We took the MTR to the ferry terminal in Kowloon in the morning to go to Macau and paid the extra for first class to catch the 9:30 (otherwise we would have had to wait until 11:30 to pay economy fare). The ferry was a hydrofoil. We were served tea and a little breakfast. First class had the perk of getting off first as well.
Macau was the first and the last colonized territory ending in 1999 after 400 years of Portuguese rule. This is the densest city in the world and is also an island like HK. There is also a second island that is part of this territory. It was very weird to see signs with mixed Portuguese and Cantonese. However there were still a lot of 7 11’s.
Macau has become a gambling haven for Asia (the Vegas of China). We went to quite a few casinos including:
- The Wynn which has fountains similar to the Bellagio in Vegas, only smaller;
- The MGM which has a cool aquatic themed area where we indulged in one of the best trips of the trip: ice cream with unlimited toppings;
- The Sands Casino which was the most popular;
- Hotel Lisbon which used to be the largest and has an amazing collection of artwork including jade sculptures and more;
- and the largest casino, The Venetian. This is on the island of Tapia where a Vegas style strip exists and many more buildings are under construction. It comes very close to being a replica of the Vegas version.
A very significant difference to Vegas is there is no alcohol served on the casinos; only tea, water and milk. Bars are also very scarce. We played a few slots but couldn’t figure out how we were winning.
We did a historical walking tour of the town (it’s not that large) over our short stay taking in:
- Avenida de Almeida Ribiero,
- Largo de Senado (Senate Square),
- Soa Domingos Church,
- Leal Senado,
- the remaining façade of the Church of Sao Paolo,
- Na Tcha Temple,
- Fortaleza de Monte,
- a hot sweaty climb up to the Guia Fortress and lighthouse with great views of the city (highest point on the island),
- A Ma Goa Temple which is in honor of a sea faring god which is where the city’s name was derived from,
- A few squares,
- The Mandarin House,
- St. Joseph’s church and seminary and
- the Barro area.
We quite enjoyed this city as well as Hong Kong. We see why HK is one of the four most beautiful cities (Vancouver, Cape Town and Rio are the others so we have one more to see).
We stayed in a lovely hostel for that night. Contrary to what we believed and read on the internet, we could not take a ferry direct to the Hong Kong airport, so we had to take a ferry back to Hong Kong and then an express train to HKIA. We caught our flight to The Seychelles that went via Abu Dhabi overnight.