Macau

Over the weekend, I decided to take a short trip across the ocean from Hong Kong, to Macau. One of the easiest, mini breaks I've ever had and was quite a bit of fun, despite the weather. Also known as the 'Las Vegas of Asia', Macau was a Portuguese Territory until 1999 when it was given back to the Republic of China, a very similar story to that of Hong Kong's.



How to get there
From Hong Kong, it was unbelievably easy. For all of you, you will no doubt be travelling on the MTR. You will want to take it to Sheung Wan station on the dark blue line, and find your way towards Exit D. This will take you right outside Shun Tak centre, where you make your way up until you reach the ticket area. It's very hard to miss. You will also find a lot of people selling you tickets for a little cheaper. Afterwards, hop onto the Ferry and expect a approx. 55 min journey till you reach Macau's Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal.

What to expect
When you reach Macau, you'll be pleased to know they allow HK Dollars to be used however, you will still be unable to use Macau currency in Hong Kong. From the Terminal, along the left of the exit, we caught Bus 3, or you can also take Bus 10A towards Senado square. Here, you will find an array of European architecture and a clash between Portuguese culture and Chinese culture. It was so interesting to see how the two collided and coexisted with each other.


What to see
Senado Square was our starting point. The bus drops you off just outside of the square and a perfect opportunity to take a few snaps. You will find yourself surrounded with old architecture, tourists and and shopping opportunities, if that is what you're after.

If you walk a little further into the square, you will find yourself in front a beautiful yellow cathedral, the St. Dominic's Church. You are able to have a little look inside and find it is filled with religious memorabilia and art that have dated back for some time. The Ruins of St. Paul is a little further along the way. Despite the weather, it was still a very beautiful piece of architecture which I admired greatly. You'll be surprised to find however, that 90% of this ruin seems to have gone missing. Right next to it, is the Monte Forte.

I like exploring outside tourist hot spots which allowed be to stumble upon the Camoes Garden. If you like to surround yourself with a bit of nature, you can venture off here to find lovely exotic plants and a great way to step away from the crowds. (By the way, I walked everywhere in Macau, after the bus journey, it's very doable and it was interesting to see the many sides to Macau). Lou Cau Mansion represents the other side to Macau as it is a traditional Chinese residential building dating back to the late 1800's. The owner, Lou Cau moved to Macau to make money, and did so through gambling and opium trades.

Quite nearby, (don't worry, there are street signs everywhere), we found the Cathedral of Macau. Another gloriously built Church that had important meaning to the locals and was beautiful to look at. If you are interested in having a look, you are allowed to have a seat inside as long as you respect those who come here for their religion. Finally, although there is more to see, we decided to venture off to Tai Pa, located on the opposite side of Macau and home to the luxurious hotel and casinos. The Venetian and Parisian both contain extravagant exterior and interior elements and if you have the cash, why not bet on something. Note, minimum spend it about 100HKD on roulette.


Where to eat
At some point, you will definitely get hungry, don't worry, Macau has you covered. All around the tourists spots, you will find samples handed out almost everywhere you go. You will never go hungry. Keep an eye out for the Koi Kei Bakery. You will find one almost as much as you find a 7/11 in Hong Kong and they can provide you with all sorts of tasty treats.  My personal favourite being the almond biscuits.

However, if you are looking for something a little more filling, at the Ruin's of St. Paul, you want to follow alongside the left of the building and make you way down a steep alleyway. Once you reach the main road, turn right, carry on until you find the Puffin Cafe. It has bright green interior with a very fresh and clean feel to it and, of course, many pictures of Puffins. They offered a range of delicious food but my most favourite part of it all, was that their Vegetarian/ Vegan menu was packed with delicious choices.

So there you have it, my trip to Macau in a day. A lot of people ask if it's possible to do the trip all at once, and I'm happy to say it really is! As long as you leave in the early hours and have a clear route of where you want to go and what you want to do, you can really immerse yourself in cultural change and historical architecture with your friends or family.






Macau

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