Friday, July 25, 2008

Star Ferry (天星小輪)

today I got to take most of the morning off work as I needed to go to Wan Chai and apply for a visa.
no, not a visa for shopping, but for Bangladesh.
i've been asked to go to Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh) with some Japanese customers. this time I will mainly be there for support, translating between English and Japanese.
i've never been to Bangladesh before so I checked my government's website.
this is what it states:

"A state of emergency has been declared in Bangladesh and a curfew imposed for Dhaka, other metropolitan cities and all district towns from 11pm to 5am every day until further notice. You should monitor local media for information on the current situation, follow the advice of local authorities and exercise a high degree of personal security awareness."

well, i'm sure it will be an experience!

so off I went to the Consulate of Bangladesh on the 40th floor of the China Resources Building.
a very small office as by the looks of it they don't get hordes of tourists applying for visa's in Hong Kong...
after filling out a few forms and producing all the documents needed (invitation from Bangladesh, letter from my company stating they will support me financially, air ticket proof etc...) I was told to come back next week to hopefully pick-up my visa. finger's crossed please!

after a quick coffee and toast at a cafe for breakfast I then took the famous Star Ferry (
天星小輪) across Victoria Harbor to get back to the office.

OK, some info about the Star Ferry.
established in the mid 1870's it now carries around 70,000 passengers a day, or 26 million a year. even though it's not the fastest way to cross the harbor (fastest is by subway (MTR) or by car; yes there are a few tunnels under the harbor) it is still one of the most popular ways and I think one of the most relaxing.

entrance to the Star Ferry at Wan Chai and the
Meridian Star (午星號)
there are 14 diesel-electric ferries all together with 12 of them in use today. they all have amazing names like "Morning Star" (曉星號), "Twinkling Star" (熒星號), and "Celestial Star" (天星號) ; which is currently the oldest in the fleet built in 1956. today I rode the "Meridian Star" (午星號) the 2nd oldest ferry.

most of the ferries can seat 576 and have 2 decks; the upper and lower with air-conditioned sections and those with just the sea breeze... hot sea breeze.
these are the 4 routes with the most popular being between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.
  • Central (中環) - Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) : upper deck HK$2.20/lower deck HK$1.70
  • Wan Chai (湾仔) - Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) : HK$2.20
  • Central (中環) - Hung Hom (紅磡) :HK$6
  • Wan Chai (湾仔) - Hung Hom (紅磡) :HK$6

most tourists usually take the route from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central as that way you can get a great view of Hong Kong Island; especially at night.
you used to be able to pay by coins, but now you can only pay by Octopus Card or by purchasing a token at one of the vending machines.

view of Hong Kong Island from Star Ferry

star cruise ship at Tsim Sha Tsui dock


mandy said...

it will be an interesting experience at Dhaka!!! well prepared n be careful!

"after a quick coffee and toast at a cafe for breakfast"
heehee, a quick coffee???

have u seen that there is a trandional weighing machine @ the ferry station? i always play that before i take the ferry! it is interesting!

world of sekimachihato said...

you know me too well... quick coffee = 30min break reading "HK Magazine" hahahaha

no, I didn't see the weighing machine (scales?). I'll make sure to check it out next time! thanks!

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