Hong Kong, even wonderful in the rain.


I stood on the promenade in Kowloon, overlooking Victoria Harbour and the spectacular skyline across the water, and marvelled to myself that we had reached this faraway land without ever stepping into an aeroplane. It seemed a wonder of railway engineering that I could now be standing, in the pouring rain watching the Star Ferries criss-cross the harbour.

a Star Ferry at Kowloon

a Star Ferry at Kowloon

Just a little way along the promenade from the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier Chinese tourists, braving the weather with jolly umbrellas, were having their photos taken with the statue of Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrating its movie industry. We recognised very few of the names on the pavement but it was fun to watch the other tourists pose and take photos.

The inclement weather that day drove us indoors and we spent the afternoon at the rather excellent Hong Kong Museum of History, moving through life-sized recreations of Hong Kong through its engrossing history from the time tigers and bears roamed its forests up to the present day. We walked through galleries set up as a fishing harbour complete with boats, Chinese homes showing the progression of the Chinese dynasties and traditional customs and festivities, and a wonderful pre-war street of shops showing it’s growth as a European city on the edge of Asia. We learnt more about the Opium wars, the Japanese occupation and the handing over of Hong Kong back to China by Britain in the nineteen-nineties.


It was well worth the HK$10 entry fee and perfect entertainment for a rainy day, we passed quite a few enthralling hours wandering through the dioramas.

The rain didn’t really let up all week, which was a bit disappointing, but hey, we’re British, it’s only rain! The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanic Gardens made a pleasant, albeit damp, afternoon’s wandering. Amazingly, this pretty park on the slope rising up to Victoria Peak is completely free yet contains a small zoo and bird aviaries.

The zoo has a varied collection of primates including Orangutans and Gibbons but unfortunately the rain kept most of them huddled out of sight in their enclosures. As well as diverse flowerbeds, there are also greenhouses full of orchids, pretty fountains and lush trees.

It was a 2km walk from our AirB&B apartment in Shek Tong Tsui to Soho and the escalators {Hong Kong’s ingenious pedestrian network moving people from Central down near the water to the Mid-Levels up the hill}. We often opted to walk this as the street life along the roads and down the steep alleys and stairways was fascinating and crammed with life at all times of day. If our feet were weary we could take a bus or the tram instead.


It was interesting staying in an apartment in a high-rise residential area, shopping in the local supermarket, meeting neighbours in the lift, quite different from staying in a hostel. It was like suddenly finding ourselves ‘living’ in Hong Kong. The streets leading back towards Central were so colourful and vibrant, like Chinese cities but better! I particularly liked it when it rained, the pavements turned glossy and reflected the colourful umbrellas.

The apartment worked out good value compared to staying at a hostel and I’m so glad we did it. It was a typical Hong Kong apartment, low on space but high on location, and to be honest I’m used to small spaces, I live in a van! It had a basic kitchen which included a one-ring hob, a microwave and a fridge. To have my very own kitchen for a few days was a joy and it was from this little kitchen that I created my Snow Cloud Coconut Pancakes.

We applied for a Vietnam visa while we were there, enjoyed the malls, met up with an old school friend and went to the cinema, using the Star Ferry to cross the bay when we needed to. I could ride these ferries every day, I adore them! Ridiculously cheap and so full of character, not to mention the glorious views across Victoria Harbour, particularly dramatic with the rain clouds.

> click on a photograph to open the gallery

I could have happily spent more time in Hong Kong, it came across as a very livable city. We did a day trip out to Lantau and, once we got our passports back from the Vietnam Embassy, we took the ferry to Macau… 

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10 Responses

  1. lily jack says:

    i love this city….amazing

  2. Virginia says:

    It also rained both times I’ve been to Hong Kong, but I agree with you that it didn’t stop me from loving the city. I was there just two weeks ago and have decided I need to spend yet more time there, it’s such a great base for exploring the rest of East Asia. Lovely photos!

  3. olivia mark says:

    Two year back, My colleges and me, travel to Hong Kong. My friends and i love that worth seeing and amazing places specially marketes. We ate different foods that never seen before in london.we are working in fulham minicabs.Thanks for sharing to all that unforgetable places.

  4. Ayla says:

    Hong Kong was the first place on our very first round the world trip and we absolutely loved it. I would love to go back one day – will slot it as a few days stopover on a trip to somewhere else! Love the market pictures 🙂

    • I know what you mean, I would love to go back! So much to see and do. I’d love to go back and do some hiking and go up Victoria Peak, we would have had the weather been better.

  5. Dave Rowley says:

    Wonderful how far you’ve gone with no air flights! Very cool. It rained a lot when we were in Hong Kong too but as you said that added to the charm and helped us understand real life in the city. Love your photos of the narrow alleyways!

    • I know, amazing eh! We managed to travel by land all the way to Hoi An, Vietnam then Tet (new year) scuppered it. A plane to Saigon! Ah well.
      Not particularly looking forward to the flight home!
      I could have walked Hong Kong’s back streets for ever, I’m enjoying Melaka’s at the mo, so pretty.