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Victoria Harbour, which might be the world's finest, separates Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Peninsula. Its deep waters were instrumental in the establishment of a British colony in the early 19th century here and its presence has served to greatly shape the evolution of modern day Hong Kong.
Today, vast numbers of skyscrapers line its shores while traditional junks, ferries, cruise ships and even tankers ply its waters, day and night.
Victoria Harbour also hosts world-class fireworks displays, the most famous being the annual 23-minute display held during Chinese New Year. It is illuminates the skyline at night, allowing lasting memories and excellent photos to be made of one of the world’s finest harbours.
Hong Kong Skyline (Often Considered the World’s Best)
The prominent feature of Victoria Harbour is the fantastic Hong Kong Skyline is not something easily missed as it dominated much of what you can see from the popular areas where you will likely spent much of your time sightseeing in Hong Kong.
There are many places to view Hong Kong's lovely skyline. The best being the TST Promenade and Avenue of Stars, looking over Victoria Harbour directly at the Hong Kong Island skyline. This image is beautiful in the morning and when the sun is at your back, allowing you to see the skyline with a blue sky behind Victoria Peak. However, the very best time to see the fantastic Hong Kong skyline is at night when the buildings are lit up and reflecting off of the harbour.
View from The Peak (HK Island – Best View of Harbour)
The location of the ‘classic postcard’ shot of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong. The world famous Victoria Peak is the
best location for viewing Victoria Harbour while on HK Island. From this vantage point, visitors
can appreciate the vast size of the harbour while admiring its formation, water
traffic and beauty. Best pictures are made on clear sky days with the sun at
your back or pretty much every night when the skyline is lit up against the
darkness of night.
Traditionally, the favourite means for visiting Victoria Peak is by taking the equally famous and historically important Peak Tram found at the Peak Tram Terminus in the Central District of Hong Kong Island.
Sky 100 (Kowloon, 100th/fl of the ICC building)
New York City has the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre for bird’s eye views of the city. Now Hong Kong has the International Commerce Centre (ICC) and its 100th floor Observation Decks, called Sky 100. This relatively new attraction, allows visitors a chance to view Victoria Harbour from up in the clouds on the Kowloon side of the harbour. Sky 100 can be found in the ICC building, near the Kowloon MTR station.
Historic Star Ferry (Best View on the water)
Taking a harbour cross or even just making a single crossing is a favourite way to visit Victoria Harbour and there is no better way to do this then by taking a ride on the historic and iconic Star Ferry which ferries passengers between TST (Kowloon) and Central (HK Island) and Wan Chai (HK Island) for the pocket change price of HK$2.50 (US$0.32) per adult, HK$1.50 (US$0.19) per child. Or you can book a tourist (HK$34) that is good for four days, allowing lots of time, day and night for crossing Victoria Harbour.
It can be said that this might be the best US$1.00 you might ever spend for a family of four.
For longer harbour cruises, visitors can book tickets on the evening harbor cruise and the hop-on/hop-off afternoon services available with Star Ferry. The boats allocated for these services leave every hour from the three major piers; including Wan Chai (HK Island) and make a slow circular route around Victoria Harbor, allowing much more time on the water to admire the harbour.
Aqua Luna (traditional “junk” harbour cruise)
An alternative to the ferry-boat harbour cruise offered by the Star Ferry company, visitors can also cruise the harbour in a traditional junk-boat on the Aqua Luna ship. This recently famous ship with the bright red sails, offers a more comfortable and atmospheric environment yet comes at a noticeably higher price.
You board the Aqua Luna in both TST and Central but most passengers load at the TST embarkation point, which is on the promenade past the Avenue of Stars towards the Clock Tower. The sailing is approximately 45 minutes and ticket comes with one beverage.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
This is the second spot for ‘classic postcard’ views and picture taking of the Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Skyline. At ground level, there are no better place to spend time on Victoria Harbour than the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) Promenade in Kowloon. The TST Promenade hosts large crowds during the annual Chinese New Year fireworks display and other events during the year. It is routinely crowded with tourist groups seeking views of the harbour. Best viewing is at night when the Hong Kong Skyline illuminates off the harbour waters.
For more peaceful visits, you might want to visit first thing in the morning before the majority of visitors arrive. If you go early enough, you can have the entire promenade to yourself and the few morning joggers that take to its path.
Avenue of Stars
An area within the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, identified as the Avenue of Stars, is a Hollywood like area where famous Hong Kong Stars have left hand imprints. A popular Bruce Lee statue and more outstanding views of the harbour and skyline can be seen here.
This particular area gets very busy during much of the day and can be less enjoyable than other areas of the TST Promenade.
Symphony of Lights
Some love the Symphony of Lights while others hate it. Rightly or wrongly this nightly show is heavily promoted and on most everyone’s to do list in Hong Kong. Its free and takes place at night, which is one of the very best times to see the harbour.
Bruce Lee Statue
It is good fun, stopping by the Bruce Lee Statue, watching
hordes of tourists jockeying for photo opportunities next to this local legend.
This goes on, non-stop, all day long, especially during the summer when tourist
groups swarm into Hong Kong and ply up and down the Avenue of Stars.
To have an unobstructed view of the Bruce Lee Statue, its best to go to the Avenue of Stars early in the morning before the tourist groups (and the bright sun) show up. Arriving anytime before 7.30 to 7.45am, you will be afforded some time alone with the statue so you can take some nice pictures with Hong Kong Skyline and Victoria Peak in the background. This is the best time of day to visit the Bruce Lee Statue.
The clock tower is situated in front of the harbour near the Star Ferry Pier. It includes a narrow reflection pool, lined with trees and is a nice place to stop for rest in the hotter summer months. A quick stop at the Clock Tower is worth a few minutes of your time when walking the promenade area between the Avenue of Stars area and the Star Ferry.
Peninsula Hotel and Afternoon Tea
While walking along the TST Promenade, vicitosrs can cross Salisbury Road and visit the historic Peninsula Hotel. Many enjoy the elegant interior but the real reason for paying viist to the Peninsula is for the popular and iconic 'Afternoon High Tea' experience. Afternoon Tea is available for visitors between 2.30-6.30pm daily but they don't accept reservations so its best to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your desired seating time. There is almost always a queue so don't be surprised when you have to wait a bit to be seated.
Lobby Lounge at the Intercontinental
Less iconic and traditional, but with harbour views, better price and what many locals suggest to be better tea snacks, the Lobby Lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Promenade offers a very good alternative to taking Afternoon Tea at the nearby Peninsula Hotel.
Lounge at the
Intercontinental at Four Seasons (HK Island)
Not much of a view from this location. However, you are rewarded with one of the best Afternoon Tea experiences available in Hong Kong. The tea is very good, table snacks perhaps the best in Hong Kong and the atmosphere as one would expect at a Four Seasons Hotel.
Starbucks - Avenue of Stars
For those less interested in a pricey Afternoon Tea experience, there is an excellently located Starbucks on the TST Promenade, with two floors of outdoor seating, affording visitors excellent views of Victoria Harbour.
From Kowloon, you can also enjoy excellent views of the Hong Kong Skyline from several bars on high floors; such as the popular Aqua Bar (30/f of Peking One Road) Sky bar (118th/f) at the International Commerce Center (ICC). Other popular Kowloon based viewing areas include Felix Bar at the famous Peninsula Hotel as well as the lobby and restaurants at the Intercontinental Hotel.
A popular and conventional Chinese restaurant for visitors, ride across from the Star Ferry Pier in TST. Peking Garden serves not only the traditional Peking Duck and the popular Beggar’s Chicken dish (must order 24 hours in advance) but they also have traditional duck carving, noodle making demonstrations and diners are asked to crack their own Beggar’s Chicken mud shell before being served. This is very fun for families with children in particular and can make a memorable dining experience in Hong Kong.
Hint: Ask for a window view table when you make reservations. If your party is 5+ they usually oblige.
While visiting Victoria Harbour there are several notable shopping areas, which can be visited. On the Kowloon side, the high end 1881 Heritage shopping mall is directly across Salisbury Rd. near the Peninsula. At the end of the TST promenade at the Star Ferry Pier, you can turn right and will shortly enter the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong called Harbour City. There is department store style shopping available at the SOGO (TST) branch and a nice collection of high-end and luxury brand shops at the lovely outdoor 1881 Heritage. Also, on the Hong Kong side, the IFC Shopping Mall is located five minutes walk from the Star Ferry (Central) pier.
On the Kowloon side of Victoria, visitors and pop into the Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art or the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for a theatre and music performance. In Wan Chai events are often held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
At the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, you can find a Hong Kong Tourism Board booth. Here you can acquire talk with a representative of the HKTB about attractions near Victoria Harbour and the rest of Hong Kong. You can also pick up free maps.
Information for visitors to Hong Kong is also provided by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and can be accessed online at the Discover Hong Kong Website
Background and other info on the harbor here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria...