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Hong Kong Ferries — Within HK and to China Cities

Star FerryThe Star Ferry is the most popular ferry in the world.

Here we cover two kinds of ferry ports and ferries in Hong Kong. Ports such as the Central Piers, Wan Chai Ferry Pier, and North Point Ferry Pier have fast and slow ferries that operate between the islands and ports inside Hong Kong. Three Hong Kong ports have fast ferries that go to Macau and several Mainland Chinese cities.

Note that Ferries are Generally Less Convenient during Bad Weather

Bad weather is when not to take the intercity ferries: During inclement weather, the ferry might not operate or operate off schedule, and many people wouldn’t enjoy a choppy hydrofoil ferry ride when the waves are high weather. People can get seasick, and this might be better avoided. 

When your schedule is tight, high-speed trains, buses, and the metro systems might be better choices since they assure punctuality. The high speed trains to Guangzhou South leave every 30 minutes or so, and they leave every 18 or so minutes to Shenzhen.

Ferries Operating within Hong Kong

There are also ferries sailing among the local ports in Hong Kong, and for where tourists and visitors want to go, these are usually faster and cheaper than the buses and provide fantastic photo opportunities.

There are several ports such as the Tuen Mun Pier, Central Piers, Wan Chai Ferry Pier and North Point Ferry Pier.

Turbojet fast ferries and slow ferries that operate between the islands and ports inside Hong Kong. There are often preferable for going between the most popular tourist locations.

For tourists, the most commonly used ports on Hong Kong Island are the Central Piers and the Wan Chai Ferry Piers.

For going to certain popular tourist islands, namely Lamma, Peng Chau, and Cheung Chau Island, the ferries are the only means of transport. But Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island both have metro trains, public buses, and taxis available.

Star Ferry between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central/Wan Chai

For going between the Tsim Sha Tsui area and Central and Wanchai on Hong Kong Island, we strongely recommend the Star Ferry for the fast connection and the novel and refreshing sightseeing.

For such a tiny ferry and the short 10 minute trip, the Star Ferry is wildly popular in China. It is actually listed as China's 4th most popular touristy Thing to Do on Trip Advisor in 2019, and the little ship has been included in the world's "must do" travel lists of some well known travel writers.

Star Ferry Pier Tsim Cha Tsui to/from Central: Ferries operate every 9 minutes or so from about 6:30 am in the morning to about 11:30 pm at night. Travel time is about 10 minutes. Ticket range from 2.2 HKD to 3.7 HKD (1.5 HKD to 2.2 HKD for children).

Star Ferry Pier Tsim Cha Tsui to/from Wan Chai: Ferries operate every 12 minutes or so from about 7:30 am in the morning to about 10:50 pm at night. Travel time is about 9 minutes. Ticket range from 2.2 HKD to 3.7 HKD (1.5 HKD to 2.2 HKD for children).

Ferries between Central Piers and Southern Lantau Island and Discovery Bay

For going to southern Lantau Island and Discovery Bay on Lantau Island, the ferries from the Central Piers are preferable when they are operating during good weather for the sightseeing and refreshment. They make better time too than taking the metro to Tung Chung on the northern shore of Lantau.

Take the slow ferry if you can to Mui Wo. The ride takes about 20 minutes longer, but the view and overall experience is much better than taking the fast ferry.

Mui Wo to/from Central Piers: Slow ferries operate between Mui Wo and the Central piers about every two hours starting about 6 am until about 10 pm.  The ticket prices range from about 16 HKD to about 38 HKD.  The journey time is about an hour.

Fast ferries operate between the Mui Wo piers and the Central Piers every two hours as well from about 6 am until about 10 pm, and there are some late night trips as well. The ticket prices range from about 31 to 44 HKD. The journey time is about 40 minutes.

Discovery Bay to/from Central Piers: Only fast ferries operate between these to locations every half hour or so day or night. The ticket prices range from about 33 HKD for those who have a Registered Octopus to 65 HKD for night service for cash payments. The journey time is about 25 or 35 minutes depending on whether or not the ferry makes a stop at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Central Piers to/from Cheung Chau Island

Slow ferries operate between the Central Piers and Cheung Chau about every hour during the day from 6 am to 12 midnight, and there are several additional late night ships. The ticket prices range from 13.6 USD to 31 USD. The journey time is about 1 hour.

Fast ferries operate between the two piers about every hour during the day from about 9 am to about 11:30. The ticket prices range from about 27 HKD to 39 HKD. The journey time is about 40 minutes.

Central Piers to/from Lamma Island

lamma islandLamma Island Yung Shue Wan harbor

There are two ports on Lamma Island: Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. The more visited one is in Yung Shue Wan. People often land at Yung Shue Wan and walk to Sok Kwu Wan via the Family Walk pathway.

Central to/from Yung Shue Wan: From 6:30 am to about 8:30 pm, there are ferries every approximately 25 minutes or so. These are all fast ferries. Tickets range from about 18 HKD to 25 HKD. The journey time is about half an hour. There are a few late night and overnight ferries too.

Central to/from Sok Kwu Wan: From about 7:00 am to about 11:o0 pm, there are ferries every approximately every two hours or so. Tickets range from about 22 HKD to 31 HKD. The journey time is about 40 minutes. There are no late night ferries.

Other Popular Ferries for Tourists within Hong Kong

The small popular tourist islands of Ma Wan, Peng Chau, and Tai O also have ferry services.

Ferries to/from Guangzhou and Downtown Hong Kong

Travel Times and Price for the High Speed Train to/from Guangzhou South for Comparison

In general, whether you choose to take a ferry or train to go to or from Guangzhou and downtown Hong Kong depends mainly on where you are coming from or going to specifically. But it also depends on the train and ferry schedules, prices, and weather.

Trains are more frequent between the two cities, 30 minutes on average, so there is less waiting time, and they are much faster overall.

However, there are only about 4 or 5 ferries a day going in either direction to from Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (see the table below in the Inter-City Ferry Schedules section), so checking their current ferry schedules will help you plan.

Guangzhou to/from Downtown Hong Kong's China Ferry Terminal

China Ferry Terminal in Hong KongChina Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui

To/from Tsim Sha Tsui: If you are in Tsim Sha Tsui, you have the option of the bullet train to Guangzhou South or the China Ferry Terminal for going to the Panyu Lianhuashan Port. These two facilities are near each other around Victoria Harbour (maybe a 12 minute walk).

Both the China Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon HSR Station are quite close to the main Tsim Sha Tsui tourist attractions such as Harbour City Mall, Nathan Road, and Victoria Harbour.

Guangzhou ferry drawbacks: The main drawbacks about taking a ferry to Guangzhou are that the ferry ports are on the outskirts of the city and there are no direct metro links to the ports. Most tourists and business people too want to go to the central part of the city where Tianhe, Zhujiang, and the Canton Tower are. See Train Travel for the Canton Fair if you are going to the Guangzhou Pazhou International Exhibition Center in central Guangzhou.

Lianhuashan Port access: Going from Lianhuashan to downtown Guangzhou via a taxi ride can take an hour and cost more than 20 USD. The subway station closest to the port terminal is Subway Line 4's Shiqi Station that is about 20 minutes away by taxi.

Guangzhou South Station on the other hand is a metro hub station. Going from Guangzhou South to Guangzhou East Station in Tianhe takes about 20 minutes by taxi or about an hour by subway including a lengthy and involved subway transfer. If you are carrying heavy luggage, that might better be avoided.

Ferries to/from Guangzhou and Hong Kong International Airport

Comparison of Travel Times and Price for Key Transport Options to/from the Hong Kong Airport

  • Hong Kong International Airport to West Kowloon Station: Airport Express, 23 minutes (13 USD) plus 15 minute walk
  • West Kowloon Station to Guangzhou South: High Speed Train, 1 hour (32 USD for 2nd class ticket).
  • Hong Kong International Airport to Lianhuashan Ferry Port: Fast ferry, 115 minutes (about 40 USD adult and 26 for child for economy class ticket). In 2019, ferries go to Nansha Passenger Port (10:30, 15:20) and Panyu Lianhuashan Port (10:30, 15:20, 18:40).

In general, whether you choose to take a ferry or train to go to or from Guangzhou and the Hong Kong International Airport depends mainly on where you are coming from or going to specifically. But it also depends on the train and ferry schedules, prices, and weather.

Trains are more frequent between the two cities, 30 minutes on average, so there is less waiting time, and they are much faster overall.

From airport: However, for commuting from/to Hong Kong International Airport and Guangzhou, the ferry might be more convenient especially if you want to go to a place near the Panyu Lianhuashan Port in southern Guangzhou such as to Chimelong. This is because the commute between the West Kowloon HSR Station and the airport can take about 50 minutes or more including walking and waiting.

However, there are only about 2 or 3 ferries a day going in either direction and schedules change often, so checking their current ferry schedules will help you plan.

Ferry to/from Macau and Hong Kong

Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau BridgeHong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

There are fast ferries between Hong Kong to Macau. The opening of the new bridge linking Hong Kong and Macau provides another travel option too.

Which you would use depend on ferry schedules, the weather, and where you are going to and coming from.

Four Hong Kong ports and two Hong Kong ports: At present, there are two companies operating ferries from four Hong Kong piers to two Macau piers. The ferries are especially convenient if you are in downtown Hong Kong Island or Tsim Sha Tsui because you can easily find a pier nearby.

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is the longest crossing connecting Hong Kong and Macau. Taking the shuttle bus from Hong Kong to Macau might take about half the time and cost about half the price as taking the ferry.

See Hong Kong to Macau Transportation

Ferries to/from Hong Kong and Shenzhen

There are ferry ships between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, but the new bullet train that takes about 19 minutes to Shenzhen North, linking bridges across which bus lines cross, and the Shenzhen/Hong Kong ports and border crossings are other options. See Shenzhen to Hong Kong Transport and Ports (Border Crossings)

For going to and from the Hong Kong airport and Shenzhen, buses might be the least expensive and fastest way.

Ferries to/from Hong Kong and Zhuhai

There are ships from Hong Kong to Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Xiamen. See the current ferry schedules online and the ferry schedules below for reference only.

Departure Port Destination Port Departure Time
Jiuzhou Port, Zhuhai China Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong 08:00, 10:00, 11:45, 14:00 16:00, 17:00
Jiuzhou Port, Zhuhai HK-Macau Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 18:00, 19:30, 20:30, 21:30
China Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong Jiuzhou Port, Zhuhai 07:30, 08:30, 09:30, 11:30 13:30, 15:30, 17:45
HK-Macau Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong Jiuzhou Port, Zhuhai 08:40, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30 16:30, 19:30, 21:30

Inter-City Ferry Schedules

The following table is for general reference only. Times and schedules change, so check online to see what the current schedules are for the various ferries.

Departure Port Destination Port Daily Departure Sailing Time Ticket Price / Person
China Ferry Terminal Zhongshan 07:30
08:30
10:00
13:00
15:00
16:00
18:00
20:00
One and half hours Tourist Class: HK$196;
First Class: HK$ 226;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 246
China Ferry Terminal Guangzhou Panyu Port 07:50
09:00
14:00
18:20
One hour and fifty minutes Tourist Class: HK$175;
First Class: HK$ 220;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 270
China Ferry Terminal Doumen Dock 08:30 One hour and fifty minutes HK$ 178
China Ferry Terminal Jiangmen 08:30
15:00
18:00
Two hours and thirty minutes Tourist Class: HK$ 206;
First Class: HK$ 226;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 246
China Ferry Terminal Jiuzhou Port, Zhuhai 07:30
08:30
09:30
11:30
13:30
15:30
17:45
One hour and ten minutes Tourist Class: HK$ 190;
First Class: HK$270;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 305
China Ferry Terminal Shunde 07:30
08:30
11:00
13:30
15:20
18:00
One hour and fifty-five minutes Tourist Class: HK$ 228;
First Class: HK$ 258;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 283
China Ferry Terminal Gaoming 08:20 Three Hours Tourist Class: HK$ 220;
First Class: HK$ 250;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 260
China Ferry Terminal Heshan 08:20 Two and a half hours Tourist Class: HK$ 220;
First Class: HK$ 250;
VIP Cabin: HK$ 260

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