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7 best boat tours in Hong Kong

By Gabriella Lynn 28 July 2022 | Last Updated 13 July 2023

Header image courtesy of Aqualuna (via Facebook)

Imagine this: You’re cruising on a boat, bobbing on the blue waters, hair flapping in the wind. With a chilled drink in hand, you gaze at the sea, glistening under the bright sun. Everything is perfect. Well, you can bring this fantasy to life with a boat tour that takes you across the waves! Whether you are a geology enthusiast or love uncovering cultural gems, there is something for everyone on our non-definitive list of the best boat tours in Hong Kong.

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Photo: Cheung Yin (via Unsplash)

Star Ferry Water Tour

All aboard the Star Ferry! If you want to enjoy a ride on our beloved green-and-white icon, simply book a water tour. For 90 minutes, you can snack on unlimited popcorn while sight-seeing along the Victoria Harbour and watching “A Symphony of Lights” from the spacious and environmentally-friendly vessel called World Star.

Got more time to spare? Embark on a photogenic two-hour journey during golden hour and watch the sunset over the cityscape. Purchase your tickets at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier, but note that the tours are only available on selected public holidays and weekends, so it’s best to make an enquiry with Star Ferry for the specific dates.

Photo: Keith Hardy (via Unsplash)

360 Tai O Pass

Combine a trip in the sky with a ride on the waves for a fun-filled weekend getaway. A tour that covers the best of both worlds, the 360 Tai O Pass will take you up in a cable car and down in a sampan from Ngong Ping to Tai O. Relax during the 5.7-kilometre-long ride as you glide over a superb view of Lantau and munch on local delicacies and sugary snacks while exploring the fishing village and its traditional stilt houses.

Photo: Security Bureau

Sha Tau Kok

Feeling adventurous? Join a local guided tour to a place that was once closed off and forbidden—Sha Tau Kok. A sleepy town in the North District, Sha Tau Kok is home to Hong Kong’s longest pier and a street that sits on the border between our city and Shenzhen. For now, only the pier is open to the public on weekends—plus a bazaar selling Hakka speciality snacks and traditional handicrafts—but stay tuned for the next stage of reopening the area.

As part of the tour, a visit to neighbouring attractions Ap Chau, Kat O, and Lai Chi Wo is arranged. Now departing from Sha Tau Kok Pier, the boat rides are 15 to 20 minutes shorter, but you can still enjoy the salty breeze of the Starling Inlet nonetheless.

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Photo: @aberdeen1773 (via Instagram)

Aberdeen 1773

Journey back in time on the Aberdeen 1773 tour! Starting with a one-hour sampan ride around the picturesque fishing village of Aberdeen, the guided trip takes you to see the houseboat that fishermen lived on during the 1960s, which includes a photography exhibition, a kitchen showroom, and a seafood drying area. For an extra local touch, finish with a steamy bowl of boat noodles prepared in a mobile sampan kitchen.

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Photo: Chingleung (via Wikimedia Commons)

Recommended Geopark Guide (R2G) tours

Hong Kong’s geological landscape totally rocks! Follow a Recommended Geopark Guide (R2G) to island-hop in Sai Kung or around the northeastern New Territories, and let them tell you all about the strikingly beautiful hexagonal rock columns or the diverse variety of sedimentary rocks as you float on the blue waters in a sightseeing boat. Talk about a rocking excursion! While there are many R2G tour operators to choose from, be sure to double-check and call ahead to see whether they are still offering services.

Photo: aqualuna (via Facebook)

Aqua Luna Cruise

Cruise in style aboard the Aqua Luna, the modernised vessel modelled after traditional Chinese junk boats. For families with energetic kids, scavenge for treasure and explore Victoria Harbour with binoculars on the Jungle Adventure cruise or live a pirate’s life like Cheung Po Tsai, the famous corsair and Chinese namesake of the boat.

If you’re looking for an alternative dining experience, upgrade the boring old way of eating in a restaurant to having a meal on a sailing boat! Join the dim sum cruise for an exquisite selection of foods from Dim Sum Library as you tour Lei Yue Mun.

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Photo: Roy Tsong (via Unsplash)

Dukling Cultural Journey

Want to learn more about traditional Chinese junks? Ride on the original Dukling that sailed through Hong Kong waters more than 60 years ago during an eastbound or southbound cultural journey. Designed with the goal of preserving and passing down traditional culture to the next generation, the Coastline Explore and Cultural Journey tours include an introduction to the job and practices of local fishermen, a hands-on experience in hoisting one of the bright red sails, a ride along a typhoon shelter, and much more.

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A laidback grandma at heart, Gabriella loves to crochet, bake bread, and play Solitaire while listening to her 78-hour-long Spotify playlist. She enjoys all the simple things in life, but is also down to go crazy once or twice (or thrice) in a while.