Victoria Harbour (Victoria Bay)

Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
A Symphony of Lights
 Victoria Harbour Pictures

Situated between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbour, aka Victoria Bay, is the largest harbour in China and the third largest in the world, after San Francisco in the United States and Re de Janeiro in Brazil. It is home to most of the ports of Hong Kong, making the city one of the world's busiest ports. The harbour bustles day and night with all manner of watercraft – from the historic Star Ferries to cruise liners, cargo ships, and wooden fishing vessels.

Origin of the Name

The harbour was named after the British Queen Victoria, who was on the throne for 63 years (1837 - 1901), the longest in the history of the Great Britain. During her reign, the Great Britain enjoyed unprecedented cultural and economic prosperity. However, after she had been on the throne for only 3 years, in 1840, Great Britain waged the First Opium War with China. Following the war, the Nanjing Treaty was signed, as a result of which Hong Kong Island became a Concession of Britain. Later in 1860 after the Second Opium War, China was forced to sign the Peking Treaty, and in 1861 Kowloon Peninsula was also ceded to Britain. In April of that year, the bay between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula was named Victoria Harbour. As the natural center of the territory's dense urban region, the harbour has played host to many major public shows, including the annual fireworks and its promenades are popular gathering places for visitors and residents.


Best Sites for Grand Harbour View

Victoria Bay, Hong Kong
Victoria Harbour

Long famous for its stunning panoramic views, the harbour is a major attraction of Hong Kong. A myriad of lights twinkles at night from the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, making Hong Kong, together with Hakodate in Japan and Naples in Italy, included in the 'three best night scenes of the world'.

In 2004, the local Tourism Board introduced a show dubbed A Symphony of Lights, featuring nightly more than 40 skyscrapers in a stunning multimedia extravaganza. On Nov. 21, 2005, the show was listed in Guinness World Records as the world's largest permanent light and sound show.

At a height of 554m (1,818 feet), Victoria Peak is the highest mountain in Hong Kong. Victoria Tower on it can be counted as the best place to view the enchanting night view.

The Avenue of Stars, situated along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, allows for spectacular harbour views. It was built to honor the most illustrious people the local film industry has produced over the past decades.

Golden Bauhinia Square is located outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Wanchai waterfront. Surrounded by Victoria Bay on three sides, it rests at the center of the Harbour, making it a great site for harbour view.

As the highest indoor sightseeing deck in Hong Kong, Sky100 Observation Deck is located on the 100th floor of International Commerce Centre. One can view the whole Victoria Harbor and the Kowloon Peninsula from there. Besides, it is also one of the best places to watch Hong Kong Chinese New Year fireworks performance.


Victoria Harbour Cruise

Hong Kong Victoria Bay There is no better way to capture the magic of the harbour than by taking a cruise aboard a ferry.

Star Ferry is second to none for a Victoria Harbor cruise. It was once listed in the 50 places of a lifetime by National Geography. On top of the ferry service between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, it also provides a two-hour nighttime cruise, during which visitors are able to enjoy the Symphony of Lights in a unique way.

Duk Ling

Duk Ling is a carefully-restored authentic Chinese fishing junk and has been used for harbour cruises in Hong Kong waters for about 150 years ago. Tourists can aboard the Duk Ling to transfer between the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Terminal and Hong Kong Island Central Pier 9.

Aqua Luna

Named after the most famous pirate in Hong Kong of the last century, Aqua Luna is possibly the last handcrafted traditional Chinese red-sail junk built with age-old designs and traditional materials. It plies between Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 4 and Central Queen’s Pier.

Star Ferry Harbour Cruise Service

It's a circular cruise around Victoria Harbour involving the three piers: Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier, Central Pier No.7 and Wanchai Pier. The duration is about 1h.
Service Months Service Hours Ticket Fare (HKD)
Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier Central Pier No. 7 Wanchai Pier Adult Discount Fare
Single Ride Day Round Trip Ticket Feb. - Sep. 11:55 - 17:55 12:15 - 17:15 12:30 - 15:30 105 95
Oct. - Jan. 11:55 - 16:55 12:15 - 16:15 100 90
Single Ride Night Round Trip Ticket Feb. - Sep. 18:55, 20:55  20:15 - 190 171
Oct. - Jan. 17:55, 18:55, 20:55 18:15, 20:15 180 162
A Symphony of Lights Harbour Cruise Feb. - Sep. 19:55 19:15 - 215 194
Oct. - Jan. 205 185

Note: 1. The interval of day time ferry is an hour. 
2. The discount fare is for children from 3 to 12 years old and seniors at or over 65 years old.


How to get to Victoria Harbour

Night Scene of Victoria Bay
Night Scene of Victoria Bay

Cross-harbour tunnels

Three cross-harbour tunnels: Cross Harbour Tunnel; Eastern Harbour Crossing; and Western Harbour Crossing

MTR routes

Three MTR routes with cross-harbour tunnels:
Tsuen Wan Line (connecting with MTR Central Station and Tsim Sha Tsui Station)
Tseung Kwan O Line (connecting with MTR Quarry Bay Station and Yau Tong Station)
Tung Chung Line and Airport Express (sharing the same pair of tracks in the tunnel and connecting MTR Station Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Station)


Star Ferry Routes:
Central <=> Tsim Sha Tsui; Wanchai <=> Tsim Sha Tsui

First Ferry:
Central <=> Cheung Chau; Central <=> Mui Wo; Cheung Chau <=> Peng Chau; North Point <=> Hung Hong; North Point <=> Kowloon City

Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry:
Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry run four routes, two of which ply between urban Central and Lamma Island: Central <=> Yung Shue Wan (Lamma Island); Central <=> Sok Kwu Wan (Lamma Island)

Firework Performance Along Victoria Harbour

The performances are staged on Dec. 31st of each year for countdown celebration of the New Year, and on the second night of the Lunar New Year. To enjoy the best view, it is suggested to take a cruise floating on the harbor. In addition, there are some other recommended sites for a good experience of the fireworks, including Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, New Central Harbourfront, Central Piers no. 9 and 10 and Golden Bauhinia Square.

Further Reading:
Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

12 Best Places to Visit in Hong Kong for First-Time Visitors

- Last updated on Mar. 15, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Victoria Harbour
Asked by Karen from NEW ZEALAND | Mar. 12, 2023 00:39Reply
Half day layover in Hong Kong- have I got time for Victoria Harbour cruise and shopping?
If my flight lands in Hong Kong 7am and I do not depart again until 530pm at night..
a) how long to clear customs, I heard there is a free airport shuttle to town, and return for tourists?
b) if not which is the quickest/cheapest way to get to Victoria Harbour to go on a Star Ferry or cruise? Which train do I take and where do I get off?
c) recommended 4 hour itinerary including cruise/ferry and a busy HK market?
d) with April traffic what time would I need to head back to airport and how far in adavnce to check in before flying in Hong Kong? Thank you, any advice gratefully received.
Answers (1)
Answered by Rubin | Mar. 15, 2023 19:49

a) It usually takes 20-40 minutes to clear the customs based on passenger flow. There are free hotel buses for their guests. I haven't heard about other free buses, yet.
b) You may take bus no. A 21 from airport to Middle Road, Nathan Road, then walk for about 700 meters to Star Ferry Pier. It takes about 75 minutes on the way and costs HKD33. This may not be the fastest way, but the cheapest and most convenient way.
c) In addtion to riding star ferry, you may take a stroll in Tsim Sha Tsui, there are many places for shopping there. You may also go up to Victoria Peak to appreciate the cityscapes.
d) You'd better set off for the airport no late than 14:30.
Asked by Heather Robinson from UNITED STATES | Aug. 17, 2019 12:52Reply
Norwegian Cruise ships depart from Port of Hong Kong. Is this the same as Victoria Harbour?
Answers (2)
Answered by Hailey from USA | Aug. 19, 2019 01:19

Well, do you want to know whether if the port of HK is the same as Victoria Harbour?
Answered by Heather ROBINSON from USA | Aug. 19, 2019 04:22

Yes. It would help in booking a hotel.
Asked by Nur Jasrina Jaafar from MALAYSIA | Jul. 19, 2019 02:17Reply
How to go to Victoria harbor & see the symphony of light from Tin hau station using MTR?
Can you please suggest to me
Answers (1)
Answered by Hardy from USA | Jul. 21, 2019 20:25

Take MTR from Tin Hau-B exit (Island Line) to North Point-A1 exit, then walk northeast to it. It takes 20 minutes with HK$4.6.
Asked by Arif from BANGLADESH | Jul. 10, 2019 08:06Reply
How i get to Hong Kong victoria harbour from metropark hotel kowloon?
Answers (1)
Answered by Leah from CANADA | Jul. 10, 2019 20:07

Take 103(KMB/CTB) from Man Kee Mansion, Waterloo Road to Marsh Road, Gloucester Road, then transfer to Shau Kei Wan-Happy Valley (Tram) and get on from Hennessy Road (Canal Road West) to King's Road (Tin Chiu Street), then walk north to it. It takes around 1 hour with HK$12.4.
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