Summer’s long sticky days are upon us, which can only mean one thing – it’s time for Hong Kong’s junk season! What could be better than sipping on a sea breeze cocktail while working on your tan in the middle of the ocean?
Organising a junk trip can be rather tricky as there are many so things to consider… but luckily our Sassy Junk Trip Guide is here to help, featuring our roundup of some of the best boat hire companies in Hong Kong, plus loads more need-to-know tips. Happy sailing girls!
Choose the right date/time
Junks can be hired for day or night parties (like the Lazydays one above); both offer different experiences although a day junk is technically better value for money since they last for seven hours compared with only four at night. It’s always fun to have a junk on a long weekend or public holiday (some people prefer them on a Saturday so they have all of Sunday to recover *wink*) but remember, planning one the day after someone’s big event when everyone will be hungover isn’t ideal. Junks get snapped up fast so you will need to book at least 1-2 months in advance.
Choose a pick up point/destination
Most junks depart from Central, Causeway Bay (Noon Day Gun), Aberdeen or Sai Kung. Destinations are ultimately up to the captain and weather dependent (many junk companies offer a range of pre-set options), but some of our fave locations are Lamma, Sai Kung, Deep Water Bay, Clearwater Bay, Turtle Cove and Stanley Bay. (Above photo of Stanley from Hong Kong Junks’ Facebook Page).
Choose the right junk company
Not all junk packages are the same. They range from all-inclusive junks run by the likes of Jaspas (above) that provide food, alcohol and music, to completely bring your own everything! Some companies also offer karaoke, wakeboarding, water-skiing and banana boat rides at an extra cost.
If you go for the bring-your-own option, remember to plan well ahead and get stocked up on supplies from your local supermarket (or if you’re cutting it fine, nearest 7-Elevens) in advance. Once you’re out on the junk, there are no longer any 7-Elevens just around the corner!
The all-inclusive ones are a little more expensive but we’d definitely recommend them – it’s the small things like throwing drinks to you while you are swimming that makes a Jaspas one memorable. Also on the day of the junk, you can just rock up instead of organising the catering and carrying your own drinks on-board.
Here are 15 fantastic junk trip companies in Hong Kong:
Lazydays 3488 1534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lazydays boasts a stylish 32-seat yacht kitted out with all mod cons (tv, karaoke and even an Xbox!) for bespoke trips around the harbour or to outlying islands. With scrummy food and drink packages available (hello free-flow Prosecco!) plus massages on board and a new inflatable six-person lounge to relax on too, it’s no wonder Lazydays has become a total Sassy fave! See our full review here.
Hong Kong Yachting 2526 0151 or email@example.com
With a range of unique boats and cruisers at their disposal (we love the Jungle Jane, one of the best party boats in Hong Kong!), Hong Kong Yachting has loads of great itineraries – think exploring beaches in Cheung Chau, hopping around HK’s delish seafood restos, wine tasting cruises or even kayaking and hiking in Sai Kung.
Jaspas Junks 2792 6001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A true Sassy fave (it won our 2013 Sassy Award for Best Junk Company!), with packages to fit your theme and budget, including freshly-made food and drinks.
Aqua Luna 2116 8821
This iconic red-sailed junk offers 45 minute harbour trips plus longer day cruises around Stanley and other parts of HK… and since it’s run by the Aqua restaurant group, you can expect a full menu of fabulous signature cocktails on-board. This is a particularly good option for visiting out-of-towners.
Island Junks 2877 5222 or email@example.com
Their junks hold up to 50 passengers and, having teamed up Maison Eric Kayser and il Bel Paese for even more yummy food options, they offer both catering and non-catering packages. They can also provide sea-kayaks, snorkels and toys, plus waitresses, speedboats and even a Thai masseuse for your trip!
Saffron Cruises 2857 1311 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Offer a massive selection of junks and luxury boats at different price points, with food and drink packages available from catering company Shamrock.
Hong Kong Junks 2840 1588 or email@example.com
Offers boats for up to 40 people (including the fabulously named Wreckless!) and a variety of packages, including an all-inclusive option with unlimited food and drink. Their destinations include Deepwater Bay, Turtle Cove and Shek O, with banana boats, wakeboarding and even a mini bus pick-up from Central available as add-on extras.
Koh Thai Junk 6014 8460 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Offers four types of boats for a minimum of 25 people, with Thai food and drink catering packages – so if you’re a fan of the scrummy Thai food at their restaurants, this should be a winner! With pick-ups and drop-offs from 6 different location and 7 different destinations to head to (we’re eyeing dolphin watching in Tai O), you can either go all-inclusive or mix and match your boat, food and drink selections.
Viking Charters 2814 9899 or email@example.com
Offers boats accommodating around 30 passengers (either a traditional wooden junk or more modern pleasure cruisers are available), with a speedboat that has banana boat, water ski and wakeboarding equipment all included. They also offer ten different catering menus or you can bring your own.
Elite Charters 5434 9955 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For total luxury, why not hit up one of Elite Charter’s magnificent Mahala Lin 86ft yacht, with on-board gourmet cuisine and cocktails courtesy of Woolly Pig Concepts (the folks behind Madame Sixty Ate and Sal Curioso). With a range of day, evening or overnight cruises available, you can even add in a helicopter flight or staycation package – one for a VERY special occasion!
Michelangelo 6621 1691
This is the boat to book when you want old school luxury. The restored eighty-foot classic motor yacht can accommodate up to 59 passengers over three decks. While its not cheap, it really is a stunning option for day, evening or overnight boating. They offer catering menus for cocktails and canapés, seated dinners and buffet dining, or you can organise your own.
Jubilee 3555 5555 or email@example.com
A more local company with a great range of options – you can depart from practically any pier in town, with a whole host of destinations throughout Hong Kong also available. Banana boats, wakeboarding, motor boats, karaoke and even mah-jong can all be arranged, and they can also make special concessions for pets on-board too.
What to take:
• Swimwear (obviously!)
• SUNCREEN (and remember to reapply throughout the day)
• A change of clothes
• Flip-flops and sunnies
• Sea sickness tablets if necessary
• A blow-up life ring/noodle/lilo
• If you’re picky, your own shampoo and toiletries for the end of the day
• If you’re bringing your own food, make sure it is actually on board before you set sail… we forgot once!
• A camera or phone to catch amazing photos like the one from Lazydays above!
A few more junk trip tips:
• Junks are a great place to meet new friends so if you are organising one, invite a wide range of people. Get friends to bring friends to bring friends of friends… and by the end of the day, I can guarantee everyone will be best buds!
• Because there are a number of flaky and unreliable people out there (and they all seem to be friends with US!), we suggest collecting the money from people beforehand so you don’t get caught short on the day and end up having to pay for people who don’t turn up.
• If you feel seasick, the best place to sit is at the back of the boat. Alternately, try and bob about in the water for most of the day.
• Conquer your fears and jump from the top of the boat!
• Remember to keep your eyes on your friends when you’re in the water and don’t wander or swim off alone.
• Look out for the weather reports the day before and keep your fingers crossed! In the case of bad weather raining off your boat trip, the junk company generally arranges for your trip to be held on an alternative date – another reason to get money off people first so they don’t cry off later!
Now all that’s left is for you to do is hit the waves!