Monday, October 30, 2006

Star Ferry Crossed

We finally did it! We have become star crossed travelers on Hong Kong’s famous Star Ferry. The kids have long been intrigued by the idea of the ferry and we have long been wary of the heat, humidity and crowds. However, when we finally got there in late October, it was perfect. It is still hot (around 30 C) but not so humid and breezes off the water cooled us down a bit. And the ferry runs every five minutes, meaning the crowds are not bad at all.

The Star Ferry is an institution around here. Established in the 1890’s, the Star Ferry Company has been taking folks across Victoria Harbor for over a century now. The Co. operates 12 double decker ferries leaving from Hong Kong island and heading over to Kowloon, and beyond (Macau and mainland China). Prior to 1972, when Hong Kong’s MTR or subway opened, it was the only way to go. And with prices in the range of $2 Hong Kong dollars or about 30 US cents, everyone takes it. Commuters, shoppers, tourists and people with boat crazed kids.

We took the Star Ferry, I believe the Night Star to be exact (all the ferries have the word “star” in their names) from Central Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbor to Kowloon. While this sounds like a big trip, we were probably on the water about 5 minutes with both departure and arrival terminals visible at all times. On the Kowloon side, we debarked at Tsim Sha Tsui Pier. As this was our first time off Hong Kong Island since arrival (everyone except Phil’s) it felt monumental but in the end was not. Like most things in Hong Kong, the destination is a mall. We quickly walked from the pier into the huge Ocean Terminal, a large large mall anchored, at least for our family, with a California Pizza Kitchen, a Toys R Us and a Starbucks.

We took the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong, this time to Wan Chai, a slightly different pier. It was great fun being out on the water with the other ferries, the tug boats, the old junks and the single fishermen row boats. When it was all done and we asked the kids what they liked best about the day, Adam quickly replied “Hong Kong Disneyland!” Clearly, we have a couple more Hong Kong destinations to hit until everyone is happy.


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