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Friday, June 14, 2024

Best Ferry Rides Around The World and India

Ferry rides are not new. Waterways have been the traditional mode of transport worldwide. Remember the Noahs Ark or Matsya Avatar story that talks about a boat. As the other modes of transport like railways, motorways and airways developed, waterways started taking a backseat.

However, there are still some routes that are best visited by traveling on water or ferry rides.

Ferry rides continue to be a favorite mode of transport to travel to remote islands or landmasses disconnected from the mainland. I have taken many scenic ferry rides around the world, and there are many that are high on my wish list.

So, let me take you to some of these Ferry rides:

Best Ferry Rides Around The World

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry Ride – New York/ New Jersey

I have visited New York for just one day, but I made sure that I took this ferry to Ellis Island to see the famous statue of liberty. I also visited the Ellis Island Museum. As the ferry drives closer to the statue, you realize how big it is. On the other side, the skyline of New York gradually starts appearing.

On Ferry to meet the Statue of Liberty

It is a visual delight to ride this ferry, to see with your own eyes the iconic views on either side.

Ellis Island Museum is a tribute to the migrants who landed on this port and made their home here.

Star Ferry Ride – Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

You cannot miss this ferry ride that shuttles you between Hong Kong and Kowloon. It is a part of everyday life in the city state, used as much by the locals as the tourists and visitors.

Star Ferry Terminal
Star Ferry Terminal – Hong Kong

If you stay on the Hong Kong side, take the ferry around sunset to Kowloon to watch the symphony of lights. It is a light show that happens every evening around 8 PM for about 10 minutes.

If you are staying on the Kowloon side take the ferry anytime to visit the main island and its various street markets.

Vancouver to Victoria Ferry Ride

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia is an island that can be approached either by air or water only. By air you can take a seaplane that flies low over the islands. It is an experience worth exploring.

Ferry between Victoria and Vancouver at dusk

The most popular way is the ferry that is actually a multi-level cruise ship. It has restaurants, coffee shop, open deck and other entertainment options. I took it around sunset time from Victoria and it was a relaxing experience after walking around the beautiful Victoria.

The ferry ride time is about 90 minutes but you need to take connecting buses on either side. Total travel time is around 3-4 hours.

Raja Ampat Ferry Rides

Raja Ampat islands are one of the most beautiful and the most remote islands in East Indonesia. To reach them, the closest airport is Sorong and then you have to take various speed boats to visit the different islands.

Speed ​​Boats - the vehicles of the Raja Ampat Islands
Speed ​​Boats – the vehicles of the Raja Ampat Islands

We visited Wasai Island where we spent some time at a school. Sawinggrai is perfect for bird watching. We spent some time at the star lagoon at Pianemo islands and visited the Pasir Timbul, one of the smallest but most beautiful islands. At Arborek, we listened to some tribal music.

All these islands can be visited only through a boat ride. On one of the boat rides we saw the ancient hand prints on some of the caves on these islands.

Dubrovnik to Hvar Ferry

Located in the Adriatic sea separating Croatia and Italy, Hvar is best known for its sunny weather. Many tourists visit it to take in their dose of Sun. It also has beautiful beaches with blue waters and a bustling town with cobbled streets and who doesn’t like to walk on them. There is an old world charm in Hvar town that fascinates me.

Dubrovnik to Hvar Ferry
Dubrovnik to Hvar Ferry, Image – 12Go

To reach the island, you can take a ferry from there Dubrovnik to Hvar, that roughly takes about 3-4 hours. Apart from traveling to the island on a ferry, you can take boat tours to explore its lovely caves, go kayaking on water or take a cliché sunset cruise.

This ride is on top of my wishlist.

Mykonos and Santorini Island Ferries

Greece being an ancient civilization, tops my bucket list. As a traveler it is the ancient Athens that fascinates me but as a tourist I think it will be Greek islands like Mykonos or Santorini.

Hues of Blue at Aegean Sea - Mykonos Greece
Hues of Blue at Aegean Sea – Mykonos Greece

Ferry rides to these islands are the best way to get soaked in the charms of an island slowly and steadily though the flights can take you there in a jiffy.

You can also take a ferry from Istanbul if you are combining the two countries.

Istanbul Ferry Tours

Bosphorus naturally divides the two continents Asia and Europe through its waters. It is both a natural and a cultural wonder. I am told the best way to enjoy Istanbul highlights is from the waters. Hopefully some day soon on the hop on hop off Bosphorus tour that allows you to travel at your own pace.

Other ferry rides on my wish list include Thames Clipper London and Sydney Ferries.

Famous Ferry Rides In India

Not many Ferry Rides in India are as popular as the list above. However, I have taken ferry rides across the country that take you to an island that is isolated physically and sometimes even culturally. These ferry rides are on sea, rivers, backwaters as well as inside national parks.

So, come with me to some interesting ferry rides in India

Free Divar Island Ferry in Goa

Goa has many islands in its rivers like Mandovi. Of these Divar island is the biggest one and historically important. To reach this island, you need to take a small ferry ride from the mainland. You can take it from many points like Ribandar, Old Goa or Bicholim.

Ferry to Divar Island
Ferry to Divar Island

It is a lovely ride to the mangroves surrounding the island. You may see a crocodile but the birds are abundant.

Another island that you can take a ride to is Chorao Island.

All these ferry rides are free. You need to pay a small fee for vehicles that you take on the ferry.

Elephanta Caves Ferry Ride from Mumbai

Gharapuri or Elephanta caves are the historic caves located on an island off the shore from Mumbai. You can take a ferry ride from Gateway of India, enjoy the seagulls who follow you to the islands.

Ferry Ride to Elephanta Caves
Ferry Ride to Elephanta Caves

At the island there are ancient caves with various stories of Shiva carved in stone. They leave you mesmerized.

Majuli Island Ferry on Brahmaputra

Majuli Island in Brahmaputra is the world’s largest riverine island, although it is fast shrinking. It is an island inhabited by Vaishnav bhaktas with many Shatras, following the teaching of Shankar Dev. There are many tribes and of course there is bio-diversity.

Motor boat only mode of transportation to Majuli
Motor boat only mode of transportation to Majuli

It takes about an hour to an hour and a half on a ferry to reach Majuli. You can spend a couple of days there before taking the ferry back.

Ferry rides to Vivekananda Island at Kanyakumari

Vivekananda Island is located at the southern tip of mainland India. It is surrounded by two seas and an ocean. On the left is the Bay of Bengal, on the right it is the Arabian sea and in the front is the Indian Ocean. It is a view worth taking in, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Landscape view of Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue
Landscape view of Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue

You reach this tiny island on a short ferry ride from Kanyakumari. The ride is just a few minutes but it depends on the weather if the weather is conducive or not. The sea can get choppy during rains and winds can be very strong. I remember we had to wait for a long time for the rain to stop before we could visit the island.

Ferry Ride Safari at Bhitarkanika National Park

Bhitarkanika national park known for saltwater crocodiles is unique. It has many waterways running through it and you go on a ferry safari to see these salt water crocodiles in their natural habitat.

On a boat ride through the creeks of Bhitarkanika National Park
On a boat ride through the creeks of the National Park on a misty morning

The ferry ride moves around in various channels and you see the crocodiles lazing around on the sand banks.

This ferry ride is special due to the wild life it lets you explore in their natural settings.

Cheapest Ferry Ride to Fort Kochi

From Ernakulam to Fort Kochi is the cheapest ferry ride you can take. It takes you through the lovely backwaters, around the Wellington island and close to the famous Jew Town at Mattancherry.

Chinese Fishing Net Cochin, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Net

This ride takes you through a busy trading harbor where you see water transportation of all kinds on water. On the coast you see large Chinese fishing nets. The restless energy on the water tells you the ancient maritime history of this port where many famous sailors landed.

Mumbai to Mandwa or Alibaug Ferry Rides

This one hour ferry ride allows you to not just avoid traffic filled 3 hour plus drive to the beach town but also lets you take your car, bike, pets and luggage on-board. It is one of the fanciest ferry rides in India today that drops you 20 km off Alibaug.

I am yet to take it, hopefully soon.

Tell me which of these Ferry Rides in the World you have taken and which are on your wish list!

This post has been written in partnership with 12Go.

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