Hong Kong's Iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant Has Sunk

·2 min read
Photo credit: Doug Armand - Getty Images
Photo credit: Doug Armand - Getty Images

Hong Kong is known for its beautiful skyline, Disneyland outpost, and amazing local cuisine. And one of the most iconic spots to get a taste of the city used to be the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, once considered the world's largest.

Fans mourned the landmark restaurant when it closed in 2020 because of the pandemic. And any hopes of it reopening were crushed last Saturday when it capsized in the South China Sea.

The popular tourist destination was a three-story boat styled to look like a Chinese imperial palace. Diners from all over the world boarded the ship to taste various types of dim sum and other local dishes. Past guests included several VIPS like Jimmy Carter, Tom Cruise, and even Queen Elizabeth.

The 260-foot boat was only one part of the famous Jumbo Kingdom, which included another dining boat, a boat to store fresh seafood, a kitchen boat, and eight ferries to transport visitors from the nearby piers. In total, Jumbo Kingdom could seat up to 2,000 guests at once.

But the restaurant had struggled with a deficit for years, and in 2020, when it became a serious health risk for thousands of people to dine indoors, Jumbo's owners announced that they would close their doors until further notice.

Private investors and the Hong Kong government tried to revive the iconic restaurant, but steep operating costs kept Jumbo permanently closed. Last Tuesday, after nearly half a century docked in Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, tugboats pulled the boat away to be stored at a shipyard.

Unfortunately, after hitting rocky waters on Saturday, the boat capsized near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The massive ship sunk more than 3,000 feet. No crew members were injured, thankfully, but salvaging what's left of the boat is believed to be extremely difficult.

The owners of Jumbo Kingdom shared that they are "very saddened by this accident," and they are investigating what caused it.

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