It is the synthesis of humans and their environment - the moment when man-made structures interact enchantingly with the products of Mother Nature. Etched across the dark, calm waters of Kowloon Bay, vibrantly-coloured reflections paint the surface of one of the world’s most famous harbours.
Hong Kong’s waterfront is spectacular at any hour but is particularly striking after the sun slips below the horizon. A nest of towering steel-and-glass buildings draped in neon lights, Hong Kong’s skyline has inspired photographers, artists and onlookers for decades.
Along the ever-crowded harbourside walkways of Kowloon, tourists and locals vie for space to absorb this cityscape. But, out on Victoria Harbour, there is no one to obstruct your view. Leaning back in your arm chair while sipping on a cocktail, you can look over the railing of your traditional Chinese Junk boat and soak up Hong Kong's colourful night lights.
There is no better way to spend an evening in Hong Kong than on the water, bobbing along slowly, on a licensed junk circling the harbour. From the morning until the late evening, dozens of such tourist cruises depart from either side of the harbour at Kowloon or Hong Kong Island.
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The range of cruise options is enormous. There are budget trips which offer a 90-minute excursion for as little as $20 per person. Mid-range cruises of a similar length can be booked for around $35 per person and include unlimited beer and wine.
The luxury choices are many, with premium alcohol, multiple course meals and on board entertainment included, starting from about $80 up to several times that.
Tourists looking for the most exclusive cruises can choose to charter their own boat with prices starting at about $600 per hour including crew, drinks and food.
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The most popular type of boat is the Junk – a traditional Chinese sailing ship which first was used more than 1000 years ago during the country’s Song Dynasty. Junks later became widely used throughout Asia and with their lofty sails and wooden panelling they have become an icon of Hong Kong.
Most of the cruise boats offer comfortable seating, with benches and armchairs for those who are interested in eating and day beds for passengers whose priority is relaxation.
Sunset and evening cruises are the most sought after due to the striking backdrop created as the city’s skyscrapers light up. Dancing, drink in hand, to gentle music as the city lights shimmer in the evening should be on the agenda of every visitor to Hong Kong.
Timing your cruise to ensure you are on the water at 8pm is also recommended. At that point each evening, Hong Kong’s skyline becomes even more majestic as it is embellished by a choreographed light show.
The world’s largest permanent light and sound show, the Symphony of Lights involves 44 buildings on either side of the harbour.
Laser beams, coloured lights and searchlights are directed from these structures across the harbour during this 13-minute multimedia show. After the serenity of scything near silently through the harbour on a Junk, it makes for a contrastingly intense finish to your Hong Kong cruise experience.