MACAU: Spin-off to Las Vegas of Asia

Macau officially the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Portuguese: Região Administrativa Especial de Macau da República Popular da China; Chinese: 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區), is an autonomous region on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia. It is a ferry away from Hong Kong and since it’s VISA-free, you can spend a day or half exploring its heritage and hotel casinos with attraction spread on its mainland Macau peninsula and islands, mainly Taipa and Coloane, with addition of reclaimed area between them called: Cotai Strip.

Macau, as a former Portuguese colony, is an hour away from its twin colonial sister. Arriving at Hong Kong in the morning (see my HK post here), we left our baggage at the hostel took a quick breakfast at a fastfood nearby. Afterwards, we walked directly to China Ferry Terminal located at 33 Canton Road, few meters away from Haiphong Road.

Upon entering the terminal, we looked for counter selling tickets bound to Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal, since we’ll explore first the historic centre.

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Buy your tickets here! Macau-bound at 13:00 is HKD177
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Now boarding TurboJET


14:00 – ETA: Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal (Portuguese: Terminal Marítimo de Passageiros do Porto Exterior; traditional Chinese: 外港客運碼頭)

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Welcome to Macau! The grand facade of Grand Lisboa, a famous hotel icon amazed me.
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Grand Lisboa (Chinese: 新葡京) is a 47-floor, 261-metre-tall (856 ft) hotel in Sé, Macau, China and the tallest building in Macau and the most distinctive part of its skyline.

From here, Senado Square is just a 10-minute walk away. Just walk down Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and you’ll see it on your right.

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1 MOP ≈ 1 HKD
HKD are accepted in Macau. Bring MOP (pataca) for convenience. We exchanged small amount of HKD500 for our expenses in Macau and exchanged the rest once we got back to Hong Kong. NOTE: You can spend HKD both in HK and Macau but MOP is exclusive only in Macau.

The Historic Centre of Macau, (Chinese: 澳門歷史城區; Portuguese: Centro Histórico de Macau), is a collection of over twenty locations that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It represents the architectural legacies of the city’s cultural heritage, including monuments such as urban squares, streetscapes, churches and temples.

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In 2005, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China. “Macau represents an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble that illustrates the development of the encounter between the Western and Chinese civilizations over some four and half centuries.”

The Senado Square, or Senate Square (Chinese: 議事亭前地; Portuguese: Largo do Senado), is a paved town square in Sé, Macau, China and the centerpiece of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site. It is an elongated triangular shaped square and connects Largo do São Domingos at one end and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro on the other.

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Like a giant outdoor museum, brisk walking on the wave-patterned mosaic floor around the site is virtually impossible, for you would be compelled to stop to gawk at the fine architecture of the surrounding buildings.
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The Leal Senado Building (Chinese: 民政總署大樓; Portuguese for Loyal Senate) was the seat of Portuguese Macau’s government (Legislative Assembly of Macau and Municipal Council of Macau).
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The Holy House of Mercy of Macau (Portuguese: Santa Casa da Misericórdia; Chinese: 仁慈堂大樓), is a historic building in Senado Square, Macau, China. Established as a branch of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, it was first built in 1569 on the orders of the Bishop of Macau.
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St. Dominic’s Church (Portuguese: Igreja de São Domingos; Chinese: 玫瑰堂) is a late 16th-century Baroque-style church that serves within the Cathedral Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau. Finished in 1587, it is located in the peninsular part of the city at the Largo de São Domingos, situated near the Leal Senado Building.

Ruins of St. Paul’s attracts droves of tourists all year round. It is also part of the city’s Historic Center. “Company of Jesus Square has the Ruins of St Paul’s, which represent the remaining front elevation of the Church of Mater Dei and Na Tcha Temple.”

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Ruins of St. Paul’s (Chinese: 大三巴牌坊; Portuguese: Ruínas de São Paulo), the most famous landmark in Macau

Built in the 16th century, the site was actually a complex of a church and an academic institution. The church itself was constructed later in the 17th century. Today, only the facade remains the only structure standing after being battered by a typhoon and three fires.

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Company of Jesus Square
耶穌會紀念廣場
Largo da Companhia de Jesus

Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記手信) is a famous bakery at many places in Macau. It seems quite commercialized with tourists flocking to the chain stores and leaving with big bags of goodies! They are packed with an extensive selection of snacks, cookies, pastries and other confectionery products which you can sample for free. The bakery is well-known for its almond cakes and egg rolls.

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Aside from buying souvenirs at stores near the ruins, you can see stalls of Koi Kei selling their bestseller: almond cookies. Free taste everywhere!
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Another famous delicacy brought by colonizers: Egg tarts (Chinese: 蛋撻; Portuguese: Pastéis de nata)
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Church of St. Anthony (Chinese: 聖安多尼堂; Portuguese: Igreja de São Antonio) is one of three oldest churches of Macau (the other two are St. Lawrence’s Church and Church of Saint Lazarus) and also a part of Historic Center of Macau. Often known as Fa Vong Tong (Church of Flowers), the church was built by the Society of Jesus to commemorate St. Anthony, Patron Saint of Marriage of Catholics. Most followers have their wedding ceremonies held in the church. Because the brides customarily hold bouquets in their weddings, the St. Anthony’s Church is often called Church of Flowers. Every year on the June 13, procession of St. Anthony’s image takes place in the church.

Across this church , we waited for a bus bound to Cotai Strip for the Venetian experience.

Cotai (Chinese: 路氹城; Portuguese: Zona do Aterro de Cotai) is a piece of reclaimed land on top of Seac Pai Bay between Taipa and Coloane islands in Macau, that has made two independent islands become one island. This is where you can visit the grand hotel-casinos in the world, such as the massive The Venetian, City of Dreams, Galaxy, and Sand Cotai Central.

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Galaxy Macau (Chinese: 澳門銀河綜合渡假城)
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City of Dreams (Chinese: 新濠天地)
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The Venetian Macau (Chinese: 澳門威尼斯人度假村酒店) is a luxury hotel and casino resort in Macau owned by the American Las Vegas Sands company. At 39-stories, this is the largest casino in the world, and the largest single structure hotel building in Asia.
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Welcome to The Venetian! Picture before you enter…lol

16:00 – The Venetian. We almost turned to photoholics as we entered the hotel with huge shopping complex and famous gondola rides at its main canal.

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Grandiose Venetian lobby
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Opulent ceiling
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The Venetian Macao The Great Hall
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The Venetian Macao Grand Canal
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Gondola with standing gondoliere singing at the left. Gondola Ride MOP128

We lost track of the time as we thought the skies above the canal are real! So we left The Venetian past 5pm and caught a FREE Bus ride bound to Taipa Ferry. Just follow the tourists.
18:00 – ETD: Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal (MOP190)

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Sign for bus bound to Taipa Ferry Terminal
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We lately realized that night ride was not available bound to Kowloon and a bit expensive so we shelled out MOP190

19:00 – ETA: Hong Kong Ferry Terminal then subway back to Tsim Sha Tsui

ferry
From Ferry Terminal, proceed to BLUE line and ride subway bound for Chai Wan: Sheung Wan (BLUE) -> Central (BLUE/RED) -> Tsim Sha Tsui (RED)

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21:00 – Sleep at Urban Pack. Check the DAY 2 of my HK adventure here.

With LOTS of walking around the city (actually TWO city-states), we’re already exhausted and washed up before going to sleep. It was a great experience exploring a former Portuguese colony packed with old European architecture mixed with Chinese influence as well as the grandiose of high-rise hotel-casinos, though replica of medieval Italian city, it was undoubtedly a major tourist stop Macau can offer. Wish I could be back soon to explore more. Cheers! (n_n)

 

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