Wednesday Wanderlust: Macau
This Wednesday Wanderlust is taking you on my recent trip to Macau, in other words - Asia’s Vegas - Casinos & Shopping on a GRAND scale. I was visiting my best friend in Hong Kong for a long weekend & decided to pop over to Macau for a day, but it turned out to be 5 or so hours only because the weather wasn’t fantastic (sorry for cloudy & grey photos) & I was ready to head back to Hong Kong & here's why.
So, my day started by taking the ferry at HK-Macau Terminal at Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan. You don’t have to purchase the tickets before hand but you can, & the convenience of doing that is that you have a greater chance of booking the ferry for the time you want. Turning up at the ticket office you are not guaranteed the time you’d like. I wouldn’t worry too much though as running times are every 15 minutes.
I took the ferry to Taipa which is the Southern Island & the other ferry goes to Macau Outer Harbour (the Northern Island). It usually takes 55 minutes, but in my case due to bad weather & rough seas it took a little longer. The ticket to Taipa cost $186, for schedules & pricing go here as they are different for weekdays/weekends & day/night sailings. DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT - as you are leaving Hong Kong & re-entering another country.
Once in Taipa, I got out of the terminal & headed for the free shuttle buses. I went to the Venetian, the largest casino in the world. There are other choices such as Sands, so take your pick really, the buses will take you to the same strip.
I entered the Venetian & the grandness of this place was a bit overwhelming. I’m a person who rarely/never gets panic attacks but this place nearly started it. The amount of shops this place holds is crazy, that it needs a separate floor map. I got lost a few times & just wanted to get out of here. After walking around what felt like Venice, this place has canals with gondolas & the architecture & the sky etc I entered THE casino! Eventually, finding the exit, I hopped into a taxi, which was super easy to get, it was cheaper than Hong Kong & didn’t have to have Macau Dollars, as Macau excepts HK dollars & Chinese RMB, as they’re all valued as 1:1:1. If you need help or advice of where you’d like to go, go to the concierge desk & they’ll help you & give you a “take me to” card for the taxi driver, even though my one spoke English.
I headed to the Northern Island of Macau over the bridge, maybe 10/15 minutes away from the Venetian. Straight away I started to feel like a human being & exactly where I wanted to be - exploring the old town, the Senado Square. Beautiful & colourful Portuguese architecture housing more shops, pharmacies & bakeries. DO wander around & down into the little side streets as they always have those hidden little beautiful gems, whether it be a wall, a door, a window, a person, whatever it might be, as a photography fan & a creative, inspiration can be found everywhere here.
My next aim was to head to see the ruins of St Paul’s Church, which meant I had to plough through a crowd of people, doing the same thing. Whilst at it, you get to walk past Macau’s specialties: the egg tarts & almond biscuits which you have to try out!
After seeing St Paul’s Church, I wandered down some more side streets & headed down to the jackpot of Macau, the Grand Lisbao, the tallest building in Macau which forms a distinctive part of its skyline. Casino Lisbao’s features are super classic & I’m sure it would have looked more extravagant at night with all the lights on.
My final stop was a climb up to the Guia Hill & Fortress, another UNESCO Heritage site. It’s a beautiful 17th century complex of a lighthouse, chapel & military fort. Many people were jogging on the hill just below the Fortress site, not a bad place to run. After spending some time here, I was heading back to the get the ferry back to Hong Kong.
TIP: at the ferry terminal I went to the ticket office & purchased my ticket to HK, however I had to wait an hour for the next ferry. I did some reading before I went on this trip & it's something I didn't understand. Basically, you don't have to wait for your ferry time if you don't want to. You can go through the immigration & stand in the standby lane & once the people with tickets for that ferry have boarded, any space left on the ferry, the people from standby queue can get on. I mean you're not guaranteed a seat but it's worth a try if you don't want to hang around at the port for too long & get on the earlier boat.
Verdict of Macau: a beautiful little place to experience once if you're in Hong Kong or nearby in Asia, & of course if you're into gambling & shopping.