We may have escaped the rain on our second day in Hong Kong, but on the third day the skies opened up and the rain poured down. Fortunately, we had a few rainy day activities saved for just the occasion. Here are some great ideas for a rainy day on Hong Kong Island.
A gloomy day calls for sleeping in so that’s just what we did. When we finally stirred for breakfast, it was practically lunch. We pulled together a list of our stops and hit the Sheung Wan MTR station heading to Admiralty.
When we exited the station we had a bit of trouble finding the Hong Kong Park and got completely turned around on the pedestrian overpass. Eventually we found Pacific Place, where we were supposed to cut through to the park. There were signs, but again we got lost, confusing an up arrow as a “continue straight” arrow.
We finally got out of the mall just as the rain started again. We ran along the park paths and found the Lock Cha Tea House with little trouble, making it inside just before it started to pour.
Lock Cha offers a long list of teas, so everyone gets to choose their own for $38-48 HKD each. A cup of brewed tea and a cup of loose leaf tea are brought to each person. The table is equipped with a hot water kettle so you can boil more water and brew another cup whenever you like.
Additionally we ordered a variety of vegetarian dim sum (the entire menu is vegetarian). The vegetable noodle stir-fry and vegetable curry were really delicious. We also liked the steamed vegetable roll, fried mushroom dumpling, jasmine dumpling with black sesame filling (it tasted like a reese’s cup) and the glutinous flour dumpling with cashew nuts and peanuts (like a coconut peanut butter ball).
After lunch we walked back through the mall and caught the double decker trams towards Wan Chai. The trams run in the middle of the road so to get to the terminus we had to exit the pedestrian walkway halfway between Pacific Park and the Admiralty station. The tram cost $2.30 HKD per person and you pay whenever you decide to exit by dropping the coins into a funnel by the driver.
When we exited the tram, the rain had paused so we took a moment to duck down one of the side streets and explore the side street markets. Most of the vendors sold produce and household items, a few sold toys and brightly colored decorations. The market was filled almost entirely with locals and no one really tried to sell us anything. Instead they invited us up to take photos and smiled and waved or gazed curiously at us. It was nice to be in a market without touts (but maybe they had all just gone away in the rain).
Before long, the rain started to sprinkle down on us again so we walked towards our next destination. Just across the park we found the address for Jolly Thinkers, a game cafe offering over 400 board games and cafe drinks and juices. We made it to the intersection, but got completely soaked before we could cross the street.
Inside we took the first elevator we could find to a “game room.” It was the wrong place, but the gentleman at the door kindly ushered us back to the bathroom and to another elevator that actually went up to the 11th floor, where we needed to go.
We paid $60 HKD each for 3 hours of game play and a $30 credit towards a drink. The menu said $60 should have only bought us 2 hours, but the gentleman seemed genuinely sorry that we came in the afternoon when they don’t offer game tutoring, so he added another hour.
There were so many games to choose from but we eventually settled on Ticket to Ride. It was the perfect game to play with our 3 hours.
I had just finished explaining the rules to my mom and Anna when the nerdy gentleman running the joint walked over and excitedly noticed the game we had selected. He energetically repeated much of what I had just said and continued by explaining the extension rules specific to our board. I must say, he has found his perfect job.
Jolly Thinkers, being on the 11th floor, offers a great view of the surrounding area. Looking across the park we noticed a round building, emblazoned with “HH” at the top, with two glass elevators floating up and down. We pointed it out to the gentleman, asking how we could get there (and ride up to the top ourselves). He told us the top was a rotating restaurant called the Grand Buffet.
We set out with this information and walked until we found ourselves at the base of the building. One elevator led us to another and then we finally found ourselves at the golden doors of the Grand Buffet’s glass elevators. I have no idea how they are not a tourist attraction (yet).
We climbed in and hit the touch command for the top floor and up we whooshed as the city skyline shrank beneath us. When we finally reached the top the doors opened to reveal a team of hosts and security for the restaurant. We quickly squished ourselves against the walls (though they had clearly seen us) and laughed as we pressed the button to return back down.
We seriously rode up and down at least 6 times (acting ridiculous every time the elevator paused at the top floor). At one point a young woman got in with us and giggled as we took our photos. Eventually she let me take a photo for her on her phone, and she blushed and giggled as I snapped away.
Soon she warmed up to us and joined us for a few more rides, marveling at the view below. Two guys a a young family were the only others we saw get in the elevator. They all came right back down after reaching the top, so I have no idea how the restaurant stays open.
We finally got off when we were too dizzy to ride one more time. Plus it was nearly sunset, and we needed to head off for our last destination. Hong Kong is famous for it’s nightly light shows and we wanted to find a good rooftop bar to watch from.
On the way we stopped at the Queen of the East Vegetarian restaurant for some Chinese food. It was decently priced, but we were automatically charged for tea and peanuts that we didn’t eat. Another local customer explained to us that it was the norm here. The Sichuan stir-fry was good but they automatically subbed bok choy for our stir-fry vegetables, which was annoying.
Back on the road, we finished our journey on foot since the rain had stopped and found ToTT’s, the rooftop bar at the Excelsior Hotel. It was closed due to the weather but they let us go out to take a look. The seats and terrace were wet but it offered a nice view of the Hong Kong Island skyline at night. The Kowloon side of the skyline was blocked by a giant billboard.
It was the perfect way to end our rainy day, with a clear view of the skyline all lit up in a rainbow of colors.
Staying on the Kowloon side? Here are some fun ideas for your rainy day.