Macau is a former Portuguese colony on the south coast of China, just across the Pearl River delta from Hong Kong. Its history means that there is a surprisingly European feel to some areas which have retained a number of colonial buildings. However, this is not the case in the areas where the casinos now stand – these areas are very modern and very gaudy! Macau is the only place in China where gambling is allowed (apart from betting on the horses in Hong Kong) so there are a LOT of casinos there, and apparently it takes more money than Las Vegas!
We went to Macau on our first weekend after we moved to Hong Kong because we needed to leave HK and enter again to get our visas stamped. As you will shortly see, August is perhaps not the best time of year to visit Macau!
The easiest way to get to Macau is by ferry. The ferry terminal is in Sheung Wan – leave the MTR by exit D and keep going up the escalators until you get to the ticket counters. We turned up at about midday on a Saturday in August and it was pretty busy, and the displays showed that the next available ferry wasn’t till 3pm! (the ferries go every 30 minutes) So we went home and booked tickets for the next day online. This was much easier – we still had to queue at the ticketing counter to pick up the tickets but that was fairly quick and we made our way to the ‘gate’ with plenty of time to spare.
The ferry is actually a high-speed hydrofoil, so it only takes about an hour to get to Macau. It looks like this:
Once we got to Macau, it took us over an hour to get through immigration. Yet another reason not to go in August, I think! Once you are finally out of the ferry terminal, take bus number 3 to Almeida Ribeiro if you want to see the colonial area, where there are lots of nice old buildings.
Particular highlights included the ruins of the Church of St Paul:
…although this was the street leading up to the ruins (so busy!)…
As was the Lou Kau Mansion, on Traversa de Se:
The casino district is perhaps worth a visit, if only to gasp at the gaudiness (is that a word?)
I’d recommend Macau for a fun day out, but probably not really much longer. However, if I do go back at any point, I’d quite like to check out the House of Dancing Water show – it looks pretty impressive!
Thanks for reading!