Hong Kong (day 3) – Macau
Day 3 (Wednesday, 29th December 2010)
Note: click on images to enlarge and click on links for further info.
On day 3, as planned, we went to Macau. We stopped by Pacific Coffee, which is located within the same block as our apartment. Pacific Coffee is a famous coffee outlet in Hong Kong.
We took the Macau Jet Ferry at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal. The ferry was big, modern, and comfortable. In fact, it feels much comfortable than a low cost airline. The trip took about 2 hours.
We arrived at Macau’s Ferry Terminal. The immigration was jam packed with Chinese nationals. My Hong Kong friend mentioned previously that with Hong Kong & Macau becoming part of China, it makes it easy for mainland Chinese to travel to Hong Kong & Macau. Over the recent years Macau has seen a massive increase in local tourism, mainly due to the gambling culture from China.
One thing I like about their tourism information counter (located at the Macau Ferry Terminal) is the amount of information & maps given to tourists. They have all sorts of maps and some are even 3D. The level of detail provided in the maps made it so easy for us to move around and ensured that we visit all the key attractions.
Our first stop was Senado Square. Macau was under Portuguese influence for more than 300 years. This is clearly evident in the architecture, the street names, and most of the shop names in the city center. The floor in Senado Square (as you can see in the photo above) is a traditional Portuguese pavement design.
From Senado Square, we walked further down the to see St Dominic’s Church, built in 1587. We explored the nearby shops to see what sort of goods are being sold.
As we walked towards the Ruins of St Paul, we spotted a small shop selling Macau’s world famous Portuguese Egg Tarts. It was freshly baked and we couldn’t resist the aroma.
When we arrived at the Ruins of St Paul, there are a lot of people. The Ruins of St Paul was built in 1602 and was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835.
We continued to explore the ruins before moving on to Fortaleza do Monte (Portuguese: Mount Fortress), which is located behind Ruins of St Paul. The fortress was built in 1626 and it was the military center during the Portuguese colonial era. There was a museum (Museum of Macau) at the top of the fortress.
The general feeling of visiting the fort somewhat reminds me of visiting St Paul’s Church in Melaka (refer to photo above). Melaka was colonised first by the Portuguese before they went on to Macau, hence the similarities in architecture.
After getting down from Mount Fortress, we saw a Dairy Queen shop near the Ruins of St Paul. The advert looked so convincing so we just had to give a try. The advert said “served upside down or it’s FREE”. They were that confident with their ice-cream that the guy at the counter actually turned the ice-cream upside down and it didn’t fell down. Damn good marketing right there!
Next we decided to go sight seeing in the city and we got to see the massive casinos they have around here.
While walking, I noticed their street signs are in 2 languages, Chinese and Portuguese. I saw the Portuguese word for ‘church’, which is ‘igreja’. It’s interesting to note that in the Malay language, the word for church is “gereja”. This word, along with a few others, was introduced into the Malay language during the Portuguese colonisation of Melaka in 1511.
After that, we headed to the city center for some more sightseeing. We took pictures with one of the major casinos in town.
The bigger casinos were in Taipa, so we took a cab across the bridge. We visited the Venetian, which in my opinion, really lived up to its name. Apart from the branded shops that makes it look like KL’s Star Hill, it has a man made river, with a few gondolas, and, to top it off, the gondolier even sings to you. Mind you, some of the gondolier can sing really well.
We took a ferry back to Hong Kong island early in the evening, around 6PM. This time,we took the Cotai Jet ferry (website: http://cotaijet.com.mo). The jet ferry was just as impressive as the one we took to Macau. I was very impressed with how clean and efficient the jet ferry service was. The seats were comfortable and we didn’t even feel the bumpy sea.
I was very happy with my Macau trip. Since Macau is not that big a place, I would recommend a 1 day trip from Hong Kong or a 2 day trip if you’re planning to explore the whole place.
Check out the rest of the Hong Kong and Macau photos on Flickr here.