Aberdeen is the largest town on Hong Kong Island outside the main urban area, and it was famous for being the place where Hong Kong boat people lived in the 1960s and 1970s.
Now, Aberdeen's harbor area is mainly an anchorage for yachts and pleasure boats of Hong Kong suburban dwellers in the area. It has become a world-famous travel spot for its floating village and floating seafood restaurants.
Chinese: 香港仔 Xiānggăng Zăi /sshyang-gaang dzeye/ 'Hong Kong Child'
Popular activities: take a sampan ride, enjoy seafood at Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Must-sees: the floating village, Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Suited to: anyone
Time needed: 2 hours
A sampan ride is a great way to get a close-up look at the fishing village in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Harbour is in the bay between the south coast of Hong Kong Island, off the town of Aberdeen, and a small island called Ap Lei Chau. In this area, you will find yachts, fishing boats, houseboats, junks, and sampans.
About 5,000 people still live on boats in the harbor and remain in their floating fishing village among the busting metropolis. The quaint fishing village is in sharp contrast to the soaring skyscrapers along the harbor. It almost feels like you are in another city.
A sampan ride through the harbor is a great way to get a close-up look at the fishing village. It will take you on a trip amongst the floating village. See our Half-Day Hong Kong Island Tour including a sampan ride.
You will see some houseboats equipped with modern appliances, and some decorated with roof gardens. Some boat dwellers will be busy cleaning their fishing gear and some will be relaxing with a cup of tea or playing mahjong.
The sampan ride costs about HK$80 per person. You can negotiate with the owner. The ride usually takes 20–30 minutes.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant
There are two famous floating restaurants in Aberdeen Harbour: Jumbo and Tai Pak. Both of them are under the management of the Jumbo Kingdom.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant is more famous than Tai Pak. It is the largest floating restaurant in the world and can hold 2,000 diners. It was built in 1976 and decorated like an ancient Chinese imperial palace.
It has been a famous tourist mecca. People go there to enjoy seafood and dim sum, or just to take photos. It has attracted millions of visitors including celebrities like Queen Elizabeth II, John Wayne, and Tom Cruise. It has been shown in many Asian and Hollywood movies.
Free shuttle boats are available between the restaurants, Aberdeen Promenade, and Sham Wan Pier. The journey takes about five minutes.
Wholesale Fish Market
If you are interested, you can explore the Wholesale Fish Market located towards the western end of Aberdeen Promenade. You need to arrive early as it is always busy with sellers and buyers from about 4am to noon. It is interesting to see various types of live seafood and see how the local people trade.
The Best Time for a Visit
Dragon boat racing
The best time to visit Aberdeen is from October to March, when the weather is sunny and pleasant.
If you are interested in seeing a dragon boat race, you can visit Aberdeen during the Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month (in May or June). The charming Aberdeen Fishing Village is a great place to enjoy the excitement of the dragon boat races. See more on the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.