Joining a Junk Trip
One of the joys of summer in Hong Kong is joining a trip on a junk boat. The traditional junks were wooden sail-powered vessels but the term is now applied to many types of boats, so most junk trips are actually on motor cruisers. Junk trips often occupy a full weekend day, or a weekday evening and are usually a combination of chatting, sunbathing, swimming and water sports, eating and drinking. They run the full gamut, from boozy junks where everyone starts drinking at ten in the morning, to family-oriented junks with onboard paddling pools.
But many of these junks are organised by social groups and so if you are just visiting Hong Kong it can be hard to join them. Here we suggest the best ways to find a junk to join if you are only visiting.
Ask your social network. If you already know people in Hong Kong it is worth asking them ahead of your visit whether they know of any junk trips which coincide with your visit.
Use meetup.com. Some junks are advertised on Meetup groups. Search for “boat” or “junk” on the Meetup site and see if there are any during your visit.
Join a commercial junk. You can sometimes find a commercially organised junk which sells places although these tend to be hard to track down if you’re not locally connected. There are some easy options, though. For example, the restored wooden junk DukLing offers harbour cruises around Victoria Harbour. This isn’t a typical junk trip – more of a harbour cruise, which is only forty five minutes compared to three to eight hours for a real junk trip. But if you can’t find anything else, or just want to spend a little time on the water, it’s an option.
Hire your own junk. Depending on how many are in your group and what your budget is, you may decide simply to hire your own junk. This is much more affordable if you can do it on a weekday, when junks are usually less busy. Some junks are small and so more cost effective even for a small group, and many junk charterers can provide not only crew but also food and drink packages. This will likely be a higher cost option and may not allow you to meet new people in the same way – which may be good or bad, depending on what you are looking for – but at least it will allow you to enjoy a junk during your time in HK. There is a wide range of junk charterers – you can find them online from companies like HK Yachting, Saffron and many more, or use a platform like www.junks.hk. Junks tend to be a bit cheaper leaving from Sai Kung than from Hong Kong Island.
In any case, if you join an evening or full day trip, do some research to make sure you have the right one. Different junks run very differently – some are all-inclusive, some require you to bring your own drink, some cruise around all day, others drop anchor and stay in one spot for most of the time so people can swim, some are very clique social groups, some are all-gay and so on. If you spend eight hours in a confined space and can’t leave, it’s helpful to know that what you’ll be getting into is likely to be what you actually want.
Guest Blogger: Christopher R.