One thing I miss dearly about living in Hong Kong is that the beautiful ocean is never too far away. If you live along the MTR’s red line (Tsuen Wan Line), Ma Wan Tung Wan Beach is place to be with its sapphire-rare clean air (limited public transportation), rubbish-free beaches and remarkable night view of the Tsing Ma Bridge.
If you live along the green line (Kwun Tong Line), you’re not far from one of the most popular summer hangouts in the city – Clear Water Bay and its scenic peninsula. Finally, if you live along the blue line (Island Line), then you’re in luck as the South of Hong Kong Island is lined with gorgeous bays and neighbour to charming outlying islands.
All else fails, you can always head towards Tsim Sha Tsui (city centre), take a stroll along Victoria Harbour and be stunned by the city’s magnificent skyline.
I love the ocean. Maybe it has a natural appeal to those living in tropical weather. Maybe it has captivated my imagination with its breath-taking greatness underneath the shimmering blue waters. It became clear to me – what better than to have a seaside wedding banquet?
Our first candidate was Top Deck at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant. This multi-million-dollar iconic landmark that lights up Aberdeen Harbour every night is truly one of a kind. With an interior inspired by an ancient Chinese imperial palace and a top floor decorated with rattan furniture, Top Deck presents the perfect setting for East-meets-West couples like us.
Divided into East and West deck, each side of Top Deck boasts its own open space and white marquee. An exclusive hire of the venue can accommodate up to 140 guests for weddings.
Not only could we put together a grand but intimate dinner banquet with family and close friends, the tranquil surrounding and gentle sea breeze would balance out the city’s heat and humidity (not forgetting I won’t exactly be dressed in comfort summer clothes).
Nevertheless, we decided against Top Deck as our wedding banquet venue even before visiting. Price was out of our budget. Location was not easily accessible by public transport and involved a short boat ride from the pier (may not fare well with older family members).
Food and service standard also received mixed reviews – no way we were going to pay over £100 per head for mediocrity!
Venue – unique décor and private setting
Scenery – marina bay and Ocean Park
Parking – 2-hours free for up to 15 cars
Decoration – centrepiece included
Food – choice of exquisite set menu or international buffet menu
Travel – shuttle bus service to the pier, followed by boat ride to the restaurant
Price – from $170,000 (£14,000) for 140 guests i.e. $15,000 (£1,250) per table of 12 (quoted for 2012)
Food – mixed reviews from local and foreign visitors
Stanley Ho’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant has inspired floating Chinese restaurants around the world. In the UK, you can find these in London (Lotus, Feng Shang Princess) and Brighton (Brighton Pagoda).
While Feng Shang Princess and Brighton Pagoda serve mainly takeaway-style dishes in fancy display, Lotus offers an attractive variety of authentic Cantonese and Peking food.
Like Jumbo, they maintain an interior in classic Chinese fashion. But docking on the river does not provide the same panorama as Jumbo in the harbour.
Every time I hear this song, my mind goes to a different place, dreaming of sea shells, and crystal waves gently beating my imaginary yacht.