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Deep water big harbor between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Among the world's most beautiful skylines with a backdrop of Victoria Peak.
Hong Kong has the tallest skyline in the world with four of the twenty tallest buildings in the world all in a small area around the bay. Appreciate modern skyscraper design.
The very cheap ride (.25 US cents) on Star Ferry across the harbor is fun and is like a poignant mini-tour of Hong Kong.
For people with little experience on boats in the ocean, the ride on boats in the harbor is a thrill.
Wonderful and stunning views of the city and harbor area can be had in the observation decks of the tallest buildings and from Victoria Peak. During the day or evening, and perhaps especially during the Symphony of Lights most evenings, the view is beautiful and memorable.
Victoria Peak that rises above the harbor is a fun hiking area with natural parks, a free public zoo at Mid-levels, and a big mall at the peak that offers a grand view of both sides of the island and sea.
The green mountains, trees, deep multi-hued water of the harbor, and distinctive skyscrapers that are sometimes lit up in multiple bright colors, with the big ships passing, is a memorable and enjoyable sight.
Victoria Harbor is distinctive because it is naturally beautiful and architecturally outstanding. Four of the twenty tallest buildings in the world rise in a concentrated area around the harbor together with a number of buildings almost as tall. The city is known to have the world’s highest skyline. And no city 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. Both sides of Victoria Harbor have interesting tourist attractions, and the city itself is one of the world’s big tourism and shopping attractions. Victoria Harbor is a major visitor attraction for millions of people from all over the world who visit Hong Kong each year. While in Hong Kong, one of the highlights is a visit to the harbor, enjoying the fresh clean sea breeze, and touring the attractions including great museums, free public parks, zoos and amusement areas, outstanding architecture, hiking and beautiful scenery.
The natural harbor is quite big and long and is divided into two parts. The part most visitors see includes the area between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island. But to the west of this area is a large, impressive and busy container port that is the world’s 3rd busiest container port and the world’s 9th busiest port in general in terms of tonnage shipped. The Kwai Tsing Container Port is in the northwestern part of the harbor. That is where much of the the export wealth of Hong Kong is funneled through. Victoria Harbor is one of the most important ports for southern mainland China as well. The container port area is kind of amazing to see if you haven’t seen big ports before. It doesn’t look dingy and polluted. People can see it while riding the MTR to the Tsing Ma Bridge or by riding the double-decker buses along West Kowloon Highway. You can see the view better from the upper deck of these buses.
The part of the harbor between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island is where the Star Ferry Terminal is located and where the tall buildings are clustered. The Star Ferry Terminal is only about a kilometer away from Hong Kong Island. The tallest building in Hong Kong called the International Commerce Center was completed in 2010. It is the fourth tallest building in the world with 108 stories and is located next to the harbor in Kowloon, west of the Star Ferry Terminal. In this part of the harbor, there are no big industrial berths, but big cruise ships and sometimes military ships of various countries dock there. There are many ferry docks that serve the whole area and region around Hong Kong, and people can watch restaurant boats and tourist boats pass by.
Three places to go for a special view of the harbor is the Avenue of Stars, Central Plaza, and Victoria Peak. The Avenue of Stars is a special promenade with benches that features the handprints of famous greats of the Hong Kong movie industry. It fronts the harbor between the Star Ferry Terminal and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. It passes in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Center and the interesting Space Museum with a mockup of the front end of the Space Shuttle. 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.
Central Plaza is the third-tallest building in the city at 374 meters (1,227 feet) tall with 78 stories. The structure contains the Hong Kong City Church at the top that is the highest church in the world located inside a skyscraper. The skyscraper sits close to the waterfront of the harbor on the Hong Kong Island side. The chapel at the top of the building has glass walls on all sides and during services in the mornings, visitors can admire the closeup view of both Victoria Peak and the ships passing below their feet accompanied by the great music of the talented musicians for free.
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. From the top, one can see the buildings that are lit-up at dusk and see the sun set onto Lantau Island at the western side of the island. 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, as do city buses.
The harbor is quite beautiful and is worth seeing in a tour of Hong Kong. It has a strategic location and can accommodate and shelter big ships, and it has been both commercially and strategically important for the British Empire and the Chinese. The harbor was an important part of the British Empire and was a base for the Royal Navy during the colonial years. Now it plays an important part in China’s foreign trade and for Hong Kong’s tourism.
Look at the harbor and the tall, artistically-built skyscrapers.
Walk around and take pictures.
Enjoy the Avenue of Stars and the Symphony of Lights.
Enjoy a walk up Victoria Peak or take the Peak Tram. The view from the top and pictures up there are great.
Ride the Star Ferry back and forth. The Star Ferry ride takes only about 10 minutes and costs almost nothing. The ferries pass back and forth about every 8 to 13 minutes and have two passenger levels. The view from the lower level is actually better because it is closer to the water. People can see the water and shoreline better. The ferry boats have an old European look.
Location: Between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
How to go there: Victoria Harbor is the center of Hong Kong. There are a multitude of routes.
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 and maybe see faces from a hundred countries along the way.
Best Time to Visit: There is a lot of rain in the summer, but if there isn't a storm, the weather is generally warm but pleasant. Hong Kong is still fairly warm and is drier in October and November.
Symphony of Lights: The display starts at 8 pm if weather permits. The display is changed with the passing seasons. At Chinese New Year on the second day of the lunar new year, there is a special fireworks display above the harbour as well.
Most of the common tourist sites are in the Kowloon area, Hong Kong Island and Lantau. Tsim Sha Tsui has four good museums and the Hong Kong Cultural Center and can be toured in a day’s tour with a guide map. Without a map, the area is confusing to walk around in.
On the Hong Kong Island side of the city, a fascinating British legacy in Central District is St. John’s Cathedral right next to the IFC Mall. The building's interior and exterior is quite beautiful, and it was built in the Victorian era. The IFC Mall is a new and glitzy luxury shopping mall area under the International Finance Center. 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.