On more than one occasion I’ve found myself heading off to one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, but unable to find the correct ferry schedule online. I’ve also arrived at the pier only to find out that the timing is incorrect based on the official website (which may not have been updated.)
Last week while waiting for some (late!) friends, I decided to photograph all of the ferry schedules at the pier and put them up for reference. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, generally there are regular boats and fast boats. Sometimes the different boats are indicated by asterisks, or by color. Additionally, ferry times change depending on whether it’s a weekday, or Saturday / Sunday / public holiday. Typhoons also disrupt the schedules, but fortunately that’s a rare occurrence!
The following schedules apply only to the ferry piers in Central, just outside of the IFC2 shopping complex. Note that the Turbo Jet ferries to Macau and parts of Mainland China are not covered here. Those boats leave from the Macau Ferry Terminal in Shun Tak Centre, which is located on the harbor-front in Sheung Wan, about a quarter of a mile down the road to the West.
The ferries leave from different numbered piers. Pier 9 is closest to Central and pier 2 is closer to Sheung Wan. The frequency of each boat is shown on the schedule, along with departure times. A few, but not all of the boats have two classes of seating. The best way to pay for the ferry is by Octopus card, but there are also cashiers and clerks at the turnstiles.
The piers and their corresponding destinations are as follows. Click on the links below to see a full-sized version of the schedule.
Pier 2 Park Island[photopress:Park_Island_ferry.jpg,full,pp_image]
Pier 3 Discovery Bay[photopress:Discovery_Bay_ferry_pier_HK.jpg,full,pp_image]
Pier 4 Lamma Island (both Yung Shue Wan and So Kwu Wan)[photopress:Lamm_Island_Ferry_pier_4.jpg,full,pp_image]
Pier 5 Cheung Chau[photopress:Cheung_Chau_ferry.jpg,full,pp_image]
Pier 6 Peng Chau, and Mui Wo on Lantau Island, as well as a multi-stop inter-island ferry.[photopress:Launtau_island_ferry.jpg,full,pp_image]
Pier 7 is Star Ferry service to Tsim Sha Tsui (the most widely used by commuters and tourists alike.) The ferry drops you off next to the Cultural Centre. Two berths both serve the same destination. The old Star Ferry pier located next to the General Post Office was demolished last year and that has since shortened the ferry ride to less than 9 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central.
Pier 8 is Star Ferry service to Hung Hom and Tsim Sha Tsui East
Pier 9 is the replacement for Queens Pier which was just bulldozed to make room for a new waterfront project. Pier 9 serves as a pick up point for private boat trips departing from Central.[photopress:Pier_9_Central_ferry.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Central_ferry_pier_9.jpg,full,pp_image]
Generally each pier has two berths, each going to a different destination. For example, Pier 4, which serves Lamma Island, has one boat departing to Yung Shue Wan, and another whose destination is So Kwu Wan. (The exception to this is Star Ferry service to Tsim Sha Tsui, which is the most popular ferry route and utilizes both berths for the same destination.)
Impatient after just missing a ferry, I once hiked from one side of Lamma Island to the other carrying a big bag of McDonald’s take-out, rather than wait around for the next boat. (My friend had a craving, and there’s no McDonald’s on Lamma!) I passed by a dozen people who chirped “Eee? McDonald’s?” when they spotted my bag!