Update: AIA Hong Kong Observation Wheel is reopen again now. After the unexpected closure started from 28th of August 2017, the new operator finally announced the reopening of Hong Kong Observation Wheel on the 20th of December 2017.
Whoever takes the Star Ferry or walks along Victoria Harbour in Central will notice a giant wheel by the harbourfront. Yes, that is one of Hong Kong’s latest attractions, The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, aka Hong Kong Ferries Wheel.
After the several construction delays, sudden opening (Dec 2014) and unexpected closure (Aug 2017), Hong Kong finally manages to keep the ferries wheel next to Victoria Harbour. The new AIA Hong Kong Observation Wheel has a new operator, new color and new price to start fresh.
Construction and Opening
After several times postponing, the Hong Kong Observation Wheel (HKOW) finally opened on December 5, 2014 in a hurry without a big bang announcement.
Similar to other metropolitan cities like London, Singapore, Tokyo or Chicago, Hong Kong added now a giant ferris wheel to its attraction list. There were/are a lot of contradict opinions about whether Hong Kong needs Hong Kong Observation Wheel next to Central waterfront promenade.
The construction of the Hong Kong Observation Wheel (Ferris Wheel) started from May 2014 and the progress was really fast in the beginning. In the early September, the frame of Ferris Wheel was almost finished.
It was said it would be opened at the end of October. However, due to the unexpected over-two-month “Occupy Central” protest starting from the 28th of September 2014 in Hong Kong, the construction was suspended for a very long time.
In the morning of 5th of December, it was supposed to open only for the press and media to test this new attraction. Surprisingly, before all the media could travel back to the office and write articles about it, the company suddenly announced to officially open the wheel to public. I guess they couldn’t afford to lose more time and money. Nobody was expecting the opening since the surrounding area around the Ferris Wheel was still under construction.
Temporary Closure – From AEX Company to AIA
After about two and half year operation, it unexpectedly close on the 28th of August 2017.
The former operator Swiss AEX company lost in bidding on the land’s lease and had to end the business of the wheel by the end of August. Government said the new winner had better proposal on the usage of the land as well as more attractive ticket price for the wheel.
At first, Swiss AEX claimed that they would disassemble the wheel by October if they couldn’t make a deal with the new operator. After a round of trouble, the old and new operators of Hong Kong Observation Wheel finally reached a consensus. The new operator TECL company has purchased the ferries wheel from Swiss AEX.
Height and Size of the Wheel :
This Hong Kong-edition Ferris Wheel is only 60-meter tall. It cannot compete regarding measurements and heights with the London Eye (135 meters) or Singapore Flyer (165 meters).
It also appears very tiny in front of all the skyscrapers in the background (The IFC Tower II next to it is 416-meter tall).
It comes with 42 carriages fitting 8 passengers each gondola (including infants). If you have visited Hong Kong Observation Wheel before Sep 2017, you may notice that the new AIA ferries wheel’s gondolas have been changed and painted to red from the original white color.
Ride and Views:
The complete ride on the AIA Hong Kong Observation Wheel takes approx. 15 -20 minutes. Visitors can stay on for three complete circles. The ride offers you a new and fresh perspective on Victoria Harbor, the crossing of the iconic Star Ferries and the surrounding skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island.
There are eight lines for boarding on 4 different gondolas at the same time once it stops. Large luggages, baby strollers and bulky items are not allowed on board. They provide charged luggage storage service. It’s not getting very popular and crowded yet. The waiting time will not be too long (10-15min).
Once on board, you are not allowed to stand up in the gondola. It will stop several times in between for visitors of other gondolas to get on and off. It will be good opportunity for pictures.
Where to Buy Ticket and Ticket Prices :
New tickets are priced HK$ 20 for adults and HK$ 10 for child (3-11) and senior (above 65). Child under 3 can ride for free.
Please note: Ticket sales will stop 15 minutes before closing.
Tickets can be purchased on site from the ticket box of Hong Kong Observation Wheel directly or booked from their official website. For the moment, there are not too many visitors waiting in line for buying ticket.
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel is located right outside the Central Pier 9 and 10 overlooking the harbor front of Victoria Harbour.
Secrets for You
“There are plenty of other excellent sightseeing spots high above the city including The Peak, Sky Terrace 428 and Sky100 Observation Deck), as well as many skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour which provide observation floors (e.g. Bank of China Tower), rooftop bars (e.g. Sevva Bar), or rooftop garden (e.g. IFC Tower Two) from where tourists can enjoy the fantastic views.”
Plan to Stay: 30 – 45 min
General Info and Details
Reopen on 20th of December, 2017
11:00 am – 11:00pm (daily)
33 Man Kwong Street, Central, Hong Kong
HK$ 20 (adult) / HK$ 10 (child & senior)
How to Get to AIA Hong Kong Observation Wheel?
By Subway: Alternatively, you can take the MTR to the Central MTR Station take Exit A or the Hong Kong MTR Station Exit A2 to reach the Central Piers.
By Star Ferry: Simply take the Star Ferry from TST to Central.
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