The Quintessential Guide to Hong Kong Junk Boat Parties


When Is Junk Boat Season in Hong Kong?

If you've ever visited or lived in Hong Kong, you'll know that the city has a frenetic pace to life that demands every spare moment be used to its maximum potential.

For those who want to enjoy the summer months in style, junk boat parties are probably the most fun and unique way to get acquainted with Hong Kong's many islands, its epic coastal scenery and most importantly, its cool ocean waters.

Between the months of May and September, you're almost guaranteed to start seeing junk boats taking Hong Kongers to exotic locations to have some fun in the sun.

No matter what type of person you are, a junk boat party will likely have some aspect that you'll enjoy. Be it chilling with a drink and overlooking paradisiacal scenery, spending all day in the water or catching up with old friends and making new ones along the way, here's what you need to know about Hong Kong's unique junk boat parties and how you can join one!

So What Exactly is a 'Junk Boat'?

A junk boat, also known as a Chinese junk, is a type of traditional sailing vessel that originated in China and has been used for centuries in Asian waters. These boats have a distinctive design characterized by their unique sails, wooden hulls, and practical features.

The term "junk" is believed to have been derived from the Malay word "jong," which means a large ship or trading vessel. Junks were primarily used for commerce, transportation, piracy and fishing. They played a significant role in the maritime history of East Asia.

Key features of a traditional junk boat include:

  1. Hull: The hull of a junk boat is typically made of wood, with overlapping planks that are fastened together using wooden dowels or nails. This construction technique provides strength and flexibility to withstand the forces of the sea.
  2. Sails: The most distinctive feature of a junk boat is its sails. Traditional junks have multiple sails, often made of woven matting or cloth, mounted on bamboo or wooden battens. The sails are usually red, tan or brown in color and have a unique curved shape, resembling a scalloped or stepped profile.
  3. Rudder and Steering: Junk boats usually have a single rudder at the stern, which is controlled by a tiller or a steering wheel. The rudder can be raised or lowered to adjust the vessel's maneuverability.
  4. T-shaped Bulbous Bow: The bow of a junk boat is often shaped like a T, with a bulbous protrusion extending below the waterline. This design helps with stability and reduces resistance in the water.
  5. Multiple Decks: Traditional junks typically have multiple decks, providing ample space for cargo, crew quarters, and even living areas. Some larger junks were equipped with cabins and facilities for extended voyages.

Today, any boat with a traditional junk design is usually a tourist attraction that features motorized propulsion while the traditional sails are only for show.

Where junk boat parties are concerned, there are a multitude of vessels that you can take out onto the water, but they're all fondly referred to as 'junk boats' by partygoers in Hong Kong.

Types of Boats Used for Parties in Hong Kong

Depending on the type of day out you're looking to enjoy, there are boats of all sizes and types that can be chartered for the day to host a junk boat party.

If you're after a more luxurious experience with finer amenities and greater comfort, you'll definitely want to join a party or charter a boat that has multiple decks and is more modern. You'll have a better chance for getting luxuries like air conditioning and even private rooms that are not found on typical boats hired for parties in Hong Kong.

If you just want to experience a fun day out with a group of friends, then you can go for a more traditional-looking junk boat that's made out of wood. These boats still have multiple levels and plenty of shade, but typically offer little in the way of special amenities. Expect to bring your own booze, music and. There is also only one toilet available on these kinds of simpler boats.

For those who want something in between, multi-floor boats are available that straddle the line between the smaller wooden boats and the behemoth luxury ones. You'll be able to find some of these styles of boats with air conditioning, while others will omit this.

Basically, to ensure you enjoy the party, make sure you get on a boat that matches your needs in terms of comfort. You'll be out on the water all day with no easy way to get back to shore, most likely.

How Long Do Junk Boat Parties Last?

Junk boat parties can last as long as you want them to. Typically, the ones I've been on have lasted for about 6-8 hours since you'll need to allot one hour of travel time from the pickup spot to the anchoring destination and then another hour to head back.

You can start as early or as late as you like. But from personal experience, it's better to start relatively early (around 10am) so you can enjoy as much of the daytime sunshine as possible!

Pickup Spots

It's possible to request junk boats to pick people up from a few different locations. So far, I've experienced pickups from Tsim Sha Tsui Pier, Central Pier and Aberdeen Pier.

Typically, most junk boat party organizers will opt for Central Pier because of its convenience and the multitude of public piers that can be utilized.

Aberdeen, though, is a great place if you want to pretty much guarantee starting on-time. There are fewer boats trying to leave from Aberdeen, so you won't have to fight for space and wait for other boats to head out before you can board.

Finally, I know that sometimes Junk boat operators will allow pickups from Sai Kung, but this is usually inconvenient for most people, though you can get to some really unique spots from Sai Kung.

On rare occasions, junk boats will make multiple stops to pick people up from different locations before heading off.

Anchoring Spots

The anchoring point makes all the difference! Depending on what you want from your junk boat experience it's worth considering three things when deciding on an anchor point.

1. Water Quality

The further away from civilization you go, the higher the chance for clean water. Sometimes, it might look and feel amazing to be surrounded by golden beaches and tall skyscrapers, but the water quality may suffer in these locations. If you're an avid swimmer or plan on chillaxing in the ocean for most of the day, pick a junk boat party that's going out a bit further. The extra travel time will be totally worth it!

2. Scenery

If every junk boat party you go to is situated next to the same beach with the same scenery, it'll inevitably start to lose its charm and appeal. Anchor points near the city show the insane contrast between high-rise buildings that are situated right beside gorgeous beaches. However, going to more natural and secluded spaces can bring a peaceful and relaxing vibe to your day out on the water. Pick your party based on what scenery you feel more drawn to.

3. Distance

The further out you go, the more time it takes to get there. If you're not really keen on a long journey to a secluded anchoring point, you'd best opt for a party that anchors a little closer to the city. This is especially important if you get seasick. The waves often get rougher the further out you go.

What is the Journey to the Anchoring Point Like?

Depending on your pickup point and final anchoring location, you'll be able to see a wide variety of intriguing Hong Kong coastal scenery along the way.

If you're starting from somewhere in the city (like Central or Tsim Sha Tsui), you'll be treated to stunning views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong's dense urban jungle.

If you start from somewhere a little further out like Aberdeen, you'll be able to see some cityscape before you're quickly out in the open ocean.

Either way, there's something incredible about watching Hong Kong's epic cityscapes melt away and be replaced by ocean, islands and rugged coastlines that are often uninhabited!

What Exactly Does One Do During a Junk Boat Party?

As someone who flits between being extroverted and introverted, I find that junk boat parties have something to offer to both sides of my personality.

For much of the day, I'll be in the water alone with my thoughts and enjoying the freedom that floating out in the ocean provides. Occasionally, I'll swim out to a beach or a coastline and explore what they have to offer.

The rest of the time, I'm meeting amazing new people and dancing to some epic tunes. The junk boat parties I attend are usually put on by RaveMasterz, who turn an ordinary junk boat into a floating rave with a unique lineup of four DJs playing different styles of music throughout the day.

I've not been sponsored, paid, bribed, blackmailed or extorted to say any of this. I join RaveMasterz whenever they have a junk boat party on because it's a genuinely amazing time with people from all walks of life and zero drama.

Occasionally, junk boats will offer extra activities like water slides, wakeboarding, jet skiing and the like. You'll have to pay extra for these kinds of services, though.

5 Essential Things You Need to Know About Junk Boat Parties in Hong Kong

1. Bring Your Own Booze and Food

Many junk boat parties will not provide food and drink, so it's up to you to bring enough sustenance and fluids to last you through the whole day.

2. Don't Forget Your Water-resistant Sunscreen

It might seem obvious, but if you're spending all day out in the open ocean, you're going to get sunburnt to a crisp without a water-resistant sunscreen!

3. Different Boats, Different Activities

Depending on what type of party you're attending, organized activities can be as simple as just getting you to the anchoring point and back, all the way to organizing an all-day rave! Check what's on offer before paying for a party.

4. Go With the Right Crowd

If you're looking to party and make new friends, try to join a group that has the same mindset as you. You'll be spending all day with your new friends.

5. Typhoons and Cancellations

If typhoon signal 3 or higher is hoisted on the day of your party, the Junk boat company will usually cancel for safety reasons and ask you to reschedule. Whether you're an attendee or organizer, make sure to check if the party is still on if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Junk Boat Party?

The cost of attending a junk boat party in Hong Kong can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the boat, the duration of the trip, the number of participants, and the services or amenities provided.

Prices can range anywhere from HK$300 per person all the way to HK$1,000+ per person. These are extremely general price ranges and assume you are a guest at a party rather than the organizer.

How to Join a Junk Boat Party

Search for junk boat party organizers: Look for companies or platforms that specialize in organizing junk boat parties in Hong Kong. I always look for junk boat parties put on by RaveMasterz, since they organize live DJs on their trips. But, depending on your vibe, you can also check out groups like Meetup for a casual junk boat experience or companies like Entourage for something more luxurious or corporate.

Organize your own party: If you don't fancy joining strangers on a boat, gather up a group of your besties and get in touch with a junk boat rental company to plan your own party. They can give you quotes depending on how basic or fancy you want to go. Here's one company you can get in touch with if you're looking to rent a quintessentially Hong Kong-style junk boat for the day:

Buffalo Junks

Phone: +852 9837 7751