Hong Kong can’t be summed up in one word, phrase or image. It’s more experience than city.
That’s why taking the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor will give you the best representation of the city. It’s not the quickest way to get from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. The metro will take you between the two places faster than it will take you to read this post and for a ridiculously cheap price.
The ferry service dates back to 1888, when the harbor was filled with junk boats and merchant ships. Nothing much has changed. When you ride the ferry, you wonder how they navigate the water without hitting anybody.
You’re not taking the Star Ferry to get from one side to the other, you’re taking it to see the Hong Kong skyline for all it’s glory. The common comment is that it feels like something from the future or from Blade Runner. In reality, it’s the present. Hong Kong is commercialism, capitalism, corporations and chaos, all of which you see in the 20-minute ride.
Best of all, the ride will cost $2HK (about 25 cents) and you can use your Octopus Card (HK’s unlimited metro pass). There are also more extensive harbor tours available if you want to go around the whole harbor.
You’ll have to wait a bit in the dingy terminals that will probably be packed. If you’re there on a humid day, another likelihood, it will be uncomfortable.
My advice is take it as much as you can because looking at that skyline will never get old. At night, it’s actually kind of soothing to be along all that pageantry.