Macau Day Trip from Hong KongWednesday, February 03, 2016
During our time in Hong Kong last year, we got the chance to head over to Macau for a day trip. Visiting this paradox of a city with a strange amalgamation of European and Asian culture is a must do if you're in Hong Kong for 3 days or more. While Hong Kong had its fair share of sky scrapers, Macau took its grandeur seriously. Whether it is the gold plated casinos or the renowned hotels, Macau carried itself with all the glitz and glam of a city diva. But beyond the extravagance, the city also had a sweet side that was speckled with lotus flowers and Portuguese architecture. We spent our day in Macau exploring the city's various facets and here are top 5 things to do:
1. Senado Square: Getting off the bus at Senado Square was our first taste of the city's historic center. The area is one of Macau's most atmospheric little corner, with plenty of people in sight, eating, shopping and sight seeing. We walked through the public square, dodging rain, window shopping and taking in the sunny ambiance that matched the lemony buildings surrounding the square.
2. Ruins of St Paul: The road to the Ruins of St Paul isn't exactly the usual church route. The historic ruin emerges beyond busy, chaotic and slightly smelly alleyways (courtesy of the sea of beef jerky that didn't sit well with our vegetarians noses) that are lined with clothing stores and food stalls. From one such stall, we picked up a Portuguese tart, a trademark of the Macau food scene. The most exciting part was when we finally walked through the crowed alley way and later a busy open courtyard, to find ourselves standing under the complex itself. The ruin is the remains of a 17th century Portuguese Church and is also a UNESCO listed Heritage site. It was interesting to see the ancient looking building amidst such an urban setting and was definitely worth the visit.
3. Monte Fort: Another UNESCO listed Heritage site is Macau's Monte Fort. The path to the fort was certainly not as busy as some of the other sites and made for a pleasant change. The weather was breezy and we made our way to the top of the fort to capture some bird's eye shots of the city below.
4. Taipa Village: After the hustle and bustle of the historic center, Taipa Village revealed the more demure side to the city. The village was covered in pastel buildings, floral gardens and one very exciting lotus garden at its heart. The vibe in the area was quaint and charmingly refreshing from the urban undertones of Macau and Hong Kong.
5. The Venetian: In the simplest terms, we can look at Macau as the Asian counterpart to Las Vegas, in the more complex terms, it is a layered and multi-faceted city. Nonetheless, you simply cannot go to Macau without going to a casino. Having exhausted ourselves exploring the other parts of the city, we settled on visiting only one as opposed to exploring the several extravagant casinos available. Our choice of destination was very predictably the Venetian, which is renowned for being the largest casino in the world. The Venetian stayed true to its name, gondolas with stripey scarfed drivers, lanterns and dreamy pink ceilings that made you forget for a second you were inside a building and that it was all a facade. We settled in and enjoyed a nice meal, soaked in the atmosphere, rested our feet from a day's walk and treated ourselves to a rather snazzy violin performance (the three violinists looked like the musical adaptation of Charlie's Angles).