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Long before the steamboat was invented, people crossed the harbour between the island of Hong Kong and Kowloon by sampan. A time-consuming and arduous trip. However, once the Star Ferry came into operation, the journey was reduced to only 8 minutes. The Star Ferry now offers 12 boats and the crossing offers great views of the impressive Hong Kong skyline.
The Star Ferry Co Ltd was founded in 1888 under the original name of Kowloon Ferry Company, taking on its current name in 1898. Although the company has been around for more than a century and is still flourishing, the Star Ferry Co Ltd has endured many ordeals. In 1906, the Kowloon pier was hit by a hurricane that ruined 2 boats and after the 1941 Japanese invasion, the ferry service was interrupted for more than 3.5 years.
Although today there are many tunnels and bridges that connect the island of Hong Kong with mainland Kowloon, the Star Ferry is still a great – and cheap – way to cross the harbour. About 70,000 people a day, almost 26 million people a year, still travel by the Star Ferry. The ferry has 2 regular routes and a special harbour tour that calls at all stops.