry Terminal is located on the Tsim Sha Tsui side next to the promenade called the Avenue of Stars. Tall buildings are clustered around this part of the Harbor. The Star Ferry’s pier is only about a kilometer away from Hong Kong Island. The Central Star Ferry Terminal is on the Hong Kong Island side.

The Kai Tak giant cruise ship terminal is two miles to the east of the Star Ferry. It can handle two of the largest cruise vessels at a time and has an MTR station.

The Kwai Tsing Container Port is the world's 6th busiest container port (2018) and is in the northwestern part of the harbor. That is where much of the export wealth of Hong Kong is funneled through, and it is one of the most important ports for China. The container port area is amazing to see if you haven't seen big ports before.

History

The Treaty of Nanking between China and Britain in 1843 stipulated that Hong Kong was a part of the British Empire. Victoria Harbour gradually became a major port because it was close to Canton and along the major shipping lines between Japan and Singapore.

  • According to records, in 1844 only 538 ships docked there.
  • From these small beginnings, by 1931 over 42,000,000 tons of cargo was shipped through.
  • During the 1950s and the 1960s, Hong Kong flourished as a manufacturing center.
  • In the1970s, containerized shipping allowed much faster throughput of manufactured products.

Reclamation projects have changed the look of the harbor. Now there is a major reclamation and construction project going on in Central next to the ferry piers. Tourist attractions are planned for the new venue beside the IFC Towers.

How to Tour Victoria Harbour

Touring Activities

ICC TowerThe ICC Tower on the harbor houses the luxury Elements Mall.
  • Ride the Star Ferry: The ride costs almost nothing (starting at 30 cents USD). The ferries pass back and forth about every 8 to 13 minutes and have two passenger levels. The view from the lower level is better. The ferry boats have an old European look.
  • Enjoy the Avenue of Stars and the Symphony of Lights. Walk around and take pictures.
  • See the harbor from the tall, artistically-built skyscrapers.
  • Learn about space and Chinese/international art at the Space Museum and the Museum of Art.

Scenic Vantage Points

Five places to go for a special view of the harbor are the ICC Tower, the Avenue of Stars, Central Plaza, Victoria Peak and the giant Ferris wheel.

ICC Tower

The 108-story International Commerce Center with its observation deck overlooks the harbor from astounding heights. It was finished in 2011. Its Sky100 Deck is a local tourist highlight.

The Avenue of Stars

avenue of starsThe Avenue of Stars is by Victoria Harbour.

The Avenue of Stars is a special promenade with benches. Handprints of famous greats of the Hong Kong movie industry are inlaid. It fronts the harbor between the Star Ferry Terminal and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. It passes by the Hong Kong Cultural Center and the interesting egg-shaped dome of the Space Museum with a mockup of the front end of the Space Shuttle.

With all these facilities, the promenade needed a refurbishment since it is one of Hong Kong's most visited areas. In 2019, the famous walkway should be reopened.

From the Avenue of Stars at dusk, you can watch the Symphony of Lights spectacle of the buildings lit up above the harbor in concert with the audio playing on the speakers behind you. No other city in the world is lit up in a concerted light and sound spectacle almost every night with lasers and skylights playing on the bottom of the clouds and colors reflecting off the wavy water.

The Hong Kong Observation Wheel

The giant Ferris wheel is 60 meters tall and can serve about 400 people at time. It is in front of a park area near the Central Star Ferry terminal.

Central Plaza

Central Plaza is the third-tallest building in the city at 374 meters (1,227 feet) tall with 78 stories. The Hong Kong City Church meets at the top. It is known as the highest church in the world located inside a skyscraper. The chapel at the top of the building has glass walls on all sides and during services in the mornings, visitors can admire the view of both Victoria Peak and the ships passing below their feet accompanied by the great music for free.

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak may be the most memorable place to view the harbor, especially after a half hour or hour walk through the city park above Mid-levels. If you are thirsty or hungry there is a big mall with restaurants, refreshment places and a Starbucks. The Peak Tram also goes up there. City buses and taxis ascend as well.

Travel Essentials

  • Location: Between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
  • MTR trains: If you are coming from the airport, take the Airport Express MTR and get off at Hong Kong Station in Central. If you are coming from the border, you can get off at Tsim Sha Tsui station and enjoy the short walk through the crowded multicultural streets of Tsim Sha Tsui. During your walk you can maybe see faces from a hundred countries along the way.
  • New Guangzhou to Hong Kong bullet train: Perhaps in 2019, it will be much easier to reach the harbor area from much of China via a high-speed train. The West Kowloon Station terminus is adjacent to the ICC Tower.
  • Best time to visit: There is a lot of rain in the summer, but if there isn't a storm, Hong Kong weather is generally warm and pleasant. Hong Kong is still fairly warm and is drier in October and November. The Symphony of Lights starts at 8 pm if weather permits.

Nearby Attractions

Visit Hong Kong with your familyFrom Victoria Peak, you can see Victoria Harbor and surroundings.

Victoria Harbour is a major visitor attraction for millions of people from all over the world who visit Hong Kong each year.

Both sides of Victoria Harbour have interesting tourist attractions near them.

Kowloon Attractions

In Kowloon, enjoy the sea breeze at Kowloon Park, the Museum of History, and the Science Museum. The mountains are where to enjoy hiking and beautiful scenery.

Nathan Road is famous for both shopping and pedestrian sightseeing such as St. Andrews and Kowloon Park.

Hong Kong Island Attractions

On the Hong Kong Island side, Hong Kong Park is an attraction, and in the mountains behind. St. John's Cathedral is near the IFC Mall. 

The Bank of China Tower is one of Hong Kong's most striking skyscrapers, and it was designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei. It is like a crystal in the sky. It was once the tallest building outside the US before the skyscraper boom began around the world in the 1990s.

Maps and tourist information are available for free at the Star Ferry Hong Kong Tourism Board’s office atop Victoria Peak.

Touring Victoria Harbour with Us

tour with China HighlightsYou can tour and shop and do business in comfort and style in Hong Kong with China Highlights

We specialize in tailor-made, private tours according to the wishes of our clients. We expertly design our clients' Hong Kong / China tours.

Here are some recommended tour ideas for your consideration:

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